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I have a good friend that has grown her hair out very long. She says that this is a Biblical command. I'm not in disagreement with her on women having long hair. What I find interesting is that you never see her with her "hair down." She wears it in a tight bun on the top of her head. The result is that her hair doesn't cover anymore of her head than if she had a short hair cut. This seems like a way to have the short hair she wants but meet the Biblical standard at the same time. Help?
1 Corinthians 11:4-15 says, Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But IF A WOMAN HAVE LONG HAIR, IT IS A GLORY TO HER: FOR HER HAIR IS GIVEN HER FOR A COVERING (1 Corinthians 11:4-15).
For all Biblical instruction, we need to make sure that we are obeying the true spirit of the law (the reason that the law was written), not just the letter of the law. This is what Jesus was getting at in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7. Matthew 5:27-28 says, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Keeping the letter of the law would mean to never commit immorality with another mans wife. But what about a man or woman that sits in front of the TV and lusts after other women and men? Are they obeying the law? No, they are not. They are obeying the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law. They may not be going out and actually committing immorality with others but they are sinning in their hearts.
The Bible says that God has built it right into our nature that a man is to have short hair, and a woman long hair. Once again, 1 Corinthians 11:14-15 says, Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
Long hair in this chapter is compared to a covering or veil. A veil covered the head and draped down over the shoulders. The spirit of the law is that a womans long hair cover her like a veil. It was that look that God desired women to have to show forth their submission to their husbands.
For a woman to have long hair (obeying the letter of the law), but to then put it all up in a bun (disobeying the spirit of the law), is to disobey the reason for the law (to produce a certain look).
The same principle is seen in the wedding veil and train. The longer the veil and train, the more glorious it is, but the glory only comes through seeing the length and fullness if it. What would be the point of having a six foot train on the wedding dress, if it was all pinned up in the back? During the wedding, the train is allowed to fully flow behind the bride as she walks. The longer the train, the more glorious is the dress. But when it comes to the reception time, the train is often pinned up in the back. The train then loses it glory for the time, because of practicality. The bride has to be able to greet and talk to guests, without everyone walking all over her train.
Such is the case with long hair. There may be times when the long hair has to lose its glory for a short time such as during food preparation. The long hair may be pulled back in a pony tail, or put up in a bun, so that the long hair does not brush through the food or even catch on fire when working around the stove. But that is for a short time, and then the hair is let back down for the glory to be seen.
If the length and the fullness of the hair is not seen, then it is not glorious. That means that putting the long hair up in a bun takes away the glory of it (no one is seeing the length of it; and it is surprising how much hair can be placed on the top of the head in a bun, and people not even be aware that that woman has long hair).
Covering the long hair with a veil also takes away the glory of it. Some religious groups teach that a woman should never appear in public without a veil, but the context of 1 Corinthians 11 is dealing with prayer. If she had to wear a veil all of the time, her long hair would not be glorious, because no one would ever see it.
Religious groups that have their women wear little pieces of cloth on the tops of their heads as veils, are making the same basic mistake as your friend. They are trying to keep the letter of the law but they are breaking the spirit of the law. A little piece of cloth on top of the head does not cover the head and drape down upon the shoulders like a real veil.
Putting the hair into a pony tail also takes away from the fulness and glory of covering the head (the length may be seen, but not the glory of its fullness like a veil).
Once again, it is understandable that women have to hold their hair back while doing food preparation and house work, etc., but when that is the normal look most of the time, then that womans hair is not being a glory to her, even though it may actually be very long.
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