Recently a friend asked for an explanation of these verses.
"(3) Now I want you to know that Christ is the head over all men, and a man is the head over a woman. But God is the head over Christ. (4) This means that any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head brings shame to his head. (5) But any woman who prays or prophesies without something on her head brings shame to her head. In fact, she may as well shave her head. (6) A woman should wear something on her head. It is a disgrace for a woman to shave her head or cut her hair. But if she refuses to wear something on her head, let her cut off her hair. (7) Men were created to be like God and to bring honor to God. This means that a man should not wear anything on his head. Women were created to bring honor to men.
(8) It was the woman who was made from a man, and not the man who was made from a woman. (9) He wasn't created for her. She was created for him. (10) And so, because of this, and also because of the angels, a woman ought to wear something on her head, as a sign of her authority.
(11) As far as the Lord is concerned, men and women need each other. (12) It is true that the first woman came from a man, but all other men have been given birth by women. Yet God is the one who created everything.
(13) Ask yourselves if it is proper for a woman to pray without something on her head. (14) Isn't it unnatural and disgraceful for men to have long hair? (15) But long hair is a beautiful way for a woman to cover her head. (16) This is how things are done in all of God's churches, and that's why none of you should argue about what I have said." ~ 1 Corinthians 11:3-16
God created man in His order, for His purposes. He created man first and then woman, to be a partner, a mate, a counterpart.
"(18) And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (19) And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. (20) And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. (21) And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; (22) And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (23) And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (24) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. " ~ Genesis 2:18-24
In 1 Cornthins 11:4-7, Paul tells us that man was created to "be like God"; the head covering is a customary sign of authority. God has no authority over Him and man, by this custom, should stand like God, uncovered. Woman, under man's authority, wears the customary covering as a sign of man's authority over her.
Should a modern woman cling to verse five as a requirement that she should keep her head covered while praying? In my opinion, no; I believe this is a reflection of the customs of the Jewish peoples and is not a mandate for today. That being said, I could be wrong, and, as in all things, it must be decided between each person and God.
Our focus of these verses, in my opinion, should be on 11 & 12. "(11) As far as the Lord is concerned, men and women need each other. (12) It is true that the first woman came from a man, but all other men have been given birth by women. Yet God is the one who created everything."
On another note, verse 14 seems to debunk all modern depictions of Jesus.
vs 1-2 actually are an ending to chapter 10.
vs 3 God's order
vs 4 & 7 man not to let anything come between him and God, stand uncovered
vs 5,6,10 head covering is a customary sign of man's authority over woman
vs 8-10 God's order
vs 11-12 key verses for all of us
vs 13-16 customs of the time
vs 14 debunks all modern paintings of Jesus with long hair
Summation: God created a natural order of man in authority over woman; the head covering of a woman is a customary sign of respect to man, in that time. Our focus of these verses, in my opinion, should be on 11 & 12.
Also read Ephesians 5
Enjoy the Word!