The following is an excerpt from notes on the book of 1 Timothy that I wrote a few years ago. The content is very helpful to the lady who wants to understand the biblical view of her presentation of herself. The notes are specifically on verses 2:9-10. 


 Concerning women, they are given instruction concerning their proper role in the church and then some specific instructions concerning how to conduct themselves in the church. The instruction that is given to them by Paul can be looked at best by breaking the information down into three different categories.

1. The Christian woman and her worship. outward presentation  inward disposition  

2. The Christian woman and her place of service in the church and home.

3. The Christian woman and her place of honor.

Let us look at each one of these in relation to our passage.

1.       The outward presentation. Here Paul gives us instructions concerning the women and their appearance in the gatherings of the church family. He addresses this subject by referencing their clothing and then how they present themselves physically.   The reason I say this is because the word (adorn) (2:9) means to dress. Then he further instructs the ladies by telling them that the principle that should guide your clothing choices is that they be  (modest). The word found here means well-ordered and seems to have the idea of appropriateness and is taken to mean (tasteful and not provocative)[1]. Barnes writes of modest by saying, “in the sense of being opposed to that which is immodest, or which tends to excite improper passions and desires.”[2]   I want to give a little background and then continue on with this point. It is believed that the situation here is that the women in the church at Ephesus were presenting themselves in a very inappropriate way. They were possibly practicing some of the things that they had learned from their former pagan lifestyles and were continuing to do as they had done before.   These women were being called on to break away from the pressures and mold of this world and to dress in such a way that any presumption about her body or her intentions would not be wrongfully made…. In other words, she was to dress in such a way that attention would not be brought to her body. Specifically, it seems that the intent is to refer to the sexual parts of her body.  

Not too low, not too high, not too tight, not too lose, not too revealing…. In other words, a good rule of thumb would be to look yourself over and see where the attention is drawn by what you are wearing. It is of the utmost importance that a godly lady does not draw others eyes away intentionally. She is to present herself carefully and modestly.  

After introducing this instruction concerning her clothing, he then uses two other words to describe how she is to adorn herself… with shamefacedness and sobriety. These words present the ladies’ attitude towards her appearance. She is to present herself outwardly with these two words guiding her intentions… the meaning of the first is modesty mixed with humility- the underlying idea of bashfulness towards men (cast down eyes) and reverence towards God.. the other word, sobriety has the idea of moderation of desires and passions. Self-control concerning passions, especially sexual passions.   Her outward appearance also includes her accessorizing of herself as well. There is instruction given here concerning what is inappropriate. Paul writes: not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;   Here he is no longer dealing with the woman and her presentation of herself as it relates to her carefully presenting her body as to not present herself in an inappropriate way or to dishonor God by drawing the attention of another, but now he deals with her presentation of herself as it relates to social status.   The words he uses here are meant to prohibit a gaudy, showy display[3] in other words, the ladies were to avoid being showy. Instead, they were to place their emphasis on what we will call:  

2.       Their inward disposition. Much more important than their outward appearance, here the emphasis is on what they are trying to promote, which is their inward constitution. The focus is meant to be on your character and actions instead of your appearance. 1Ti 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. How you look and how you carry yourself should match your profession. The idea of professing Godliness is that your outward appearance should line up with what you claim to be. What do you say you are? What does the way you carry yourself and clothe yourself say you are? What is your character? Who are you really? The truth of the matter is that this is more important than anything else when considering who a person is. This is who is behind the clothes and makeup. Who really is there? These women are told to put much emphasis on this area. More than is put on the other. And then good works. Her actions should agree with her testimony. Who she says she is should be clearly seen in what she does. Thus, in both her inward and her outward, they should be in agreement with one another and both should work together to honor God while giving a clear testimony of who you are in Christ, being careful not to distract anyone from Christ. [1] Thomas D. Lea and Hayne P. Griffin, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, The New American commentary v. 34 (Nashville, Tenn: Broadman Press, 1992).   [2]Albert Barnes et al., Barnes’ Notes. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 1996). [3] Lea.