When A Woman’s Haircut Disrupted Worship

In the Corinthian church it seems that the distinction between men and women was becoming blurred.  Women had been liberated from a position where they could do nothing, but it seems that they had taken things too far.  There is debate whether the passage below applies to all women or just wives, but whether we are talking about wives or women as a whole, it is clear that their fashions and attitudes would have been regarded as sexually inappropriate in Corinth. 

I witnessed a similar clash of cultures when some liberated Christian girls from Texas visited their parents in Pakistan.  They were horrified that local men had groped them in the market place.  They were disgusted that a local woman had grabbed the girls’ head coverings and pulled them up from their shoulders over their heads.  The girls wanted to show their independence to a culture that could only interpret their lack of headcovering as loose living.  The way women wore their hair or covered it in Corinth showed what they thought about the accepted order of their society.  The order of society in Corinth was reflective of God’s design.  How do women today show that they respected their husband’s leadership  (of course, that begs a further question)?

1 Corinthians 11:1-10

1Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

 2I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings,[a] just as I passed them on to you.

 3Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. 6If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. 7A man ought not to cover his head,[b] since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.


  1. What part of the body is mentioned most frequently?
  2. How is each head related to the other?
  3. If God the Father is not superior to God the Son, but God the Son submits to the Father, how is this meant to encourage women?
  4. What is a modern American view of submission?
  5. How should a woman submit and a man lead in their own household and in the church?

Going Deeper

This is a difficult passage.  I suggest you find a commentary and read what it has to say about 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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