Our first post on modesty actually spoke of our empowerment to live rightly before God, rather than the command for women to dress and carry ourselves in a certain way. While presenting the tools first may seem a little backward, there was a reason for that.
In my study of God’s Word and by the training of my family’s teachers and pastors, I’ve learned that with God, the provision always precedes the command. In other words, God never asks us to do something He hasn’t given us the power or provision to do. We see this in every instance where God called a man, woman or nation to His service.
What has God called us to in reference to modesty?
In his first letter to Timothy Paul provides the following instructions: “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” (1 Timothy 2:9, 10 NIV)
A bit of context is beneficial prior to addressing this command. Paul wrote this letter to Timothy at a time when Timothy was ministering to the church at Ephesus. A large portion of the letter focuses on instructions for the church and principles for Godly living. I wanted to paint this picture for us to show that this passage is as relevant to us today as it was then. Secondly, to point that Paul was not a man on a mission to chastise or denigrate women. Rather, this passage, as is the case with all Scripture, is beneficial for the teaching, training and rebuke of the church.
Paul makes a strong emphasis in these two verses. We see both, what women should not do and what we should. This sort of comparison is seen repeatedly before in the Bible. We’ve witnessed the fruit of these choices in the examples of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, the comparison of a person planted in The Lord versus one who sits in the company of mockers in the first Psalm, and the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25. In all of these passages, we clearly see an example of how to be and how not to be. Our passage at hand, once looked in this light, is filled with hope and promise rather than prohibition.
Here, we hear the inspired Word of God exhort us to take away the attention from our bodies. We hear God calling women out of self-absorbed behaviors and manners of dressing. We’re also disparaged from wearing our wealth as garment when preparing for the worship of The Lord. As a good parent, God also provides a description of our best garments: good deeds appropriate for women who’ve been set apart.
Please join me next week as we develop these 3 points from the verse and continue this study.