by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 1 Lincolnton, NC October 3, 2004
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1901 ASV Translation:
9 In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, and gold or pearls or costly raiment;
10 but (which becometh women professing godliness) through good works.
There are two textual variations between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26 in verse 9. The Textus Receptus has a definite article ("the") before the word "women" and the Nestle/Aland 26 has "and" instead of the Textus Receptus' "or" before "gold". Neither of these variations significantly affect the meaning.
I. The overall paragraph (2:9-15) has a particular issue "beneath the surface". Both the style of dress and the desire to teach men are driven by one fundamental desire: the desire to be "noticed" and "valued".
A. Both "methods" (dressing and teaching) are denied to women by the apostle.
B. The "female" contribution to the life of the church is identified by the apostle as "bearing children". He doesn't seem to be bothered by the possibility that women will react almost viscerally to his instruction in the early 21st century in the U.S (what can you expect at the end of the age when almost every major principle of the faith has already been jettisoned?).
C. It seems that the problem of being "noticed" and "appreciated" is an on-going issue throughout the ages and all people "handle" it in one way or another. Some methods are outlandish and others are subtle...but the objective is the same in every case: "look at me" and "make me feel valuable".
II. The details of this text...
A. The "in like manner" needs to be considered.
1. In the previous paragraph, Paul taught how to approach the objective of living a "lightly touched" life: pray and then let God decide the issues of your experience as the Author of Life. This method is both the epitomy of humility and confidence in that it permits God to be God [humility] and it trusts God for the best possible experience of life [confidence].
2. He concluded that teaching by fundamentally applying it to the "men" as "males" by telling them to put aside two fundamentally "male" characteristics -- the desire for superiority through "wrath" and "arguments".
3. Thus, the "in like manner" means that, just like the men need instruction on how to handle their "desire to be on the top of the heap", so, likewise, do the women.
a. It has been said that men typically complain that their wives do not "respect" them and that women typically complain that their husbands to not "love" them.
b. The two things are the same: both want to be "held in high esteem"; they just say it in different ways because of their natural inclinations in defining what "being held in high esteem" looks like to them.
c. The root problem in both cases is that neither men nor women have sufficient confidence in God's "value/respect" of them to be able to handle the pathetic opinions of human kind.
B. Paul's focus upon the female manner of "personal arrangement".
1. The verb "adorn" and the adjective "modest" are variations of the same word. It has to do with "an orderly arrangment that exists for the pursuit of a given objective". The two words, used together in this fashion, emphasize the reality of both the "objective" and the "method of pursuit" [the rather fundamental love/faith issues].
a. The context is pretty clear that the issue is "being treated in such a way as to be able to experience what it is like to be extremely valuable".
1) This is behind the issue of prayer and letting God be God.
2) This is behind the issues of wrath and arguments.
3) This is behind the issues of personal dress and the desire to teach.
b. Thus, Paul is saying that women are to "order their appearance" in a way that really works.
1) He does not mean that it should "work" to get the attention of others: this is what fancy hair and expensive jewelry and clothing does. This kind of "result" is not what is really sought. What is really sought is the good opinion of Others/others; what fancy hair and expensive jewelry and clothing produces is jealousy and behind-the-back-animosity...the proverbial "cat fight" so well known among women. Clearly, the foolish methods of thoughtless women do not "work" to achieve the "real" desire.
2) He does mean that it should "work" to gain the approval of others. Both God and the people of God "approve" the servant-works of those who care only for legitimate approval.
c. The issue is not "modesty"; the issue is the deliberate rejection of the attempt to attract attention. One can go in two directions in attempting to attract attention: one is to try to "outclass" everyone else; the other is to try to be so "other class" that one stands out. Both are stunts designed to garner "attention". "Attention" is not what is sought; "approval" is.
2. Paul's two "qualifiers" (translated shamefacedness/shamefastness and sobriety) need our attention also.
a. The issue of the word translated "shamefacedness" is the issue of not being "bold" or "brazen", but, rather, easily embarrassed by attention. It fits Paul's "methodological instructions" because "attention" is not the objective.
b. The issue of the word translated "sobriety" is the issue of the serious application of wisdom to the situations of life. This also "fits" Paul's words about the proper pursuit of a proper objective.
C. Women who profess "godliness" still seek "approval"; they just do it by the "approved" method: doing good works.
1. Interestingly, the issue of "good works" is introduced by the word "through" in the ASV. This is the proper translation (the KJV's "with" is anemic to say the least). This word "through" makes it beyond obvious that Paul has been dealing with methodology all along. The thing Paul knows is crucial to mankind is the matter of "how to gain approval from the ones who count". There are two issues here: the identity of "those who count" and the proper process of "gaining approval". The word "through" indicates that "good works" are the proper method for the ones who really count.
2. The "kind" of good works are identified a bit later: 1 Timothy 5:10.