The Head Covering – A Sign of Authority

Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

Ruth 1:16 – Ruth had married into this family and she was committed to this family in a way that is really incredible. Ruth would not leave her mother in law because of her faith in God and his direction.

The head covering is a symbol of obedience to the word and submission to Christ and the Godhead.

For many of us as Mennonites we’ve grown up with sisters who wear the covering, but there are many people who wonder about our application here. So this morning we’ll be taking a look at what the Bible says about this issue.

The church has rejected this practice in the last thirty or forty years, not because of new interpretive insights because of pressure from the world.

~ R.C. Sproul Jr.

Why has the church moved away from the covering in worship?

It isn’t the understanding of scripture that has changed. There is a very interesting correlation between the move away from this practice and the female liberation movement.

When we adjust our understanding and beliefs based on something in culture, not on scripture, we will never end up at a good place.


Traditions are not all that we seem to want to apply to them these days. A tradition is simply something that is passed on, from one generation to the next.

Traditions are not inherently good or bad in and of themselves. Tradition is something that, as it relates to scripture, we need to be careful – both ways.

What is the head covering?

There are three possibilities that have been proposed.

  1. Something worn on the head.
  2. The long hair.
  3. The husband.

Primarily as we look through this passage the original language would have been referring to a piece of cloth worn on the head.

There are actually two head coverings talked about here in 1 Corinthians 11. There is the piece of cloth and there is the long hair.

Distinctions between long hair and cloth covering.

  • When it is worn.
  • Who puts it on.
  • How the wearing is taught.
  • Its relationship to religion.
  • Its purpose or effect.

The Scriptural Basis for the Wearing of the Head Covering.

  • To show the headship order.
  • For glory and honor.
  • Because of the angels.
  • Nature’s teaching about hair length.
  • The universal practice of the church.