S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 11:12b everything comes from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: Is it appropriate for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Doesn’t nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him; 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? This is because her long hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if someone wants to argue about this, we don’t have such a custom, nor do God’s churches.
O (Observation): God has created everything. Sometimes, we take those things and they can mean something good or something bad.
Wearing hats, or not. Long hair, or not. These are the debates of Paul’s day. Kind of like: do I eat food sacrifices to an idol or not? Maybe you can. If it’s just you, it’s likely no big deal…but if one of those who are new to the faith see you eating food to an idol, and they don’t know you, you might cause them to be put into a bad spot.
Same with the hair and coverings. Many believe that other religions and their followers did certain things with head coverings and hair. Paul, I believe, is continuing the conversation about optics. What do you appear to be doing. If you are looking like a prophet or preacher for a false god, you may just wanna avoid that altogether.
A (Application): So what do we do with verses like this? We make ladies wear hats in church. Or, at least we used to…
Reading the Bible can be dangerous business. I appreciate the devotional approach to reading scripture, but questions like this come (regarding the hair and head coverings). We think: we’ll, that’s weird, and move on. But I want you to question what the words are that you are reading. Ask why this is here. Apparently Paul thought it was important.
Perhaps the takeaway is this: We raise up leaders amongst ourselves to know us and guide us. This text seems to be Paul addressing a contemporary issue. Perhaps we can take note and realize the difference between a theological treatise and suggestion about behavior.
We don’t prescribe behavior…instead we must ask ourselves: is this action praising God?
If so, great. If not, re-think it. And ask a friend.
P (Prayer): Lord, we thank you for surrounding us with people who love us and challenge us for good reason. Amen.