Archives For Theology

So we’ve made it through eight posts, covering different information about modesty than many were expecting.  I won’t do another summary of what’s come before, except to say that I’ve argued at length that “modesty”, in the Bible, has more to do with general demeanor and flaunting wealth than it has to do with dressing inappropriately.  For a more in depth summary, I’ll refer my readers to the previous post.

I closed off the last post by pointing out the obvious: I hadn’t yet addressed what would be considered standard “modesty” fare…namely talking about women who dress in clothes that flaunt their culturally-afforded fashion rights.  Today, that’s where we’re going; starting with the American Constitution.

Second Amendment

Many women think modesty talk has to do with utilizing the right to bare arms…or more specifically stopping at the arms.  When it comes to typical “modesty” discussions, the conversation often runs in one of three directions:

a. Guidelines to help someone determine just what a woman is allowed to bare before she crosses the line into “immodest”

b.  Trying to find explicit statements about baring/not baring specific things (knees, thighs, shoulders, etc.) in the Bible that are questionably there.

c.  Talking about frustrations related to how men can’t control themselves, no matter what a girl covers up…or how girls constantly get blamed for someone else’s sin.

Seeing that my summary of b reveals my opinion about that (rather obviously), and seeing that I’ve already taken a rather thorough look at the directly relevant scriptures in the previous posts, I’m going to leave that one as already dealt with sufficiently.  The Bible doesn’t directly talk about how many inches above/below the knee a skirt should be, or whether or not women can wear pants (and yes, I know about Deuteronomy 22:5).  People who claim otherwise are exegetical hacks.  The Bible does give direction on issues of what a woman can or cannot bare, but not specific guidelines regarding styles of clothing or units of measure regarding clothing length.

That leaves a and c, so let’s get rolling. Continue Reading…

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed that I’ve been heading in a specific trajectory and there are a whole lot of practical questions that remain outstanding.  Now we’re going to be covering a lot of ground quickly, so it seems like it’s time for a quick review of what we’ve covered so far:


In the first post, we introduced the topic and gave a broad look at the categories of women in churches that have concerns about modesty (in various ways). I mentioned the four categories of woman as those interested in a) biblical modesty, b) historic modesty, c) cultural modesty and d) those interested in being “Christian hotties.” So far, this series has mostly aimed providing answers for ladies in categories a and b.

In the second and third posts, we looked at the biblical terminology by exploring the two main passages in the New Testament where the word “modest” appears: 1 Cor. 12:23 and 1 Tim. 2:9.  I only did that because the verses with the term “modesty” in them are generally the passages that people talk about when the topic comes up.  In 1 Cor. 12:23 we discovered that the idea behind “modesty” isn’t primarily one of appearance, but rather overall demeanour.   In 1 Tim. 2:9 we discovered that the idea behind “modesty” is one of “order.”  The women that God esteems are women who are marked by restraint and dignity; they’re honourable women.  The idea of a woman adorned in “respectable apparel” (“respectable apparel” being “modesty and self-control“) is contrasted with one who is not adorned “with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.”  Again, 1 Tim. 2:9 aims at character rather than rules about clothes, though people often take the “braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire” to be some concrete rules about “not dressing like a prostitute.”  At the end of that post, I suggested that the idea that “gold and braided hair was the mark of a prostitute in ancient Roman culture” was essentially a myth. Continue Reading…

In the previous post, I dug through 1 Peter 3:1-6 and unpacked the v. 1-4 of that text.  I commented on how the passage addresses women who have husbands that are disobedient to God and God’s commands to those women.  Those commands would be rather amazingly difficult to obey, but God gives all women everywhere (those with good and godly husbands, those with occasionally sinful husbands, and those with wretchedly sinful husbands) more than just difficult commands.  Oh no.  He gives them firm truths onto which they can anchor their battered and fearful hearts.  In this post, I’m going to continue mining out 1 Peter 3:5-6 and unpack two titanium truths for securing a struggling heart.

In verse 1 Peter 3:5-6, Peter writes “For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.  And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Here’s the first titanium truth: Continue Reading…

So let’s recap.

In the first post, we introduced the topic and gave a broad look at the categories of women in churches that have concerns about modesty (or a total lack thereof).  In the second and third posts, we looked at the biblical terminology from 1 Cor 12:23 and 1 Tim. 2:9.  I only did that because the verses with the term “modesty” in them are generally the passages that people talk about when the topic comes up.  At the end of that post, I brought up the myth that gold, braided hair was the mark of a prostitute in ancient Roman culture.  In the fourth post, we looked at the actual mark of a prostitute in ancient Roman culture; wearing the male Toga (often made out of thin, revealing Coan silk).  In the fifth post, we looked at what gold, braided hair indicated in ancient Roman culture; wealth and status.

status symbol

Now, I’m going to take a quick look at the other significant biblical text that addresses modesty.  This whole series would be incomplete without addressing it, so let’s explore 1 Peter 3:1-6: Continue Reading…

In the previous post, we learned that women’s clothing in ancient Rome was not terribly varied: respectable women worn the stolla and palla and differentiated themselves from one another with variations of color and jewelry.  Adulteresses and prostitutes were most notably marked by the wearing of the toga, or at times a stolla that was made of thin and revealing Coan silk. A woman’s moral character was indicated by her choice of clothing, and prostitutes were marked by either various degrees of nudity or the willful rejection of “female” dress.[1]

The previous post dealt a blow against the myth that says “the problem in 1 Tim. 2 and 1 Pet. 3 is one of women dressing immorally, as indicated by their prostitute-like hair.”  In recognizing that hair didn’t indicate that someone was immoral, the previous post also posited the question:  What did “braided hair and gold or pearls” indicate?

This brings us to today’s topic: it’s hair.


Continue Reading…

In the previous post, we looked at the word “modest” in the New Testament and walked through 1 Cor. 12:23 and 1 Tim. 2:9 and ended up closing the post with a little discussion of what “not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire” meant.  The question arose as to what braided hair with gold and pearls indicated in ancient Roman culture, and the comment was made there is an evangelical myth that such things indicated that a woman was a prostitute.  I suggested that such was not the case, and today’s post will be the first part of a two-part answer to that question.  In this post we’ll take a look at women’s clothing in Roman culture, and the following post will take a look at women’s hairstyles. Hopefully the next two posts will lay to rest some evangelical myths about hair and clothes in the New Testament era. Continue Reading…

In the previous post, we dug through 1 Cor. 12:23, which contains the first of two occurrences of the term “modesty” in the ESV.  We saw that in 1 Cor. 12:23, the term translated “modesty” carried an idea that wasn’t primarily one of appearance, but rather overall demeanour.  To be clear, the term included appearance but involved more than just appearance.

Today, we’ll look at the second occurrence of “modesty” in the ESV, which is found in 1 Tim. 2:9.

1 Tim. 2:9 – Again, I’m going to set the verse within its immediate context of 1 Tim. 2:8-15

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

The term “modesty” is actually translated from an entirely different term, but we’re going to look at the blanket category before getting to the specific word translated “modesty”. Continue Reading…


Fewer words in Biblical theology have greater potential of moving large groups of professing Christian women to hate you.


Fewer words in Biblical theology have more diverse associations.

Fewer words in Biblical theology have more associated confusion.

Fewer words get serious exploration, since everyone already knows that it means, right?

Not so fast.

So what does the word “modesty” actually mean, like in the Bible?   Continue Reading…


My name is Lyndon,

I have a confession to make:

I have a heavy burden regarding the level of theological schlock that is regularly dumped upon my sisters in the Lord.  Many of my female friends struggle, far too hard, to find reliable theological resources that deal with issues of concern to them.  Because of this, I want to write some women’s-ministry-related literature that has some theological substance.

I have a second confession to make:

I’m male.  I wish that I could somehow turn that part of me off for addressing this topic, but I simply cannot.

That means, I suffer from typical male proclivities, aptly illustrated in the following:   Continue Reading…

letterBefore e-mail it was rare to mistakenly send a missive to the wrong person. But these days it is a gaffe people make with great frequency and sometimes dire consequences.

In January 2014 Oxford University College accidentally sent a broadcast e-mail to all students, instead of just the academic staff, listing the names and grades of the 50 worst performers.

In 2000, 15-year-old Claire MacDonald in Devon UK began receiving classified e-mails from the Pentagon. Her address had erroneously been added to a list of security council officials with top secret clearance. One mail included New Zealand’s entire naval defense strategy. Another mail, ironically, was the American security council offering advice to the UK on how to prevent the leaking of sensitive documents.

Stipulating to whom your letter is addressed is as important as its content. This is a lesson we learn from Jude 1b. Here we discover in whose inbox Jude intended this mail to land. And it may shock you to learn that one of the addresses in his list may well be yours…

Continue Reading…