Online Articles

Online Articles

Modesty is More Than Dress

"Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness." (1 Timothy 2:9-10, NAS95)

"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." (1 Timothy 2:9-10, KJV)

In this verse the discussion of what you "put on" is a demonstration of what is important, more than clothes!

The word modest in this passage relates to ornament, decoration and it means to be well-ordered and becoming, as opposed to discussing immodest clothing designed to attract attention. This would include not neglecting personal appearance which would draw attention away from what is important. Paul is illustrating the spiritual by first discussing the physical. Yes, proper clothing is always important, not being showy or attention grabbing with any part of our appearance (broidered hair, gold or pearls, etc.) at this point Paul gives us what is "spiritually" important. Decorate, adorn "put on" those things that make a claim for godliness, professing godliness, to be distinguished for good works not how the body is decorated in vanity. (2 Cor 4:16)

"In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external — braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." (1 Peter 3:1-4, NAS95)

Peter spent most of chapter 2 discussing submission of all Christians for the sake of the Lord, he continues in chapter 3 giving the same reason, for the sake of the Lord. Peter also talks about the "putting on" decorating, but his emphasis is on behavior, conduct which must be chaste (refraining from acts, thoughts, and desires that are lustful), respectful or discreet (showing discernment, prudent in speech). When the Christian is "decorated" with these attributes it leads them to purity (which implies innocence and absence of temptation rather than just controlling the impulses). Peter then speaks about the "hidden or inner man" that part which is precious, of great value in God's sight.

We can attract God's attention and approval by decorating with spiritual ornaments or we can attract man's attention with glitz and glamor.

When either men or women spend too much time, money and attention on decorating their person, it is proof that there is a lack of spirituality within. (2 Peter 3:11)