Women Professing Godliness

Does God REALLY Care About Women’s Appearances?

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
Interpretation
Long Hair
1 Corinthians 11:1‚Äď16
The Greek
Cover & Covering
For the Angels’ Sake
Shame
Nature Teaches
Jewelry & Adornment
Apparel
Cosmetics
Conclusion
Epilogue

INTRODUCTION

I grew up without questioning the faith and beliefs I’d inherited from my loving, God-fearing, faithful parents, like wearing a hand-me-down.¬†I knew what, but not why.¬†I had the answers without ever asking the questions.¬†As an adolescent I went through the usual period of pursuing, investigating, measuring, and evaluating the values handed down by my parents.¬†Eventually, I either accepted or rejected them, because I thought there was sufficient or insufficient evidence to support them.

I had no problem accepting and following the essential things my parents carefully taught me, which I found supported in the Bible (doctrine). However, I could find no scripture to justify many of the actions required (traditions), and I could not really believe these requirements were of value to God, nor that they were consistent with Jesus’ principles. These things bugged me. Off and on for years, I questioned, searched and examined the scriptures, trying to discover the original intent of the passages that some people believe govern women’s appearance, and consider essential requirements for women’s salvation.

While I was on jury duty, the judge told us that proof must be established beyond all reasonable doubt.¬†The proofs presented to me as valid interpretation and application in the matters of women’s appearance were NOT presented beyond reasonable doubt, and seemed most debatable to me.¬†I was told that some things you just have to accept in faith.¬†I had faith in the Word of God in the Bible, but what I did NOT have, is faith in the word of men. I had taken the Bible’s advice and “tried the spirits” and “searched the scriptures” like the Bereans, and I could not see that these things were meant to be so.¬†I didn’t believe men’s interpretations were always without error, especially when they cannot be supported with scripture.

I had often heard it said that “the truth” was so simple a child could understand it. Yet, incongruously, here I was 40 years old, no longer a child, and I still could not comprehend the truth or real meaning of these “simple” scriptures. Furthermore, NO ONE COULD EXPLAIN THEM, in a simple way that created conviction in my heart, much less convince a child.

When my own children entered adolescence and began to question me on these same issues, of which I was not convinced, I tried giving them the same old line and scriptures.¬†They didn’t buy into them either. ” No problem Mom, I won’t wear gold or pearl earrings — I like painted ones better anyway.¬†How come you can wear pins, but not necklaces, rings, etc. when only the way you fasten them on is different?¬†You have a gold wedding band.¬†Mom, it doesn’t say anywhere in this chapter NOT to cut your hair!¬†You mean just because Jezebel painted her face, ladies aren’t to EVER wear make-up??¬†You’re kidding-that was just a Bible story (not a command).¬†How come it’s OK to wear hair jewelry?¬†Lady’s pants are NOT men’s clothing.¬†I bet a brother worker wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a lady’s pants suit!”

I had always taken Shakespeare’s adage seriously, “To thine own self be true.”¬†How could I teach my children something that I myself did not believe?¬†It was intellectual dishonesty.¬†I found I could not honestly do it.¬†It went against all I had taught them — the main teaching I had drilled in my children all their lives was, “Don’t believe anything anyone tells you unless it can be found in the Bible.¬†The Bible alone is the guide for behavior and salvation.”

I decided I was GOING to understand my faith, inside out.¬†I asked for God’s guidance, and had faith to firmly believe He wanted me to understand His will and way, and that He would enable me to do so.¬†Armed with Jesus’ promises in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you,” I began to learn and to KNOW “in whom I have believed.”¬†For the first time, I really found joy in studying and reading the Bible.¬†It was like I was making a new garment for myself, casting off the hand-me-down one from my parents, for one I knew inside out, and could believe in.

INTERPRETATION

I wondered how those in other faiths interpreted the New Testament passages concerning the issue of women’s appearance. Did they just disregard these texts? I found differences in interpretation came into being when this question is answered differently: “Is this particular scripture intended to transcend culture?” In other words, is this particular scripture intended only for those to whom it was written originally, or for all believers for all times? Many differences in believers’ interpretations can be traced to a difference in opinion as to whether or not the instructions (1) are God’s absolute Word for all times (universal), OR (2) were intended only for those believers of the first century (particular). In other words, there is a conflict in interpretation when one person believes a scripture pertains to the present and another believes it is culture-bound and pertains only to the Biblical people to whom it was written.

Scripture cannot be rightly interpreted and applied without giving some consideration to the cultural context, historical background, and the occasion and purpose for it being written.¬†Each book of the Bible is conditioned by the language, time and culture of the people in which it was originally written.¬†In speaking to men, God’s Word was expressed in the vocabulary and thought patterns of those men, and conditioned by the culture of those times and circumstances.¬†This means God’s Word was, first of all, His Word to them, NOT to us.¬†After we understand what God’s Word was to them, we can ask:¬†What is His Word to US through the texts written to them?¬†Or:¬†How do these texts apply to US?¬†If we don’t properly limit God’s Word to its original intent, it is very easy to read into the text our own meaning.

Paul attempted to solve problems that had surfaced by applying Jesus’ principles.¬†God’s Word to them through Paul had eternal principles for their basis.¬†He expressed this well in 1 Cor. 4:17, speaking of Timothy, “…who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways WHICH BE IN CHRIST, as I teach everywhere in every church.”¬†A PRINCIPLE transcends history and culture, while an APPLICATION or EXAMPLE only applies to genuinely comparable situations.¬†Examples and applications cannot be (“rightly”) applied at random to any and every kind of situation at any time.¬†Some scripture was given because of specific situations at a particular time, and the same type of situations may no longer be found in our experience; i.e. eating meat offered to idols.

Paul says to Timothy, “Be nourished up in sound doctrine.”¬†He says the same things to Titus. What is important in the ministry is that you hold fast the faithful words you have been taught, and teach them to others.¬†They were to apply the teachings of Jesus.¬†What are Jesus’ teachings or doctrines regarding women’s appearance?¬†There aren’t any. Christ said nothing about women’s appearance, clothing or hairstyles.¬†Apparently, these were inconsequential, non-essential matters to which He was indifferent, where women are individually guided by the Spirit.

Paul addressed¬†truths and doctrine concerning God, in Romans 1-11, and in many of his other epistles.¬†He first gave doctrine, and followed with: “NOW, …present yourself a living sacrifice.”¬†AFTER the foundation of doctrine had been laid, he showed them how to apply the principles in their everyday lives.¬†In Galatians 1-4, he reviewed doctrine, then in Chapter 5, he said, “For freedom, Christ has set us free; THEREFORE, stand fast.”¬†In Ephesians 1-5 he discussed doctrine; then he came to duty in Chapter 5, saying “I, THEREFORE, the prisoner of the Lord beseech you that you walk worthy…”¬†After the testimony in Philippians 1, he said, “If there, THEREFORE, is any consolation…let…”¬†After presenting two chapters of great truths, in Colossians 3, he began by saying “If you, THEREFORE, are risen with Christ, then seek what is above.”¬†He did the same in 1 Thessalonians.

The pattern for all Christian behavior is predicated on Jesus’ doctrine and truth. Counsel follows Jesus’ doctrine. Paul gives the principles of Jesus’ teachings, then applications. John 13:17 says, “If ye KNOW these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” You must know what you believe before you can act on it. Before you can be happy in doing, you have to KNOW these things. Sound doctrine is based on Jesus’ principles.

LONG HAIR

The usual explanation for the necessity of women to have long hair and wear it pinned up on their heads is found in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16.¬†Normally, the Scripture references given for a Christian tradition or belief all point to the SAME REASON for the required conduct.¬†However, there are a number of reasons given concerning long hair for women.¬†The Corinthians probably understood Paul’s meaning when they received his letter, but Paul’s intent is almost impossible to establish beyond a reasonable doubt today.¬†Yet, some hold on tenaciously to their particular dogmatic interpretation of this most difficult to interpret passage.

Some say the reason women should have long hair is because it is a glory to the woman; others say it is a sign of submission. Some say when long hair is worn down, it’s a glory to the woman rather than God. Another theory is that long hair incites lust when worn down.

A reason given for wearing it pinned up is because the Bible says long hair is a covering for the head of the woman, not for her back.¬†In reality, when long hair is put up, it doesn’t cover much more than a man’s short hairstyle does.¬†These interpretations make about as much sense as if one interpreted Luke 7:37 (the woman with long hair whose sins were many) to mean that all women who have long hair are sinners. None of these interpretations ring with truth and rarely satisfy..

1 CORINTHIANS 11:1-16 (KJV)

1 Cor 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
1 Cor 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
1 Cor 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
1 Cor 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
1 Cor 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
1 Cor 11:6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
1 Cor 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
1 Cor 11:8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
1 Cor 11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
1 Cor 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
1 Cor 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
1 Cor 11:12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
1 Cor 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
1 Cor 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
1 Cor 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
1 Cor 11:16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

THE GREEK

I thought if I could just read these passages in the original languages I might be able to find an answer to my questions. Guess what I found out?? There are no original manuscripts! No original copies (manuscripts) exist of the books of the Bible. There are thousands of copies that were copied by hand over a period of about 1,400 years. These manuscripts differ significantly, especially the earlier copies from the later. There are over 5,000 copies of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, and no two of them are exactly alike.

The task of translating foreign languages is extremely complicated because there are rarely exact words to interpret into another language. One of the translators’ jobs for the King James Version (KJV) was to compare the various scriptural texts which differed from each other, and decide which was most likely the original intent. When there was a difference in opinion among the translators, the KJV Bible text reflects what the majority viewed as the correct interpretation, and the margin states the minority opinion. Since there is not an appropriate English word for many Greek words used in the manuscripts, The translators had to make MANY choices on their own. When a Greek word used had more than one meaning, the translators had to decide which meaning was intended.

To further complicate things, the meaning of some English words used in the KJV does not NOW mean what they did when the KJV Bible was translated.¬†Because the word conversation meant conduct, in the 1600s, the word conduct was translated as conversation in the New Testament.¬†For correct interpretation, one must determine the original Greek word that was used in a text and its meaning at the time it was written‚ÄĒnot the meaning of the word NOW, or the meaning when it was translated.

The Greek language uses the same word for wives as for women.¬†They do not have two separate words, as does the English language, likewise for men/husbands.¬†The translators of the King James Version decided by the context where to use the word “women” and “wives.”¬†However, it is possible that the entire passage in I Corinthians 11:1-16 was intended to be limited to only husbands and wives even though it uses the words men and women.

COVER & COVERING

Strong’s Concordance is the most complete, well-respected and widely-used Bible concordance ever compiled for the KJV Bible. For over 130 years, it has been invaluable in interpreting and understanding Scripture.

In 1 Cor. 11:1-16, THREE different Greek words are each translated in the KJV with the English word “covering.”¬†Each of these Greek words has an entirely different meaning each time it is used in this passage.¬†Yet all three Greek word meanings were translated as the same English word, “covering” in the KJV Bible.¬†Notice the different meanings for each word:

KJV: covered. Greek: kata; having something down over (Strong’s #2596)

KJV: covered. Greek: katakalupto; to place something on, over, or in front of, so as to wholly cover or conceal (Strong’s #2619).

KJV: uncovered. Greek: akatakalupto; to remove something placed on, over, or in front of so as to reveal (Strong’s #177)

KJV: covering. Greek: peribolaioin; something thrown around, suggesting a veil or mantle thrown around the body (Strong’s #4018).

Please read the verses below, substituting the definition above for the capitalized word:

1 Cor 11: 4: Every man praying or prophesying, having his head COVERED, (kata Strong’s #2596) dishonoureth his head.

1 Cor 11: 5: But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head UNCOVERED (akatakalupto Strong’s #177 ) dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

1 Cor 11: 6: For if the woman be not COVERED (katakalupto, Strong’s #2619), let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be COVERED (katakalupto Strong’s #2619).

1 Cor 11: 7: For a man indeed ought not to COVER (katakalupto Strong’s #2619) his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

1 Cor 11: 13:¬†Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God UNCOVERED? (akatakalupto Strong’s #177)

1 Cor 11: 15: But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a COVERING (peribolaioin Strong’s #4018).

To “rightly divide the word of truth” one must take into consideration the different definitions.¬†When the word cover is used in verse 4, it has a specific meaning only used once in this chapter.¬†In verse 15, the word covering has a specific connotation used only once in this chapter.¬†All the other times the word covering is used, it means to place something on, over or in front of, to cover.¬†Each time the word cover or a form of that word is used, one MUST be sure to give the word its correct connotation, in order to arrive at the true original intent of the passage.

The nature of the covering for men in verse 4, when he “had something down over his head” is not specified.¬†Short hair, long hair or an artificial covering all hang down over a man’s head. Paul could even have been recommending that men shave their heads, so Christ, their head or authority (verse 3), would not be shamed or dishonored.

The implication in verses 4-5 could quite plausibly be that the women were removing their head coverings, while the men put theirs on ONLY DURING THE TIME praying or prophesying.¬†If this were the case, the coverings could not possibly have been their hair, (since they could not very easily remove their hair when praying), but the coverings would of necessity be of an artificial nature, such as a veil for women, and hat for men.¬†Because of the way these verses are constructed one could not positively construe Paul’s intent to be that this type of behavior (1) should NEVER AT ANY TIME be enacted from that time forward, and (2) would ALWAYS at any time shame or dishonor one’s head.

For the Corinthians, the period when their actions could bring shame to their heads was limited to the time they were praying or prophesying with their physical heads covered/uncovered. In view of the fact that Corinthian residents were Romans, Jews and Greeks, which all had different customs of dress, it seems highly probable that Paul was addressing CERTAIN men who were leaving their hats on, and CERTAIN women who were removing their veils during worship services.

Actually, history tells one that the veiled head of a woman IN CORINTH set her apart as being respectable, and as being under her husband’s authority through matrimony.¬†Today in many cultures, the wedding ring symbolizes this.¬†As seen in verse 3, the wife’s head or authority was her husband, and the woman’s head covering specifically related to her “authority”.¬†If the woman uncovered her head in public like the prostitutes (who were shaved), Paul could have been saying that she was giving others the impression she was a prostitute, which would naturally embarrass or shame any husband.

The Greek word for shaved (Strong’s #3587) is a form of the word razor, and it means to remove with the use of a razor.¬†In Bible days, shaving off the hair of the head (1) was a common sign of mourning, (2) marked the ending of a vow, and (3) marked a prostitute in some areas.¬†The word shorn (Strong’s #2751) is the past participle of the word shear (Strong’s #1494)¬†in Greek — and does NOT mean “to cut,” but rather to shear to the scalp.¬†Short hair is not the definition of the word shorn in these passages‚ÄĒshort hair wasn’t even mentioned and was very likely not a hairstyle respectable women used at that time.

If we knew what Paul really meant by the word uncovered¬†(akatkalupto) in verse 6, we’d have the key to this whole mystery.¬†The reason the word uncovered is interpreted by some to be “long hair” is because of the wording in verse 15, which states, “FOR her hair is given her FOR a covering.”¬†HOWEVER, the original Greek translation of this verse is “BECAUSE her hair is given her INSTEAD of a covering.”

This is the verse where the Greek word for covering was peribolaion, and meant something thrown around, suggesting a veil. One thing (hair) was given in the stead or place of another thing (covering/veil). This makes it plain that long hair and covering are two entirely DIFFERENT objects, and not one and the same thing.  Some Bible Versions have “because her hair is given to her in place of a covering,” and others have “veil,” as in “for the long hair is given to her in lieu of a veil.”

In verse 6, Paul instructs the woman to add ALSO being shorn to being uncovered.¬†He says, “If the woman be not covered, let her ALSO be shorn.”¬†Maybe the meaning of the word covering can be discerned through the process of substitution.¬†If we substituted other possible meanings of¬†uncovered into the verse, it would read like this:

(1)¬†If the woman (be not covered) doesn’t have long hair/has short hair, let her ALSO be shorn.¬†If one has short hair, it is possible to not have long hair and ALSO add being shorn (sheared to the scalp).

(2)¬†If the woman (be not covered) isn’t wearing a veil), let her ALSO be shorn (sheared to the scalp).¬†It IS quite possible to be veiled and ALSO add being shorn at the same time.

We can rule out a shaved head because verse 5 says, “uncovered is even all one as IF she were shaven,” making it plain there is a distinct difference in being shaven and being uncovered.¬†that leaves two possible meanings for the word uncovered; either a woman wearing (1) short hair, or (2) a veil.¬†It is doubtful Paul was speaking of short hair since long hair and the shaven head were the two hairstyles used by women then.¬†It makes sense when the word veil in verses 5, 6, 7, and 13 is substituted in place of covering to check the consistency.¬†The most likely conclusion is that veil is the meaning of covering.

According to Romans 14:20, the head covering itself was not a BAD thing‚ÄĒit was PURE.¬†The connotation attached to it by men’s culture is what would make it seem IMPURE.¬†Probably, Paul’s intent was to forbid ANY DELIBERATE behavior with the intent to dishonor, shame, embarrass, defy, or disappoint another.¬†Behavior with the intent to shame, discredit, or dishonor errs first of all in the heart before it vents in unbecoming behavior.¬†Maybe the Corinthian women had a wrong spirit and were displaying their defiance by removing their veils in their worship meetings.

FOR THE ANGELS’ SAKE

1 Cor 11:10 “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”

So it is “Because of the angels” that women should have “power” on their head.¬†The Greek word for power (Strong’s #1849) is also translated¬†as authority.¬†How do the angels fit into this picture??¬†We are given no clues or explanations.¬†The bible tells us very little about the ministry of the angels to the saints.¬†We are warned against worshipping angels in Col 2:18 and Rev. 22:8.¬†There are many theories on what Paul could have meant here, but absolutely no way to know which was his true intent, as this is not confirmed elsewhere in the Bible.¬†A number of times angels talked to women in the Scriptures, but there is no reference that these women had or put veils on their heads at those times.

The margin of the 10th verse reads “For this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head because of the angels.” Regardless of the nature of the head covering, this verse plainly tells us, that it is a sign specifically relating to “authority” (Strong’s #1849). Verse 3 says the authority or head of a woman is her husband. A sign of something may be a symbol; a symbol is a visible sign of an idea, quality, or another object. To serve its purpose, a symbol must be recognizable, or it is no longer a symbol, but an idiosyncrasy. Could it be that the woman’s head covering was a symbol of matrimony at that time?? It wasn‚Äôt until the seventh century that the wedding band came to be a symbol/sign of matrimony.

In I Cor. 14:7, Paul said of “tongues” that if you don’t understand what someone is saying, how shall it profit? If the salt has lost its savor — it’s good for nothing. By the same token, unless a symbol is recognized and understood, it cannot profit anyone. To continue using the empty symbol of a woman’s covered head to indicate her matrimonial status actually generates confusion — not understanding! Certainly, women’s long hair does NOT send out a clear message to any in our day and time of anything!

SHAME

Paul says these actions would bring dishonor or shame to the head of the woman. Shame is relevant to one’s culture and traditions. Shame occurs when social, cultural or religious traditions are violated, and depends on the norms of one’s culture. From culture to culture, generation to generation, shame is not constant and does not transcend time. In some cultures, it is shameful to burp after a meal, whereas in others it is a sign that the meal was appreciated. Behavior that is shameful in one place or time may not be considered shameful in other places or times. For instance, bathing suits are perfectly acceptable attire at the beach but are not for a funeral or wedding.

What is shameful in the present may not have been so in the past, and may not be so in the future. One day it might be acceptable to burp in our society. Something that is a cultural symbol now may not be so in the future. For example, people no longer feel it necessary to wear black to show respect during times of mourning. In Paul’s day, the cultural symbol of matrimony in Corinth was the woman’s covered (veiled) head, but this symbol changed and has remained the wedding band.

Symbols are recognized because they are signs of ideas that have certain meanings.¬†Most people are aware of the meaning behind the emblems and baptism, also symbols.¬†What good is a symbol that no one comprehends, not even the women who wear it?¬†In American culture today, women who do not wear veils or long hair do not shame their husbands by doing so.¬†Shame is relevant to one’s culture.

Paul’s instructions in I Corinthians 11:1-16 most likely were intended only for those believers in Corinth for the duration of time that the symbol of matrimony was the veiled head. He gave these instructions because of some special circumstances — not to expound doctrine for all believing women thereafter. In the specific matter of head coverings, Paul was trying to persuade them to use the basic principle of Jesus (love your brother as yourself). When someone deliberately brings shame on their spouse, their feelings should be examined. Love is not the motive for this type of behavior. Paul never intended for his instructions regarding these issues to transcend culture and apply to believers for all times.

NATURE TEACHES

Verse 14 says, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have longer hair, it is a shame unto him?”¬†The words, “doth not even” are the translation of ONE Greek word oude, which means “neither or nor or not even.”¬†This means this verse could just as accurately be translated: NEITHER does nature teach you…; or that nature DOES NOT teach you…; which are opposites of how the translation now reads in English.¬†Actually, when you think about it, nature teaches a man that he is to have short hair in a MOST UNnatural way‚ÄĒby means of a haircut!¬†How unnatural can you get?

If we strictly observe what Paul said “nature teaches” in one area, do we not have to be consistent and do so in other areas to “rightly divide the word of truth?” Since a beard naturally grows on a man’s face, is it not unnatural to shave it off? Furthermore, Jesus never gave believers any principle to follow concerning nature. Genesis 1 and 2 bear out the fact that nature exists for man — not man for nature. Paul’s reference to what nature taught THEM could hardly be a basis of DOCTRINE for US.

The record for the longest hair is held by a MAN in the Guinness Book of World Records, proving a man’s hair will grow quite naturally as long or longer than a woman’s hair. So, “nature” doesn’t prove what is shameful — one’s culture does the judging.

While Paul was in Corinth (Acts 18), he was under a vow, during which it was the habit for men to let their hair grow long. After the time period for his vow was over, Paul shaved his head in Cenchrea (Acts 18:18). It seems strange that Paul would write the Corinthians, and tell them it is a shame for a man to have long hair WHEN HE HIMSELF HAD LONG HAIR WHILE HE WAS IN CORINTH!! With this further evidence, it would seem the words “doth not even” should probably have been translated: Even nature does not teach you.

The word covering (peribolaion) found in verse 15, is a different Greek word from every other time the word covering has been used in this passage.¬†It is something literally thrown around; suggesting a veil or mantle thrown around the body.¬†Hair is not usually “thrown around,” and certainly hair put UP on a woman’s head in a bun, could not be “thrown around!”

Of particular importance in verse 16 is the fact that Paul labels the behavior of women praying or prophesying with heads uncovered, and men praying or prophesying with heads covered (verses 4-5), as custom and not doctrine.¬†Veils were not commanded, but Paul hoped other factors would lead the Corinthian women to CHOOSE to express their relation to their husbands by wearing the customary veil.¬†Women of other cultures had no need for veils since they probably had other ways of symbolizing matrimonial status.¬†By the choice of his words “we” and “the churches of God” have no such custom, Paul has limited his instructions specifically to the Corinthians ONLY.¬†Apparently, Paul saw the matter of women’s head coverings (veils) as a cultural expression of the principles involved in matrimony, and not as a divine principle.

It is very possible that Paul was giving the Corinthians a principle AND an exception — except he did so differently to the way we would in English.¬†If we were to deliver the same message in verses 1-16, we would say (essentially) “This is the way WE and the churches of God do this..but you Corinthians should do it this other way.”¬†He gave them first instructions for the exception (the Corinthians), and wound up with the principle for the majority in verse 16 (as for us, and the churches of God, we have no such custom).

For a number of reasons, the issue of women’s head coverings does not in any way relate to salvation.¬†Besides those stated previously, one chief reason is that it would be a work.¬†It is true that “faith without works is dead,” (James 2:20, 26) but neither can works save.¬†Only accepting the gift of grace saves.¬†Certainly, works that are compelled at the risk of being expelled or ex-communication are works performed in fear and from duty and are not indicative of internal belief.¬†Compelled works give no evidence that belief exists; ONLY VOLUNTARY WORKS INDICATE EVIDENCE OF FAITH!!

If I Cor 11:1-16 is taken to literally mean that long hair is a requirement for women’s salvation, and was not addressing the problem of the wives’ lack of subjection to their husbands (a problem in their spirit), the whole point and intent of the passage has been missed.¬†There is no teaching of Jesus that confirms that long hair or veils (literally and universally) for a woman is a requirement for salvation.¬†If it was essential for all women believers, surely Jesus would have confirmed this necessity by direct teaching.¬†How would the races of women whose hair does not grow long be saved?

Paul even states it is NOT the custom of the other churches — yet today this passage is sometimes given the dogmatic, rigid interpretation that it is binding on all women believers. Descriptions of what happened in the early church were examples that we MAY follow, NOT that we MUST follow. Was it God’s intent that particular instructions for particular actions for particular people constitute a divine norm for conduct for the later church? Is something commanded just because it is recorded? NO!! This passage is NOT one of those where Paul stated “the things I write are commandments of the Lord,” as he did in I Cor 14:37. Essential doctrinal teachings of the scripture are confirmed by two or more passages. There is no other scripture that mentions women’s head coverings. Where the scripture is ambiguous or silent, can one reasonably be dogmatic on ONE particular interpretation being THE CORRECT one? A passage with difficulty in interpretation is not a sound basis on which to build.

Throughout this maze, the thread seems to be the desire of Paul’s heart that the worship service in Corinth was “done decently and in order…without offense‚Ķand to the glory of God,” which are the very points he had just made in the previous chapter, II Cor 10:31-33. The “head of the husband is Christ, the head of the wife is the man” and each should act in such a way so that neither dishonored their head in their worship and culture.

JEWELRY & ADORNMENT

I Peter 3:3-4: Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting of the hair, and of wearing of gold or of putting on of apparel, but let it be the hidden man of the heart….

I Timothy 2:9-10: In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold or pearls, or costly array; but…with good works.

Consideration must always be given to:
(1) who was speaking
(2) who was the receiver of the message
(3) was the message intended for a specific purpose or universal?
(4) did the message involve a specific time frame? 

Peter was speaking specifically to a certain group of believing women whose husbands were not believers, encouraging them to strengthen their “inner man” in order to win their husbands over to Christ.¬†The apostles’ writings were directed to certain people in certain cultures.¬†They were applications of Jesus’ principles and doctrine addressed to the needs and times of certain people in certain circumstances‚ÄĒnot additions to Jesus’ teachings and not intended for all believers for all time!¬†The difference in scriptures intended to expound doctrine, and those making applications from doctrine, must be “rightly divided.”

By context, we can see that Peter and Paul were not speaking to ALL women for ALL times.¬†To be literally consistent in the I Timothy 2 text, men should lift up holy hands when praying (verse 8), and women would not be allowed to teach, as instructed in verse 12.¬†Why is it some interpret certain verses in the same chapter to apply literally, and others don’t?¬†How can one verse (only verse 9) be taken out of context to actually apply in a physical sense, which is located between two verses that are spiritualized (verses 8 and 12)?¬†It can only be done with haphazard, inconsistent, unsound, incomplete, indiscriminate interpretation.

These verses are instances where some have maximized what Paul intended to minimize because the idioms he used were not understood. An idiom is a manner of speaking distinctive of a certain people or language. In this case, the idiom was a manner of speaking which would minimize the first clause in order to emphasize the second clause. For correct interpretation, idioms of speech HAVE to be taken into account. If the Bible were written in our generation and contained an instruction to kids (as we often call children), people 2000 years from now could easily think it was speaking of goats, unless the figures of speech and idioms of the time in which it was written were taken into account. If it said, “Take this with a grain of salt,” people could believe we accepted certain instructions by symbolically throwing salt into our mouths. 

If they were of the belief that every instruction that one can possibly take from the Bible is meant for them, they could interpret it that they too SHOULD ALWAYS accept instruction in this manner — if they did not recognize the idiom of speech used. If they took the literal meaning of someone “dissolving into tears,” they would probably think it was something that no longer took place in their day and time, just like we consider the times of healing, raising the dead and miracles past. When idioms are not realized and taken into consideration, the resulting interpretations can be as far apart from the original intent as lightning and a lightning bug.

In other places in scripture, we find the word “not” often means, “not only…but also” or “not so much…as.” Today, in order to express the thought contained with this type of idiom in English, we would place the word “only” in the first clause, and “also” or “rather” in the second clause, such as:

“Let not a women’s adorning be (only) that of outward things — such as fixing her hair, wearing gold or pearls, or apparel — but (also/rather) let it be the inward adorning of a meek and quiet spirit.”

In using this idiom, the emphasis is put on the second clause (but also let…), BUT IT DOES NOT FORBID THE FIRST CLAUSE (adorning outwardly). It is in addition to it. In other words, the emphasis is on the inward adorning, but the outward adorning is NOT eliminated.

The same type of idiom was used when John said:¬†“Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed” in I John 3:18.¬†The context speaks about a brother in need.¬†If we have this world’s goods and do not help him, we do not really love him.¬†We can tell him we love him (love in word), but this is not enough.¬†We have no problem realizing, through common sense, that the instructions actually meant:¬†“Let us not love in word (only), but (also/rather) in deed.”

Another example is John 4:21-23. Jesus said that the hour was coming, and then was, that true worshippers would not worship at Jerusalem or in Samaria — that God must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. But after this men DID worship God at Jerusalem (Luke 24:52-53, Acts 2, etc.). Recognizing the idiom, we realize that He did not mean literally that people would not worship at Jerusalem (only), but (rather) they would worship in spirit and in truth (regardless of location).

In Luke 14:12-14 we read: “When thou makest a dinner…call not thy friends, nor thy brethren…but call the poor, maimed, the lame, the blind…” What is meant is: “Call not (only) your friends, but (also) the poor, blind,” etc. If this was a command NOT to call friends to supper, why did Jesus accept invitations to eat with his friends? And why do we today invite our friends and relatives to eat with us?

If one takes I Peter 3:3 and I Timothy 2:9 to mean jewelry is NOT to be worn by the believing woman, to be consistent, do not the scriptures also have to be interpreted to mean one is to go naked (NOT wear apparel); never tell a brother “I love you;” and that no true believer can ever possibly worship in the geographical city of Jerusalem; and that one’s friends and relatives should never be invited for a meal? The absurdity of these sentences reveals that some interpretations of I Peter 3:3 and I Timothy 2:9 are not consistent with the interpretation of other scriptures using the same type of idiom. Right interpretations are consistent with, and not contrary to other PRINCIPLES and PRACTICES found in the Bible.

If these two verses (I Timothy 2:9 and I Peter 3:3) are NOT expressing idioms, but are actually forbidding the use of jewelry — then they are contrary to other places in the Bible on this subject. I Peter 3:5-6 says, “For after this manner in the old time the holy women adorned themselves.” There is no denying that it was an acceptable practice for holy women in the Old Testament to wear jewelry. As early as Genesis and Exodus, it was fitting for people to array themselves in jewels.

Rebekah accepted from the servant a golden earring, two bracelets for her hands, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, in Gen. 24:22, 47, 53. Joseph wore Pharoah’s ring and a gold chain around his neck in Genesis 41:42. In Exodus 32:2-3, Aaron told the children of Israel to break off the golden earrings of their wives, sons, and daughters, and to bring them to him to fashion into the molten calf image. In this case, the people would have been better off if they had continued wearing their jewelry. Obviously, God’s chosen people wore all types of jewelry.

In Exodus 35:22, the holy people contributed bracelets, earrings, rings, tablets (necklaces or amulets), and golden jewels; and in Numbers 31:50 they contributed some of the jewelry taken in the spoils of victory to make an offering and memorial for the Lord. If jewelry was polluted and sinful, how could an offering and a memorial made from them be acceptable to God? And why would a pure, undefiled bride be described as adorning herself with jewels, as in Is. 61:10 and song of Solomon 1:20?

In Ezekiel 16:11-12, the Lord took a cast away newborn baby and clothed her with ornaments, bracelets, a chain, jewelry, and earrings. If these things were sinful, would the Lord have given them, even in this parallel of the origin and history of Jerusalem? How could they possibly make the point that was intended in this passage — that of jewelry symbolizing his blessings upon Jerusalem? A bad thing cannot symbolize a good thing.

Prov. 25:12 compares a wise reprover upon an obedient ear to “an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold.” Wisdom and obedience were equated to highly revered ornaments of the finest kind– gold. The author would not have compared wisdom and obedience to gold ornaments if they were defiling or polluted things. The holy city is described as having gates of pearl in Rev. 21:21. If pearls were unholy, what place could they have in describing the holy city (Rev. 21:32)?

So far as scripture tells us, Jesus said nothing against wearing jewelry, gold or pearls. If these passages were meant to apply literally from the first century through the present-what principles of Christ are being used to confirm it? To accurately interpret scriptural meaning, things have to be examined in their sociological (cultural) context, their historical context, and their scriptural context.

What was the writers’ REAL intent in these verses? Could it not have been said this way?

“Gold, pearls and fine hairdos are not valuable spiritually as adornment; make sure you are adorned spiritually.”

“Adorn yourself with godliness, for gold, pearls and fine hairdos profit nothing spiritually.” (I Tim. 4:7-8)

APPAREL

On the basis of Deuteronomy 22:5 which states “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man,” some argue that a woman should not wear slacks or shorts.¬†But again, they aren’t consistent.¬†What about shirts?¬†Men wear shirts and so do women.¬†They don’t take any of the other imperatives on the list in Deut. 22 literally.¬†These include building a parapet (wall) around the roof of one’s house (verse 8); not planting two kinds of seed in a vineyard (verse 9); making tassels on the four corners of one’s cloak (verse 12), and not wearing a garment made of wool and linen.¬†How can one verse taken out of a list be applicable to the twentieth century, while all the rest of the items on the list remain old law issues?¬†Whoever insists this verse is a text against women wearing slacks better be sure their own clothing is not a blend of more than one kind of fabric, that there are four tassels hanging from their coat, and that they don’t plant two kinds of seed in their garden.

Since Christ was the fulfillment of the law and its requirements, as Paul wrote in Galatians 3, the Church does not continue to be governed by this verse from the old law. In Acts 15:29, the apostles and others had a meeting in Jerusalem and decided that it was necessary to continue only four commandments from the old Mosaic law, and this was not one of them. Non-Jewish believers were not required to observe Mosaic customs and ordinances.

The basic article of clothing worn by Jewish men AND women in Bible days was the tunic, which came down well below the knees, had a hole for the neck, and arms, and was open at the bottom. For ease in walking, the tunic was girded (belted). While made in identical fashion to the men’s tunic, the women’s tunic had distinctions that set it apart from the men’s in embroideries, patterns, colors, fabrics, ornaments, shawls, and styles.

In American culture, the dress and skirt are considered women’s apparel ONLY. But in the days of Jesus, the tunic (very similar to the dress) was the apparel of BOTH men and women. For the past fifty years in American culture, slacks have been acceptable attire for women and men just like the tunic was for both sexes in Bible days. Since it was acceptable for men and women to wear garments made alike in Bible days, why do some consider it wrong behavior for the present?

God does not ordain fashion styles for men and women; if he did, we would still be dressing like Adam and Eve. We are not told that God made trousers for Adam and a skirt for Eve. If he made any distinction between their garments, it was so insignificant that we are not even told what it was! Twelve times the Bible mentions “skirt” referring to the “skirt” of a MAN!

What is considered acceptable and respectable in fashion is dictated by one’s culture, not God? Could we actually believe God cares in the least whether the woman’s garment has one hole or two holes at the bottom for her legs to fit through? The scripture says God is a spirit and must be worshipped in spirit. In what way could one be worshipping God in Spirit by the manner in which a woman’s garment is sewn from the waist down? To think so is to fall into the same trap as the Galatians. Paul had to ask them, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Gal 3:3.

There is no scriptural reason for women not to appear as personally attractive as they so desire. A sloppy, drab, dull or inappropriately clothed believer is a poor advertisement for godliness. Of course limits of decency in dress should always be observed. No true believer would compromise themselves with an indecent dress, nor should they make themselves ridiculously conspicuous to the other extreme. Jesus didn’t even insinuate, I must increase, you must look hopelessly out of style and pitiful.

COSMETICS

The usual argument against make-up, especially lipstick, is based on II Kings 9:30 where Jezebel painted her face, tired her head and looked out at a window.¬†Actually, the Hebrew word face meant eyes. Face (Strong’s # 5869) and is translated 589 times in the Bible elsewhere as eyes.¬†One marginal reading says “put her eyes in painting.”¬†Painting the eyes was a common practice, as were the other practices mentioned in the same verse.¬†If this verse meant that painting one’s eyes is a sin, then so would be combing one’s hair (she tired her head), and also looking out a window.¬†Two other references where Jerusalem’s unfaithfulness to God is¬†likened to an unfaithful wife also mention painting the eyes (Strong’s # 5869).¬†Before the woman in Ezekiel 23:40 painted her eyes, she took a bath.¬†We could just as logically assume that taking a bath might be a sin also.

Job had a daughter he named Kerenhappuch (Job 42:14), which has a definite connection with the stibium (stain used to paint the yes). Would righteous Job have given his daughter a name that had a meaning connected with painting the eyes, if it was a bad habit? His other daughters had names with good meanings. This particular daughter’s name had a connection with what was considered a sign of beauty, the painting of the eyes. It‚Äôs highly likely that all of Job’s daughters painted their eyes, as it says in Job 42:15 “that in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job.”

Women wearing make-up was very common in Bible days. If it was a sin, surely there would be scripture to that effect, but it is not even mentioned in the New Testament. Is it not a mistake to think that the absence of make-up could make one more godly, or commend one to God; that the plainer the woman looks, the holier she is? One’s outward appearance is not necessarily an indication of the condition of the heart, and is of no concern to God, other than that he desires that one appear in such a way that they earn the respect of others in their culture. Anything can be done to the extreme or done with pride. Sound doctrine does not have its foundation in trifling, irrelevant details found in narratives about Jezebel or unfaithful wives.

Wearing makeup is a customary, normal practice in today’s American culture.¬†Whether one wears make-up or abstains from it in no way indicates anything to God about one’s spirit.¬†“Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).¬†It’s a case of men teaching for doctrine the commandments of men (Matt. 15:9).¬†Misinterpretations of the scriptures concerning women’s appearance are counter-productive to Jesus’ message, as well as being destructive to the personalities of the women, and interfering in the personal relationship between married couples.

CONCLUSION

Why shouldn’t a woman try to look attractive? If the motive of her heart is right, her efforts are not wrong. Extreme plainness can be worn with pride, just as well as extreme flashiness. Where does the idea come from that God wanted people to look drab? Not from the Bible nor creation. Nature is not that way. Imagine how drab the world would be if the grass, flowers, mountains, sunsets, lakes, oceans, and trees were all without color? If roses, lilies, pansies, and petunias were all the same color? What if the leaves and grasses were not renewed each year?

The temple was decorated with gold and the new Jerusalem will have all kinds of dazzling stones and jewels. The garments of the high priests were brightly colored and with many jewels. God made all the colors — if any color has a negative connotation, it is because of the implication attached by one’s culture, not God. These concerns are similar to the black stocking issues of long ago. too bad it has to be repeated, at the women’s expense. Just as there wasn’t a scrap of New Testament scripture to back up the necessity of wearing black stockings, there is not one iota of scripture recommending women abstain from wearing slacks or cosmetics.

Wearing certain type of clothing and coiffure style, and abstaining from wearing make-up and jewelry for a religious reason can in no way add to a woman’s real beauty.¬†Beauty is not put ON; it is put IN.¬†Are those who wear their religion on the outside any different from the Pharisees Jesus severely rebuked?¬†The Bible’s emphasis is not on what is put on outwardly, but what is put on inwardly.¬†Col. 3:10-14 says to “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him…put on, therefore, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another and forgiving…and above all these things, put on charity.”¬†The really important thing that we put on is LOVE!¬†How could this behavior manifest love in any fashion?

The argument is often given that women should look different because the Bible tells believers to look peculiar.¬†The New Testament uses the word “peculiar” (peripoiesis) in Titus 2:14 and I Peter 2:9, both with the sense of “being beyond the usual, or special.”¬†In the Bible peculiar NEVER MEANT “different, queer, odd, or strange.”¬†Eph. 1:14 contains the same Greek word for peculiar, but translates it instead as “possession.”¬†Paul was NOT recommending that believers set themselves apart as peculiar in appearance.¬†A peculiarity in dress, even if that dress were sackcloth, does not give anyone a true indication of the heart.¬†“Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the HEART,” (1 Sam. 16:7).

Obviously, Jesus’ appearance was not peculiar but was similar to other men, or he could not have passed through the midst of them unnoticed, and been lost in the crowds. The coat or tunic without a seam of Jesus was probably fashionable, since the soldiers gambled for it, finding it desirable because of the way it was made.

Some believe the differences required for women’s appearance are for the purpose of being an example and witnessing the church doctrine to outsiders. I Tim. 4:12 “…but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation (behavior), in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” He said nothing concerning appearances. None of the qualities contained in the description given in Eph. 6:1 of the “armour of God” are external qualities — they are all internal qualities. Jesus stated exactly how he wanted his disciples to be examples, and how they were to be known by men BY THEIR LOVE ONE FOR ANOTHER (it was NOT by their appearance).

Contrary to what is usually taught, the scripture tells us that it is DESIRABLE to God to be approved by others in non-essential matters, which category appearance falls into. Hebrews 2:17 says, “…wherefore, IN ALL THINGS, it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren.” Romans 15:2-3: “Let everyone please his neighbor for his good to edification for even Christ pleased not himself.” To do so, we have to go along with the traditions of our society that are not in conflict with our belief in God.

I Peter 2:13 counsels “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake…For so is the will of God that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men…Honor all men, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” “Ordinance” in this verse means “creation,” giving the sense of tradition, or the customs of society. Titus 2:8 gives a similar counsel. the whole essence of this verse is that one should behave in such a manner as to gain the approval of others according to the traditions of one’s culture. Yet, professing women are often COMPELLED to maintain their appearance in a way that is regarded as unattractive by others. One teenager asked her mother, “Why do all the ladies in this way look so dorky?” Can one afford to disregard social convention, customs and traditions, when doing so hinders others from coming to Christ?

Romans 14:22-23 says, “Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” What if a woman follows the unwritten rules concerning her appearance, but does not believe the scripture says to do so? In other words, she does it not out of faith, but out of duty and fear of men. She doubts the thing she allows (is actually being coerced to obey, with the unspoken threat of being excommunicated hanging over her head if she does not) is the will of Jesus. Most women who follow the dictated rules concerning their appearance do not do so of faith, but in total ignorance, because they have never been given sound doctrine, nor can they find scripture to support these required practices. Does this verse not make the act a sin? God does not condone intellectual dishonesty.

Some women want to be VERY SURE they obey each and every one of the unspoken rules and regulations to the nth degree. These are the ones who have never touched scissors to their hair; never put on a dab of makeup; never worn slacks, no matter what their activities; nor worn anything that could ever possibly be considered jewelry, not even a gold watch. This type of behavior is sometimes described with admiration by some as “bending over backward,” a euphemism for extremism. Some believe God respects and desires a spirit of this type. Jesus didn’t respect this behavior in the Pharisees, and said, “In vain do they serve me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” in Matt 15:9. Why would he respect it in his people NOW? Has NOTHING been learned from Jesus’ tirades against the Pharisees who behaved similarly? It is possible to be so heavenly-minded that one is no earthly good.

Usually, the desire to look nice is condemned because it is considered indulging in vanity and seeking the approval of men, and as such is a desire that should be suppressed. Some consider it vain for women to desire to appear NORMAL, attractive or nice; but not for a man. In Christ all things are equal. Scriptures quoted earlier gave evidence that how we appear to others IS important to God.

Interest in appearance is misunderstood as pride by the workers. The nature of pride is competitive. Pride always pushes another down (through scorn, boasting or condemnation), in order to elevate oneself. If one is trying to be MORE attractive than someone else in order to feel superior, pride has stepped in. But if one is trying to be attractive in order to please others, that is gracious courtesy towards others. Pride seeks to be better than another, courtesy is interest in honoring another. Since there are no scriptural commands concerning one’s outward appearance, and since God alone knows the motives of the heart, it is impossible for another to condemn in total ALL the desires of EVERY woman to be attractive as originating in pride. Pride can be attached to anything — not just the things or qualities one possesses. Why not just allow the spirit to guide??

Some believe women are not to dress fashionably because of I Cor. 7:31, which states, “And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.” Vines Dictionary of Biblical Words (Strong’s #4976) defines “fashion” as that which comprises the manner of life, actions, etc. of humanity in general. It was an external behavior or condition, not necessarily one which was identified simply by clothing. In the Scriptures, FASHION NEVER MEANT the current or prevailing custom in dress, manners, speech or conduct of a particular place and time. The use of this word has NO connection whatsoever with fads, what was the rage or craze, or in vogue or style, and to use it in this fashion is to abuse and not use the scriptures! Unattractive FASHION actually ROBS the gospel of its power.

“Worldly” fashions are frowned upon by some from the scripture, “Love not the world, nor the things in it” (I John 2:15). Exactly what is the “world”? It is the present system of society that lives without God and Christ at its center, the present condition of human affairs which are in alienation from and in opposition to God. Believers are called to display a different set of values; perspective, way of living, and attitude. Paul says in Titus 2:12, that we are to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. He says not to be conformed to the world in Romans 2:12. The only way for a woman to be worldly is for her to live without God or Christ at the center of her existence. Since Christ indwells the Christian woman, she is the opposite of worldly, and it has nothing to do with the style of fashion she chooses to wear.

Paul’s counsel to them did not involve any moral issues, which transcend culture, and are absolutely God’s word for all time. All the behaviors listed on the sin lists are classified as immoral behaviors and transcend time (Romans 1:29-30, I Cor. 5:11; 6:9-10; II Tim. 3:2-4, Col. 3:5-9). None of the behaviors on these lists are culturally related, nor are they items concerning appearance. An absence of love is obviously the underlying principle that is being omitted in each of the sins listed. There is simply no way a woman shows an absence of love to her neighbor by wearing short hair, make-up, slacks and jewelry. Even if it (somehow) DID indicate an absence of love on the outside, FORCING her to wear them would not MAKE her love her neighbor in her heart! And God looks on the heart.

Just as there are no external, outward issues found on the sin lists, there is nothing found on the various lists of Christian imperatives, (which are evidenced by the presence of love), which is in any way similar to women wearing slacks, make-up, jewelry or short hair. Some of the lists of imperatives are enumerated in Rom. 12, Eph. 5-6, Col. 3, etc. In comparison with the items on both of these lists, it is obvious that the external issues of women wearing short hair, make-up, jewelry, or slacks, quite simply IS NOT in the class with immoral, sinful, defiling conduct OR doctrinal issues necessary for salvation. They are of no value in showing love or lack of love to one’s neighbor. They have no value in salvation.

If someone isn’t going to be impressed by what we stand for, they sure aren’t going to be impressed by what we’re standing in!

EPILOGUE

In the beginning, I believed information existed SOMEWHERE that supported the requirements for women’s appearance, which I thought were handed down from the first-century church. There must be good solid logical reasons SOMEWHERE — I just hadn’t found them. For years I studied intensively subjects like culture and history of the New Testament times, Bible interpretation, logic, Corinthians, Galatians, Pharisees; and searched for what really commends one to God. Eventually, the suspicion began to grow in my mind that no good reasons existed; that these rules were enforced because the workers wanted it this way; it had always been done like that. They needed the women to be the out-front advertisement of the fellowship. No one knew why, because there was no scripture to support these customs. That was why they used all manner of faulty, illogical arguments and put-downs (“If you had the right spirit, you wouldn’t even question that.”) to stop those who questioned these things — there was no good reason.

It wasn’t until the Spring of 1990, that I read The Secret Sect by Doug and Helen Parker, where I learned that this group was founded by William Irvine at the turn of this century and that it was not a continuation of the first-century church.¬†Finally, I understood.¬†Once I knew this to be the situation, I understood perfectly why there was inconsistency in the “perfect” way.¬†This fellowship wasn’t God’s perfect church after all — it was simply another fellowship started by another imperfect man.¬†My faith was restored in the all powerful God and His Word, and I realized that Jesus’ Way IS perfect–but that the 2×2 ministry and church in the home method started by William Irvine are not perfect, nor is it one and the same thing as “Jesus’ Way.”

By: Cherie Kropp
1993, Rev. June 3, 2022

~~~~~

Recommend book: Women’s Adornment, by Ralph Woodrow

Recommended Books on Bible Translations:

The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament by Philip Wesley Comfort

The Men Behind the King James Version by Gustavus S. Paine

Sources Quoted:

The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words by W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr,

Read: “Would you…?”  A Question for Men