1 Peter 3:3-4 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning
of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible,
even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
There are several different subjects that are very sensitive, even volatile, in the Lord's church these days. The King James Bible issue, house churches, and women being in submission to their own husbands are some of them. The matter of modesty is also one such subject, and in some cases may be the most volatile of them all.
On the one side we hear: "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man..." (Deuteronomy 22:5); "God can't use a woman in pants;" "You have to dress by 'these' standards to be right with God;" "If you don't wear the proper clothes, you can't be spiritual;" etc.
On the other side we hear: "I have my liberty! I'm free to wear pants if I want to;" "You can't tell me what to do!" "You are just a bunch of hypocrites anyway!" "I need freedom of movement that I can only get in pants;" "We're under grace;" "You are promoting 'Modesty Culture' which is Pharisaical."
All right, maybe some don't come right out and say these things in so many words, but it's implied. So, who is right anyway?
Let's to take a look at what the Bible has to say about this. I certainly don't pretend to have all the answers. God does not leave us without directions, but sometimes human nature gets in the way Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered... Mark 7:13
First off, it must be pointed out that modesty
is not a way of dressing. It is a way of life, a matter of the heart.
3:3-4 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the
hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But
let it be
the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible,
even the ornament
of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
The point of this verse has been mistakenly thought to mean a woman should
not plait (1) her hair, nor wear jewelry. If this was true, however, then she
also should not wear apparel, and since we know that is not what God would say,
we must look for what He is saying. The whole point here is that the outward
things a woman does to herself or puts on, are not the ornaments that God finds
of great price. He looks for what is in the heart.
16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height
of his stature; because I have refused him: for
the LORD seeth not as man
seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the
heart. The heart is where modesty begins and therefore, if
the heart is not right toward God, all the outward efforts at modesty will not
add the value that God finds so precious.
4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it
are the issues of
(1) According to Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, this means "to fold or double, to weave or braid, to entangle [sic]." That pretty much takes care of almost all hair styles if we mistakenly take it to mean that a woman is not allowed to do these things. If this were true, she would also have to stop wearing apparel, as pointed out.