1 Corinthians 11:2–16 (ESV)
2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of
every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 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. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife
to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not
made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless,
in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper
for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?
For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.
speak louder than words” summarizes much of chs 8–11, especially this section. These Roman women think they can go along with cultural trends. However, removal of their hair covering would be similar to a woman in our culture removing her wedding
ring: it symbolizes that she no longer intends to live in a faithful marriage relationship. Paul is concerned about outward conduct but also about the roles God has given to each gender. The removal of the covering would eliminate the gender distinctions God
established. The Lord has provided order in the family through faithful husbands and fathers and dedicated wives and mothers. When we seek to live in ways other than how He has called us to live, we move away from Him. Yet we are not abandoned to drift about
in this world. God’s Son loved us with a perfect love, sacrificing Himself on the cross for us. The forgiveness won for us there cleanses us from all our failures, even where we have failed those closest to us.
I pray: Made new in You, O Christ, we love as You loved and serve as You served. Set our hearts to do Your will, O God. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1963.