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The veil was an important part of the oriental female wearing apparel. Usually, the veil was four to six feet in length, and covered the entire head. It conveyed a woman’s “subjection” to the man. Such was seen in the case of Rebekah when she met Isaac (Gen. 24:64-65). In New Testament times, the woman’s wearing of the veil was still a custom. Vincent remarks, “In the sculptures of the catacombs the women have a close-fitting head dress while the men have their hair short” (cited by A.T. Robertson, WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, Vol. 4, p. 162).

In this section, Paul delivers the proper mode of dress for the praying and prophesying woman (some were apparently disregarding the distinctive attire) and stresses the principle that lies behind the custom.


A. Paul’s praise of the Corinthians (v.2)

B. The order of authority (v.3)

C. The violation of authority (v. 4-6)

1. By the man (v.4)

2. By the woman (v. 5-6)

D. Foundation of authority of the man over the woman (v. 7-10)

1. Seen in the glory of creation (v. 7)

2. Seen in the priority of creation (v. 8)

3. Seen in the purpose of creation (v.9)

4. Seen in the angels (v. 10)

E. Equality within authority (v. 11-22)

1. Seen in the spiritual realm (v. 11)

2. Seen in the physical realm (v.12)

F. Propriety within authority (v. 13-15)

1. Seen in the veiling of women (v. 13)

2. Seen in the hair length of men (v. 14)

3. Seen in the hair of women (v. 15)

G. Withstanding the resistance of authority (v. 16)


1. What kind of “traditions” should we “hold fast”?

2. Does the order of authority in verse 3 manifest inequality?

Explain your answer.

3. Why was the man praying with his head covered dishonoring “his head”?

a. What did the man’s creation circumstances have to do with this action of dishonor?

4.. Why was the woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonoring “her head”?

a. How does Paul drive home how dishonorable this action was?

5. A veil worn by the praying and prophesying woman was what kind of a sign?

a. What do angels have to do with this action?

6. Why does Paul inject verses 11-12 in the middle of the discussion of the difference between men and women with the way of God created them?

7. What two points regarding distinctions between the sexes does Paul inject to teach further about the priority of the women praying veiled?

8. How do the following two facts affect your belief about whether or not a woman should pray today with a veil on her head?

a. “…for her hair is given her for a covering.”

b. “…But if any seemeth contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”