There are dozens of verses about shaving in the Old Testament, but they all pertain to men. A good example is found in Leviticus 21:5 which reads, “They shall not make any bald place on their heads, nor shall they shave the edges of their beards nor make any cuttings in their flesh” (NKJV). This prohibition was given to the priests of Israel who were not to practice pagan customs by shaving parts of their heads or beards during times of mourning for the dead. This command was given to all Jewish men in Leviticus 19:27-28, “You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.” The Lord wanted His people to avoid any practice associated with heathen customs, for His people were called to be “separate from the ungodly” in every way, as we see in Jeremiah 10:1-2, “Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen” (KJV).

When we come to the New Testament very little is said related to shaving (or not shaving) one’s hair, whether it be the hair on their heads, legs or other body parts, so I believe a woman has the liberty to shave her legs. The one exception is found in 1st Corinthians 11:14-15 which reads, “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.” Here it is implied that a man should shave his hair before it gets too long and that a women should not shave her hair short. In other words, a man should have a “masculine hairstyle” and a woman a “feminine hairstyle.” God created them to be different and their hairstyle should reflect this difference!

But there is a deeper meaning behind these hairstyles. Let’s read verses 3-6, “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. For is a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.” We have in these few verses the truth of HEADSHIP. God, from the very beginning of creation, ordained that the man would be in a POSITION OF AUTHORITY over the woman and the woman would be SUBJECT him. This does NOT mean she is INFERIOR, but that she recognizes the place of leadership (in the home, in society and in the church as well) that God has given to the man. The actual head of a woman symbolizes this truth. So, when she prays or prophecies she is to put a covering on her head to show her submission to the man as her God-given leader. If she refuses to don a covering she is refusing to acknowledge the Headship God established and in doing so she dishonors the man. But she also dishonors herself, for just as it is shameful for a woman to have her head shaved bald (for we saw earlier that her “long hair…is a glory to her”), so it is shameful for her to refuse to put on a covering of some kind to honor the man. This truth (of Headship and the need of a woman to cover her head while praying or prophesying) has been lost sight of but it is just as true today as when Paul was inspired to write these words to the saints at Corinth 2,000 years ago.

To read more about the woman’s head covering, please click on this Answers From the Book link: (309.3) (DO)