Be adorned appropriately for a woman professing holiness.
This message was strongly spoken to me as I was almost asleep. What did it mean? I knew the scripture laid on my heart at the time it was spoken, but I realized I didn’t have full understanding of it. I had been studying the topic of jewelry and where to draw the line with accessories. It went along with my modesty blog and the series I had planned. My plans were to study and address the specific topics. When I thought of a woman adorned, I had an image in mind. I pictured big diamonds, gold, expensive jewelry, high-cost clothes, a painted face, Hollywood name brands, riches. I felt the need to look up the definition of adorned. Doing so changed my whole perspective on this topic.
What does it mean to be adorned? As a worldly woman? As a godly woman?
1 Timothy 2:9-10 (American Standard Version)
In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair, and gold or pearls or costly raiment; but (which becometh women professing godliness) through good works.
1 Peter 3:3-4 (American Standard Version)
Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
To adorn is defined as “to make more beautiful or attractive”.
Synonyms: enhance, beautify, prettify, embellish, and bejewel. Ornament and “add ornament to” are also listed.
What is an ornament?
Noun: a thing used to make something look more attractive but usually having no practical purpose
Verb: make (something) look more attractive by adding decorative items
Are earrings an ornament??? I had never thought of it that way.
For so many years, I interpreted these two scriptures, 1 Peter 3:1-5 and 1 Timothy 2:9-10, that it was about being flashy. I thought of it as a principle of how we shouldn’t look rich or be showing off. No dripping in diamonds. No sporting gold chains like the world. No expensive jewelry. No elaborate hairstyles (I later learned that back then women would braid jewels and fancy things into their hair to show off). We shouldn’t set our desires on worldly riches and symbols of status. It also could deter people from joining others at church if people seem to be of higher income status than the visitors. Be modest. Be humble in our appearance. Let’s not be all about our looks. Character matters more.
I still agree with that. I still think that’s an accurate interpretation and a guideline we should live by. I think there’s more to it though. Adornment is more than a list of items not to wear.
I had never even questioned these things before I started going to an Apostolic Pentecostal church. I’d read these verses before, but never studied them. I’d never heard them taught before. I used to wear a lot of jewelry and I always wore makeup. For years, I did not want to leave the house without makeup. I was uncomfortable with people seeing my naked skin, redness and flaws. Not having any jewelry on made me feel like I wasn’t fully dressed. I put my earrings in as part of putting my outfit on. I’d wear a wrist full of bracelets and often a necklace sometimes two at a time. It made me feel prettier. I felt more confident when I was done up.
Even after becoming Apostolic (in 2011) and starting to dress modestly, I still continued with the cosmetics and accessories. I cut back a lot. I was more natural with the makeup, less eye-catching. I took out my 2nd and 3rd earrings leaving just the first hole because I thought that was more modest. I wore jewelry a lot less than I did before (because I felt expected to not wear it at all). I considered following the traditional Apostolic way with the no jewelry or cosmetics, but I didn’t understand why they did it. I didn’t see it in scripture, and I had no conviction on it for many years.
Apostolic Pentecostal Christian
maternal-infant wellness educator