My Experience Dealing With Women's Hair

© 1993-2016 by Lois Gibson

This is an attempt to share my research and belief concerning the subject of hair length, an issue of much debate in some Pentecostal churches. The church organization to which I belonged believes that a woman should not ever cut her hair and this teaching is in their "Articles of Faith."  My local church believed and taught this doctrine as did many other churches visited over the years.

A six part video on this subject was produced by members of the United Pentecostal Church and was based on Daniel L. Segrave's book, Women's Hair: The Long and Short of It. My work started out as a personal research paper, which then ventured to give a response to this book, and later took on another dimension.

Before going further, I want to make clear my motive and intent. For approximately 13 years I never cut my hair. I believed and adhered to the reasoning of why a woman's hair was not to be cut. It appeared to be a teaching based on the Bible, but I never studied the issue in depth. I wholeheartedly defended this teaching against what was then considered the "rebellious" objections of our church youth.

More often than not, when a woman "backslid" or left the church, she cut her hair. To others like myself, this act was a sign of rebellion and showed the woman was no longer under submission to God or her husband (if she was married). I recall being very upset after witnessing this for the first time shortly after I started attending church. As time went on, feelings would also include anger or indignation, especially when done by an established member of the church. Surely they were not right spiritually!

There were different feelings at different times, depending on the circumstances. Looking back, there were definitely times I judged others due to their failure to keep this standard. For this I am sincerely remorseful. Unfortunately, I am not the only one who has grappled with this. It seems this and other standard teachings can have a tendency to slowly lead the believer into a way of thinking which is wrong.

I am not against all standards. If a person feels something is wrong to wear, do, use, or put on, then it should not be done by that person. However, one should not judge, look down upon, or label the person backslid who does not share those beliefs.

Over time I saw many responses to this teaching. For some such as myself, it was not a problem or struggle to adhere. However, for others it seemed to be an ongoing battle, with the hair being allowed to grow for awhile and then being cut. Afterward these women felt guilty for cutting their hair and would allow it to grow again, yet later succumb and cut their hair once more, thus repeating an endless cycle. There were also those who were seemingly just plain rebellious, never believing or adhering to this doctrine. Others would comply with the teaching only out of respect for the pastor, though disbelieving the necessity.

What changed my thinking on this subject after almost 13 years? In late 1993, due to several factors, I started to question this teaching. I did not set out to prove it right or wrong; I simply desired to know exactly what the Bible taught.

During that time I read different literature and listened to tapes. Some were from my organization, while others were not. Not being one to read a book, simply believe it and change my beliefs, I began to briefly study some teachings on standards. This encounter prompted an in depth biblical study into the hair issue.

Why hair and not other issues, you might ask? To be truthful, I never wore any form of make-up even before going to church. I very seldom wore jewelry and then only in the form of a bracelet, necklace, or pin. There was  therefore no problem with the church standards on these points. But though I preferred my hair to be long, it was always trimmed prior to my conversion. Only once when I was older, around 19, was it cut above the shoulders.

Therefore an in depth study began here. It was not done out of years of secret desire to cut my hair, though I have heard this said of me, nor did I previously cut it or struggle with the issue. It was not due to rebellion, but rather a sincere desire to learn exactly what the Scriptures said.

The research changed my belief on this subject. Though some will feel this writing was done in a wrong spirit and others will undoubtedly consider me backslidden, I feel a need to write this. If one person is helped through their own investigation by reading this, it will be worth it all.

Thank God that it doesn't matter what people say or think as each will answer personally to God. He alone is our judge. King David was very wise when he told Gad, "I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.” (II Samuel 24:14) With this said, let us begin.

Daniel Segraves was the Executive Vice President of Christian Life College in Stockton, California. This school is endorsed by the UPCI. It is my understanding that Daniel Segraves does not consider the hair teaching to be an issue of salvation, though he does feel a Christian should follow it.

Are you wanting a detailed search? Here are chapters from a book I started which is not finished (and only God knows at this point if it ever will be!). It contains the results of my in depth search for the truth about whether a woman is biblically prohibited from cutting her hair.

I strongly encourage you to independently study the Scriptures. Never solely rely on the views or opinions of another. You must know for yourself!

Modern Day Scribes and Pharisees- The Pharisees lived many years ago, but they're not around anymore...or are they? Why were they so angry with Jesus? What was it about them that Jesus exposed?

Hair: An Introduction- A review of the words hair, hairs, hairy, lock, and locks. Where are these words found in the Bible and how are they used? What are the original Hebrew and Greek words and what do they mean?

Regular Dictionary Definitions- Some proponents (a UPC book and video teaching resort to this) utilize modern day dictionary meanings for biblical words in order to support this teaching. Is this sound? Why don't they use this same method with water baptism?

Shorn and Shaven- A review of the words shorn, shave, shaven, shaved, shear, shearer, shearers and shearing. Where are these words found in the Bible and how are they used? What are the original Hebrew and Greek words and what do they mean? You may be surprised!

Different Bible Versions- In an effort to validate this doctrine on hair, some resort to comparing various versions of the Bible. Yet the UPC has taken a stand against one translation in particular and only recommends the use of the King James Version by their members.

Hair in History- A look at hair through both biblical and secular history, along with a brief look into the women's movement. It does not seem that society has looked down upon women cutting their hair for thousands of years, nor that it was a disgrace for centuries, nor that for thousands of years in almost every society has it been proper for men to cut their hair and women to not cut their hair at all.

Labeling- A look into the labeling of people by some groups as a means to control.

Click here to read a sermon on hair by a UPC minister. Includes a brief audio clip. (Rather lengthy & may disturb some.)

Click here to read my partial response to the sermon.

 * Denotes the article is a link to another web site not operated by this one.

Several other writings may be found in our "issues" section under "standards".

*Philip Payne's viewpoint on 1 Corinthians 11. He takes the view that veiling does not come into play, but that Paul is teaching against men having long hair and women not putting their hair up.

*Baptist viewpoint on bobbed hair by John Rice.

*Daniel Wallace examines several positions.

*Keeping Up Appearances- 1998 newspaper article which covers three women from a UPCI church and their stand against cutting hair and wearing make-up.

*Uncut Tresses Attract Man's Attention, God's Favor, Women- 1998 newspaper story expanding upon the above article.

Women Praying and Prophesying by Doug Goins

Mel Berglund's thoughts on I Corinthians 11. A different approach, focusing on the word 'contention' and whether or not Paul had left a bad example in Corinth by taking a Nazarite vow.

Page added September 6, 1997 & Links fixed June 28, 2016


August 23, 1997
Copyright © 1997-2016 by Lois E. Gibson
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