For her hair is given to her for a covering.The argument goes then that Paul desires women to let their hair grow long so that they are clearly distinguished from men.
1 Corinthians 11:15 ESV
There are several problems with this interpretation though. First, contextually, it does not seem probable. In verse 4 Paul states that a man who prays with his head covered dishonors his head. That is (or would be under this interpretation), a man should not pray with long hair. While this could be possible, it seems unlikely to me.
The real problem with this interpretation is verse 6:
6a For if a woman will not cover her head,Here we clearly see that the head covering that Paul is speaking of can not be long hair. Otherwise his argument would be meaningless. It simply makes no sense to say:
6b then she should cut her hair short.
6c But since it is disgraceful for a woman to cut off her hair or shave her head,
6d let her cover her head.
6a For if a woman will not wear her hair longSo what is Paul saying here? I’m going to venture that his reasoning is as follows. Man is the glory of God, so he should not cover his head. However, woman is the glory of man and her hair is her glory, therefore she should cover her glorious head. If a woman will not cover her head (exposing her own glory), then she should cut off her hair (her glory). That is, she should not be trying to display her own glory in the presence of men and angels since she is the glory of man.
6b then she should cut her hair short
Not a very modern interpretation, but it is the best I can figure out.
Here is a side question I have no good answer for yet. Besides the visible symbol of authority, what function does the headcovering play? I wonder if it isn’t somehow related to Christ’s relationship to his church. The church is under the authority of the Son. We have no direct access to the throne of God except through the Son. We can not call God our Father without having Christ as our head. He is our representative.
In a similar way, because of how God has set man in a representative position of authority over woman, it almost seems as if there is a similar concept at work here. Since God has placed man in a position of authority over woman, a woman has to show that she is in proper subjection to the God ordained authorities, and thus, properly represented.
Well, I’d have to give a lot more thought to that, but that’s kind of how my brain works.