Modest Apparel
By Network Minister
M. Tichi

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The literal interpretation of this one verse has defined a righteous woman from an unrighteous woman by the way they dress (in the minds of christians) for centuries, and has had a huge influence on fashion in religion.

1 Timothy 2:-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.

The word "modest" is not found in the OT (with the exception of the Book of 2 Maccabees), and is only found once in the NT, so I am forced to discover the meaning of the word in Greek, which often lacks the depth and idioms of the Hebrew language.

Strong's G2887
well arranged, seemly, modest

FROM G2889(in its primary sense)

an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, 'the heavenly hosts', as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:
the world, the universe
the circle of the earth, the earth
the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family
the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from YAHWEH, and therefore hostile to the cause of Messiah
world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from YAHWEH and are obstacles to the cause of Messiah
any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort
the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews

Probably from the base of G2865

to care for, take care of, provide for
to take up or carry away in order to care for and preserve
to carry away, bear off
to carry, bear, bring to, to carry away for one's self, to carry off what is one's own, to bring back
to receive, obtain: the promised blessing
to receive what was previously one's own, to get back, receive back, recover

There is a similar word: sober.

Strong's G4993
to be of sound mind
to be in one's right mind
to exercise self control
to put a moderate estimate upon one's self, think of one's self soberly
to curb one's passions

"Modest" has come to mean, in our modern minds, clothing that covers all or most skin. Did you know that it was considered risque and inappropriate at one time for a woman to have her ankles showing? Imagine what those people would think today if they saw a woman wearing a bikini?

A believing woman is set-apart and is symbolic of the The Bride. The unbelieving woman is symbolic of the Great Whore (Revelation 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication). A believing woman (or man) is considered chaste and pure by Yahweh, even being compared to a virgin (G3933: parthenos, a virgin by implication, applied to both men and women).

What Timothy is trying to convey in verse 9 is that you are, as a believing woman, a symbolic representative of the Bride. You need not adorn yourself with a lot of showy "bling". Looking at art from the 1st and 2nd Centuries of Rome during the time of Timothy and Paul's preaching there, you can see how the women dressed and elaborately braided their hair. (See: Roman Dress)

Clothing and jewelry was also a symbol of station (or class), so the more ornate you were, the higher your class. The Byzantine dress was even more elaborate! (See: Byzantine Dress)

Verse 10 above calls you, as a Daughter of Yahweh, to wear your righteousness.

Job 29:14
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem (crown).
Psalm 132:9
Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
Isaiah 61:10
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Indeed, righteousness is called "white raiment".

Revelation 3:5;18
5 He that overcometh , the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

What is more beautiful than righteousness? Nothing!

Timothy is saying that we should not care about our outward appearances, and should not concern ourselves with showing off our worldly stations (class, wealth, possessions, etc.), but be more concerned with showing our righteousness. Be "clothed in righteousness", wearing a crown no one can see.
Modesty has nothing to do with how much skin we show, as it has come to mean today. However, that brings me to a separate but similar topic on apparel, and that is revealing clothing.

Since all spiritual matters are about INTENT OF THE HEART, outwardly appearances do not necessarily indicate that INTENT.

For example: a (believing) woman's husband wants her to wear short skirts, low-cut tops and high heels, and she does so to please him and only him. Is she a sinner for doing this? No, not at all, but she should only wear these things in the privacy of their own home. Being obedient to our husbands is not only teaching us deep spiritual matters relating to our relationship with Yahweh, but is also bringing Shalom to our home. The opposite of the above scenario is also true. If her husband wanted her to wear long dresses with long sleeves in public, then she should also do so. Of course, you have to ask him what he likes. You aren't sinning by being an obedient wife (unless he is asking you to break a commandment - something a righteous or spiritually respectful mate would NEVER do). However, you need to understand that SIN is SELFISHNESS (all acts of SELFISHNESS are SIN). So, wear your righteousness by being righteous (selflessly loving).

Single American women dress to attract a mate, which is something I've never really quite understand about humanity, because with the majority of the animal kingdom, it is the male that needs to attract the female (research the difference between the male and female Birds of Paradise and their fascinating mating rituals). If you are a believing single woman, I would advise you to seek a mate that can see your righteousness, NOT your "physical attributes". Think of times past when women were chosen as wives because of their skills, NOT their appearance! What has American society become today? If you couldn't cook, didn't sow and toil, couldn't sew, you would never be chosen as a wife! Even upper class women were taught skills such as how to play a musical instrument, embroidery and other things! You had to be useful! Perhaps we assume too much in thinking that a modern male is overly focused on appearances? Ask yourself, what kind of skills does a righteous male look for in a mate (we already know what worldly men want)? Well, I asked a few of them and not one of them named physical things as the first thing they look for! Are you surprised? One of them even said that physical things are irrelevant! Keep in mind that truly righteous males differ quite widely from the worldly male!

Here is a short list of some of the answers I received:
1. One of them quoted Proverbs 31 and added that he likes a warm smile.
2. Dedicated, of like-mind, respectful, a healthy spiritual and physical mindset, forgiving, understanding, loving, trustworthy, and who does good works.
3. Selfless, natural-looking, conservative in appearance (not flashy, gaudy, lewd, etc.)
4. Clean.
5. Sincere in heart, one who desires the virtues of YAH, loving, kind, diligent, with a pleasant attitude, tender-hearted, a good mother and friend.
6. Learned, but can still be taught; not proud or haughty, like-minded in actions and expression.
7. Forgiving.

All of those things are righteous skills!

True Love is not of the eyes, anyway, it is of the heart. I can see from that list a few things righteous women may have in common with what they, themselves, are looking for in a righteous mate - and that is righteousness. There is no hiding righteousness, beloveds, it's either there or it's not. A righteous person's actions will always be consistent with what they say. Often, an unrighteous person's actions are totally inconsistent with what they say. By their fruits you shall know them, and by your fruits they shall know "you".

Love and blessings to you all,
M. Tichi, Servant to Yahweh

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