1 Corinthians 11:5
<< 1 Corinthians 11:5 >>
New International Version (©1984)
And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head--it is just as though her head were shaved.

New Living Translation (©2007)
But a woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head.

English Standard Version (©2001)
but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
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.

International Standard Version (©2008)
and every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, which is the same as having her head shaved.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
And every woman praying or prophesying, while revealing her head, disgraces her head, for she is equal with her whose head is shaven.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Every woman who prays or speaks what God has revealed and has her head uncovered while she speaks dishonors the one who has authority over her. She is like the woman who has her head shaved.

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head: for that is one and the same as if she were shaven.

American King James Version
But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

American Standard Version
But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonoreth her head; for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven.

Darby Bible Translation
But every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered puts her own head to shame; for it is one and the same as a shaved woman.

English Revised Version
But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonoureth her head: for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven.

Webster's Bible Translation
But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered, dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaved.

Weymouth New Testament
but a woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her Head, for it is exactly the same as if she had her hair cut short.

World English Bible
But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonors her head. For it is one and the same thing as if she were shaved.

Young's Literal Translation
and every woman praying or prophesying with the head uncovered, doth dishonour her own head, for it is one and the same thing with her being shaven,

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth - In the Old Testament prophetesses are not unfrequently mentioned. Thus, Miriam is mentioned Exodus 15:20; Deborah Judges 4:4; Huldah 2 Kings 22:14; Noadiah Nehemiah 6:14. So also in the New Testament Anna is mentioned as a prophetess; Luke 2:36. That there were females in the early Christian church who corresponded to those known among the Jews in some measure as endowed with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, cannot be doubted. What was their precise office, and what was the nature of the public services in which they were engaged, is not however known. That they prayed is clear; and that they publicly expounded the will of God is apparent also; see the note on Acts 2:17. As the presumption is, however, that they were inspired, their example is no warrant now for females to take part in the public services of worship, unless they also give evidence that they are under the influence of inspiration, and the more especially as the apostle Paul has expressly forbidden their becoming public teachers; 1 Timothy 2:12.

If it is now pled, from this example, that women should speak and pray in public, yet it should be just so far only as this example goes, and it should be only when they have the qualifications that the early "prophetesses" had in the Christian church. If there are any such; if any are directly inspired by God, there then will be an evident propriety that they should publicly proclaim the will, and not till then. It may be further observed, however, that the fact that Paul here mentions the custom of women praying or speaking publicly in the church, does not prove that it was right or proper. His immediate object now was not to consider whether the practice was itself right, but to condemn the manner of its performance as a violation of all the proper rules of modesty and of subordination. On another occasion, in this very epistle, he fully condemns the practice in any form, and enjoins silence on the female members of the church in public; 1 Corinthians 14:34.

With her head uncovered - That is, with the veil removed which she usually wore. It would seem from this that the women removed their veils, and wore their hair disheveled, when they pretended to be under the influence of divine inspiration. This was the case with the pagan priestesses; and in so doing, the Christian women imitated them. On this account, if on no other, Paul declares the impropriety of this conduct. It was, besides, a custom among ancient females, and one that was strictly enjoined by the traditional laws of the Jews, that a woman should not appear in public unless she were veiled. See this proved by Lightfoot in loco.

Dishonoureth her head - Shows a lack of proper respect to man, to her husband, to her father, to the sex in general. The veil is a token of modesty and of subordinaion. It is regarded among Jews, and everywhere, as an emblem of her sense of inferiority of rank and station. It is the customary mark of her sex, and that by which she evinces her modesty and sense of subordination. To remove that, is to remove the appropriate mark of such subordination, and is a public act by which she thus shows dishonor to the man. And as it is proper that the grades and ranks of life should be recognized in a suitable manner, so it is improper that, even on pretence of religion, and of being engaged in the service of God, these marks should be laid aside.

For that is even all one as if she were shaven - As if her long hair, which nature teaches her she should wear for a veil (1 Corinthians 11:15, margin,) should be cut off. Long hair is, by the custom of the times, and of nearly all countries, a mark of the sex, an ornament of the female, and judged to be beautiful and comely. To remove that is to appear, in this respect, like the other sex, and to lay aside the badge of her own. This, says Paul, all would judge to be improper. You yourselves would not allow it. And yet to lay aside the veil - the appropriate badge of the sex, and of her sense of subordination - would be an act of the same kind. It would indicate the same feeling, the same forgetfulness of the proper sense of subordination; and if that is laid aside, all the usual indications of modesty and subordination might be removed also. Not even under religious pretences, therefore, are the usual marks of sex, and of propriety of place and rank, to be laid aside. Due respect is to be shown, in dress, and speech, and deportment, to those whom God has placed above us; and neither in language, in attire nor in habit are we to depart from what all judge to he proprieties of life, or from what God has judged and ordained to be the proper indications of the regular gradations in society.


Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

But every woman that prayeth, etc. - Whatever may be the meaning of praying and prophesying, in respect to the man, they have precisely the same meaning in respect to the woman. So that some women at least, as well as some men, might speak to others to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. And this kind of prophesying or teaching was predicted by Joel, Joel 2:28, and referred to by Peter, Acts 2:17. And had there not been such gifts bestowed on women, the prophecy could not have had its fulfillment. The only difference marked by the apostle was, the man had his head uncovered, because he was the representative of Christ; the woman had hers covered, because she was placed by the order of God in a state of subjection to the man, and because it was a custom, both among the Greeks and Romans, and among the Jews an express law, that no woman should be seen abroad without a veil. This was, and is, a common custom through all the east, and none but public prostitutes go without veils. And if a woman should appear in public without a veil, she would dishonor her head - her husband. And she must appear like to those women who had their hair shorn off as the punishment of whoredom, or adultery.

Tacitus informs us, Germ. 19, that, considering the greatness of the population, adulteries were very rare among the Germans; and when any woman was found guilty she was punished in the following way: accisis crinibus, nudatam coram propinquis expellit domo maritus; "having cut off her hair, and stripped her before her relatives, her husband turned her out of doors." And we know that the woman suspected of adultery was ordered by the law of Moses to be stripped of her veil, Numbers 5:18. Women reduced to a state of servitude, or slavery, had their hair cut off: so we learn from Achilles Tatius. Clitophon says, concerning Leucippe, who was reduced to a state of slavery: πεπραται, δεδουλευκεν, γην εσκαψεν, σεσυληται της κεφαλης το καλλος, την κουραν ὁρᾳς· lib. viii. cap. 6, "she was sold for a slave, she dug in the ground, and her hair being shorn off, her head was deprived of its ornament," etc. It was also the custom among the Greeks to cut off their hair in time of mourning. See Euripides in Alcest., ver. 426. Admetus, ordering a common mourning for his wife Alcestis, says: πενθος γυναικος της δε κοινουσθαι λεγω, κουρᾳ ξυρηκει και μελαμπεπλῳ στολῃ· "I order a general mourning for this woman! let the hair be shorn off, and a black garment put on." Propriety and decency of conduct are the points which the apostle seems to have more especially in view. As a woman who dresses loosely or fantastically, even in the present day, is considered a disgrace to her husband, because suspected to be not very sound in her morals; so in those ancient times, a woman appearing without a veil would be considered in the same light.


Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth,.... Not that a woman was allowed to pray publicly in the congregation, and much less to preach or explain the word, for these things were not permitted them: see 1 Corinthians 14:34 but it designs any woman that joins in public worship with the minister in prayer, and attends on the hearing of the word preached, or sings the praises of God with the congregation, as we have seen, the word prophesying signifies,

with her head uncovered. It may seem strange from whom the Corinthian women should take up this custom, since the Jewish women were not allowed to go into the streets, or into any open and public place, unveiled (u). It was a Jewish law, that they should go out no where bare headed (w): yea, it was reckoned scandalous and ignominious to do so. Hence it is said, (x) , "that uncovering of the head is a reproach" to the daughters of Israel: and concerning the adulterous woman, it is represented as said by the priest (y),

"thou hast separated from the way of the daughters of Israel; for the way or custom of the daughters of Israel is , "to have their heads covered"; but thou hast gone "in the ways of the Gentiles", who walk with head bare.''

So that their it should seem that these Corinthians followed the examples of the Heathens: but then, though it might be the custom of some nations for women to go abroad bare headed; yet at their solemnities, where and when they were admitted, for they were not everywhere and always, they used to attend with their heads veiled and covered (z). Mr. Mede takes notice indeed of some Heathen priestesses, who used to perform their religious rites and sacrifices with open face, and their hair hanging down, and locks spreading, in imitation of whom these women at Corinth are thought to act. However, whoever behaved in this uncomely manner, whose example soever she followed, the apostle says,

dishonoureth her head; not her husband, who is her head in a figurative sense, and is dishonoured by her not being covered; as if she was not subject to him, or because more beautiful than he, and therefore shows herself; but her natural head, as appears from the reason given:

for that is even all one as if she were shaven; to be without a veil, or some sort of covering on her head, according to the custom of the country, is the same thing as if her head was shaved; and everyone knows how dishonourable and scandalous it is for a woman to have her head shaved; and if this is the same, then it is dishonourable and scandalous to her to be without covering in public worship. And this shows, that the natural head of the man is meant in the preceding verse, since the natural head of the woman is meant in this.

(u) Maimon. Hilch. Ishot, c. 24. sect. 12. (w) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 72. 1.((x) R. Sol. Jarchi in Numb. v. 19. (y) Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 9. fol. 193. 2.((z) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 4. c. 17.


Vincent's Word Studies

Her head uncovered

Rev., unveiled. The Greek women rarely appeared in public, but lived in strict seclusion. Unmarried women never quitted their apartments, except on occasions of festal processions, either as spectators or participants. Even after marriage they were largely confined to the gynaeconitis or women's rooms. Thus Euripides: "As to that which brings the reproach of a bad reputation upon her who remains not at home, giving up the desire of this, I tarried in my dwelling" ("Troades," 649). And Menander: "The door of the court is the boundary fixed for the free woman." The head-dress of Greek women consisted of nets, hair-bags, or kerchiefs, sometimes covering the whole head. A shawl which enveloped the body was also often thrown over the head, especially at marriages or funerals. This costume the Corinthian women had disused in the christian assemblies, perhaps as an assertion of the abolition of sexual distinctions, and the spiritual equality of the woman with the man in the presence of Christ. This custom was discountenanced by Paul as striking at the divinely ordained subjection of the woman to the man. Among the Jews, in ancient times, both married and unmarried women appeared in public unveiled. The later Jewish authorities insisted on the use of the veil.

All one as if she were shaven

Which would be a sign either of grief or of disgrace. The cutting off of the hair is used by Isaiah as a figure of the entire destruction of a people by divine retribution. Isaiah 7:20 Among the Jews a woman convicted of adultery had her hair shorn, with the formula: "Because thou hast departed from the manner of the daughters of Israel, who go with their head covered, therefore that has befallen thee which thou hast chosen." According to Tacitus, among the Germans an adulteress was driven from her husband's house with her head shaved; and the Justinian code prescribed this penalty for an adulteress, whom, at the expiration of two years, her husband refused to receive again. Paul means that a woman praying or prophesying uncovered puts herself in public opinion on a level with a courtesan.


Geneva Study Bible

{4} But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: {5} for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

(4) And in like manner he concludes that women who show themselves in public and ecclesiastical assemblies without the sign and token of their subjection, that is to say, uncovered, shame themselves.

(5) The first argument taken from the common sense of man, for so much as nature teaches women that it is dishonest for them to go abroad bareheaded, seeing that they have given to them thick and long hair which they do so diligently trim and deck, that they can in no way abide to have it shaved.


People's New Testament

11:5 Every woman that prayeth or prophesieth, etc. With the customs and ideas which existed in the East in that age it would be an unseemly act, and would bring reproach. The veil was regarded as a badge of subordination, and if not worn would imply that the woman did not yield deference to her husband. Almost all women are still veiled in the presence of men in the East.

For that is even all one as if she were shaved. For a woman's head to be shaven was usually a sign of shamelessness (See Meyer). The uncovered head in an assembly was also unbecoming.


Wesley's Notes

11:5 But every woman - Who, under an immediate impulse of the Spirit, (for then only was a woman suffered to speak in the church,) prays or prophesies without a veil on her face, as it were disclaims subjection, and reflects dishonour on man, her head. For it is the same, in effect, as if she cut her hair short, and wore it in the distinguishing form of the men. In those ages, men wore their hair exceeding short, as appears from the ancient statues and pictures.


Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

5. woman . prayeth . prophesieth-This instance of women speaking in public worship is an extraordinary case, and justified only by the miraculous gifts which such women possessed as their credentials; for instance, Anna the prophetess and Priscilla (so Ac 2:18). The ordinary rule to them is: silence in public (1Co 14:34, 35; 1Ti 2:11, 12). Mental receptivity and activity in family life are recognized in Christianity, as most accordant with the destiny of woman. This passage does not necessarily sanction women speaking in public, even though possessing miraculous gifts; but simply records what took place at Corinth, without expressing an opinion on it, reserving the censure of it till 1Co 14:34, 35. Even those women endowed with prophecy were designed to exercise their gift, rather in other times and places, than the public congregation.

dishonoureth . head-in that she acts against the divine ordinance and the modest propriety that becomes her: in putting away the veil, she puts away the badge of her subjection to man, which is her true "honor"; for through him it connects her with Christ, the head of the man. Moreover, as the head-covering was the emblem of maiden modesty before man (Ge 24:65), and conjugal chastity (Ge 20:16); so, to uncover the head indicated withdrawal from the power of the husband, whence a suspected wife had her head uncovered by the priest (Nu 5:18). Alford takes "her head" to be man, her symbolical, not her literal head; but as it is literal in the former clause, it must be so in the latter one.

all one as if . shaven-As woman's hair is given her by nature, as her covering (1Co 11:15), to cut it off like a man, all admit, would be indecorous: therefore, to put away the head-covering, too, like a man, would be similarly indecorous. It is natural to her to have long hair for her covering: she ought, therefore, to add the other (the wearing of a head-covering) to show that she does of her own will that which nature itself teaches she ought to do, in token of her subjection to man.


Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

11:2-16 Here begin particulars respecting the public assemblies, ch. 1Co 14. In the abundance of spiritual gifts bestowed on the Corinthians, some abuses had crept in; but as Christ did the will, and sought the honour of God, so the Christian should avow his subjection to Christ, doing his will and seeking his glory. We should, even in our dress and habit, avoid every thing that may dishonour Christ. The woman was made subject to man, because made for his help and comfort. And she should do nothing, in Christian assemblies, which looked like a claim of being equal. She ought to have power, that is, a veil, on her head, because of the angels. Their presence should keep Christians from all that is wrong while in the worship of God. Nevertheless, the man and the woman were made for one another. They were to be mutual comforts and blessings, not one a slave, and the other a tyrant. God has so settled matters, both in the kingdom of providence and that of grace, that the authority and subjection of each party should be for mutual help and benefit. It was the common usage of the churches, for women to appear in public assemblies, and join in public worship, veiled; and it was right that they should do so. The Christian religion sanctions national customs wherever these are not against the great principles of truth and holiness; affected singularities receive no countenance from any thing in the Bible.


Deuteronomy 21:12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails
Isaiah 47:2 Take millstones and grind flour; take off your veil. Lift up your skirts, bare your legs, and wade through the streams.
Luke 2:36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,
Acts 21:9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.
1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.
1 Corinthians 11:6 If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.
1 Corinthians 14:34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.

Cut Disgraces Dishonoreth Dishonors Dishonoureth Exactly Hair Head Prayeth Praying Prays Prophesies Prophesieth Prophesying Puts Shame Shaved Shaven Uncovered Unveiled


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.

or. Lu 2:36 Ac 2:17 21:9

shaven. De 21:12

1 Corinthians Chapter 11 Verse 5

Alphabetical: And as But disgraces dishonors every for has head her is it just one or praying prays prophesies prophesying same shaved she the though uncovered were while who whose with woman

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