overriding theme and tenor of the scripture in the New Testament
teaches holy living and purity before God. The life of a true
Christian is a walk of humility in spirit and in deed. There are so
many scriptures that support this, that I donít believe there is a
need to enumerate them. Humility and holiness serve as the
foundation of any discussion on subjects such as this.
Cosmetics and jewelry are nothing new. They have been used and
abused long before the coming of Christ. Of interest may be the
following scriptures that speak in disparaging terms of these
things: Jeremiah (4:30); Ezekiel (23:40); Isaiah 3:16-24.
The following New Testament scriptures deal in part with the subject
of outward adornment:
1Ti 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest
apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or
gold, or pearls, or costly array;
1Ti 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good
1Pe 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands;
that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be
won by the conversation of the wives;
1Pe 3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with
1Pe 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of
plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of
1Pe 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is
not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which
is in the sight of God of great price.
The scriptures above teach that all adornment should be modest--or
orderly and of good behavior. It is important to note that true
modesty and holiness are conditions of heart and spirit. Just
because someone looks holy, does not change the inward man. But,
when the inside is clean and pure, the resulting fruit should be
that of holiness and modesty.
Broiding and plaiting of the hair refers not to simply braiding the
hair, but to hair that was crisped, curled and fixed fancily. It was
common for women of the time to weave silver wire, thin plates of
gold and colored ribbons into their hair. They also placed pearls
and precious stones in the hair as ornamentation.
Broided hair, gold, pearls, and costly array are just some specific
things Paul mentions that are not becoming to a women who professes
godliness. The wearing of jewelry and makeup very easily fall into
this category. It is important to consider the spirit and motivation
behind wearing jewelry and using cosmetics.
Modest dress and apparel is that which is neither excessive nor
extravagant and in keeping with humility and decency. A woman is to
dress and conduct herself in a way that is restrained by propriety
and not forward or bold. Shamefacedness is something that we donít
observe very much among the women of our world today. Nevertheless,
it is a Bible doctrine. Jewelry and makeup do not reflect
Jewelry and cosmetics are unnecessary items that are used for the
purpose of Ďfixing-up.í Jewelry draws attention to the person
wearing it. These things are contrary to the spirit of simplicity,
modesty, shamefacedness, and holiness. When one honestly examines
the motivations behind bedecking herself with these things, the
honest heart will have to acknowledge that there are issues involved
that are at variance with the scripture. The world has placed much
emphasis on the outward appearance, while God places value on the
inward beauty of the heart.
There is a natural desire that most women have to look nice and be
attractive. Saints of God should not be sloppy or unkempt, but
neither should they adorn themselves with the prideful things of
this world. There are women who struggle with this subject and feel
like they want to wear jewelry or makeup not out of pride, but out
of a sense of self-respect. We must realize that this inward
struggle, while very real, comes because of the pressure and
standards of the world. We must not judge truth and godliness based
on our feelings, but on the Word of God.
The outward man reflects and exhibits to the world what spirit we
are of. Hence, Paul and Peter addressed a few specific items. There
are some things that the Bible does not spell out. Our living is not
just by the letter, but also by the spirit of the Word. As every
Christian should desire to have the humility of Christ, so the
outward man should reflect and exhibit that spirit to the world.
For these reasons, Christians have laid aside jewelry and makeup. I
am sure that there are people that donít have light and
understanding of this truth, and they will be judged accordingly.
However, when someone is exposed to the truth and refuses to accept
it because of fleshly desire, that then becomes sin. Many professing
religious people have rationalized themselves out of this Bible
doctrine, and they will be held accountable for it on the day of
judgment. In truth, when someone does this, there are deeper
spiritual issues at work such as pride and other works of the flesh.
The emphasis of Godís people should always be on the ornament of a
meek and quiet spirit. While we seek to have the Spirit of Christ,
let us not fall prey to the love of the world in outward
ornamentation. There is great peace and joy in observing those
things upon which God has placed His approval. Godly women that have
laid aside the things of the world need never feel like second-class
citizens. True beauty is found in living a holy life.
Michael Smith (12/8/06)