PAUL'S REAL TEACHING AS TO VEILING.
245. The Apostle considers it his duty, however, to go further, and tear away any remaining prejudice among Christian men, against women unveiling. Verses 7-9 are intended for this purpose, showing what "headship" in Christ means to the believer, and that woman’s relation to man is not unlike man’s relation to God (and woman’s to God also, for that matter), so that the same argument that would lead to his unveiling before God applies to her unveiling before man.
Verses 7-9 mean,
7. For a [Christian] man ought not to veil the head because he is the image and glory of God. But woman is [also] the glory of man.
8. For man is not originally from woman [as from a despised and inferior source], but woman is from man.
9. Nor was the man created for the woman [to help her], but the woman for the man [to help him, see par. 34].
Poor, fallen, sinful man does not bear God's image and likeness simply because he is a male! God is not male or female, so that one sex bears His image more than the other. It is the glorified Jesus Christ who bears that image and manifests that glory (Hebrews 1:3). It is only in Him that humanity takes that standing before God. He is our Representative, our Head. It is because Christ, the Head of the redeemed man, is in heaven, there "to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24), that man is permitted to cast aside all tokens of guilt and condemnation on earth. As for us, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." "But woman is the glory of man," for she reflects credit on him. This is what the Apostle meant when he said of the Thessalonians, "Ye are our glory" (1 Thessalonians 2:19,20); "glory" means "an outshining,"--the very opposite state of a veiled person. Read its Scriptural import in Proverbs 17:6; 20:29; Psalm 3:3; Isaiah 13:19; 20:5; 60:19; Ezekiel 20; Luke 2:32; etc.
246. But why is Paul so interested in this matter as to veiling or unveiling in worship? In what way did it dishonor Christ? 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, gives interesting light as to Paul's teaching and Jewish practice. The Jew was expected to wear the tallith, in worship, as a sign of guilt and condemnation before the law; but Paul tells us that "When it (the Jewish nation) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away." It was not the veil itself, but what the veil signified to Jewish converts, that made it objectionable. The atonement of Jesus Christ had removed guilt and condemnation, from the heart of those who trusted the sufficiency of the atonement. And growth in grace depended upon trust in the removal of these, and hence the unveiled face. "We all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image, from glory to glory." This truth applies to women as well as to men.
247. For this [additional] cause ought the woman to have authority over her head [to unveil it] because of her angels [who always behold God's face].
11. Nevertheless, in the Lord, [i.e. among believers,] the woman is not [to be legislated for] apart from the man, nor the man from the woman.
12. For just as woman came out of man, so is man [born into the world] through woman and all Christians born of God. Judge of this matter among yourselves.
13. It is proper for a woman [at least] to pray unto God unveiled.
14. Nor is there anything in the nature of hair itself that teaches you that if a man wear it long it is a dishonor to him, while if a woman have long hair it is a glory to her, for her hair has been given her instead of a veil.
16. But if anyone thinks to be contentious [in defense of such a custom as either men or women veiling for worship], let him know that "we have no such custom, neither the Churches of God."
248. We come now to the 10th verse, of which Dean Stanley says: "In the difficulty of its several parts, it stands alone in the New Testament, unless we except, perhaps, Revelation 13:18, or Galatians 3:20." But the only difficulty encountered is to make Paul say the precise opposite to what Paul clearly says here. That has indeed proved a difficult task. The real sense can be found through humility of spirit, where egotism fails. When the disciples asked the Lord which of them would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus set a child in their midst, and informed them that until they humbled themselves as such they could not even enter that kingdom. From the child He transferred the lesson to "one of these little ones that believe on Me," i.e., to the believer humblest in rank among them, saying, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father who is in heaven," Matthew18:10. The words in verse 10 bear the translation, "because of her angels," the definite article in Greek often having the force of a possessive pronoun, and thus the verse should have been rendered. Paul taught that "angels" were inferior in rank to redeemed man, 1 Corinthians 6:3. They are ministering spirits to us, Hebrew 1:14. Yet the most despised women's angels stand before God, with no intervening veil, and behold His face. Shall not woman be permitted to do as much as her "ministering spirits" are allowed to do? Man unveils because Christ, his Head, is unveiled before God. Woman "ought to have the right" to unveil because not only is Christ, her spiritual Head, unveiled before God, but man, her matrimonial head, also; and, if this were not enough, then her ministering spirits "do always behold the face" of God. This is the Apostle's argument. Shall man attempt to require that woman veil out of respect for his authority (?) over her? Not when God does not require man to veil out of respect for God's authority over man.
249. To meet the prejudices of man against woman, the Apostle has been obliged to discuss the sexes apart from each other, as though set in contrast, and he must now renounce this conception as unchristian. Verses 11 and 12 declare there is no such disunion "in the Lord," but, as he says in Galatians 3:28, "There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (R. V.).
(13) Then the apostle declares: "It is proper that a woman pray unto God uncovered." This is Paul's simple statement of fact, and not a question. Greek does not alter the order of the words of a sentence to distinguish a question from a simple statement, as we do in English. We only need to alter the punctuation (of uninspired and recent invention), to change from one to the other, since there is no interrogative word in the sentence.
(14) "Nor doth even the nature itself [of hair] teach you," etc. Our idiomatic English would say, to express the same idea, "There is nothing in the nature of hair itself to teach you,"--a simple statement that appeals to everybody's common sense, while, as a question, this is an absurdity. The entire Chinese nation of men disproves the statement of theologians that Nature gives women long hair and men short hair. No artist would dare paint a portrait of Jesus Christ with short hair. Is His hair "a shame" to Him?
250. But why does Paul discuss hair here? Because he has just said it was a fitting thing for a woman to uncover the head in prayer, and Jewish women would find it most difficult to overcome a false sense of shame in doing so, or in seeing other women do so, since uncovering the hair in public amounted to proof of adultery in Jewish estimation (par. 243).
(16) Then comes Paul's concluding statement, that if anyone is going to contend for either sex veiling for worship, or women for modesty, "We have no such custom"--veiling,--though we may have to make allowance for it, out of regard for the welfare of women, to save them from "disgrace.” John Stuart Mill has wisely remarked: "To pretend that Christianity was intended to stereotype existing forms of government and society, and protect them against change, is to reduce it to the level of Islamism or of Brahmism.”
 A British Biblical scholar has pronounced my rendering of the Greek word oude by "nor even" in this affirmative sense, "a somewhat peculiar presentation of the case, " but "not impossible." Let Greek scholars turn to 1 Cor. 5:1; 1 Cor. 14:21; 2 Cor. 3:10; (A.V.); Gal. 2:3; 6:13; Heb. 8:4; 9:18, and judge if the peculiarity is not Paul's, rather than mine.