Getting Up to Date on the Psalms Project

November 22, 2023 | Daniel L. Segraves, Ph.D.

I have completed my work on Psalm 84 and am now finishing Psalm 85. I have also finalized Psalms 132 and 110, from which Jesus quoted and which is referred to about twenty-two times in the New Testament. In addition, I am near the end of Psalm 91, from which Satan quoted in his temptation of Jesus.

I hope to finish the second volume of my commentary on Psalms in time for it to be published for the 2024 general conference of the United Pentecostal Church International.

The work I have done for Psalm 84 consists of eight pages. In general, I try to conclude my comments on each psalm with insights into its messianic nature, although the psalms are so rich in messianic content that it is not unusual for these insights to be threaded throughout each one.

Here is the final paragraph of my comments on Psalm 84: Since the Messiah is the Lord, He can give grace and glory. He withholds nothing good from those who are upright. With its look back to Psalm 2:12, Psalm 84:12 pronounces a blessing on all those who trust in the Lord of Hosts, known in the Targum as “your Memra,” and who is also identified in the Second Psalm as “the Son.”


Praying for the Peace of Jerusalem

November 3, 2023 | Daniel L. Segraves, Ph.D.

A bit earlier this afternoon, I sent a text to my son, Mark, with the following message:

With the war today in the Middle East, Susan (my wife) and I have been following the news much more closely and talking quite a bit about the Jewish people and antisemitism. When Susan was a student at the Apostolic Bible Institute, she worked for a Jewish family in the afternoons when classes were over and on Saturdays, doing light housework and helping with the evening meals. The family was very kind to her, providing a nice upstairs room where she could study and stay overnight when needed. Susan also had the privilege of driving their beautiful Buick convertible if she had need of it when the family was not using it. Susan was very popular in school! She just showed me that our wall oven has an automatic setting for the Sabbath, so devout Jews will not need to violate the Law’s prohibition against lighting a fire on the Sabbath!

Mark responded:

That’s interesting! We’ve been praying for the peace of Jerusalem. I think that may be the same as praying, “Jesus, come quickly!”

I answered, “It could very well be!” I had been thinking about Scripture’s command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but I hadn’t connected it to the idea of praying for the Second Coming. So Mark’s comment provoked me to check and see what John H. Sailhamer, one of my favorite seminary professors, may have said about this idea. I had the privilege of taking two classes from Sailhamer when I was working on my Master of Theology degree at Western Seminary. The first was his class on Psalms and Daniel, which transformed my thinking on Psalms so that I wrote a 382 page book titled The Messiah in the Psalms: Discovering Christ in Unexpected Places (Hazelwood, MO: WAP Academic, 2007). This book is available at and in the Kindle format from I am also working now on the second volume of this commentary on Psalms, which I hope to have in publication by the time of the 2024 general conference of the United Pentecostal Church International.

So, I turned to Sailhamer’s thoughts on Psalm 122 and read these words:

To pray for the peace of Jerusalem is to pray for the coming of the Promised Seed of David, the Messiah.

Jerusalem is mentioned by name three times in Psalm 122. There is a reference to the house of David. It is a good thing to meditate on the entire psalm:


A Song of Ascents. Of David.

1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.”
2 Our feet have been standing
  Within your gates, O Jerusalem!

3 Jerusalem is built
  As a city that is compact together,
4 Where the tribes go up,
  The tribes of the LORD,
  To the Testimony of Israel,
  To give thanks to the name of the LORD.
5 For thrones are set there for judgment,
  The thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
  “May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls,
  Prosperity within your palaces.”
8 For the sake of my brethren and companions,
  I will now say, “Peace be within you.”
9 Because of the house of the LORD our God
  I will seek your good.



Hamas [חמס]

October 23, 2023 | Daniel L. Segraves, Ph.D.

Today, as I continued my long journey to finish volume two of my commentary on Psalms, I noticed the use of the Hebrew word חמס [hamas] in a couple of verses.

Psalm 73:6 reads, “Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment” (NKJV). Hamas is translated “violence.”

Psalm 74:20 is translated, “Have respect to the covenant; For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty” (NKJV). Hamas is translated “cruelty.”

Various forms of חמס appear in the Old Testament sixty-three times, including eleven times in the Book of Psalms. The word speaks of the “act” of violence in fifty-one places. Five times, it describes the “state” of violence. Four times, it speaks of “wrongdoing.” The remaining three use Hamas to identify a “malicious witness.” In the rest of the Psalter, חמס is used in 7:16; 11:5; 18:48; 27:12; 55:9; 58:2; 72:14; 140:1, 4.


Curriculum Vitae

September 24, 2023

I was recently invited to conduct a tutorial for a graduate student working toward a Ph.D. at a leading seminary. The school requested a copy of my current C.V. It occurred to me that it could be useful to post the updated document here. In that way, the C.V. will always be readily available to me, and it can be seen by others who may need it.

PDF Embedder requires a url attribute PDF Embedder requires a url attribute


Letting Our Hair Down: Another Look at I Corinthians 11:2-16 [A]

September 9, 2023 | Daniel L. Segraves, Ph.D.

            The title I have chosen for this paper is intended to carry two meanings.  First, we’re going to “let our hair down” in the sense that we’re going take the liberty of a fresh look at I Corinthians 11:2-16 with the possibility of interpreting the text in ways we have not previously understood it.  Hopefully, this will result in gaining understanding that is closer to Paul’s original intent and that provides greater distance from interpretations that perpetuate the notion that men are to rule over women.  Second, we will respond briefly to the idea that verse 10 means that women can gain greater power in prayer and virtually assure the receipt of affirmative answers from God by letting down their hair and laying it over an altar or over another person or by letting it blow in the wind.[1]

            This paper is an attempt to come to the text with a willingness to receive new dimensions of insight, if indeed the text opens itself to perspectives in addition to or beyond traditional readings.

            Here is a summary of my approach to this topic: (1) the text is relevant for the church in all cultures and time periods.  Paul’s words are not couched in the language of culture but of creation and nature; (2) long hair (from komaō and komē) refers to uncut hair[2]; (3) there is no magic formula enabling us to obtain whatever we want when we want it; God cannot be obligated to answer prayer.

            In contrast to some views of this text, (1) I don’t think kephalē (translated “head”) refers to leadership, and (2) I am not optimistic about the possibility that a woman’s prayers are more effective if she lets her hair down when she prays.  Let’s talk about these points.

The Meaning of “Head”

            Because of the use of “head” to translate kephalē in the New Testament, as in I Corinthians 11:3, it is quite common for interpreters to read this as a reference to some kind of superiority or higher ranking.  As far as the English word “head” is concerned, this could be legitimate, depending on the context in which the word is used.  One English dictionary offers forty-five possible meanings for “head,” two of which fall into this category: “the position of leadership; chief command; greatest authority; one to whom others are subordinate; a leader or chief.”[3]

            To read “head” this way in I Corinthians 11:3 shapes one’s understanding not only of the phrase “the head of woman is man” but also of the phrases “the head of every man is Christ” and “the head of Christ is God.”  Whatever “head” means in one phrase, it must also mean in the others.  If man is the head of woman in the sense of leadership, command, or authority, so must Christ be the head of man in this same sense, and so must God be the head of Christ in this sense.  This immediately invites a variety of questions: (1) Is there no sense in which Christ is the head of a woman? (2) Must women come to Christ through men? (3) Is God not the head of men? (4) In what sense is God the head of Christ?  Is this a reference only to the Incarnation, so that God is the head of the human existence in which He was manifest?  If so, in what sense is that human existence the head of man?  Would this not lend itself to a Nestorian bifurcation of Christ’s deity and humanity?

            Further, to interpret “head” as a reference to leadership, command, or authority colors how we read verse 10: “For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.”  It is quite common for interpreters to read this text as calling for a woman to have something on her head to indicate her submission to her husband’s authority.  For some this means a woman should wear a material veil or hat in church.  Those of us who understand a woman’s long hair to be the covering in view in the text typically understand her hair to be the sign or symbol of her submission.  This is in spite of the fact that there is no word for “symbol” or “sign” in the Greek text (as indicated by the italics in the KJV) and that it is “authority” (exousia) that she is to have on or over (epi) her head, not “submission.”

            Once we begin reading this passage as having to do with the submission of women to men, other portions of the text may be understood in the same way (e.g., “the woman is the glory of the man” and “neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man).  Nowhere in the text, however, is a husband-and-wife relationship demanded.  The Greek andros, translated “man,” can mean “husband,” but it can also simply refer to a male.  Likewise, gynaikos, translated “woman,” can refer to a “wife,” but it can also refer only to a female.  Because of this, some think that the point is the authority of men in general over women in general.  Others suppose that the idea at least includes the submission of daughters to their fathers.

            Although it is always difficult to do so, we may understand the text more clearly if we try to come to it as if we had never read it before, reading carefully and noting the meaning of kephalē as opposed to reading the word “head” as it is popularly used in our culture.  Although kephalē is frequently used in reference to a person’s physical head – and it is certainly so used upon occasion in this text – it is also used to indicate “source,” as in the source or mouth of a river, or “nourisher of life.”[4]  Kephalē is rarely used in Greek literature to mean “chief” or “person of the highest rank.”  The Septuagint almost never uses kephalē with this meaning.  It is almost certain that the only meaning “the Corinthians would have grasped, is ‘head’ as ‘source,’ especially ‘source of life.’”[5]

            David K. Bernard offers convincing insight as to why we should understand kephalē to mean “source” and not “authority” in I Corinthians 11:3:

  • “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ.” We can also translate the middle clause: “and the head of the woman is man” (NIV). This verse distinguishes God, Christ, man, and woman in what sounds like a hierarchy. According to recent scholarship, however, the word translated “head” (kephalē) means “source” in this context and not “authority.” The point is not to establish a rigid hierarchy but to draw an analogy from creation and redemption based on time sequence. The transcendent God is the source of Christ as the manifested image of God (2 Cor 4:4). Christ is the source of humans both in the original creative concept of God (1 Cor 8:5) and in the new creation (2 Cor 5:17). Man is first of the human creation and the historical source of woman in the creation account (1 Cor 11:8).[6]

            The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek confirms “beginning, origin” and the mouth of a river as possible meanings for kephalē. [7] Words are defined by the context in which they are used, and the context of I Corinthians 11:2-16 virtually requires the meaning “source” rather than “chief.”[8]  This can be seen in the statement, “For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man.  Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man” (I Corinthians 11: 8-9).  But the notion of the authority of men over women is not in view, as can be seen in these words: “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.  For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman, but all things of God” (I Corinthians 11:11-12).  In Christ, there is equality and reciprocity between men and women.  (See Galatians 3:28.)

            If we read the text as Paul apparently intended it to be read by the Corinthians, the phrase “the head of every man is Christ” is a reference to creation by Christ (Ephesians 3:9), “the head of the woman is the man” refers to Eve being made from Adam’s rib, and “the head of Christ is God” captures the idea that Christ came from God (John 13:3).[9]

I Corinthians 11:10

            I Corinthians 11:10 is interpreted by some to mean that if women have long hair, it gives them some kind of special power or authority in the spiritual realm.  It has even been suggested that women should let down their long hair, laying it on the altar, on another person, or shaking it in the wind to evoke this power.  Support for this view is found in anecdotal evidence and reference works related to witchcraft and occultism. To interpret Scripture by anecdotal evidence is dangerous; our final authority is Scripture, not experience.  To interpret Scripture by reference to witchcraft and occultism is even more dangerous.  Scripture warns us to avoid the influence of these ideas; we are to be simple concerning evil and wise concerning what is good.  (See Romans 16:19.) 

            Concerning the meaning of I Corinthians 11:10, we can say with certainty that it says nothing about evil spirits, it says nothing about how a woman’s hair is arranged, and the word “hair” does not appear in the verse.  I will forego further discussion here in view of the fact that my article Another Look at I Corinthians 11:10: A Plea for Caution appeared in the November 2009 issue of the Pentecostal Herald . The article addresses this subject in detail, and I commend it to those who are interested in this text and/or concerned about this novel interpretation.

My concern is that the teaching that at one time circulated among us was presented as a technique guaranteeing all kinds of miraculous results from the salvation of lost loved ones to the healing of diseases to the protection of children from any harmful effects of immunization to the ability to win back lost romantic affections.  This was in addition to the idea of power over evil spirits.  It seemed there was no end to this.

            We have biblical precedent for the use of prayer cloths (Acts 19:11-12).  We even have a biblical example of people being healed as the shadow of a person of faith passed over them (Acts 5:14-16).  But we have no biblical precedent for a woman letting down her hair in an attempt to motivate God to do something He might not otherwise do. There are such things as “special miracles” (Acts 19:11), and we have no reason to think the biblical record exhausts the ways miracles may occur. 

            But some of the ideas we have discussed are so troubling, so divisive, and so potentially harmful that I do not wish to suggest any degree of legitimacy to a practice that is based on misinterpreting a text, that draws on the claims of the occult, and that promises the ability to control outcomes.  Instead, I would rather point people to simple faith in God that requires no props and that avoids any appeal to non-biblical sources for insight.  I am concerned that some women, thinking they have found new depth of meaning in Scripture, will be tempted to look further into the realm of the occult for new insights on spirituality.


            Although the teaching found in I Corinthians 11:2-16 may be countercultural, there is no indication in the text itself to indicate that the teaching is culturally conditioned.  Paul does not address culture, but creation and nature.  The church will often find itself at odds with culture as it seeks conformity to Scripture and as cultural norms increasingly distance themselves from biblical ideals.

            The only way to determine the meaning of words is by their use in specific contexts.  The lexicons most recognized by scholars indicate that komaō means something like to “wear long hair, let one’s hair grow long.”  Louw-Nida goes so far as to say it may be necessary in some languages to translate the word “not to cut one’s hair.”

            The contextual use of kephalē in I Corinthians 11:3 indicates that Paul’s discussion does not have to do with female submission to masculine authority.  Instead, Paul explains the equality between men and women, especially in the context of public prayer and prophecy.

            Novel interpretations of I Corinthians 11:10 drawing on sources related to witchcraft and the occult have no place in the church.  Nor do promises of a woman’s ability to use her long hair to get guaranteed results by manipulating the spirit realm.  When Paul discussed spiritual warfare, he talked about things like truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God.  (See Ephesians 6:13-17.)  He did not mention hair arrangement.  When Jesus talked about our power over demons, He said it was available on the basis of faith.  (See Mark 16:17-18.)  John said that the works of the devil were destroyed by the manifestation of the Son of God.  (See I John 3:8.)

[1] This response will be brief because my article dealing at length with this subject appears in the November 2009 issue of the Pentecostal Herald.  The article is titled “Another Look at I Corinthians 11:10: A Plea for Caution.”

[2] In its comment on I Corinthians 11:15, the Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says, “In a number of languages it may be necessary to translate komaō as ‘to let one’s hair grow long’ or ‘not to cut one’s hair.’”  Louw-Nida is a leading lexicon for Bible translators. The idea is that if the receptor language does not have a word for “uncut hair,” the translator should communicate this idea by his choice of words.  See Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 8.14, 11.15.

[3] The American College Dictionary (New York: Random House, 1964), s.v. “head.”

[4] Lawrence O. Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985), 327-28.

[5] Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), 502-03.

[6] David K. Bernard, The Glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ: Deification of Jesus in Early Christian Discourse, Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series 45, general editor John Christopher Thomas (Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 1AQ, UK: Deo Publishing, 2016), 126-127). Bernard refers to Philip Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 123-37. Thus “God is the head of Christ” refers to “Christ’s source as from God in the incarnation.” Ibid., 138-39.

[7] Franco Montanari, The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek, ed. Madeleine Goh and Chad Schroeder (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2015), 1120.

[8] It is interesting that the range of meaning for the English word “head” includes “the source of a river or stream” (American College Dictionary, s.v. “head”).

[9] In my book Hair Length in the Bible: A Study of I Corinthians 11:2-16 (Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1989), I argued against “source” or “origin” as the meaning of kephalē.  This was based largely on D. A. Carson’s treatment of kephalē in his Exegetical Fallacies (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984).  But further research, including an examination of the use of kephalē in the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament, a consideration of the context in I Corinthians 11:2-16, and investigation of the broad teaching of Scripture on husband-and-wife relationships has convinced me that the meaning here relates to man as the origin of woman as recorded in Genesis 2.[archive]

Another Look at I Corinthians 11:10: A Plea for Caution

September 9, 2023 | Daniel L. Segraves, Ph.D.

During the year 2009, Simeon Young, Sr., who was at that time the editor of the Pentecostal Herald, asked me to write an article for the magazine that would examine the meaning of I Corinthians 11:10. I did, and the article was published in the November 2009 issue. I am posting the article here to respond in part to a request for assistance from a university student who has an assignment to write. I will also post another article I have written related to this subject, titled “Letting Our Hair Down: Another Look at I Corinthians 11:2-16.” Finally, I would like to remind my readers about my book Hair Length in the Bible: A Study of I Corinthians 11: 2-16. This book can be purchased at It is also available in the Kindle format at

I am thankful the teaching discussed in the following article seems to have waned among us. I am posting it here, however, for the reason mentioned above. I feel the liberty to do so because the article has also appeared in the Pentecostal Herald, an official publication of the United Pentecostal Church International.

Another Look at I Corinthians 11:10: A Plea for Caution

Daniel L. Segraves

            I have become aware of a teaching on I Corinthians 11:10 that takes its cue from reference works on witchcraft and reported conversations aboard aircraft.  The idea seems to be that witches recognize that a woman’s long hair provides magical protection against evil spirits and that the power of a witch’s spell is increased when she lets down and shakes her hair.  Reports are circulating about remarkable results in the spirit realm following the laying of women’s long hair over the altar or on persons needing healing.

            This teaching is misguided and dangerous.  Here is why: (1) Scripture says nothing to support this notion; (2) Scripture opposes this idea; (3) This teaching will result in disappointment, and perhaps even despair, among those who try the recommended techniques and find they do not work; (4) This belief may influence some to further investigate the claims of witchcraft in order to discover other “insights” into the spiritual realm.

            Here is the text that is central to this teaching: “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels” (I Corinthians 11:10).  This verse is the subject of an amazing variety of interpretational efforts.  Although the best attempt to understand this verse may lie in the future, there are some things that can be said about it with certainty: (1) It says nothing about evil spirits.  Some may speculate that the reference to “angels” refers to fallen angels and thus to evil spirits, but that is speculation; (2) It says nothing about how a woman’s hair is arranged; (3) The verse, in fact, says nothing about hair; (4) It does not clarify whether we should understand “head” (kephalē) to refer to the woman’s physical head, to man, or to her source or origin.  All of these are contextual possibilities.  Let’s talk about each point in more detail.

Scripture Says Nothing to Support This Teaching

I Corinthians 11:10 Says Nothing about Evil Spirits

            The closest reference in the verse to spirit beings is the reference to “angels.”  If Paul had intended to refer to evil spirits, it would have been quite easy for him to do so.  He wrote about evil spirits on several occasions in clear language.  Although the word “angels” may refer to spirit beings, it may also refer to human beings who are serving as some kind of messengers, which is what the word angelos means.  For example, many Bible students understand the angels of the seven churches in Revelation to be the pastors of those churches.  Even if the “angels” in I Corinthians 11 are spirit beings, the verse does not explain the connection between them and the “power” on the woman’s “head.”  Those who believe the “sons of God” of Genesis 6 were fallen angels may suggest that women are to have this “power” on their heads to prevent fallen angels from lusting after them.  If this is what Paul meant there could certainly have been clearer ways of saying it.  Following the same line of thinking, some may suggest that the problem is that if women do not have this “power” on their heads, faithful angels may be tempted to lust upon seeing these women.  Again, this begs the question of why Paul didn’t simply say this if that is what he meant.  Other suggested interpretations may not be quite as colorful, but the point is that this verse has been treated to a long history of interpretative efforts, none of which have yet been so convincing as to settle the issue.

            To read “spiritual warfare” into the verse seems to border, at least, on Scripture twisting.  When Paul wanted to discuss spiritual warfare, he talked about things like truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God.  (See Ephesians 6:13-17.)  He did not mention hair arrangement.  When Jesus talked about our power over demons, He said it was available on the basis of faith.  (See Mark 16:17-18.)  John said that the works of the devil were destroyed by the manifestation of the Son of God.  (See I John 3:8.)  If a woman’s long hair is a weapon against evil spirits, it is remarkable that it is mentioned only once in such obscure terms.

I Corinthians 11:10 Says Nothing about How a Woman’s Hair is to be Arranged

            It may seem beside the point to say that there is no reference here to how a woman’s hair is arranged, but some are teaching that the power of a woman’s long hair in the spirit realm is especially heightened when it is down and loose.  It has been suggested that remarkable things would happen in the spirit realm if women around the world would let their hair down and allow it to blow in the wind.  If a woman’s long hair truly did give her power over evil spirits, it is difficult to see how this power would be enhanced by the arrangement of her hair.  Paul said nothing about this.  The notion apparently has its source in witchcraft.

I Corinthians 11:10 Says Nothing about Hair

            To say that the verse says nothing about hair may at first seem shocking to those of us who appreciate what Paul says about the glory of a woman’s long hair.  But when strange teachings are introduced, it is necessary to take a close look at the text.  Although in the context of I Corinthians 11:2-16 Paul certainly did discuss hair – both for men and women – it is not universally agreed that verse 10 is about hair.  It would have been easy for Paul to write, “For this cause ought the woman to have long hair on her head because of the angels,” but he did not do that.  He wrote that a woman ought to have exousia on or over her head.  Like most words, exousia has a range of possible meanings.  But in a specific use, a word does not mean all it can mean.  Context determines the one meaning among all possible meanings that a word can have.  The possible range of meaning for exousia includes various kinds of authority.  Although some assume that this word is a synonym for “long hair,” that remains an assumption.  Many translations read this verse as referring to some kind of covering or veil that should be worn by a woman as a symbol or sign of authority.  One common idea is that it is a symbol of the husband’s authority over the woman.

            But again, all of this is speculation.  Not only does the word “hair” not appear in the verse, neither do the words “symbol” or “sign.”  Perhaps Paul’s point did have to do with something the woman was to have on her head as a symbol of some kind of authority, but the verse is not clear enough to know for sure.  When we are not absolutely certain of the meaning of a verse, it is best not to be dogmatic about its meaning.  It is certainly best not to insist on a novel reading that may eventually produce unimagined problems.

I Corinthians 11:10 Does Not Clarify How We Should Understand “Head”

            Like the word exousia, the word translated “head” (kephalē) has a range of possible meanings.  In the context of this verse, “head” is used to refer to man as the “head” of woman, Christ as the “head” of man, God as the “head” of Christ, man’s physical head, woman’s physical head, and—as indicated in verses 8-9, 12—man as woman’s source or origin.  In this latter use, kephalē presents the idea of “head” as in the “head” of a river (i.e., the river’s source or origin).  Although verse 10 does not specify how we are to understand “head,” the closest contextual indicator—the two verses before and after verse 10—suggest that we should think about “head” as source or origin.  Kephalē is rarely used in Greek literature to mean “chief” or “person of the highest rank.”  The Septuagint almost never uses kephalē with this meaning.  It is almost certain that the only meaning “the Corinthians would have grasped, is ‘head’ as ‘source,’ especially ‘source of life.’ ” (See Lawrence O. Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985], 327-328 and Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987], 502-503.)

Scripture Opposes This Teaching

            Much could be said about the things the Bible connects with spiritual warfare and about the absence of any discussion of hair in those references.  But due to limitations of space, I will mention only one indication that Scripture opposes the idea that a woman’s long hair gives her some kind of spiritual protection from evil.  Numbers 6 describes the requirements of the Nazarite vow.  It is important to note that these requirements pertain to both men and women (Numbers 6:2).  Although the masculine pronoun is used in Numbers 6:3-21, we are to understand this to refer to both men and women who take the vow, as seen in verse 2.  In this case, the masculine pronoun refers to both men and women, in much the same way as the English masculine pronoun has been historically understood to refer both to men and women, given the appropriate context.

            At the conclusion of the Nazarite vow, the person who took the vow, whether male or female, was to shave his or her head and burn the hair as an offering to the Lord.  Although this provision of the Law of Moses is no longer in effect, it is evident that the Lord would not require any woman to do something that would expose her to spiritual danger.  Some may think that if the New Testament declares long hair to be a glory to a woman, it would be a contradiction for the Law of Moses to provide for a woman of faith to shave her head under any circumstance.  But this is to confuse the Old and New Covenants.  There were many practices and even commandments under the Law of Moses that are not in effect under the New Covenant.  For example, the Law commanded death by stoning for anyone who violated the Sabbath.  There would be no penalty today for plowing with an ox and donkey together, although it may be quite awkward!

This Teaching Will Result in Disappointment

            It may indeed be that some women who have followed this teaching have had things turn out as they had hoped.  But it is a fallacy to think that we can definitely trace every event in our lives to specific causes.  We do not know what would have happened in other circumstances.  But one thing that is for sure is that many who follow this teaching will not have things turn out as they had hoped.  God’s people are not immune to disappointment, tragedy, and grief.  People of faith suffer and die.  (See Hebrews 11:35-40.)  There is a good possibility that women who attempt to follow this teaching will question themselves and even God when things do not work out.  This can lead to despair.

            It has been said that a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument.  This is not true.  In many non-Christian religions people have testimonies of experiences they have had which they think is the result of following some religious ritual.  The fact that they think their experience validates their religion does not make it so.  For the Christian, the final authority is Scripture, not experience.

            Some may wonder, then, about the connection between prayer and results.  Can we ever say for sure that a specific event is an answer to prayer?  We can, because the Bible commands us to pray with the promise that God will answer, although His answer may not be what we want to hear.  It could be yes, no, maybe, or later.  But the claim that women have enjoyed specific positive results from letting down their hair, laying it over the altar, or otherwise following this teaching is based on no biblical text.

Investigating the Claims of Witchcraft

            We are to be simple concerning evil and wise concerning good.  (See Romans 16:19.)  An idea included in the word translated “simple” is that we are to be innocent about evil.  It is dangerous and counterproductive for Christians to investigate falsehood, deception, and evil—especially if it is done with the idea that there may be some truth there that can help in the development of spirituality!  If this teaching alleging a connection between a woman’s long hair and power over evil spirits continues unchecked, we may be sure that some will be encouraged to further investigate possible links between witchcraft and biblical spirituality.  This is a dangerous violation of Scripture, and it could result in the loss of salvation for some sincere person.  Instead of seeking insights from occultism, we must seek the true God.  (See Isaiah 8:19-20.)

            If we do focus on what is good and avoid exposure to what is evil, “the God of peace will crush Satan under [our] feet” (Romans 16:20).  This will be a far better result than attempting to manipulate the spiritual realm by means of novel interpretations of Scripture with questionable origins linked to occultism.  Authority in the realm of the spirit comes from knowing Jesus, not from ritual incantations or actions.

            The United Pentecostal Church International affirms the relevance of I Corinthians 11:2-16 for all times and cultures. Until the early twentieth century, the significance of this text was recognized by virtually all people of faith. As Western culture and customs have changed, many have questioned or rejected the relevance of biblical texts that now seem out of step with the times. As it relates to what is said about long hair, the text uses the Greek komaō. In its comment on I Corinthians 11:15, the Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, says, “In a number of languages it may be necessary to translate komaō as ‘to let one’s hair grow long’ or ‘not to cut one’s hair.’”  Louw-Nida is a leading lexicon for Bible translators. The idea here seems to be that if the receptor language does not have a word for “uncut hair,” the translator should communicate this idea by his choice of words.

            But we must take care that in embracing a biblical teaching that is increasingly unpopular, we are not driven to unbiblical extremes in an attempt to defend our understanding of the text. Scripture will stand on its own. When we take liberties with Scripture, reading meaning into it that is not there, we weaken its message. In effect, we add to the word of God, a sin just as severe as taking from it. [archive]

Upcoming Urshan Symposium of Apostolic Pentecostal Scholars

February 15-16, 2024

David Johnson, M.T.S., Ph.D., Hebrew Union College (in progress) has invited me to present a paper at the upcoming Urshan Symposium of Apostolic Pentecostal Scholars, scheduled for February 15-16, 2024 on the campus of Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School of Theology located at 155 Urshan Way, Wentzville, Missouri 63385. David Johnson is the academic dean at U.G.S.T. For more information, see

I am happy to accept this invitation. Some of you may know that my ability to travel and speak, and even to do much teaching at our home church, The Sanctuary UPC in Hazelwood, Missouri, has been limited for about two years due to health challenges. But I am so thankful to God and for all who have prayed for me that my health has improved dramatically, enabling me to be more active during the past three months. I was able to teach the adult Bible class each Sunday during August. My topic was “First Century Jewish Christology.” The videos of each of the four lessons and the 120 slides I prepared to accompany the lessons are posted here on my blog.

The tentative title for the paper I will present at the symposium is “Aramaic and LXX Influences on the Messianic Psalms.” The paper will reflect the work I have been doing for volume two of my commentary on the Psalter.

Shortly before His ascent, Jesus said to His disciples, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44). With these words, Jesus “opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

One of my prayers is that God would help me to comprehend how the Scriptures testify of Jesus. I hope you can join us at the symposium. I look forward to sharing some of the insights I believe Scripture offers us about the Messiah from the Aramaic Targums and the Greek Septuagint.

As of September 28, 2023, Susan and I will have been married ten years! God has blessed me richly. I am very grateful! [archive]

First-Century Jewish Christology

Lecture 4 | August 27, 2023 | Daniel L. Segraves, Ph.D.

This is the fourth and final lesson I taught from the Book of James during August 2023 at The Sanctuary UPC in Hazelwood, Missouri, where Mitchell Bland is pastor. Our focus for this series of lessons was on the Christology of first century Jewish Christians.

I prepared 120 Power Point slides to accompany these lessons. These slides can be viewed in the post immediately following this one. To see the slides, click on the link included with the post.


First-Century Jewish Christology

120 slides

August 27, 2023 | Daniel L. Segraves, Ph.D.

During the month of August 2023, I taught a series of four lessons from the Book of James for the adult Bible class at The Sanctuary UPC in Hazelwood, Missouri, where our pastor is Mitchell Bland.

I developed a series of PowerPoint slides to accompany the lectures but experienced difficulties with the technology I used to present the slides. Now, I have converted the slides with Adobe software. They are posted here so you can view them while viewing the lectures if you wish.

For another resource on James, you may be interested in my book James: Faith at Work, a 202-page, verse-by-verse commentary on James published by Word Aflame Press (Weldon Spring, MO: 2011). The book is available in paperback and on Amazon’s Kindle.

To order the book online, go to Enter “Daniel Segraves” in the search window. This will take you to all of my books and other resources. The book on James is $15.99, but you can request a 10% discount with the code DS10. The Amazon Kindle version is available for $9.99.

Here, now, is the Adobe version of the slides I prepared for use with the lessons I presented at The Sanctuary UPC.

Click on the link below to view the slides.