World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
4. Every man praying Here there are two propositions. The first relates to the man, the other to the woman He says that the man commits an offense against Christ his head, if he prays or prophesies with his head covered. Why so? Because he is subject to Christ, with this understanding, that he is to hold the first place in the government of the house — for the father of the family is like a king in his own house. Hence the glory of God shines forth in him, in consequence of the authority with which he is invested. If he covers his head, he lets himself down from that preeminence which God had assigned to him, so as to be in subjection. Thus the honor of Christ is infringed upon. For example, 622622 “Mais afin de mieux entendre ceci, prenons vn exemple;” — “But, that we may understand this better, let us take an example.” If the person whom the prince has appointed as his lieutenant, does not know how to maintain his proper station, 623623 “Se maintenir, et vser de son authorite;” — “To keep his place, and maintain his authority.” and instead of this, exposes his dignity to contempt on the part of persons in the lowest station, does he not bring dishonor upon his prince? In like manner, if the man does not keep his own station — if he is not subject to Christ in such a way as to preside over his own family with authority, he obscures, to that extent, the glory of Christ, which shines forth in the well regulated order of marriage. The covering, as we shall see ere long, is an emblem of authority intermediate and interposed.
Prophesying I take here to mean — declaring the mysteries of God for the edification of the hearers, (as afterwards in 1 Corinthians 14,) as praying means preparing a form of prayer, and taking the lead, as it were, of all the people — which is the part of the public teacher, 624624 “Du ministre et docteur de l’Eglise;” — “Of the minister and teacher of the Church.” for Paul is not arguing here as to every kind of prayer, but as to solemn prayer in public. Let us, however, bear in mind, that in this matter the error is merely in so far as decorum is violated, and the distinction of rank which God has established, is broken in upon. For we must not be so scrupulous as to look upon it as a criminal thing for a teacher to have a cap on his head, when addressing the people from the pulpit. Paul means nothing more than this — that it should appear that the man has authority, and that the woman is under subjection, and this is secured when the man uncovers his head in the view of the Church, though he should afterwards put on his cap again from fear of catching cold. In fine, the one rule to be observed here is το πρέπον — decorum If that is secured, Paul requires nothing farther.