Woman Wearing A Head Covering When Praying Aloud

*** Reasoning Book 1985, 1989, pages 433-434 Women ***

Why do Christian women wear head coverings on certain occasions?

1 Cor. 11:3-10: "The head of every man is the Christ; in turn the head of a woman is the man; in turn the head of the Christ is God. . . . Every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered shames her head . . . For a man ought not to have his head covered, as he is God's image and glory; but the woman is man's glory. For man is not out of woman, but woman out of man; and, what is more, man was not created for the sake of the woman, but woman for the sake of the man. That is why the woman ought to have a sign of authority upon her head because of the angels." (When a Christian woman wears a head covering on appropriate occasions, this is an evidence of her respect for the headship arrangement that was instituted by God. Christ respects theocratic headship; man and woman are also obligated to do so. The first man, Adam, was not produced by birth from a woman but was created by God. When creating Eve, God used a rib from Adam as a foundation, and God stated that she was to be a helper for Adam. Thus to man, who was produced first, was assigned the position of head. The man does not wear a head covering when 'praying or prophesying' because, in regard to headship, man is "God's image," having no earthly head in matters relating to his family. However, for a woman to 'pray or prophesy' without a head covering would show disrespect for man's God-assigned position and would shame him. Even the angels, who are members of Jehovah's wifelike heavenly organization, observe the "sign of authority" worn by faithful Christian women and are reminded of their own subjection to Jehovah.)

When is it necessary for a woman to wear a head covering?

When she "prays or prophesies," as stated at 1 Corinthians 11:5. This does not mean that a head covering is needed when she prays privately or when she converses with others about Bible prophecy. However, she should wear such a head covering as an outward sign of her respect for man's headship when she cares for matters pertaining to worship that would ordinarily be cared for by her husband or by another man. If she prays aloud on behalf of herself and others or conducts a formal Bible study, thus doing the teaching, in the presence of her husband, she should wear a head covering, even if he does not share her faith. But since she is divinely authorized to teach her children, no head covering is needed when praying or studying with her undedicated young ones at times when her husband is not present. If, in an exceptional circumstance, a dedicated male member of the congregation is present or when she is accompanied by a visiting traveling overseer, then, when she conducts a prearranged Bible study, she should cover her head, but he should offer the prayer.

*** Insight Vol 1Pages 1051-1052 Head ***

The apostle Paul, drawing on the principle of the primary headship of God, the Head of Christ, and the relative headship of the man over the woman, sets forth the principle governing the Christian congregation, namely, that the woman should recognize the God-ordained headship of man by wearing a head covering, "a sign of authority," upon her head when praying or prophesying in the congregation.-1Co 11:3-16; see HAIR; HEADDRESS; HEADSHIP.


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