June 1, 1997 Issue
by Kevin W. Presley

Since the commencement of humanity, God’s arrangement for headship and authority has remained the same. "I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." When the Father created man from the dust of the earth and gave him the breath of life, he saw shortly thereafter that it was not good for man to be alone. He created the woman as a suitable help for Adam. In Genesis 3:16, when God cursed Eve for her transgression he declared, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and they conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." One would be gravely in error if he thought that God made woman inferior to man, or thought of her as a lesser creation. In fact, God has exalted the place of woman far above the estimate of our world today. However, society and many in the church have a corrupted view of the role of women.

First of all, God created man and woman differently. He gave them separate characteristics, roles, and responsibilities, which he never intended on being exchanged or negated. I Timothy 2:11-15 says, "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."

On this premise, the Apostle Paul bases his argument concerning the necessary covering in prayer for women. "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. FOR THIS CAUSE ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels," I Corinthians 11:8—10. The word in verse 10 for "power" means authority. God has not deprived woman of any spiritual right so far as his relationship to her is concerned. She may "come boldly before the throne of grace" on equal footing with man. She may teach someone else in a private setting (not in a public sphere or in an assembly of the church). Although she has a different environment in which she is to operate (privately) the woman has the same spiritual obligations as a man. She must carry out these responsibilities, however, in the spirit and demeanor of a godly woman. She is to remain modest inwardly and outwardly in so doing. "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, WITH SHAMEFACEDNESS AND SOBRIETY; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But WHICH BECOMETH WOMEN PROFESSING GODLINESS WITH GOOD WORKS," I Timothy 2:9-10. In I Corinthians 11:3-16 and I Timothy 2:9-10, Paul is discussing what women are to be on the inside and how that is to be exemplified on the outside. One is to emanate from the other.

In I Corinthians 11, Paul is teaching that long hair on a woman is that which gives her the right to pray and teach, but yet still show her subjection to man. Verse 5 says, "But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head (man)..." Verses 13-15 go on to say, "Judge in yourselves; is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?.., if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering." In other words, it is not right for a woman to pray to God without that covering on her head which is long hair. But shame on the woman that forgets what her long hair and modest apparel is for and what it signifies.

Long hair does not by any means give a woman the right to supercede her God-given sphere of activity or authority. Long hair does not give a woman the right to case aside the feminine qualities of shamefacedness and sobriety. Long hair does not give a woman the right to henpeck her husband and rule the roost, so to speak.

Listen to the characteristics that long hair and modest apparel are to be indicative of! Chastity (Titus 2:5) which means to be "chaste, clean, innocent, pure"; Shamefacedness (I Tim 2:9) means "downcast eyes, and bashfulness towards men"; Sobriety (I Tim 2:9) speaks of "soundness of mind, self-control"; Godliness (I Tim 2:10) means "piety and devoutness"; Submissive (Eph 5:22) means "to subordinate...to obey, subdue into";

Some of our sisters need to learn the REAL lesson behind Paul’s instruction. Uncut hair and modest apparel is to emanate from a submissive and meek spirit and demeanor. Does the Bible teach it is sinful for a woman to cut her hair and dress in an immodest fashion? Absolutely, unreservedly, I can say YES! However, it is no less a sin for a woman to shuck her inward covering and her inward sense of modesty. In fact, let me go so far as to say, that if she thinks like talks like, and behaves like a domineering, overbearing, worldly woman, she might as well stop sending a hypocritical message to the church and the world, and look like a worldly woman.

Sometimes we comment on some sister in the church who we feel is making spiritual progress because she stops bobbing her hair and wearing pants. However, may we never forget that she’s making progress if and only if she is exemplifying the inward characteristics that make such a change of appearance meaningful and significant.

I can’t think of a better way to make the point than in the way I heard one preacher so poignantly put it. He said, "Sister, you may have hair so long you can sit on it, a dress so long that it looks like you just stepped off a wagon train, but if you’ve got a long tongue to match, you’re not saved!"

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