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1.1     Background to the Study

Head covering is assumed to be the literal covering of head with a scarf. This is a practice that is observed in various Christian groups during Christian worship in Nigeria. Whether this is a compulsory practice and traceable to the New Testament is still under contention among some Christians. Some base their arguments for women covering of the head during worship on Paul’s teaching in I Corinthians while others anchor their arguments on the authority of the man over the woman. Some Christian churches hold that the practice of head covering is acceptable but not compulsory for the woman. Some insist that the practice is compulsory for the woman. For example, Pastor Daniel Olukoya of Mountain of Fire Ministries seriously forbids his female members from attending church service with their heads uncovered. According to the report, “Olukoya warned that the church will no longer tolerate any lady that does not cover her hair….”1 There are some Christians, like Goodwin, who insist that head covering should not be part of Christian practice. In his own words, “…I do not agree that the head covering is a rule from God that applies to every generation….”2 Those who oppose the practice of head covering may be doing so either on the grounds of its associated patriarchal subjugation of women or its non-significance to the salvation theology of the Christian church. Whatever be the case, the ball has been rolled. And inasmuch as almost all the writers and debaters base their arguments on 1 Corinthians 11, the passage (1 Corinthians 11:2_16) has been carefully selected as necessary in determining the Pauline position on the Christian concept of head covering.

As a matter of fact, the epistle of first Corinthians “…is one, and that not the first, of a series of letters written by St. Paul to the Corinthian church.”3 The church was located in the city of Corinth. Corinth was in many respects the most important city in Greece under the Roman Empire. Whereas Athens was the educational centre, “…the seat of the greatest university worldwide at that time, and the city to which the memories of Greek freedom and older history most continually clung, Corinth was the capital city of the Roman province…”4 and could be seen as the centre of government and commerce, of real life and development in the country.

The city of Corinth was located on the narrow isthmus which connected Macedonia and Achaia. Dummelow said it had “…two great harbours, lechaeum looking towards the Adriatic Sea and Italy, and Cenchreae (Acts 18:18; Rom 16:1) looking towards the Egean and Asia.”5 Even though Corinth lay a little inland, yet it “…was a wealthy seaport city”.6 And Corinth, “…occupying as it did a central position on the lines of communication between Rome and the East, It was a great commercial clearing-house.”7 Consequently, this would make it possible for traders and government officials to constantly come to and go from Corinth. Dummelow wrote that the population of Corinth “…composed of Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Orientals. Merchants and sailors were its most frequent visitors, … bringing to it the civilization and the customs of many lands.”8 “Besides its commercial importance Corinth was renowned as the scene of the great Isthmian games, which every second year attracted a multitude of people to the city,”he added. The city was noted as the centre of the “… worship of the goddess Aphrodite, in whose worship virgins sacrificed their chastity”.10 Dummelow observed that “the Corinthians were notorious even in the world of that time for their drunkenness … sensuality… faction and strife, being always anxious to discuss philosophical and moral problems….”11

During his second missionary journey, Apostle Paul planted the church at Corinth after he had left Athens (Acts. 18:1-8) as Dummelow observed that “In Corinth his preaching was very successful.”12 The assembly was made up of Jews and chiefly of Gentiles.  Located in the heart of the city, Kerr noted that the church was subjected to the negative influences of the city. According to him, “The problems which vexed the church in Corinth were, perhaps, indigenous to the city itself.”13 These influences on the members of the Corinthian church drove some to immorality, to the extent that one man had to sleep with his father’s wife; to idolatry, to the extent that some were eating food offered to idols, and to other unchristian behaviours which threw the assembly into confusion and utter disorder.

1.2     Statement of Problem

The issue of women and head covering in the church has come to be a controversial issue among Christians in Ndot. According to Longhenry, “The controversy over the ‘head covering’ has divided many churches over the years.”20 Notably, it is an issue that is presently creating tension and confusion in the church owing to the fact that for many centuries Christian women in Ndot have been taught and made to worship (and have been known for worshiping) with their heads covered like their counterparts in some other places as rightly observed thus: “For the first 1800 years of Christianity the material veil was a part of the woman’s modest clothes.”21 And this was based on the understanding and interpretation of first Corinthians chapter eleven from verse two to sixteen. But the coming in of some denominations such as Living Faith Church and Christ’s Embassy in Ndot has proven that women can worship with their heads uncovered. Strongly supporting these churches and others, Nnebe said that head covering is the South-Eastern churches’ “…act of oppression of their female members in the name of God.”22

The confusion being created by these conflicting responses to this scriptural passage shows that the Ndot Church is presently facing a theological disagreement which, if left unaddressed, may lead to increase in disunity among Christians based on differences in understanding and interpretation of women and head covering in the church. Consequently, this research work makes effort to restore order in the church and harmonize the interpretation of the text by discovering what head covering is all about; the extent to which the instruction can go, the reason why Apostle Paul gave the instruction, and its implications and applicability to the present day church.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The study examines the implications of head covering in I Corinthians 11:5-6 on the women in the Apostolic Church Ndot. The specific objectives of the study is to:


  1. Examine the Significance of Head Covering in Apostolic Church Ndot.
  2. Find out the general rule of the Church regarding Head Covering in Apostolic Church Ndot.
  3. Find out the Authority, Subordination and Submission regarding head covering.


1.4     Research Questions

  1. How Significant is Head Covering in Apostolic Church Ndot?
  2. What are the general rule of the Church regarding Head Covering in Apostolic Church Ndot?
  3. What are the Authority, Subordination and Submission regarding head covering?

1.5     Significance of the Study

The church of Corinth was thrown into an atmosphere of disorder “Because a number of knotty problems had developed in that church”37 one of which was the issue of women’s head covering. “…these problems greatly disturbed the church and they wrote to Paul to seek counsel in solving them”.38 “Needless to say, these few verses in his letter have become very controversial in our times.”39 This has therefore made the same atmosphere of controversy to repeat itself in the modern day church, precisely churches in Ndot due to different interpretations of this passage of first Corinthians in which some say that it is a material veil; some that it is a woman’s hair; some that it is a Jewish culture that is not applicable in other cultures, and others that it is a Hellenistic custom which should not be applied in every place. Apostle Paul did not stand aloof to the situation in the Corinthian church, but rather responded in writing which was meant to arrest the situation and restore order in the church.

Significantly, this research work will go a long way in helping to restore order in and among churches in Ndot as well as the churches world wide. And this order when restored will improve the spiritual condition of Christians.

Secondly, this work will help to avert the possible disintegration of and disunity among Christians in Ndot as a result of persistent controversy over the issue of head covering in the church in which Longhenry observed that “The controversy over the ‘head covering’ has divided many churches over the years”.40

Thirdly, it will as well restore people’s obedience to the word of God as they will come to understand the validity of the scriptural injunction on the issue.

Lastly, it will serve as a good reference material to researchers who may embark on a similar study in the future.


1.6     Scope of the Study

The Study examines implications of head covering in I Corinthians 11:5-6 on the women in the Apostolic Church Ndot., Akwa Ibom. The study will be restricted to women worshipping in Apostolic Church in Ndot.


1.7     Research Methodology

The methodology adopted for the study is quantitative method. Primary data was used for the study with the aid of a questionnaire. The survey item was distributed to the women in Apostolic Church in Ndot, Akwa Ibom.


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