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.



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]

15% discount on my books until July 14, 2023

I am often asked how many books I have written. The number is twenty-one. I’m now working on number twenty-two, which will be the second volume of my commentary on Psalms. I would, of course, like to get these books into the hands of as many readers as possible. Like preachers, pastors, and teachers, Christian authors have a sense of calling, and they believe God has given them a message they need to communicate to people of faith.

For that reason, I’m happy to tell you that the Pentecostal Publishing House, now known as the Pentecostal Resources Group, has informed me that I can offer a 15% discount on all of my books and other resources from now through July 14, 2023, which is the last day of the Arkansas District Camp Meeting.

Tim Gaddy, the district superintendent of the Arkansas District of the United Pentecostal Church International, has asked me to do the Bible teaching for the Arkansas district’s camp meeting this year, which is scheduled for July 12-14. Due to scheduling challenges, the Pentecostal Publishing House will not have a display set up at the camp meeting. That is the reason the discount is available. We want to make these resources as accessible as possible.

How to obtain the 15% discount

Keep in mind the discount code is DS15. You can take advantage of this special discount by phone or email.

Customer Service Phone: 866-819-7667

Customer Service Email:

In order to see the fifty-two resources available, check out the PPH website at Type “Segraves” in the search window. This will enable you to see each of the twenty-one books by title and with brief descriptions. One is available in the Spanish language as well a English. Some are offered as e-books as well as in hard copy. In addition to the books, resources are available as CDs. Here is a summary of what you will find:

Verse by verse commentaries:

Romans: Living by Faith
Hebrews: Better Things
James: Faith at Work
First Peter: Standing Fast in the Grace of God
Second Peter and Jude
Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for Today's World

God in Flesh
Hair Length in  the Bible
The Messiah's Name: JESUS, not Yahshua
Elohim and the Plural Passages (audio and video)
The Influence of Hellenistic Philosophy on the Development of Christology to Chalcedon (audio)
Binding and Loosing: The Authority of the Church (audio)
The Holy Spirit (This 314 page hard-back book is my most recent publication. It is a treatment of apostolic pneumatology that explores nearly every reference to the Holy Spirit in the entire Bible, beginning with Genesis 1:2 and ending with Revelation 22:17.
Christian Growth:

Insights for Christian Living
You Can Understand the Bible
If God Loves Me, Why Am I Hurting?
Spiritual Gifts
That Which is Perfect
Biblical Studies:

The Messiah in the Psalms, 1-72: Discovering Christ in Unexpected Places
Reading Between the Lines: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament
Themes from a Letter to Rome

Looking Forward: A Clear View of Biblical Prophecy (available in English and Spanish)

Andrew D. Urshan: A Theological Biography
This 312 page book is a professionally edited treatment of my Ph.D. dissertation on the life and theology of Andrew D. Urshan, one of the four most influential early twentieth century Oneness Pentecostals.
General Conference, Daniel Segraves 2001:

This CD is a recording of my defense of the genuineness of Christ's humanity.

Pentecostal Publishing House || 36 Research Park Ct || Weldon Spring, MO 63304 || (636) 229-7900

“The sick … shall recover” (Mark 16:18).

Daniel and Susan Segraves

Near Father’s Day 2021, I was diagnosed with a disease heard of by few people … smoldering myeloma.

My primary care physician had noted something of concern in my annual bloodwork, and she recommended that I see a hematologist at least some time within the next four months. It was my understanding that it can be difficult to get an appointment with a doctor with the necessary skills. The Lord opened the door for me quickly; I had an appointment the next day.

My diagnosis called for a two-year plan of treatment. Over this time, I experienced a significant change in lifestyle, limiting travel, physical movement, and speaking engagements.

Today, on May 23, 2023, at 1 p.m., I met with my hematologist and received the good news that my bloodwork is normal and that I can discontinue the medications. I will not need to see this specialist until August 23 of this year for a follow-up examination. In the meantime, I can travel and teach. In other words, God has enabled me to reassume a life of health that I can live for His glory.

I have experienced the healing hand of our Lord!

It seems significant to me now that when Tim Gaddy, the district superintendent of the Arkansas District of the United Pentecostal Church International invited me to speak at the Arkansas District Camp Meeting in July of this year, he asked me to teach on the subjects of the Gifts of the Spirit and Signs and Wonders. He made this request before he was aware of my diagnosis.

I hope to see some of you at this camp meeting. As I frequently mention when I am in Arkansas, my spiritual roots run deep in this state. It is where I was baptized with the Holy Spirit as a young boy during the 1950s. This was in Rector, where my father, Glen Segraves, served as pastor from 1953 to 1959.


Psalm 83 and the future of volumes 2 and 3 of The Messiah in the Psalms

photo of child reading holy bible
Photo by nappy on

Not only am I finished with Psalm 83, but after a discussion with Everett Gossard, Book Editor for the Pentecostal Resources Group, UPCI, I have clear direction for the future of The Messiah in the Psalms.

As many of you know, there are five books within the Book of Psalms. They are arranged in this way: Book 1: Psalms 1-41; Book 2: Psalms 42-72; Book 3: Psalms 73-89; Book 4: Psalms 90-106; Book 5: Psalms 107-150. My first volume covers Psalms 1-72 plus three appendices for a total of 382 pages.

Some commentaries on the Book of Psalms are released in one volume, some in two volumes, and some in three. My final work on the Psalter will be in three volumes. The second volume will include books three and four (i.e., Psalms 73-106). The third volume will consist of book five (i.e., Psalms 107-150).

Thus, volume two will include my comments on 679 verses and volume three my comments on 694 verses. I can’t predict the total page length of each volume, but they should be about the same.

I’m focusing on this project, and the more I do, the more clearly I see what Jesus meant when He said, “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, NKJV).

I have been invited to speak for two hours on this subject at an upcoming meeting of the general board of the United Pentecostal Church and their spouses. I’m looking forward to this event!


A visit to the seminary classroom via the Book of Proverbs

Today as I worked on writing a lesson for God’s Word for Life, the curriculum published by the United Pentecostal Church International, I came upon a video recording of a classroom session at Urshan Graduate School of Theology. The video features the first session of a series on the Book of Proverbs. I thought some readers of my blog may be interested to see what goes on in a seminary classroom, so here it is!


The Messiah in the Psalms Lesson 6


October 8, 2017

The Sanctuary | Hazelwood, Missouri

By Daniel L. Segraves

Our study guide consists of notes from the Apostolic Study Bible.[1]

Psalms 9-10

The phrase “Muth-lab’ben” in the superscription means “death of the son.” The idea is that Psalm 9 was to be sung to the tune of a song by this name. Other psalms also identify the tunes by which they are to be sung, but we have no information about these melodies. Psalm 8 did not address the death of the Son of Man, but the reference to the death of the son in Psalm 9 links these psalms together, continuing the contextual theme of the Son that begins in Psalm 2. The significance of Psalm 9 being about the death of the Son may be seen in the identification of Psalm 8 as a messianic psalm in Hebrews 2:6-8. In the context in Hebrews, the Son is “crowned with glory and honor” as a consequence of His death, which He experienced “for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). Although Psalm 8 declares that the Son of Man has been “crowned . . . with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:5), it does not discuss His death. The idea of the death of the Son of Man is found in Psalm 9. The linkage of Psalm 9 with Psalm 8 by means of the “Son” motif provides linkage all the way back to Psalm 2 and ahead to Psalm 10, because Psalms 9 and 10 were apparently one psalm in an earlier form. The evidence for this is as follows: (1) When Psalms 9 and 10 are placed together, they form an acrostic. Psalm 9 takes us through exactly half of the Hebrew alphabet; Psalm 10 takes us through the second half; (2) The Septuagint puts the two together as one. Thus, Psalm 11 in the English translation is Psalm 10 in the Septuagint; (3) Only Psalm 9 has a superscription. If the two are not to be read as one, Psalm 10 is the only psalm without a superscription between Psalm 3 and Psalm 32.  There is some irregularity in the acrostic which seems to be because of an emphasis on “the wicked one,” indicating an emphasis on the contrast between “the righteous” and “the wicked” that begins in Psalm 1, where a form of the same word that is translated “wicked” in Psalm 9 is translated “ungodly.”

Psalm 9 is a psalm of thanksgiving, describing the Lord coming to aid those who are in distress. Psalm 10 is a psalm of lament, but at the points where the acrostic is interrupted in Psalm 10, the lament is changed back into the defeat of the enemy. Psalm 10 is about the eschatological judgment of God upon all the nations, as found in Daniel 7 and Ezekiel 38. The pattern of praise followed by lament is followed up to and including Psalm 41. Hope is found in this group of Davidic psalms, but it is hope against the backdrop of trouble.

Psalm 10

1 The opening verse of Psalm 10 invites comparison with Psalm 22:1, words prayed by Jesus on the cross. In view of the superscription of Psalm 9 identifying the psalm with the “death of the son,” this further indicates that Psalms 9-10 should be read as one psalm.

15 The arm was a symbol of strength.

16 Although Psalm 10 is a psalm of lament, it concludes in hope in view of the fact that the “Lord is King forever and ever” and that the gōyim (nations, translated as “heathen” by the KJV) have “perished out of his land.” This is an allusion to the Davidic covenant with its divinely ordained king who is reigning on behalf of the Lord and to the promise of land made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See Genesis 15:18-21.)

17 Although it may have seemed that the Lord was distant and hidden (verse 1), He actually “heard the desire of the humble (compare with verse 12). Since He heard their desire, He would “prepare their heart” (i.e., comfort them).

Psalm 11

Psalm 11 continues the theme begun in Psalm 10. The house of David was troubled by “the wicked” (verses 2, 5, 6). (Compare with Psalm 10:2-4, 13, 15.) The wicked are contrasted with the righteous. The psalm acknowledges a challenge to God’s messianic purpose, a challenge that is doomed.

1 The theme of trust in the Lord continues the motif begun in Psalm 2:12: trust in the Son, the Messiah. In this psalm, David was either in conversation with his advisors, or he was consulting with himself. Either he was being counseled to flee from the wicked, like a bird flies away from a snare, or he was considering flight. (Compare with Psalm 55:6; 124:7.) But how can flight be considered when one is trusting in the Lord?

2-3 If his advisors were counseling David, they justified their counsel to flee in these words. It is common in Psalms and elsewhere to describe the words of those who are wicked metaphorically as deadly weapons. (See Psalm 37:14-15; 57:4; 64:3-4; Proverbs 12:18; Isaiah 54:17; Jeremiah 9:8.)

3 The “foundations” refer in a metaphor to the social order established by God. (See Psalm 75:3; 82:5; Ezekiel 30:4.) The idea is that a challenge to David was a challenge to the Davidic covenant and ultimately to the Messiah’s rule. The “foundation” of Israel, and ultimately of the world, was the throne of David, occupied by the Messiah.

Psalm 12

Like Psalm 11, Psalm 12 continues the theme of trouble for the house of David. This psalm was to be sung to the accompaniment of an eight stringed instrument (shem’inith).

1 Like Psalm 10, this psalm begins with a bleak cry. The word translated “ceaseth” (gamar) suggests that the godly are no more, as the second half of the verse indicates. In other words, it is not “help” that ceases, but it is those who are faithful, or godly, who cease to be. This is certainly hyperbole, but it accurately expressed David’s concern for the apparent success of those who were unfaithful, as also seen in Psalms 10-11.

5 Even though Psalm 12 does not specifically mention the reign of the Lord or His throne, it is indirectly referred to here with the idea that the Lord would arise from His throne to respond to the threat of the wicked.

6-7 The promise of the Lord was that he would “keep them” (the poor and needy of verse 5) and “preserve them.” He will not allow the wicked to carry out their threats.

7 This verse has been misunderstood, especially by some advocates of KJV Onlyism (the belief that only the King James Version faithfully transmits the Scriptures in English) to mean that the Lord will keep and preserve His words “from this generation forever.” The grammar of the Hebrew text will not allow this meaning. The words translated “poor” and “needy” in verse 5 are masculine. The word translated “words” in verse 6 is feminine. The words translated “them” in verse 7 are masculine, requiring that the pronoun “them” refer back to the “poor” and “needy” of verse 5, not to the “words” of verse 6. The words of Scripture are inspired, and the Lord will preserve them, but this verse does not support the claims of those who claim that only one English translation is reliable.[2]

Psalm 13

1 The theme of trouble in the house of David continues. The general tenor of this lament is much like the sentiments expressed in Psalms 6:3; 7:1-2; 10:1; 12:1. The apparent success of the wicked ones caused David to feel forgotten by God.

5 The word translated “salvation” is a form of yeshua‘, which finds it fullest significance in the name given to the Messiah.

6 When David turned away from a focus on his enemy and refocused on the mercy and salvation of the Lord, his hope was restored and worship overcame complaints.

[1] These notes were prepared for the Apostolic Study Bible (Hazelwood, MO: WAP Academic, 2014) by Daniel L. Segraves.

[2] The comments on verse 7 do not appear in the Apostolic Study Bible.