Modesty: what is it?

Modesty is the outward expression of inner purity

Psalms 45, 1 Peter 3, 1 Timothy 2

Defined1: In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle.

Scripture Study

Psalm 45 – This whole passage is describing a woman’s character just as Proverbs 31 does. The highlight of this passage is v13. It says, “The king’s daughter is all glorious within:
her clothing is of wrought gold.” Her character is the greatest adornment; it is not the apparel she wears to attract attention.

1 Timothy 3 – The main part of this section is found in v. 9-10, although it continues on into the chapter division. “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 (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” The key words in this passage are modest, shamefacedness, and sobriety. First, modest is a term that is derived from the Latin modestus, from modus, which is a limit. The definition of modest is such:

  • restrained by a sense of propriety; hence, not forward or bold
    • propriety – suitableness
    • bold – forward – less reserved (restraint) than is proper

The next terms are shamefacedness and sobriety. The concordance term is as follows…

  • shamefacedness – bashfulness, respect
  • sobriety – soundness of mind, self-control — calmness

The best picture painted is a horse who is majestic for its character. No adornment is needed to make it beautiful, for her creator already made her so. Another picture is the racehorse. The racehorse is calm and collected. He is powerful but controlled in the stall. Everything in him is surging for the race, but he is calm and quiet. The same is for a woman of a quiet and humble spirit. She is collected but powerful. She is prepared for the task but keeps her tongue under control.

Thus, modesty is not having to always wear a skirt. Rather, modesty is resembling purity and the sanctity of God’s kingdom. Let me give you an example. For each picture, in your head, figure out what the person is reflecting through their apparel.

(My goal in these photos is not to single out females since modesty goes behind that specific gender. However, it is the one in which there are the most problems with the topic.)


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