1Ti 2:9-10 “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; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
In verse eight of this chapter, Paul has expressed his concern that men pray everywhere. He has instructed that we treat this as a sacred responsibility (“lifting up holy hands”) before God. We are not to pray in a way that would avenge us (“without wrath”) against another. We are to pray with purpose (“without doubting”). This is not about how we appear to others, but about how we appear to God.
Paul’s statement of “In like manner” in verse nine carries the same weight. This is not about how women appear to men or to each other. This is about how they appear to God. Let me say this next very plainly. Regardless of a woman’s manner of dress, men have NO RIGHT to allow their minds to slip into the gutter of their carnality and then blame the woman for the man’s unwanted behavior on any level.
As previously stated, this is Paul’s admonition as to how women should desire to appear before God. They should be modest in what they put on. The Greek word used for modest here literally means “of good behavior” according to Strong’s. We need to keep in mind that people adorn themselves with attitudes as well as garments.
To be shamefaced, as used here, did not imply that women have something to be ashamed of more than men. This word means to stand in awe of God and be sober (of a sound mind) before Him. It does not matter how richly a woman can adorn herself. If she is going to claim to live a godly life, then the proof is in her labor before the Lord and not how well she dresses when she comes to church.
Paul, in speaking of men and women, is often speaking of Christ and the church (as His bride). He uses this union as an example of what we should strive to be. I will assure you that when Paul describes how men ought to pray, he is not using himself as the standard. Rather, he is considering the prayer life of our Lord, Jesus.
In that vein, have our women (local congregations) lost sight of how they are to appear before God? Have our thoughts turned to how we look to men? Instead of adorning ourselves in humbly serving God and His children, it sometimes appears that we have become too concerned with how we look on the surface. We behave as though we need to “fancy things up a bit” in order to entice people to our doors.
When we come together to worship, our first concern should be to stand in awe of God. We should assemble as the bride of Christ, seeking His face and His approval of our labor. While I understand our desire to grow our congregations, this should never be done with worldly enticements. We should desire that people come because of who we serve and not how we look to the eyes of the world.
May God grant us His grace to stand before Him in awe and a sound mind with our concern being how we appear before Him!