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1 Corinthians 11:6 – Consistent and inconsistent

19-08-2019 - Posted by Andre Piet

For If a woman is not covering, let her shorn also. Now if it is a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covering.

In the Greek world of Paul’s days, women veiled themselves in public. Some Corinthian women just took off their veil while praying or prophesying. And Paul is protesting against this.

Paul is not saying here that a woman should put on a veil when she prays or prophesies. The opposite is true: if she would take off her veil on such occasions, she might as well be cutting or shaving her hair. Then she sets herself up as a man, so why not a male hairstyle? That is consistent, says Paul. Is that not what has happened in Western society? When the man was no longer recognized as a head, the female headdress and long hair also disappeared as typically feminine. That is indeed consistent. Because such customs are related.

Paul sets no law in this passage. He also does not introduce a new use here. He explains existing customs. And he shows what is and is not consistent in this.