A one minute segment of a recent television award show had the host standing behind a statue of female anatomy feigning lewd acts in front of millions of young minds. But, the host was not alone in his carnal mastery. Seconds later, a young female pop star prepared to parade the stage in lingerie, signaling to all that the host’s previous actions were not only allowable but welcomed.
We turned the TV off! The world is the world, and although it saddens us, it should not surprise us. What should surprise us is when the church acts like the world.
In the modern “church” there exists a growing opposition (or avoidance) to the truth of God. One evidence is the lack of clear biblical teaching for women. A second piece of evidence is the growing lack of Christian character by women. [We will discuss the lack of male integrity in a subsequent post] The traditional and clear teaching of Scripture has been set aside in the name of tolerance and political correctness. A recent torrent of “Christian” conferences for women promote motivation, feminism, empowerment, and personal satisfaction instead of humility, respect, purity, and family. Is it working?
No, it is our sisters and daughters who suffer. Young girls are stuffed into transgender bathrooms by 6th grade. The majority of teenage girls grow up without a father. 80% of young women now graduate college with an STD. Millions of women are told that “motherhood” isn’t a large enough dream. And the Ashley Madison hack proved that the most conservative of marriages are up for grabs. Yet the media driven frenzy to sexualize and trivialize women continues, and women buy in, baring more and more of their body and losing more and more of their soul.
In 1 Timothy 2:9-10, the apostle Paul prepared Timothy, his young protégé in ministry, on how to instruct women in an immoral age…
“I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness.” (NASB)
To adorn is a Greek word from which we get our word cosmetic and references an orderly act of preparation. Proper comes from the root for universe or world system and is the opposite of something chaotic. This means that when a woman prepares to dress for church, and other events, she is to do so in a self-controlled way that places the focus on God and not on herself. The very fact that Paul uses the word “adorn” means it’s okay for a woman to be a woman, to look presentable, for her husband, friends, and congregation. But, this should not be her goal.
Then, Paul becomes more specific mentioning braided hair or hairstyles. His point being that women shouldn’t put their focus on new and fancy hairstyles, specifically with the intent to attract attention. There are stories of women in the 1st century who would weave gold and pearls into their hair and purchase fancy dresses for church. Pliny, a first century Roman historian, describes a dress worn by Lollia Paulina, wife of Emperor Caligula, which was worth $300,000 in today’s money. Sadly, when a woman came to church in such a dress, the other women would covet and cower, thus Paul says, “Get the attention off the clothes and onto the King!”
The two attitudes that promote this humility are modesty and discretion. Modestly is a Greek word which means bashfulness or literally, “eyes down” specifically as it relates to men. Paul is saying that the heart of a spiritual woman does not use her appearance or eyes to attract external attention but to signal that her intentions are pure, focused on God, and deferential to her husband. The word discreetly means self-controlled, especially over sexual passions.
Note lastly the goal in her piety is good works. The woman of God is not focused on GOOD LOOKS because she’s focused GOOD WORKS. The word Paul uses here literally means, “She makes a public announcement” by her good works.
Paul paints a picture of women opposite what we see in the world and hear from modern teaching. The world demands women be powerful, noticed, extravagant, sexual, boastful, online, in offices, on stage, and influential. God commands that women be humble, respectful, modest, wise, familial, and virtuous.
The Bible does not treat women as spiritual inferiors. The first person Jesus revealed His calling to was a woman (John 4:25-26), in contrast to the culture, Jesus taught women (Luke 10:38-42), women helped Jesus (Luke 8:2-3), and after His resurrection Jesus appeared first to a woman (John 20:11-18). Women are not spiritual inferiors but are unique from man with gifts and a calling all their own.
A powerful example of that calling is that men will never produce and nurse young children. This is a fundamental truth supporting God’s unique and necessary design for man and woman in marriage. In 1 Timothy 2:15 Paul explains that women are preserved through the bearing of children. Preserved is an important biblical word “sozo” which means rescued and delivered. Paul’s point is that although all have sinned, women carry the primary responsibility for rearing godly children and acting as God’s conduit of grace upon their little lives!
The world has always been the world, but the church must recommit to teaching women where their true joy can be found – Their unique nature and ability is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing, and it’s a God thing. Removing attention from the curves and focusing it on the call, will remove a lifetime of consequences. Making worship “eyes on God and eyes off me” will allow church to be a safe haven. And, fulfilling the role of wife and Godly mother will bring with it eternal blessings. May we support our sister’s fervently and teach our daughter’s well.