A couple years ago, before I was even dating the woman who would become my wife, I wrote a post (based on Titus 2) about why I wanted my future wife to be a housewife. When Cheyanne and I began to keep in contact she happened onto this article; she read it, and a couple nights later she discussed it with me on the phone. I did not know it at the time, but Cheyanne (being the godly woman that she is) was overjoyed with what I had written, since she desired to be a housewife.
Now that I am married I have a more direct appreciation for what 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus teach about godly womanhood. I can happily say that my wife Cheyanne embodies these principles. I will admit from the outset that much of what I am going to say runs in direct contrariety to the mainstream American culture of womanhood. All I can say is that this is what the Bible says, and sometimes truth challenges our deeply held ideas.
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy the Bible makes some comments about the attributes of a Christian woman.
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.
In a world where we see people in their pajamas at Walmart, the Bible still teaches that godly women will adorn themselves in modest apparel. Now most people will emphasize the modesty part of this scripture, and that is certainly worth noting. But I want to emphasize the adorning part for just a moment.
When a Christian woman dresses modestly, she is not concealing her body: she is demonstrating her classiness. It is an ornament to a Christian woman to dress fashionably but modestly. The Greek words in this passage for adorn and modest are κοσμέω (kosmeō) and κόσμιος (kosmios); both words that are related to our English word cosmetic. Rather than trowel on a sheet of makeup in the morning, I challenge you to do what my wife does and what a great many other Christian women do: get up and put on modest apparel. The “beauty of holiness” (1Chr16:29) far surpasses any cheap substitute of eye shadow or a tight-fitting top.
I also feel like the word shamefacedness deserves some comment, simply because this isn’t a word that we use very often anymore. The Greek term for shamefacedness is αἰδώς (aidōs), which has a broad range of interrelated meanings. αἰδώς can mean reverence or awe; it implies giving respect (whether to someone else or to yourself) or having a sense of dignity or even majesty; and it includes a sense of shame, embarrassment, or even scandal.
Something that I love about my wife, and something I occasionally exploit for a good laugh, is the fact that she blushes very easily. It seems that in our world today so many people—men and women—can unabashedly discuss any topic. There is no sacred ground. There are no respectful topics anymore. It used to be that men would not discuss certain things in mixed company; now even women talk about these vulgarities. Some of the ugliest women I have ever seen are physically attractive women who have no sense of shamefacedness.
Thank God there are still godly women in the world; women who know how to discuss certain topics with reverence, how to respect their friends and themselves, and how to blush with a dignified embarrassment when the situation requires. αἰδώς (aidōs) implies that someone is dignified, royal, or majestic. Shamefaced women are not “oppressed” or “silenced by men;” they act like a princess—sensibly, respectfully, and tactfully.
1 Timothy 2:9ff is just one passage that discusses God’s ideas about womanhood. Biblical femininity might challenge our deeply held beliefs, but God’s way is always the best way. I hope this post will inspire godly women, and godly men as well, to study the Bible and find out what God desires of them.
Since today is my wife’s birthday, and yesterday marked four months that she and I have been married, I dedicate this TimothyTuesday/TitusTuesday post to her.
She is my muse, and she is my friend. I love you, Cheyanne!