Some initial observations:
- Some don’t like what they would consider to be the patriarchal nature of the passage. They try to get around that by saying that “head” doesn’t mean “authority,” but means “origin.” But Paul also says, “a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head” (11:10), which seems to support the reading of our text.
- The issue at hand seems to be married women in worship, and Paul clearly points back to the creation account for his explanation. Woman came from man. She was made to be his helper. She is his glory. The head covering reveals that truth (11:7-10).
- It appears that angels are at least watching us, if not watching over us. We should do what it proper and right (11:10)!
- But ultimately, while woman originally came from man, man now comes through woman, and both are in the image of God (11:12). Both are supposed to pray and worship.
- Head coverings reflect nature as well (11:14). “Nature” probably means what was natural to the day. It was natural and normal for men and women to look different. Longer hair for women was normal and right in general. It is possible that an uncovered head or short hair on a women reflected something culturally that was unseemly.
Paul is clear that he is talking about a tradition (head coverings), and that the tradition is practiced in all the churches (11:16). What is most important, however, is that he grounds that practice not just in culture, but in theology. This tells us that we should have a good theological reason for what we do in church. While we may not have the exact same customs or culture, we need to make sure that what we are doing is proper Biblically. Angels are watching!