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Incorruptible Beauty - by Mary L. Weinstein

One subject that seems to create a debate is the subject of women dressing modestly.  You have churches that are extreme in their teaching and thus require women to not wear jewelry, makeup or pants.  Then you have the other extreme where churches take the freedom we have in Jesus to not have any guidelines for dress.  There must be a healthy, Godly balance.  To do so, we have to understand exactly what the Bible says on the subject. 


The Bible has so much to say to a believer about how to conduct themselves in a Godly manner.  There are, however, several verses referring specifically to women.  Paul wrote a letter to Timothy concerning the manner of dress of the women in the church of Ephesus.  He said in I Timothy 2:9-10, “(In like manner) that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing but which is proper for women professing godliness with good works.” (NKJV)  Paul was addressing the issue of dress because prostitutes during this time wore fancy clothes and jewelry to attract men.  Paul says if a woman is professing to be a Christian then she should look like one.  He makes it clear that a woman is to be modest and sensible.  In other words, people ought to be able to look at you and recognize you are not a common woman.  2 Corinthians 6:17 says to come out from among “them” (the world) and be separate.  Women are to avoid vanity and worldliness.  This in no way means a woman cannot look nice.  It means there must be balance.  A woman should look nice and take pride in her appearance.  However, a woman should not spend all her time and effort on looking so good on the outside that she fails to develop inner beauty.  A woman should care more about developing a Godly character which includes self-control, wisdom, love, and compassion among other things. 


Peter also wrote a letter to believers in several parts of Asia Minor concerning the subject of dress.  In I Peter 3:3-4, he writes, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel, rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (NKJV)  Again, we see the same theme in Peter’s letter that we saw in Paul’s.  Women were concentrating too much on their outward appearance instead of developing a Godly character.  Not only is a woman to dress modestly but she should not be unruly and unrestrained. 


The lack of modest dressing is due to several factors.  First of all, we live in a society that teaches women to dress promiscuously.  Even girls in middle schools are wearing extremely low cut blouses and super short shorts to school.  Secondly, the church has become lukewarm and compromising.  Many of today’s churches have congregants show up in jeans, sneakers, shorts and sandals among other things. They want to send the message that you can come as you are.  Even the pastors are called by their first name, not pastor.  Their message is “we’re trying to keep it real.”  I agree that visitors and new believers should come as they are.  However, there comes a time when they need to stop drinking milk and start eating meat.  As believers mature in their faith, it should be evident in their manner of speech, their behavior, their thinking and in their way of dressing.  Many churches don’t have women teaching other women what is appropriate.  Another factor is low self-esteem.  There are so many women that feel insecure about their looks that they think they have to look a certain way in order to be noticed.  This includes women that are aging.  They want to appear younger than they are so they begin to wear tight-fitting clothes, lots of makeup and very high heeled shoes.  Women need to be taught what the Bible says about inward and outward beauty so that their thinking can be renewed.  Another factor is that there are some cultures that are very liberal in the way they dress.  Lastly, there are just some women who do not want to change the way they are.  They either do not see anything wrong with their way of dress or they have an unteachable spirit. 


            So how’s a woman to dress?  First of all, women ought to ask the Holy Spirit for His opinion.  Secondly, use wisdom and common sense.  We can be fashionable and stylish and still be modest.  Thirdly, don’t wear clothes that are provocative.  We are not to cause any men to stumble.  Also, sometimes the latest in fashion may be something that does not flatter your appearance.  Wear clothes that flatter you and hide your flaws.  Finally, respect yourself.  Know your self-worth as a woman of God.  If you’re trying to get people’s attention, you really need to do some soul searching and ask God what is causing you to do that so that you can be set free from it.  I miss the days when women dressed with pure class and sophistication.  Now women leave little to the imagination.  Let’s get classy for our Lord Jesus!


2010 ãMary L. Weinstein.  All rights reserved.

Mary L. Weinstein is a Certified Life Purpose Coach through Life Purpose Coaching Centers, Int'l.  She holds a Bachelor of Theology in Biblical Counseling from The King's College & Seminary.  She is an ordained Minister, Biblical Counselor and Bible Teacher.  Mary is the Founder and CEO of Friends with Purpose Ministries.  Her website is http://www.friendswithpurpose.com

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