Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head (1 Corinthians 11:4).
When my students enter my classroom, I expect them to remove their hats. There are practical reasons for this–like making sure they’re not wearing earbuds–but mainly it is a sign of respect. The military does this as well, also as a sign of respect.
Paul is commanding the same thing here, and for much the same reason.
From what I can tell, the “prays or prophesies” part or this verse is in reference to the public worship service. It could mean only the leaders, but seems to be best understood as referring to all the men in the congregation, who would be praying and worshiping together. As for the word translated “head,” well, it seems that the first use refers to the physical head, and the second to the spiritual head–Christ. So, a man who is worshiping in public with his head covered is dishonoring the very Lord he has come to honor.
Folks have a lot of ideas about what the head coverings Paul refers to were. Some say it referred to long hair, which was decidedly feminine in that culture. Others say Paul was talking about pulling their cloak up over their heads, which was a practice of those worshiping the pagan gods. Some say he meant the veiling of their heads, which was a practice of the Jews. Regardless of what exactly the Corinthians were doing, Paul’s point was clear. For a man to cover his physical head during the public worship service dishonored his spiritual head–Christ.
Beloved, most of our churches don’t have dress codes, and to be worried about what someone else was wearing would be, to us, a shallow thing.
But we are not they, and this is not then. Paul’s concern was that the people of God take their worship seriously, and approach the throne with a humble heart.
What of you, Beloved? Do you go to worship in reverence and respect, or…?
It’s not a dress code. It’s a heart code.
Happy Thursday, Beloved.