- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions and answers about the Church
- Published on Thursday, 19 November 2009 17:07
Verses 2 through 16 of 1 Corinthians 11 contain Paul’s teaching about women’s head coverings. The context before this teaching (10:14-11:1) shows how their actions at the Breaking of Bread (sharing in the cup and the bread) must affect their behavior outside the assembly. The context after this teaching shows how their actions at the Breaking of Bread must affect their relationships with one another. The context is therefore "congregational teaching." Further, the introduction to the subjects of head coverings and the breaking of bread are parallel: "Now I praise you . . ." (v. 2) and "Now . . . I praise you not" (v. 17). He thus joins the two subjects. What he introduces in verse 17 clearly relates to "when ye come together in the church" (v. 18), or literally, "in church." He is dealing with "church gatherings" in these two subjects he has thus linked.
Therefore, sisters cover their heads in any gathering in which they are "in church," which does not mean in the building where they meet. This is when they gather as a church. The New Testament gives seven gatherings of the church: meetings for teaching, the breaking of bread, the prayer meeting (Acts 2:42), discipline meetings (1Co 5:4), a report meeting (Acts 14:27), a gospel meeting (1Th 1:8; the principle in 1Co 14:22), and an elders’ meeting (Acts 20:17). This last meeting is the only "non-public" meeting and includes only part of the assembly. The teaching of the woman’s head covering applies to each of these public assembly meetings. At any other gatherings, covering her head is at the discretion of the sister.