This chapter can be a bit confusing. Read the first few verses:
4 A man dishonors Christ if he covers his head while praying or prophesying. 5 But a woman dishonors her husband if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head. 6 Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair. And since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, then she should wear a covering. 7 A man should not wear anything on his head when worshiping, for man is God’s glory, made in God’s own image, but woman is the glory of man.
If taken literally, no man would be allowed to wear a hat in church and all women would have to! I can just imagine the controversy that would invoke. And then there’s the discussion of styles of hat, colors that most exemplify Christ, etc.
In context, I believe Paul was referring less about hats and more about trying to avoid division in the church of Corinth. We can apply this unity teaching to almost any subject concerning the church today, not just the wearing of hats (i.e. carpet color, style of worship, etc.).
Much of this head-covering verbiage has cultural significance for back then in Corinth. Paul was addressing how Jewish women traditionally covered their heads during worship. Greek women, however, did not. I believe Paul was trying to end the division over this seemingly unimportant matter of head covering.On the other hand, this is where I draw my conviction to remove my hat when I pray or worship (v4 & 7). But, that’s just for me.
Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we’d just try and get along?
There’s a nice blurb in my footnotes I’d like to share that might help:
All of us make hundreds of choices every day. Most choices have no right or wrong attached to them – like what you wear or what you eat. But we always face decisions that carry a little more weight. We don’t want to do wrong, and we don’t want to cause others to do wrong, so how can we make such decisions? Ask yourself these questions:
If I choose one course of action:
…does it help my witness for Christ (9:19-22)
…am I motivated by a desire to help others know Christ? (9:23; 10:33)
…does it help me do my best? (9:25)
…is it against a specific command in Scripture and would thus cause me to sin? (10:12)
…is it the best and most beneficial course of action? (10:23,33)
…am I thinking only of myself, or do I truly care about the other person? (10:24)
…am I acting lovingly or selfishly? (10:28-31)
…does it glorify God? (10:31)
…will it cause someone else to sin? (10:32)
Lord, be glorified by something we do today!