The Christian Woman’s Veiling

Author Name: 

God-honoring people have practiced the Christian Woman’s veiling for many, many years; and, today is an earmark of Bible believing and Bible practicing individuals and church groups. This ordinance is taught primarily in I Corinthians 11:1-16; and the practice is also referenced throughout the Holy Scriptures. We include this practice with the ordinances since the veiled or covered head symbolizes a heart attitude of a woman accepting her role in God’s divine order of headship as outlined in this passage. …the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God. Therefore Christian women will give expression to this attitude of submission and acceptance to the leadership of men; whether in the home, church, or community.
The Scripture passage in I Corinthians 11 outlines several key points. Paul helps us understand that the “covering” he is referring to is not the hair. Even though many people would teach this today; a careful and logical analyzing of this passage would clearly teach a separate article of material used to cover the head. Since her hair is a glory to her and that glory is for her husband only; her hair is to be placed up under the covering. The word “covered” means to “cover wholly,” therefore we believe the headship covering should cover sufficiently so that the primary attention is the covering rather than the hair. If the covering was to merely be a sign or a symbol of her acceptance of the order of headship, then size would be of little importance; but Paul also taught that the covering was to be of sufficient size as well. Since this is the Bible principle; we outline this in our Decrees. “The covering application to be honored at all times is a two piece type of sufficient size, so the bottom comes below the bun to the neck, and the front comes forward to a position (on the top of the head) in front of the ears. The front piece shall be at least 1 ½” wide.” We also find in this passage that it is a shame to be uncovered while praying or prophesying. He also raises the question, Is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Since we should always be ready to pray, wouldn’t this teach the covering to be worn consistently? We also have another important aspect of the covered head, and that is that the angels provide special protection to the woman that honors and obeys this teaching. This also supports the practice of consistently wearing the covering.
There was a time, even here in America, when the covered head was commonly accepted and understood by general society. Most women wrapped up the long hair and covered their head especially for worship services. But as society moved farther away from honoring God and His Word, and as the women’s liberation movement swept across the land; the practice of keeping the hair uncut and covered gradually disappeared in general society. This pressure certainly had its influence in the Mennonite church as well, and we have seen the effects of succumbing to these pressures.
A consistent practice of this ordinance in a way that honors the Scriptural teaching will continue to receive challenge. Unless we have strong convictions for the clear teaching of Scripture for, not only the practice but also the principle of submission and respect to the divine headship order; we will eventually give in to the pressure of worldly accommodation. We need to maintain a size that honors the Scriptural directive to “cover.” Our sister’s hair arrangement significantly affects our practice of this ordinance. When the hair arrangement receives the attention and becomes the focus rather than the covered head, it militates against the principle taught in Scripture. Hairs styles that follow fad and fashion, and the wearing of other head covering patterns and styles, other than what is outlined in our Decrees, hinder the continued practice of this ordinance.
May God bless our sisters as they honor God’s headship order in heart and practice.