A couple of years ago I posted a blog on How Christian Women Dress. In this blog I would like to look at 1 Timothy 2:9 in more detail.
In the King James Version of the Bible we read, “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….”
In part 1 we dealt with this passage, so you might want to review what has already been covered.
For this post we will look specifically at what has been translated by the King James translators as modest apparel.
The word that was translated modest is the greek word, kosmio. You’ll recognize this as relating to the English word, cosmos. Vines’ Expository Dictionary of the New Testament says,
“orderly, well-arranged, decent, modest” (akin to kosmos, in its primary sense as “harmonious arrangement, adornment;”
The Greek word that was translated apparel, is the word, katastolE. which Vines’ expounds on as,
connected with katastello, “to send or let down, to lower” (kata, “down,” stello, “to send”), was primarily a garment let down; hence, “dress, attire,” in general (cp. stole, a loose outer garment worn by kings and persons of rank, Eng., “stole”); 1 Tim. 2:9, “apparel.”
So, the Bible instructs women to wear long, loose, dresses or robes. This is speaking only of the outer garment. Women have often been known to wear additional garments under the dress, like pantaloons, leggings, culottes, etc. to insure modesty, just as God instructed the priests to do when going up the steps of the temple.
Although the Bible speaks many times of clothing, garments, apparel, etc, 1 Timothy 2:9 is the only case in which this particular Greek word is used. God chose to use this specific word when instructing the women on what they are to wear.
Here are the other New Testament words used in other verses and situations for apparel:
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connected with hennumi, “to clothe” means “clothing, raiment,” usually suggesting the ornate, the goodly. The former is found in Luke 23:11, RV, “apparel” (AV, “robe”); 24:4 (AV, “garments”); Acts 10:30 (AV, “clothing”); 12:21; Jas. 2:2 (RV, “clothing,” twice; AV, “apparel” and “raiment”); Jas. 2:3 (“clothing”). Esthesis is used in Acts 1:10, “apparel.” See CLOTHING.
a diminutive of heima, “a robe,” was used especially of an outer cloak or mantle, and in general of raiment, “apparel” in 1 Pet. 3:3. The word is not in the original in the next verse, but is supplied in English to complete the sentence. See CLOTHING No. 2, GARMENT, RAIMENT, ROBE.
a collective word, is translated “apparelled” in Luke 7:25, and preceded by en, “in,” lit., “in apparel.” See CLOTHING, No. 4, RAIMENT, VESTURE.
Katastole is the only one of the words that emphasises that it must be long, and is only used in the instance of instructing women about what they are to wear.
When thinking about this recently I decided to phase out my knee lenth skirts because they would have fit in with what was approved only for the men. Haha! That’s funny, isn’t it! We “conservatives” have been concerned that the men wear long pants, and it’s the women God was concerned about! :)
http://www.covenantofgrace.com/christian_clothing_women.htm has a WEALTH of well-researched information on the topic. I will include one paragraph which I have divided into three:
“In the New Testament the apostle Paul enjoins women to “adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety” (I Tim. 2:9). The word translated here as “apparel” is katastolh (katastole), which combines stolh (stole), the common New Testament word for a dignified long robe (Mark 12:38, 16:5; Luke 15:22, 20:46; Rev. 6:11, 7:9), with the prefix kata (kata), which means “down” or in some instances “covered down” (cf. I Cor. 11:4).
Elsewhere in Scripture, where garments in general are intended and not dignified long robes in particular, the word is usually imation (himation), and stole or katastole are not included.
Thus, using the word katastole, Paul commands Christian women to wear garments in the form of long robes – modest apparel, or modest long robes – in keeping with the custom of the godly women in Old Testament times.”
I hope you have found this to be helpful.
When searching for scriptural answers to life’s questions we must realize that just because a person has a great message in an area, like family, repentance, music, witnessing, you name it, that doesn’t mean that they are true to the Word of God or have complete understanding in every area.
Do not pattern your life after a person in any instance without making certain they are in line with the Word of God in that area.
The only way you can do this is to STUDY–not just read the Bible, but like 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs, study.
This includes finding out what Greek or Hebrew words God chose to use, and finding out what they mean. As a born again person, it includes praying for understanding, and searching until you find answers. No one can do this for you.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” There is a huge amount of instruction packed into that verse. You will want to MEDITATE on that one.