Pentecostal Women have Long Hair

God numbers every hair on your head (Matt 10:30). That much is agreed upon by all Christian denominations. But Pentecostals have a unique belief about those hairs on your head: we believe that God has some special instructions for them. Specifically, we believe that God asks males have a short, decent haircut; for the females, we teach that they not cut or shorten their hair in any way.

This seems like an odd statement: that The LORD of all creation cares about your hair length. But in this blog, I'm going to tackle what The Bible says on this most interesting subject.





How long is long?

There is a fascinating passage in the New Testament about hair. It is found in the letters of The Apostle Paul. If you did not grow up in the Pentecostal church, you may have never heard this preached or expounded.

"Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered."
 - 1 Corinthians 11:4-6

At first glance, it is a passage about head-coverings. But then some interesting statements are made by The Apostle Paul:

"Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 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 11:13-15

These three verses change the conversation completely. Verse 13 tells us that ladies of of God must be COVERED while praying. What form is this covering though? Verse 14 tells us that men ought to have short hair distinctive of their gender.

Verse 15 is the crux: "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her ...". So long hair is good for ladies. But it doesn't stop there: "... for her hair is given her for a covering".

So her long hair is given her FOR a covering. If I look up the wording in Greek, "for" could also have been rendered "because of". Her hair is long "because" it is a covering. That is its purpose. A woman of God has long hair for the purpose of it being a covering for her.

I was quoting the King James translation in the above passages, but the original wording in the Greek language of The Bible is even more clear. The Greek word for LONG used in 1 Corinthians 11:15 is komao, which means "to let grow" (according to Strong's concordance). A lady cannot "let her hair grow" if she is artificially shortening it by cutting it, trimming it, or "accidentally" burning off the ends when she has her hair styled.

So, the direct meaning of these verses looks very much to be that New Testament ladies let their hair grow, and not attempt to shorten it. Also, for men to have short hair. Each according to their distinct gender, which is a creation-principle going all the way back to the first chapter of The Bible.

What does it mean?

Long, un-shortened hair on ladies is THERE in the Word of God. 16 verses in The Epistles are devoted to this subject of gender-distinct hair appearance (1 Cor 11:1-16). That much is certain. The next reasonable question that follows is WHY God would broach this subject. I'll tell you now that no answer I give will be satisfactory to you. "Why" is a question we perpetually wrestle with as believers. The why is not always clear.

I can admit that I don't fully comprehend the reason for this passage. I don't understand all of 1 Corinthians chapter 11, as I suspect many of you also struggle to understand it. But that's ok. We don't have to know all of the "why's". Our lives in God are not predicated on our Biblical-reading-comprehension.

As The Apostle James famously wrote, "shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."

I reveal my faith - my belief in God and in His plan for me - "BY my works." My actions. My life lived in front of everyone. When I don't have full grasp over the meaning of a passage, I can still do my best to observe it and to do what it asks of me.

Is that easy? Most certainly not! It is never simple to obey without the sense of meaning or knowledge. Your mind wanders into every avenue and side-road of "explaining-away" this verse or "ignoring this chapter until God explains it to me", but I can't give you any Bible for ignoring God's word until you "understand it" or "feel to do it". On the contrary, The Prophets themselves had to be chastened to follow God's directions (like Moses in Exodus, or the young prophet in 1 Kings) just like the rest of us.

The other ones

What about the other requirements of outward appearance that Pentecostal churches preach? Is every dress standard for the last 100 years Biblically defensible? Some are, and some aren't.

There is good scriptural backing that men must appear as men and ladies must dress as ladies (1 Cor 6:9-10 (the "effeminate" - men who dress like ladies - are spoken as 'not inheriting The Kingdom of God'); Deut 22:5; 1 Cor 11:1-16); there is also solid support in The Word for "gold, pearls, and costly array" to be discouraged among believers (1 Timothy 2:8-10; 1 Peter 3:1-4).

However, many issues were also taught for which there was no Bible. I'm still looking for the passage that forbids the wearing of colorful shirts on preachers. I'm also unable to locate any verses requiring women to wear their hair "up" in churchYet teachings like these were promoted as Church doctrines the same as the Oneness of God in years-gone-by. I do not believe such non-Biblical teachings. But when a doctrine or principle is GIVEN in His word for the Church, how can I ignore it? Bottom-line, there ARE standards of dress which are Biblically-grounded and should not be ignored.

So there we have it. Long un-shortened hair on ladies. Short manly hair on men. This is the request of scripture in 1 Corinthians 11. Only 1 question remains: will we obey it?

Comments

  1. Thank you for this post of Truth and nothing but the TRUTH






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  2. Pastor John Koonce, Gibson City, IL: Thank you for another well written lesson. You are an excellent teacher, my friend. May the Lord continue to bless you in your endeavors for Him.

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  3. Can't argue the word.

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    1. THIS IS THE BEST THAT I EVER HEARD. SO SO TRUE THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS

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  4. I am Pentecostal and I do have long hair, wear dresses, no makeup or jewelry but I think you need to study these scriptures a little more to reveal exactly what they mean. I really don’t think God is concerned over how LONG your hair is! He is concerned over your soul!

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  5. I truly believe all of this. Some people say this is too much,God is not worried about this,he is worried about our soul and yes he is but I believe our hair,our dress, no makeup,no jewelry is how God wants us. If he didn’t care about this why would it be in the Bible. It’s like i tell my kids, just follow the scriptures it’s not hard to live like that. The word of God says we should be able to picked out of a crowd so if you blend in like the world,you cannot be picked out. We should worry about our heart,soul and outer appearance as well. We need to trust that there are reasons for these scriptures and live the way we should. Nothing in this world is worth losing our ticket to Heaven.

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  6. 1Cor. 11 is not just about women having uncut hair and men having short hair. It’s about each being in their place of authority. 1 Corinthians 11:3
    3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Verse 10 explains the reason for the covering. 1 Corinthians 11:10
    10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. The word “authority” here in the KJV is translated “power”. The Greek word is “exousia” which means: delegated influence:--authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength. So when a women has “uncut” hair it Shows her submission to her head which is her godly husband and ultimately to Christ and this gives her authority to exercise power in the spiritual realm. Just as a man with “cut” hair shows his submission to Christ’s authority and gives him authority to exercise power in the spiritual realm. Both the angels and demons recognize this authority. The word for angels in this passage means: messengers.

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    1. Amen, to the statement above this, on on the divine order . Good article but deeper meaning then just long or uncut hair or even gender identity, We have submission, prayer, angels & power!

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  7. You stated the the Oneness of God was unbilical? I don't see how that is when it is clear that the Bible says God is one. He is the Creator, Redeemer in flesh and Holy Ghost in regeneration. The God of all gods, King of all kings and Lord of all Lords. God became flesh and His name is Jesus. Reconciling men and women unto Himself through His blood and what He accomplished on the cross. The old and new testaments backs up everything I just stated. This comment would be a lot longer if I took the time to reference all of them. No it's not Jesus only as those who have preached the Oneness doctrine for many years now, but it's Jesus everything. For in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He was the fullness of the God of the old testament in human form fulfilling the law in order to make the new covenant with His people. Which is why He became the ultimate sacrifice for all infirmities and iniquities.

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    1. 5 star comment

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    2. No sir, I did not. I firmly believe in the Oneness of God and Acts 2:38. In fact, in my "about me" section of this blog, I clearly state that I am Apostolic and believe in the Acts 2:38 salvation plan.

      I think you misread the next-to-last paragraph of the blog:
      "However, many issues were also taught for which there was no Bible. I'm still looking for the passage that forbids the wearing of colorful shirts on preachers. I'm also unable to locate any verses requiring women to wear their hair "up" in church. Yet teachings like these were promoted as Church doctrines the same as the Oneness of God in years-gone-by. I do not believe such non-Biblical teachings."

      I was stating that people preached "hair-up" and "white shirts" (i.e. unbiblical standards) as strongly as they preached the oneness of God (correct doctrine) in days-gone-by, but I do not believe in such standards that I cannot find in the Bible.

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  8. I am 100% in agreement and have always loved the truth of God. However, I would only say the long part is beautiful for those whose hair will grow long, but what about those whose hair does not grow long? That makes me think the passage would simply mean uncut hair.

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  9. Long hair has nothing to do with your salvation, long hair will not get you into heaven nor will short hair kept you out of heaven

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