1 Corinthians 11:11-16
1Co 11:11 All the same, a wife should not decide on this apart from her husband, nor a husband apart from his wife,
1Co 11:12 because just as the wife is from the husband, the husband is also on account of the wife. And it all comes from God.
1Co 11:13 Decide for yourselves: is it appropriate for a wife to pray to God uncovered?
1Co 11:14 Does not nature itself teach you the answer, by the fact that when her husband has long hair, he is embarassed by it,
1Co 11:15 but if his wife has long hair, she is proud of it, because she was given it instead of a covering?
1Co 11:16 But if anyone still wants to argue about this, we do not actually practice anything else, nor do the churches of God.
same principle, different application
Paul instructed the Corinthian Christian husbands that instead of forcing their wives to appear in public uncovered, they should allow the wives to decide whether it was appropriate. Now, he continues to teach the principle of self judgment by explaining that if both the wives and the husbands listen to their own conscienses (instead of the false teaching they had been subjected to) they will agree to keep the head coverings on. At that time, and in that culture, people would be embarassed if a wife paraded around without her head covering. Only the prostitutes did that.
It is a different situation in most parts of the world today. To insist on wives wearing head coverings today is to cause the very thing that Paul was trying to prevent: embarassment. Because in most cultures today, wearing a head covering is not a sign that you are a married woman; it is the sign that you are a Muslim woman.
So, as we seek to properly apply this text to our lives today, most of us will find that the proper thing to do is the opposite of what the Corinthians eventually did. The Corinthians obeyed Paul’s instruction and kept their head coverings on. For us, obeying Paul’s instruction means keeping head coverings off! The principle is the same, but the application has changed.
LORD, give us the wisdom to do those things which lead to your glory, and to not do those things which would bring you dishonour.