Headcovering & Complementarianism

A Smart Man’s View of Headcovering

Summer to Fall 2015 100
Yes, this is me, about seven months pregnant, in front of our church building.

Someone who recently commented on my blog provided a link to this great article, which I greatly enjoyed reading, and recommend to all who are interested in the topic of headcovering:


I labeled this post “A Smart Man’s View of Headcovering” because first of all, his analysis does seem to be very biblical and logical; and secondly, because he is well-educated academically, which gives his opinions even more force (though it certainly isn’t the most important consideration for me, though it may give him more credibility with others).

I agree with almost everything in his article, from why women should cover, to when they should cover, to what kind of covering is probably the most proper, to his conclusions about the attitude we should have towards covering. (The only thing I recall disagreeing with was his viewpoint on women wearing coverings during informal discussions centered on the Bible–he says that he doesn’t think a covering is needed, while I do.) I definitely think this is an article I will want to come back to again in the future, for re-reading. I hope you benefit from it, too!



11 thoughts on “A Smart Man’s View of Headcovering

  1. Jessica, you are glowing with the good health that only pregnancy can bring! Such a wonderful time of holding a precious gift inside you.
    I got about 1/2 way thru the article and then I fell asleep. Ha, ha! Serves me right for waiting till the end of my day to tackle my reading. I will definitely get back to finish it though. Without reading it completely, is his meaning of informal discussion times similar to times of family devotionals or sitting around the kitchen table discussing a biblical topic? Blessings, Ruthie


    1. Dear Ruthie,
      The author is somewhat vague about what he means, so I make some assumptions. First of all, here is the paragraph that I’m referring to:


      As elsewhere in this message, I speak only for myself, and it is an opinion with less conviction on my part than much of what I have said above. When there is the normal interchange (discussion, sharing, etc.) between men and women where the element of authority is not prominent, I do not see the need for head coverings. During the prayer time, when women would join in, I think it is appropriate for the woman to cover her head.”

      What does he mean by “normal interchange”? Is he speaking of a small group Bible study, family devotions, or just happening to talk about a biblical subject that pops up around the dinner table? From reading the entire article, I think that he is probably not talking about a small-group Bible study (such as those hosted by members of one’s church), since those would normally also include an element of authority coming from the one doing the teaching/guiding, and would also include a time of prayer. However, I’ve been to, and heard of, mixed small-group Bible studies where the time of study is more focused on informal discussion than listening to a lesson given by the teacher. It seems to me that during an informal Bible study, even one which centers more on discussion, a headcovering would still be needed, out of respect for the male leader of the study (even though he may not actually do much speaking), and out of respect for the pastor (though he may not be present), and as a reminder to the women to keep their tongues in check!–meaning, to not talk too much, and overtake the discussion (I’m thinking about my own tendencies, too…) I still wonder whether or not the command for the women to “keep silent” is just as applicable to small-group Bible studies as it is for the formal church service?

      Something else I’m thinking, is that during a time of family devotions, where husband and wife are equally sharing with the children and each other what they’ve been learning from the Bible, a headcovering would be needed there, too. Obviously, though the father may not always be doing all the talking, and would sometimes want his wife to share with their children important truths from the Bible, and to share her own experiences, wearing a headcovering would be applicable, to show that the wife defers to her husband’s authority as the leader, even though she is doing some of the talking.

      However, if my husband and I are nonchalantly chatting about something, and a biblical topic comes up, I don’t see that it’s necessary to put my headcovering on. THAT’S what I regard as an informal discussion. There’s no “teaching” going on at that point, but rather an interchange of ideas. We most likely won’t start praying at that time, either; though if we did, I would want to put my covering on for the prayer.

      So, perhaps the author just wasn’t clear enough about what he meant, but I would have wanted him to make a more clear distinction regarding different situations that might seem to some to be equally informal, but that are not always so, because those are the types of situations that we wonder about, you know.

      Anyways, thanks for your comment, and for your compliment regarding my “glowing” appearance! You really made me feel happy when you said that!


      1. Thankyou so much, Jessica, for giving of your time to answer my question so thoroughly! I really appreciate it. I believe that because our husbands both do not feel we need to cover full time, it can cause us to search out when exactly should I be covering? I would have to say that I’ve agreed with you right down the line on the times that you cover, although you probably do a much better job of it than I do 🙂 I find that it takes effort and more than a little diligence to have a bandana/scarf available throughout the house.
        About this article…it is one of the best that I’ve ever read on the topic of headcovering/headship. It has answered so many questions that have developed for me over the years from observing the different headcovering practices of the headcovering women I’ve been in contact with. Best of all, he uses Scripture to back it up.For example, I liked how he didn’t infer from I Cor 11 that covering was just limited to the Lord’s Supper because that’s what’s in that chapter. He took other Scripture and supported his beliefs with those passages. I could go on, but on the whole, very well done!
        This is exactly the type of thing I would love to see taught at our assembly. With so many different schools of thought, it can be easy to let tolerance creep into this doctrine.
        During this Thanksgiving week, I’d like to express my thankfulness for you and my other covering sisters. What a blessing it’s been getting to know you and your dedication to the truths of Scripture! Thankyou for allowing us to see into you and your family’s lives and sharing with us month after month. I’ve enjoyed it so much and have learned much as well.
        love in Christ, Ruthie


  2. Jessica, I’m glad to see you in the photo! Please take care of yourself and be fine.

    Sometimes I am surprised that there are many Eng lish articles about christian headcovering.Some of them were recently translated into Japanese. (Some by Kinuko!)
    Articles by Japanese authors on this topic are still very few.

    I’m a fulltime headcovering christian,so I do not useally ponder when to cover. But what bible said is that women should cover her head when they pray and prophecy. How should we interpret this His order?When He ask me to cover? Off course,we need to know the principles.But lastly this maybe problem between each lady and God,I feel.

    Reading your comment to Ruthie,I’m so impressed your way to ponder this isuue.So sincere and serious.
    Thank you for your constant effort for giving us opportunities to rethink important issue.


    1. Thank you for your response, Sanae! It really warmed my heart!
      It would probably be easier to cover full time, but my husband doesn’t feel it is necessary, though I would be okay with it. Mostly, he wants me to cover at church or during formal Bible study, and during prayer. However, I wonder about the different specific situations that I encounter in my life, whether I should cover or not during these different times. Maybe you’re right, that it is mainly between the woman and God. I hope God will help me know what He wants!
      Thanks again for your sweet comment, and for kindly hoping that I will take care of myself and be fine. Thankfully, I am doing well, and by God’s will, I will continue to do well!


      1. Can I impart my experience. I am a Catholic and although I did not cover for Mass when I met my husband, I knew he wanted me to and although I resisted (vanity, standing out etc) for some years, I have now covered for Mass and private prayer for over 4 years now.
        Over that period I have become ever more convicted that I should cover full time, something I know my husband supports but did not insist on.
        Earlier this year in discussion and prayer I asked him to discuss it with our Priest and said that I would obey his wishes. He subsequently asked that I cover and I have committed to do so.
        My covering for Mass & Prayer is more formal, a traditional style mantilla, covering nearly all my hair. The rest of the time it is less formal, an infinity hairband, snood etc, but I believe God wants me to cover and I am absolutely committed to do so.


      2. Wonderful! I’m so impressed that you’ve been covering for 4 years despite your initial resistance.
        My husband’s mother is Catholic, and she says that ALL the women and girls used to cover before going in to Mass. Then, gradually they stopped doing that, even though some continue the practice out of habit (or like you, out of conviction). His mother, however, does not continue the practice, even though she is a very committed Catholic.


    1. Three years so far. And I don’t plan on ever going back to not covering! I’m committed for life; though I’ve had a few negative experiences, mostly it’s been a positive, uplifting, beautiful, learning experience. I cover during church services and Bible studies, during prayer, while teaching the Bible to my children, and while singing songs to God with them. I try to be consistent about this, but sometimes I’m more relaxed, like with the singing.
      Thanks for asking!


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