Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 21, 1952
NUMBER 41, PAGE 8-9a

Hats Or Hair? -- No. 3

W. S. Thompson, Sylacauga, Alabama

Sign Of Authority

In verse 10 Paul says, "For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels." Some preachers assert that the hat is a sign of authority. But I'd like to ask whose authority is it? Is it the authority of the HUSBAND, THE LORD, or is it not only the authority of the preacher? In my experience, they are usually worn because of style, regardless of authority. And who is so simple as to count such headgear as is generally worn to be of greater authority than the HAIR, which nature has endowed, to be her GLORY for her COVERING?

Of course any reasonable person will admit that a woman's HAIR is far more becoming as a sign of authority than all the hats she can put on. Reason then would dictate that since a woman's HAIR was given her for her GLORY and her COVERING, that as long as she has her hair, she has both her glory and her covering. If she have not her hair, she hath not her glory, she hath not her covering. She hath not her SIGN OF AUTHORITY. By exposing her head she is assuming the role of a man and is acting unbecoming toward him.

Some Parallels

W can everyone understand the woman denoted in the last two parallels as needing to be punished and imprisoned. I can understand, too, the woman Paul says, LET HER BE COVERED. Can YOU?

Modern Translations

Appeal is made by the advocates of the HAT THEORY to the modern translations of the Bible, which use the terms UNVEILED and VEILED, as though the term VEIL denotes more than the term COVER. It should be no trouble, though, to show that the term VEIL no more denotes the OBJECT, MATERIALS OR AGENCIES used in the action or condition expressed by the verb than does the word COVER. A woman might be VEILED with many things. The marginal note for COVERING in the KING JAMES VERSION is VEIL, which makes the statement read: HER HAIR IS GIVEN HER FOR A VEIL. What is gained by the use of the term VEILED anyway? It denotes no more than the term COVERED?

Inconsistency Of Theory

Here I would like to point out the utter inconsistency of those who seek to substantiate their theory. First, they preach that women should wear HATS to church. Then when they have failed on the HATS, they resort to COVERING, and there they stumble, too, and finally they go to VEIL. When asked, "What do you mean by HAT?", they answer, "A COVERING." Then when asked, "What do you mean by a COVERING?", they answer, "A VEIL." Then when asked, "What do you mean by a VEIL?", they answer, "Just any thing a woman wants to wear on her head as a sign of authority." Some logic, isn't it? Perhaps, if some of the "WISE ONES" who are so scrupulous about their women's ARTIFICIAL COVERING in church would look a little more closely, they could find somewhere hidden in the hair a BOBBY PIN, HAIR PIN, or a small string that the lady had placed there as SIGN OF AUTHORITY. Absurd, isn't it?


They want to know how a person could be uncovered and still have any portion of the hair to SHAVE OFF, if it be the hair under consideration. To me it is a simple thing to see that a woman could have PART OF HER HAIR SHINGLED (SHORN) to where her head was exposed, to where she no longer had the features of a woman, and still not have it all cut off. That is exactly what Paul was writing. That if the women cut their hair till it no longer covered their head, they might as well have their head SHAVEN. Verse 5 says, "Every woman praying or prophesying with her head UNCOVERED dishonoreth her head; for IT IS EVEN ALL ONE AS IF SHE WERE SHAVEN. We would say that it is EQUAL to the same thing. Well, what is equal to having her head shaven? Is it the removing of the HAT? or is it the SHEARING of the HAIR? Certainly the woman would not think of pulling off her hat as exposing her head in such a way as if her hair were cut off.

The Greek

That all may see that there is not one GREEK word used in these verses from 1 Corinthians 11:3-16, that can be taken as a NOUN, save the one in the 15th verse where Paul says, "HER HAIR WAS GIVEN HER FOR A COVERING," I want to give all the words which denote COVERED and COVERING, together with their meaning according to YOUNG'S ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE. Here they are:

V 4. Every man...having his head KATAKEPHALES ECHO (COVERED)

V 5. If a woman ... having her head AKATAKALUP (UNCOVERED)

V 6. If a woman . . . KATAKALUPTO (FULLY COVERED) — If it be a shame ... let her be KATAKA-

To (Fully Covered)

V 7. A man ought not ... KATAKALUPTO (FULLY COVER his head.

V 10. A woman ought to have . . . EROUSIA (PRIVILEGE) signs of authority.

V 13. It is comely that a woman ... AKATAKALUP (UNCOVERED) unveiled.

V 15. Her hair is given ... PERIBOLAION (COVERING) Something to cast around. Marginal reading—VEIL. The only one which tells the NAME of the AGENCY used. It is HER HAIR.

The GREEK WORD, NOUN, for VEIL is KALUMA. This is the word used in 2 Corinthians 8:13-16 denoting such as; Moses PUT A KALUMA (VEIL) OVER HIS FACE. This is the word that NAMES or TELLS that which is used as the OBJECT, MATERIAL or AGENCY in the covering. May I say again that VERBS NEVER indicate such except through previous experiences. Then they are too varied and indefinite to be of much certainty. If the Greek should have said that a woman ought to put a KALUMA on her head. Or a woman ought to COVER or VEIL her head with a KALUMA, then we would have both the VERB and the NOUN expressing both the ACT and the OBJECT or AGENCY to be used.

No Such Custom

In verse 16 the apostle says, "If any man seem to be contentious, we have no such CUSTOM, neither the churches of God."

First, a definition of a CUSTOM should be given. It simply means a PREVAILING ACT or ESTABLISHED USAGE.

Some think that the CONTENTION here mentioned was the thing to which Paul referred when he said, we have no such custom. This, however, is faulty as can be seen by the text. It was some PREVAILING ACT or ESTABLISHED USAGE, namely the UNCOVERING OF WOMEN'S HEADS to which he referred. Or else it must have been the CUSTOM OF PUTTING ON VEILS or HATS as of today. It surely was not their contentions as he referred to in 1 Corinthians 1:11 and 8:3, 4. Here he called them contentions—NOT CUSTOMS.

Let the HATTERS take their choice; if they say the custom was that of PUTTING ON HATS. Paul says, WE HAVE NO SUCH CUSTOM. If they say it was CUTTING OFF THE HAIR, Paul says, WE HAVE NO SUCH CUSTOM. Why, then, do YOU want to make a CUSTOM of PUTTING ON HATS when Paul said they had no such in his day? ? ? If you say the CUSTOM he referred to was PULLING OFF HATS OR VEILS, then where is your authority? Verbs do not denote either. Again, the only Greek word used in these verses which names the OBJECT OR AGENCY is the word PERIBOLAION and is rendered COVERING. HER HAIR IS GIVEN HER FOR A PERIBOLAION (COVERING).

Length Of Hair

I deem it well, before closing, to give attention to the question of the length of the hair. I know that this is a question of much concern to many people.

If one should ask me, "HOW LONG SHOULD ONE'S HAIR BE TO BE APPROVED OF GOD?" That I can't answer. I do not presume to know. In many instances this would be determined by NATURE. Some women have hair that never grows beyond the length of a few inches. Others have much longer hair. But this is REASONABLE—when a woman cuts her hair so short or loses it through other means, that it no longer gives her the FEATURES of a woman, it is too short. She needs to COVER HER HEAD, and her features will not be exposed. This would require something more than most of the STYLISH HATS of our day.

If I should be asked, "How long can a man wear his hair without it being too long?", I would answer, "When a man's hair gets long enough that it conceals his MANLY FEATURES and no longer conveys the IMAGE and GLORY of God, it is too long. It should be shorn, just how short, I can't tell, but short enough that his manly features and characteristics are displayed.

I know one very faithful member of the church who wears a TOUPE (WIG). It doesn't conceal his manly features. Who could be so blinded by theories as to contend that he should pull it off when he goes to church? ? ?

A Challenge

I hereby challenge any preacher or teacher who is an exponent of the theory, that all women should wear ARTIFICIAL COVERINGS when they go to church, to meet me in PUBLIC DISCUSSION of this subject. I will allow him to write his AFFIRMATIVE proposition, and I will write mine.