1 Timothy 2:9
Likewise, I want the women to adorn themselves with respectable apparel, with modesty, and with self-control, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,
Sermons
Modest AdornmentW.M. Statham 1 Timothy 2:9
The Sexes in the Christian, AssemblyR. Finlayson 1 Timothy 2:8-15
The Attire and Deportment of Women in the Christian AssembliesT. Croskery 1 Timothy 2:9, 10
A Becoming Adornment1 Timothy 2:9-14
A Good Use for OrnamentsC. H. Spurgeon.1 Timothy 2:9-14
A Passion for Extravagant Dress1 Timothy 2:9-14
Advice Against JewelleryLady Bellairs.1 Timothy 2:9-14
Silence of Women1 Timothy 2:9-14
The Charity PurseJ. Stoughton, D. D.1 Timothy 2:9-14
The Position of WomanA. Rowland, LL. B.1 Timothy 2:9-14
The Profession of GodlinessJ. Slade, M. A.1 Timothy 2:9-14
Woman's Sphere of InfluenceStoleford A. Brooke, M. A.1 Timothy 2:9-14
Woman's True DignityA. Rowland, LL. B.1 Timothy 2:9-14


The apostle continues his directions in relation to public prayer. "Likewise," he says, in effect, "let women when they pray be modestly adorned."

I. THEIR APPAREL AND DEPORTMENT. "Likewise also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair, and gold, and pearls, and costly raiment."

1. The injunction refers specially to the dress of women in the Christian assemblies, which ought not to be showy or conspicuous, calculated either to swell the heart of the wearer with pride, or to attract the eyes of others in forgetfulness of the solemnity of public worship.

2. While adornment is expressly allowed, according to age and station, to the exclusion of anything slovenly, there must be nothing in the attire or deportment inconsistent with modesty, self-restraint, or Christian simplicity. There must be no excessive care bestowed upon the adjustment of the hair, and no adornment with gold, or pearls, or costly array inconsistent with the attire previously recommended. Plaiting the hair may be the most convenient way of arranging it, and wearing ornaments is no more sinful in itself than wearing apparel. The injunction is that women should not seek such adornments as would either endanger piety or draw away their affections from higher things.

II. THE TRUE ADORNMENT OF WOMEN. "But (which becometh women professing godliness) through good works."

1. Religion is external as well as internal. There is the form which must be clothed with the power of godliness; religion must not be secret, but manifest to the world. Therefore women must profess the Christian name, and take part in the worship of the Church.

2. There must be a harmony between the profession of godliness and those deeds of mercy and piety which, Dorcas-like, show the true disciple of Jesus.

3. The highest distinction of women does not spring from dress or decoration, but from the luster that is thrown round their character by works of goodness. They will thus "adorn the doctrine of God our Savior" (Titus 2:10). - T.C.









That women adorn themselves in modest apparel.
If we lived in Turkey or in India, we should be better able to appreciate the wisdom of Paul's counsel in respect to the women of his day: and I am not prepared to mitigate or to apologise for his brave and wise words. Remember it was due to him more than to any other apostle that women had been so far emancipated as they were when this Epistle was written, for it was he who had taught that in Christ Jesus there was neither male nor female. But he grieved over some of the evils which at first arose from the great changes effected in their social position. Seclusion had been rigorously maintained by the customs of those Eastern cities. The picture in the Royal Academy, which represents a young girl, with slippers in her hand, drawing aside the curtain of the seraglio, and stepping across the body of a black slave, who is sleeping with naked sword in his hand, fairly represents the slave-like treatment of women in Ephesus in Paul's days. Indeed, even among the Jews the women who came to the synagogue were (and still are) kept out of sight in a carefully screened gallery. It was therefore not to be wondered at that the Christian women emancipated from such treatment felt themselves not only at liberty to assert their new-born rights but bound to do so, and that they claimed a prominence and a freedom which were good neither for themselves nor for the Church. And we must not forget that, so far as women had greater publicity in the heathen cities, it was at the risk of the virtuous reputation which Christians would be the most anxious to preserve. The priestesses of the temples, for example, were notoriously immoral, and the Hetairae were not only a recognized, but even a respectable class in Pagan society.

I. He speaks of it first NEGATIVELY, declaring that her dignity does not depend upon outward adornment; and this is always and everywhere true. It is probable that the women who came to the Christian assemblies in Ephesus arrayed them selves in costly attire, and sometimes made unbecoming display of their personal charms till the custom was becoming the sensation, if not the scandal, of the city. No one professing godliness ought to spend time, and taste, and money to the extent many do on mere personal adornment, as if the body was everything and the mind nothing, or as if the chief end of a woman's life was to win admiration not respect, to please man and not God. Even from a lower standpoint it is a mistake, and I venture to think that many a marriage has been prevented, and many a possibly happy home is fraught with anxiety, because of an expenditure on dress, which cannot be reasonably or rightly met. There are lives which might have been unspeakably happier if only they had been united, if the two young people had been content to face the world together with plain fare and simple habits. Listen to John Ruskin, "I say further, that as long as there are cold and nakedness in the land around you, so long can there be no question at all but that splendour of dress is a crime."

II. WOMAN'S DIGNITY IS NEXT SET FORTH POSITIVELY. "I will," says Paul, "that women adorn themselves in —

1. Modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety." Society owes its tone more to women than to men. What they frown upon will be tabooed; what they thoughtlessly tolerate will grow in evil influence.

2. But in addition to this influence, which may be almost unconsciously exercised, the Christian woman is to adorn herself with "good works." She often does this behind the veil which is drawn over every home. There are those whose "good works" are noble in their self-sacrifice and far-reaching in their issues of whom the Church hears little. Many a man can sympathize with that soldier who said, "I can stand before the enemy, but I cannot stand before my sister's prayers." And who does not know of more public work done by Christian women — such as that of our visitors and Sunday-school teachers; of saintly pleaders with the drunkards and the profligate; — of noble women whose writings have purged the atmosphere of moral corruption; of heroines like Florence Nightingale and Sister Dora, who have trodden closely in the footsteps of the Lord. These have been clothed with "good works."

(A. Rowland, LL. B.)

This was —

I. A BOLD DECLARATION on the part of the apostle. "Let the woman learn in silence (or rather in quietness) with all subjection, for I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in quietness"; but the course he followed in this matter was wise, in the condition of life then prevailing. In our days there is no doubt a change of those conditions, which would make the rigorous application of such a rule unwise and unjust. Women, in larger numbers now than then, are of necessity independent, and are compelled to earn their own livelihood, and make their own homes; and being, in some respects, the weaker, they should have no artificial barriers put in the way of their doing so. There are disabilities, the relics of feudal times, which slowly, yet surely, are being swept away, though much still remains to be done. Under our English laws, for example, a woman may be compelled to pay taxes, though she has no right to influence the election of those who impose them — as her gardener or coachman may do. But the general law laid down by Paul still holds good. The public work of life, whether in the world or in the Church, is, broadly speaking, not woman's but man's. His is the life of turmoil, hers of quietude. She is receptive; he is aggressive: and it is not so much in her conspicuous activity as in her yielding affectionateness that her true strength is found.

II. BY A SCRIPTURAL ARGUMENT. He goes back to Eden for justification of his teaching — for he was accustomed to regard the facts of the Old Testament as symbolical and parabolical sources of perpetual instruction. "Adam was first formed," says he, "then Eve." Man's priority in creation, standing as he did alone and in immediate relation to God, was an indication of his place and power, as having the headship over her whom God made to be his helpmeet. But if the helpmeet becomes the head, and the head weakly yields, there comes an overthrow of the Divine order, as there did come in Paradise. Practical shrewdness and discernment; the firm and regulative judgment which should characterize the ruler, are less hers than man's. Her very excellencies, connected as they are with the finer sensibilities and the stronger impulses of a noble and loving nature, disqualify her for the headship, whereas the balance in man's nature is the other way; in the direction of the intellectual and the governing. But it is here asserted that "Adam was not deceived," and was therefore more guilty, because with his eyes open to the wrong he yielded to conjugal love. In other words, the will and the judgment were sacrificed to the affections — the essence of moral fall. Paul closes his remarks on woman by alluding to —

III. A BLESSED ASSURANCE. "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing"; or, as the R.V. has it, "through the childbearing." Perhaps there was some hint here of the blessing that comes through pain and travail, of whatsoever kind it be; and also of the great and noble work possible only to motherhood. But the more correct translation gives us rather the thought of what may be called pre-eminently "the childbearing " — when Jesus Christ, the world's Saviour, was born of a woman, and appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh — for it was thus that the great promise was fulfilled which brought a gleam of hope into the darkness of Eve's despair, "the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head."

(A. Rowland, LL. B.)

As to jewels, let me advise you not to buy any — even though you have the purse of Fortunatus, or may hereafter become wealthy. Some may be given you, but still I would say, do not wear them — unless, perhaps, now and then, with the pure desire of affording pleasure to the donors. A fancy for the possession and display of jewellery soon generates into a craze, ever growing, or unsatisfied unless in the ownership of gems superior to those of others around you. It is an unhealthy and vulgar feeling, Which has not seldom led to the ruin of women in all classes. Other reasons may be advanced against the indulgence of this false taste. Valuable jewels cannot but become, at times, a source of trouble and anxiety; and if lost or stolen, a bitter feeling of annoyance is retained. Opportunities for display are few; and often then, through disadvantageous comparison with others, are apt to give rise to heart-burning and envy — feelings which would never be experienced in such a way were the face resolutely set against such vanities.

(Lady Bellairs.)

The Empress Josephine had twenty-four thousand pounds for her personal expenses, but this sum was not sufficient, and her debts increased to an appalling degree. She rose at nine o'clock. Her toilet consumed much time, and she lavished unwearied efforts on the preservation and embellishment of her person. Huge baskets were brought to her containing different dresses, shawls, and hats. From these she selected her costume for the day. She possessed between three or four hundred shawls, and always wore one in the morning, which she draped about her shoulders with unequalled grace. The evening toilet was as careful as that of the morning — then she appeared with flowers of pearls, or precious stones in her hair. Bonaparte was irritated by these expenditures; he would fly into a passion, and his wife would weep and promise to be more prudent; after which she would go on in the same way. It is almost incredible that this passion for dress should never have exhausted itself. After her divorce she arrayed herself with the same care even when she was no one. She died covered with ribbons and pale rose-coloured satin. As long as the heart is unrenewed by Divine grace, regard for the outward is even greater than regard for the inward. True religion reverses all this, and gives "the things unseen and eternal" their rightful place. The most humbly dressed believer in Christ has a better garment than the empress, even the wedding garment of Christ's righteousness.

Some of you might do great good with articles which you might very readily spare. You have ornaments which Christian men and women are better without, which, if broken up or sold, would aid the good cause. I wish many would follow the example of Oliver Cromwell, when he went into Exeter Cathedral, and saw twelve massive images of the apostles in silver. "Oh, oh," said he, "what do these gentlemen here?" "They are the twelve apostles," was the reply. "Very well," said he, "melt them down, and send them about doing good." I wish Christians would do that with some of their gold and silver jewellery. Anyhow, for our own sakes, lest the canker get into our gold, and the rust into our silver, use it for doing good.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Goethe was in company with a mother and daughter, when the latter, being reproved for some thing, blushed and burst into tears. He said to the mother: "How beautiful your reproach has made your daughter! The crimson hue and those silvery tears become her much better than any ornament of gold or pearls; those may be hung on the neck of any woman; these are never seen unconnected with moral purity." A full-blown flower, sprinkled with purest hue, is not so beautiful as this child, blushing beneath her parent's displeasure, and shedding tears of sorrow for her fault. A blush is the sign which nature hangs out, to show where chastity and honour dwell.

Howard, soon after his marriage, "sold some jewels his wife had no longer any inclination to wear, and put the money into a purse called by herself and her husband the charity purse."

(J. Stoughton, D. D.)

For so far as a woman is sincere to the nature God has given her, her aspiration is not so much that the world should ring with her fame, or Society quote her as a leader of fashion, but that she should bless and be blessed in blessing. It is not that she should wish for power, but that she should wish for a noble, not an ignoble power. It is not that she should not wish to queen it in this world, but that she should wish to queen it, not by ostentation of dress or life, nor by eclipsing others, but by manifestation of love, by nobility of gentle service, by unconscious revelation in her life, and conscious maintenance in others by her influence, of all things true and pure, of stainless honour in life, of chivalrous aspirations in the soul.

(Stoleford A. Brooke, M. A.)

Why, Doctor, exclaimed a shallow, talkative lady, who was in the room with Dr. Johnson, but of whom he took little notice, "I believe you prefer the company of men to that of ladies." "Madam," he replied, "I am fond of the company of ladies; I like their beauty, I like their delicacy, and I like their silence."

Professing godliness
Such is the description and character of Christians in early days, such of all true Christians in every day. In no one point of view is the inconsistency of the Christian world more strikingly apparent: they would be thought to embrace the gospel of godliness without an idea of becoming godly. What should we think of a physician who had no interest in the science or practice of medicine? What of a husbandman who disliked and avoided the employments of the field? What of a soldier who declined all discipline and all obedience? But, to say the truth, and to do men justice, such instances in the natural world are extremely rare; it is only in the spiritual world, only where God, and the soul, and eternity are concerned, that we find men lost in apathy, and acting in contradiction to their pretended faith; and casting off the consideration of those liabilities and duties upon which they have openly entered. There are men, indeed, who, when charged with such palpable inconsistency, and feeling uneasy under the shame of it, at once deny that they do set up any profession at all; and make a sort of merit of saying that they do not pretend to any of the distinguished excellencies of the Christian character. But this flimsy pretext of honesty can avail them but little. Ii they pretend not to what the gospel requires, why pretend to the gospel at all? Nay, it is a melancholy fact that the generality of heathen in our Indian and other foreign possessions manifest a far more abiding sense of their various deities and idols than the generality of Christians do of the true and holy God. They fear the object of their worship, they respect it, they daily remember it. The wicked enemy, who drove man from paradise with a corrupted flesh into a corrupted world, still uses that flesh and that world as instruments of keeping up and increasing our estrangement from God. I have a message to deliver to-day to every soul that is in earnest in the great work of salvation; not to teach, but to remind you of what the truth really is: be it then understood, be it taken to heart, .that godliness is the great good, in the present life, to which Christ came to bring us, as the means of our final recovery and blessedness.

(J. Slade, M. A.)

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