Head Coverings in Public Worship

“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…  For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels…  Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?…”

1 Cor. 11:4-6,10,14



Order of Contents

Start Here
History of



Start Here

Murray, John – ‘Headcoverings, a Letter’  1973  12 paragraphs

Isbell, Sherman – Headship and Worship: Notes on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16  no date  33 paragraphs

For something particularly very full and detailed, see Kayser’s treatment below.





Ames, William – ‘Concerning Women’s Veils, 1 Cor. 11’  being ch. 3, section 28 of A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in Worship, pp. 345-350  GB  1633



Pink, A.W. – Studies in the Scriptures, August, 1930, p. 191  

Pink teaches that ladies are to cover their heads in private prayer also, which we do not endorse.

Kayser, Phillip – Glory and Coverings: a Study of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16  2003  52 pp.

Kayser convincingly argues that 1 Corinthians 11 teaches that ladies are to wear head-coverings in the public worship of God

Silversides, David – Is Head Covering Biblical?  no date  71 paragraphs

This paper is very valuable, in addition to its Biblical arguments, for its analysis of Calvin’s pro-head-covering position and the position of the Westminster Assembly, and for its numerous quotes on the subject from the reformers, puritans, Scots and other writers through church history. 

This paper was primarily intended as a refutation of the position paper of the Still Waters Revival, in their reversal on the head coverings issue 



The Reformation History of

The Discipline of the Reformed Churches of France  1559

Ch. 10, Canons 1-2  in Synodicon in Gallia Reformata, vol. 1, p. xliii

Peter Martyr Vermigli

As quoted in Joseph Bingham, Works, 10.128Martyr in the context is arguing that certain, distinctive, ministerial dress may be lawful. 

Theodore Beza

A Clear and Simple Treatise on the Lord’s Supper (RHB, 2016), p. 113

“We are accustomed to testify without hesitation that this reverence–even if it principally resides in the attitude of the heart of a person who, with a certain righteous dread, regards God as present with Him, a heavenly banquet as present, and the angels as present–nevertheless is also present in the external elements [signis].  I mean things like kneeling during common prayers, an uncovered head, and properly greeting those from whose hand we receive the mysteries–in a word, in our whole deportment and demeanor.  And anyone who behaved differently would not leave without a severe rebuke.”

Propositions and Principles of Divinity Propounded and Defended in the University of Geneva by certain students of divinity there, under Mr. Theodore Beza and Anthonis Faius, professors of divinity (Edinburgh, 1591), pp. 251-2

“6. …Some [apostolic traditions] are concerning the rites and the good order of the Church; as that touching the blood of things that were strangled, the covering of women’s heads, that men should not be covered in the time of prayer, and such like.

7. Those things, which are concerning the substance of doctrine [e.g. Lord’s Supper], are to be perpetually observed in the Church: but as for the things which apertain to outward rites, they in consideration of diverse circumstances, as of time, place and person, may be changed: yet so, as regard be always had (which must be generally observed in all indifferent things) unto that which makes most for the glory of God and the edification of the Church.”

The Synopsis of True Theology (1625; Brill, 2016), Disputation 36, ‘On the Religious Practice of Invocation’, Antonius Walaeus presiding, p. 431

“And while men pray with their heads uncovered, women do so with covered head, according to the apostle’s instruction (1 Corinthians 11:4).”

On the Scottish Church

Leishman, Thomas – pp. 401-2 of ‘The Ritual of the Scottish Church’

Samuel Rutherford

Divine Right of Church Government, p. 144

“Uncovering of the head:  Though this last be not adoration, but a national sign of reverence, and is not every where adoration; yet Abulensis says, the Jews did pray and sacrifice with covered heads: So says Virgil, and Lod. Vives:  Therefore the Corinthians had this from the Grecians as a civil sign of gravity, which should not be banished from God’s worship.”

Richard Muller – Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 2, pp. 489-90

Muller quotes the Genevan Bible Annotations, Matthew Pool, John Lightfoot and Francis Roberts for the cultural view.




The Head Covering Movement




Related Pages


The Regulative Principle of Worship 

Whether Ladies have the Right to Vote for Church Officers

Saying Amen at the End of Prayers


Ladies in the Church

Church Membership