Question

My bro-in-law is now a Pentecostal member. He told my husband that it is a sin for him to have long hair. Does this still apply to us nowadays? 

Answer

The passage in 1 Cor. 11 compares the natural order of things with the spiritual order. In the natural order men have shorter hair, women have longer. To violate this violates nature. There can be no question about this: “If a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him…” (vs.14). Even so, the passage is speaking of covering the head while praying or prophesying, which I believe relates to the use of spiritual gifts in public (i.e., public praying and prophesying). The woman’s hair, however long it may be and suited for the natural, is not sufficient for the spiritual. She needs to be veiled. The man should not be veiled. Just as it is a dishonor for a woman to have short hair in nature (because her hair is her glory in that realm), it is a dishonor for her to be unveiled when praying or prophesying. The same thing applies to the man, except in the opposite (short hair/unveiled). This means that when the spiritual gifts ended, the command regarding veiling would be superfluous. However, since nature is still nature (and nature hasn’t ended!), it continues to be a dishonor to women for their hair to be short as it is for a man’s hair to be long.The question is: How long and how short? During the OT times, God gave instructions to those who would take the vow of a Nazirite and in that instruction he commanded that no hair should be cut (Num. 6:5). Since God would not contradict Himself in the things of “nature,” the instructions in 1 Corinthians must apply to a man’s hair “hanging down,” inasmuch as the Nazirites’ hair, although long, apparently did not hang down in the manner of women’s hair, but was tied in “locks.” The most famous Nazirite was Samson. Although no razor had touched his head since birth, his hair was fastened with “7 locks” (judges 16:13-15). The word “locks” is never used in the Bible with regard to a woman’s hair. Hence, if a man has hair that “hangs down” especially so that from appearances it appears to be the hair of a woman, his hair is too long. Conversely, if a woman’s hair appears as a man’s, it is too short.

By Doug Focht

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