Okay, I am just going to go ahead and jump off into this... Every summer, I dread seeing all the beach pictures on facebook. Don't get me wrong, I love to see the ocean, the sand, and all the cool family photos. What I hate is all the girls that feel they need to post pics of themselves in bikinis... And let's face it, it is not just the beach wear that lacks a little in the material department. I truly cannot understand why girls (of all ages) feel they have to show off everything that God gave them. Even at church this morning, I found myself appalled by some of the apparel. I often find myself asking the question, Where is the Modesty?
While studying modesty in scripture, I came across a commentary by Andrew Wommack on the scripture 1 Timothy 2:9. I want to share it with you now. (You can go to awmi.net for further commentary or more information on Andrew Wommack.)
1 Timothy 2:9
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;
Note 1 at 1 Tim. 2:9: Paul had just admonished men to be holy, without wrath and doubting. In a similar way, he now instructs women how to behave.
Note 2 at 1 Tim. 2:9: There is much contention over what "modest" is. What is acceptable dress in one culture is offensive in another. What is modest in one era would be considered risque in another. Yet, despite the hazards of trying to define modesty, the scriptures demand that we make an attempt.
Our English word "modest" comes from a Latin word meaning "moderate." This is significant because it means that the word "modest" is promoting the idea of being moderate. Whatever the culture or styles of the day, a modest person is one who will not embrace the extreme. Those who embrace styles and fashions that differ from their culture's norms, are usually not modest.
Therefore, it is appropriate to at least partially define modesty by a comparison to those around us. The attitude of "who cares what others think. I'm an individual. I march to my own drum," is an extreme and selfish attitude that violates modesty. A person can become extreme on opposite ends of the spectrum. Those who hold to the styles of the 1700's, in an attempt to be modest, are also extreme.
So, moderation is one of the key elements of modesty. Paul goes on to reveal that immodesty puts an undue emphasis on the external looks while true godliness places the importance on the hidden man of the heart.
Note 3 at 1 Tim. 2:9: Peter makes a similar statement about the dress of women, in 1 Peter 3:3-5 (see parallel Scriptures). In this passage, Peter mentions the way the hair is fixed, wearing gold, and the type of apparel.
Some people have interpreted these passages to say that women cannot braid their hair, wear gold, pearls, or expensive clothing. However, that's missing the point. The way Peter stated it in 1 Peter 3:3, was that women were not suppose to put on apparel. Does that mean they aren't suppose to wear clothes? Certainly not!
The point is that the emphasis should not be on how we look outwardly. In both passages, the instructions on dress are followed by the revelation that it is the inner person who makes one beautiful. That is repeated other places in scripture. Proverbs 19:22 says, "Kindness makes a man attractive. . ." (LB). This is the true beauty of a Christian.
Each person has a desire to be attractive. This need should be fulfilled by our conduct and good works, not by our outward appearance. Gold, pearls and expensive clothing can be worn, but the admonition is not to be gaudy with these things. Let your true beauty come from your heart, which is hidden.
Note 4 at 1 Tim. 2:9: Costly is a relative term. Some garments that might be considered cheap in the United States might be worth a year's wages in some third world countries. Therefore, just as with the word "modest" (see note 2 at this verse), "moderation" is a key word in describing what costly means. Our dress should be appropriate to the situation and culture where we live.