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1 Corinthians 11 and 1 Corinthians 3- “veiled”, “covered”, “unveiled”, etc.

March 2, 2009

I am wondering about the relationship between kalypto/kalupto/kalymma in 1 Corinthians 11 and 2 Corinthians 3?  Both passages speak of this “veil” [kalyptō (verb), kalymma (noun)] and of glory, and both are written to the Corninthians so I wonder if clarity may come from examining them side by side?

I was reminded of Peter’s observation about Paul- contrary to those who want to take a “plain reading”, even Paul’s contemporary and co-apostle commented about him, “as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” 2 Pet 3:15-16

1 Corinthians 11 (4 versions)
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered(kata), dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered (akatakalyptos) dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered(katakalyptō), let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered(katakalyptō). 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover(katakalyptō) his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. …
13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered(akatakalyptos)?…  15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering (peribolaion).

2 Cor 3:12-4:7 (4 versions)
But we all, with unveiled (anakalyptō) face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord….  But even if our gospel is veiled (kalyptō), it is veiled (kalyptō) to those who are perishing, 2 Cor 3:18, 4:3


kalyptō (verb)-to hide, to veil, to hinder the knowledge of a thing

kalymma (noun- etymology says it is from kalypto (verb)) – a veil, a covering

Greek ana means upward (see Thayer’s lexicon at the link),
kata means downward

anakalyptō to unveil or uncover (by drawing back a veil,)-  [Charis: or based on ana meaning “upward”, I propose “to unveil or uncover by lifting up the veil”]

katakalyptō to cover up,  to veil or cover one’s self [Charis: based on kata meaning “down”, I propose “to pull the veil down over oneself”]

akatakalyptos– uncovered, unveiled


I find interesting that the word translated REVELATION is a related word:

apokalyptō– to uncover, lay open what has been veiled or covered up (see also apokalypsis)

Greek apo means “of separation” so this is not just a lifting up nor pulling down of the veil, it is a removal of the veil



Why does Paul switch words in 1 Corinthians 11:15?

Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 1 Cor 11:13 The answer would seem to be “its fine”.  Likewise, when Paul asks in verse 14 ” Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?”- the answer would seem to be “NO, nature does not teach that. eg.  A male lion has long hair.”  So, what is Paul getting at?   Is there some deeper meaning?   Here is an explanation which sounds plausible.


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