Living the Bible

What is a beautiful woman? (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

August 06, 2020 Season 5 Episode 20
Living the Bible
What is a beautiful woman? (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
Show Notes

Living the Bible Website.

What is a beautiful woman? The world’s answer to that changes every year. Therefore, if your primary question is, “How can I be beautiful?” you’ll never have the right answer for long. There’s also the added problem of not just the world changing but you’re changing too as you age. 

Yesterday we looked at one especially male sin – being too angry to pray. Today, in 1 Timothy 2:9-10, we’re going to look at an especially female sin – being too pretty to work.

"Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works" (1 Timothy 2:9-10).


Elaborate hair: If you went into the Ephesian church and looked out across the congregation you would have seen row after row of braided and be-jeweled hair, fancy hairstyles with towers of hair, ringlets of hair, and all topped off with numerous attachments of gold and pearls. 

Extravagant clothes: Some were dressing for church in the latest high and pricey fashions. The Bible makes clear that there’s nothing wrong with nice clothes (Prov. 31:22) and attractive jewelry (Song 1:10-11; Isa. 61:10). As John Calvin put it, “The fault is excessive concern and eagerness about dress.”

If your appearance is your focus, your God will be out of focus. 

“So, what should I wear? Should I never try to be pretty?”


Modest clothes: “Respectable apparel” means clothes that are becoming, appropriate, fitting for a Christian women. “With modesty” means keeping within the bounds of what is decent and proper. “With self-control” means not dressing seductively or suggestively. To put it bluntly, you can’t dress like a prostitute and say you are a child of God. 

Practical clothes: He’s stated what’s not fitting or becoming, and now describes what is most becoming, fitting, and beautifying for a godly woman – good works. There are three areas of good works that are especially commended to women in the Bible:

  • Devoted service to your husband and children
  • Hospitality to Christians and non-Christians
  • Mentoring of younger women

These kinds of good works make you beautiful and attractive to God and to others. 

What’s a beautiful woman? Here’s God’s answer. Do something beautiful for God and you’ll become beautiful doing it. That kind of beauty can grow with age. It can reverse the aging process. 

Paul’s contrasting the artificial glamor of the world and the true beauty of a godly life, the cheapness of expensive clothes with the value of godly character and service.

John Stott wrote, “The church should be a veritable beauty parlor, because it encourages its women members to adorn themselves with good deeds.”

True beauty isn’t skin-deep, it’s soul-deep. 


Men are to speak godly words and women are to do godly works. A focus on self, lives for people to say, “You’re so beautiful!” A focus on others, makes God say, “You’re so beautiful.” Which are you living for?

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