Should Christian Women Cover Their Heads?

My dear fellow Proverbs 31 women in progress,

I hope you are well and that you continually grow in faith in the Lord. Today, I wanted to address a topic that is a source of controversy within Christianity: head covering.

Some say that Christian women must cover their heads when they pray and when they go to Church. Some say that it should be taken into the context of the Biblical times and that head covering is not required anymore.

Let’s examine this topic.

What does the Scripture say

“But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory for her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God .”

1 Corinthians 11:3-16

I must admit that this Biblical passage is quite clear and unambiguous: women must cover their heads when they pray or prophesy. Until at least the beginning of the 20th century, women used to cover their heads when they went to Church, either with a scarf or a hat.

Why does Paul urge women to cover their heads when they pray? And why this practice disappeared in the current Church?

Paul’s admonition explained

First of all, let me remind you that there is no commandment in the Old Testament which makes head covering mandatory for women. Yes, I checked!

However, we can assume from some Biblical texts that at least married women did cover their heads as a sign of submission and modesty.

For example, when Rebekah met Isaac, and that she was told who he was, she covered her head with her veil as a sign of submission, modesty and humility.

If Paul recommends head covering, it’s for three main reasons:

  • Sexual hierarchy: he explains that women are the glory of men and that we are to be submitted to men – we’ll never thank our mother Eve enough for that. Therefore, the veil represents the sign of our submission. However, it doesn’t mean that men don’t depend on us. That’s why Paul reminds us that we all come from God and that the relationships between men and women should be interdependent.
  • Angels: Paul is not really clear on the reference to the angels here. However, we can assume that there’s a reference to the fact that angels cover their face with their wings when they worship God.
  • Modesty: hair represents the beauty of women and is a pride for her. Since we are all required to be reverent in the presence of the Lord, Paul advocates head covering for women.
  • Moral grounds: apparently, during Paul’s times, only prostitutes had their hair loose. Head covering encouraged proper Christian behaviour, good morals and good standing.
  • Jewish heritage: Jewish women traditionally cover their heads when they pray or when they go to the synagogue. Paul just follows the customs he knew.

Why head covering has been abandoned today in most churches?

At least until the 1960s, head covering was practiced by women in the Church, either with a veil, a scarf or a hat. Some churches still require head covering for women was a cultural norm of modesty that does not stand nowadays. Some even say that it’s the influence of feminism which ended this practice.

However, I’ve noticed that this practice is rediscovered in some Christian communities and that Christian women cover their head more and more, especially in America.

My opinion on this topic

For once, I won’t have any opinion about it. Personally, I don’t cover my head every time I pray. If I have my head covered when I pray, it’s really by chance.

For example, if I sleep with a scarf on my head and that I wake up to pray, I will have my head covered. However, if my prayer time finds me without it, I will pray without it.

As I am not used to systematically covering my hair, I will not tell to do it as a mandatory thing. However, in case of doubt, pray about it and listen to what the Holy Spirit tells you. If you are convinced to cover your hair, then go ahead! If not, continue to look for God in spirit and in truth, because God looks first and foremost to our hearts.

Don’t count on me to be like some legalistic people on this matter who are “scarf-shaming” women who don’t cover their heads when you pray. If you are dressed modestly and if you are reverent in front of the Lord, you behave without any wrongdoing.

Well, that’s all for today! What do you think of this topic? Do you cover your hair when you pray or not? Please let me know your thoughts about this topic in the comments below!

And as usual, stay blessed!

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This entry was posted in Faith.


  1. Oluchi says:

    “But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head,” her head here refers to her husband. The woman used in this passage refers to a married woman. A married woman should cover her head while she prays to honour her husband. Single ladies have no head as they are not married. Therefore, if they pray with uncovered head, they dishonour no one. Singles ladies can pray with uncovered head, but married women must cover third head to pray to honour their heads(husbands).

    • angelce says:

      Ok that’s interesting thank you for your insight !

    • Arthur Felicia says:

      Nice post indeed. I think i agreed wit what u have posted. To me noting wrong. Romans 14: 1 downwards says; don’t let wat someone eat or do affect your christian lives. We all do it 2 please God. If u think covering the hair is the best, do it by faith n never doubt… so i think the choice is ours for us to decide.

      • angelce says:

        Agreed !

      • Umoru Omonemi says:

        I love where you wrote let the HolySpirit lead you.i was going to a church where they don’t cover their head_they don’t use veil or scarf.
        But whenever I pray,I always get convicted to cover my head with scarf.i started but don’t do it to church.i was in church during hot praise,I heard clearly_ look at you,they didn’t cover their hair,u too didn’t cover! U are only dancing for yourself and not me.Cover your head. And I tie my head henceforth.

        • angelce says:

          Thanks for sharing sister! The most important in that matter is to follow what the Spirit tells you, to obey and to feel comfortable because this is your decision and not because it was imposed by others. Stay blessed!

        • Anointing says:

          That statement looks like condemnation to me. The devil can speak to you and you will assume its the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not condemn but admonishes.

          • angelce says:


          • Ada says:

            If i may add, i think we hv to know the season n times apostle paul wrote this, though we as christians shld claim same. What i believe he said is head.and not hair… The hair is a covering to the head.. He sd if a woman is shoven she should cover the HEAD in honour of the husband while praying and prophesying. I think the hair is already a sign of glory. And covering, so all the same let the holy spirit direct us on what to do in this issue. Thanks

            • angelce says:

              Hello Ada the apostle Paul says that if a woman does not cover her hair during prayer she should shave it altogether. That’s what you wanted to say right?

            • Dimkpa Onyinyechi says:

              I think that even if a woman cover’s her hair while praying or leave it uncovered it doesn’t matter because in Paul’s writing he also said a even though the woman comes from the man the man also comes from the woman this simply means the man can’t do without the woman also the woman can’t do without the man bible also says they are equal in the sight of God covering of head is just a symbol to show husband’s are superior over the wife it is not a criteria for heaven as a woman whether man or woman we run the same race to heaven so for me you can cover or uncover as far as your hair is not shaven

              • angelce says:

                Ok thanks for your insight

              • Ozioma Vero says:

                When we bring in, reasoning to the Word of God, we water it down. Jesus said: “I thank You Father for revealing the Truth to mere Children”. We should be careful the way we interpret the Word of God when it doesn’t suit us. I believe this controversy is as a result of the fact the we are not comfortable with covering our head/hair while praying, maybe because we think someone is imposing it on us. Ordinarily, one could be comfortable covering her head/hair without being asked. I know only few people can bring out their time to pray about it because is not a personal problem and they don’t see something wrong with that, as well. For me as a Christian is a must, because, Christianity is a handed tradition and we must follow the tradition, because is part of God Standard and God doesn’t not change.