Adorned with Good Works

adorned good works (3)

c) 1 Tim 2:9–10: One description of a priestess of Artemis says:

Her apparel wrought with gold glistened against the sun, and her hair under the garland, blown about with the wind, covered a great part of her back.

The thieves were greatly afraid…Some of them said indeed it was a goddess—Artemis, or Isis…—others declared it was a priestess of the gods.[1]

The gospel inherently provoked Greco-Roman society (1 Cor 1:21–31). Therefore, Paul expressed great concern over how outsiders viewed the exercise of freedom by members of the church (1 Cor 10:23–33; Gal 5:13–14). This made modesty and purity among believers especially critical.[2]

Wealthy women in the Roman Empire loved to display elaborately adorned hair, sometimes braided with gold.[3]

Early congregations included fashionable women who could afford the costliest materials (1 Pet 3:3–4).[4]

Due to the relative scarcity of pearls, some cost the equivalent of millions of dollars (Matt 13:45–46).[5]

Such ostentatious displays slighted the poor. They also provided temptation for the men in the congregation.[6]

While nothing is inherently wrong with dressing nicely, God commands us to focus upon inner beauty, not external allure.[7]

Image via Wikimedia Commons


Read 1 Tim 2:9–10. Why was Paul concerned about how Christian women appeared in public? What does adorning ourselves with good works mean? How can we practice this today?





Go to She Must Learn


[Related posts include The Cult of Artemis (False Teaching in Ephesus); Prayer without Anger (1 Tim 2:8); She Must Learn (1 Tim 2:11); Domineering Women (1 Tim 2:12–14); and Saved through Childbearing (1 Tim 2:15)]


[Click here to go to Women and Marriage Throughout Redemptive History; or to Chapter 8: Pain and Desire (Genesis 3:16, 20)]


[1]Heliodorus, An Aethiopian Romance, 1.10, Http://

[2] Towner, Timothy and Titus, 213

[3]Keener, IVPBBCNT, 1 Tim 2:9.

[4]Douglas R. Edwards, “Dress and Ornamentation,” ABD 2:232–8, 237.

[5]Keener, IVPBBCNT, Matt 13:45–46.

[6]Keener, IVPBBCNT, 1 Tim 2:9.

[7] Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 113.