“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven…
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”
1 Corinthians 11:3-15
The head of Christ is God, the head of man is Christ and the head of a woman is her man. Today this would be considered an outrageous, sexist and disrespectful thing to say about women and would totally disregard the LGBT community. Those thinking these thoughts often fail to realize that I didn’t say these things; God did, through the Apostle Paul. We cannot live to please humanity. We must live to please God, not because it is required, but because we love Him so much that we are compelled by love and respect to serve Him.
Then Paul goes on to explain that because a man is from God and bares His image, then he must not wear a hat or have long hair when he is praying or worshiping, because it is disrespectful to God. Likewise, because woman (in the beginning) came from man, a woman is supposed to cover her head when she prays, prophesies or worships, and Paul said that long hair is an appropriate covering for a woman’s head. So, men should take off their hats when praying and worshiping and women should cover their head with at least long hair. The length of the hair is not specified, so as is mentioned several times in the Bible – men should look and dress like men, and women should look and dress like women.
Historians like Josephus, noted that the men of Rome and Israel wore their hair short. So, the paintings depicting Jesus with long hair are incorrect, and just express the artist’s creativity, not historical reality. Men looked like men during the time Jesus lived, with short hair.
So, a woman wearing a hat in church is perfectly fine and respectful. A man wearing a hat in church is not acceptable. That is where we got the social rule that men take their hats off inside homes, businesses and more importantly churches. This rule trained men to remove their cover (hat, hoodie, toboggan, dew rag, etc.) when they walked inside the church. This honors Christ as the head or leader of each man. It’s a sign of love and respect. We really need to rekindle this tradition of removing our hats when we enter a home, business, fellowship hall or church. It’s an outward sign of not just love and respect, but it’s a signal to our brains that it’s time to worship. A man should remove his hat to pray for the same reason, but the hat should be removed regardless of whether you are inside or outside when praying.
Some would say, those are old antiquated rules, we are not people of rules, we are people of grace. Unfortunately, while grace covers all sin and fashion faux pas, it doesn’t provide license to sin or disregard God’s Word. God put these little rules in place for a purpose, and even if we can’t or won’t see the purpose that doesn’t mean the purpose no longer exists. Let’s forget the world and its thoughts and ideas, and focus our attention of what God says through His Holy Word.
I hope this helped you to understand why men do not wear hats in church or when they pray, and gave you a better understanding of the first portion of 1 Corinthians, chapter 11. God’s Word is the benchmark for all our thoughts and actions, so let’s leave behind the thoughts and ideas of humanity and focus on what God has to say.