Biblical Adornment-Should Christians Wear Jewelry, Makeup and Fancy Clothes?

Should godly women adorn themselves?  Absolutely, but in what way, sinfully or biblically?

1 Timothy 2:9-10   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 greek word for adorn is: kosmeō which means: 
 orderly, decorous: - to put in order, adorn, ornament

Decorous means: 


adjective \ˈde-kər-əs also di-ˈkr-əs\
: correct and polite in a particular situation
:  marked by propriety and good taste :  correct <decorous conduct>

1 Peter 3:3-6  Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.  For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:  Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

Beware, the New King James translation has added the word 'merely' which is unbiblical and totally changes the meaning: (Do not let your adornment be merely outward.) 

Revelation 22:18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book

Paul and Peter clearly and specifically show a contrast of how NOT to adorn yourself (worldly adornment/decoration) as well as how a godly woman IS to adorn herself (internal-good works through Christ).

Just by using 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Peter 3 we see that women are NOT to adorn their outsides in any way (and they give examples of the sinful adornment women do)  but instead DO adorn our insides by a transformed life in Christ.  

People like to twist scripture (especially the ones pertaining to women like adornment, headcovering and dress) and isn't that what Satan did?  He put doubt in Eve's head (Genesis 3:1).

The New Testament teaches holy living and purity before God. The life of a true Christian is a walk of humility and holiness in spirit and in deed.  

The scriptures above teach that the adornment of a woman should be "orderly and of good behavior". Looking 'holy' on the outside does not render one pure on the inside but when the inside is clean and pure, the resulting fruit should be that of holiness on the outside.

Broiding and plaiting of the hair refers not simply putting a braid in the hair to neatly bind it, but to hair that was made to be fancy, curled, and designed in alluring ways to draw attention. It was common for women to weave silver wire, thin plates of gold and colored ribbons as well as precious stones into their hair; not much different than today with all the perming, coloring and hair accessories.  All of this is ornamentation for pride and vanity.   In keeping with the teaching of head covering for women, this is referring to parts of hair that may not be totally covered by a veil and in context of 1 Peter 3 it is instructing women not to adorn themselves for their husbands but instead to win them with an incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.  

Gold, pearls, costly clothing, broided/fancy hair are just some of the specific things Paul mentions as examples of what are NOT becoming to women who profess godliness. The wearing of jewelry and makeup very easily fall into this adornment category with pride and vanity as well as ungodliness, sinfulness and adornment.  The spirit of a woman will be evident in her obedience or disobedience to scripture. 

Jewelry, beauty accessories and make-up/cosmetics are specifically for the purpose of ‘fixing up’, making beautiful, accenting, drawing attention, alluring, enticing etc (there is absolutely no other reason to wear such things) as we can see from the Bible where the only references to such things were toward harlots and pagans.

The book of Ezekiel chapter 23 tells us about harlots and their workings among which includes adornment, make-up or cosmetics.

Furthermore you sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and there they came. And you washed yourself for them, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments.

We learn about Jezebel the harlot:

Now when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked through a window. 2 Kings 9:30

Just prior to that verse we see what sort of person Jezebel was:

Now it happened, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?”  So he answered, “What peace, as long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcraft are so many?”  (2 Kings 9:22)

We see in Jeremiah where making oneself fair with the use of flashy clothing, jewelry and makeup/cosmetics is considered vanity:

And when you are plundered, What will you do? Though you clothe yourself with crimson, Though you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, Though you enlarge your eyes with paint, In vain you will make yourself fair; Your lovers will despise you; They will seek your life.

(Jeremiah 4:30)

We will now look at what God thinks of worldly adornment:
Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.
18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,
The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
The rings, and nose jewels,
The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.
And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. (Isaiah 3:16-24)

Notice in verse 18 that God will take away the 'bravery' of their tinkling ornaments.  Bravery means:

H8597  tiph'ârâh  tiph'ereth
tif-aw-raw', tif-eh'-reth

From H6286; ornament (abstractly or concretely, literally or figuratively): - beauty (-iful), bravery, comely, fair, glory (-ious), honour, majesty.

The root for tiph'ârâh  tiph'ereth is:



A primitive root; to gleam, that is, (causatively) embellish; figuratively to boast; also to explain (that is, make clear) oneself; denominatively from H6288, to shake a tree: - beautify, boast self, go over the boughs, glorify (self), glory, vaunt self.

We see here that God is speaking in a negative way about the bravery (self boasting, self glorifying) of their ornaments.  

And here we see the greatest example in Revelation of the whore being adorned in worldly ornaments:

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.  (Revelation 17:3-5)

We will also include 'the putting on of apparel.'  People who fight for the right to adorn themselves say that if you can't adorn, then you can't 'put on apparel'.  That is incorrect.  The context in scripture is not to adorn yourself by the apparel you wear.  People can choose simple plain apparel or they can adorn their bodies with patterns, florals, styles, flashy colors and patterns.  Scripture says not to wear apparel that will be an adornment which means solid colors without patterns etc.

With the vast amount of contention in fighting for the right to unbiblically adorn themselves, women forget that since makeup and such adornments are not given to us by God, but instead instituted by man from sinful desires, then why can't men wear makeup without a stigma attached to them?  Men should rightfully be able to paint their faces, nails, wear jewelry and fancy flashy clothing and shoes etc.     If it is right for a woman to wear a dress full of flowers edged in lace, why can't a man wear a shirt and pants patterned with little cars and edged with burlap fringes? It sounds crazy doesn't it?

But...let's not make a pride and vain filled subject be only approved for women and not men because it is of the world and is fair game for both.  If sisters are allowed to unbiblically adorn themselves then they should encourage their brothers to do so as well.

How do you know if a piece of clothing has become an adornment?  Picture a plain blue car.  Now picture that car covered in flowers, plaid patterns or polka dots.  Same thing for clothing.

It is not stated in 1 Timothy 2 or 1 Peter 3, but tattoos are an adornment that should be avoided as well.  Click HERE to read an article on that.

So ladies, the next time you want to justify the use of worldly adornments, make-up/cosmetics, jewelry etc. even in just a little or small amount, consider this:

By whose standards do we calculate what is little or small?  A man might decide to wear a little fire engine red lipstick and just one bull ring in his nose, is that okay?  He may paint his nails but only on the fingers not his toes.  What if he wants to wear sparkly sequined shirts with gold necklaces etc?

But none is of God so neither godly women, nor godly men should even consider wearing any of it's absurdity.

These traits are contrary to the spirit of Christ.  (This is a post for women so we will focus on them.) The world places much emphasis on the outward appearance whereas God places value on the inward beauty of the heart and as shown from scripture, God condemns worldly adornment.  God also tells us what He desires and what He despises.  We can clearly see that in scriptures.

God shows us what is real beauty is and what is not:

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.  (Proverbs 31:30)
A woman is not to be sloppy or unclean but instead she should dress in a simple and neat, clean and tidy manner of loose, long, plain (unadorned) flowing garments (without excessive cost or fancy display) so as to hide her form; (see HERE for more on biblical dress) veiling her head in obedience to 1 Corinthians 11 (see HERE for headcovering)  as well as rejecting that which is sinful the world uses to adorn their outsides such as jewelry, make-up/cosmetics and any other form of enhancing one’s physical appearance, lest they have the bravery as the haughty daughters of Zion in Isaiah. 

One good test of whether something is biblical is to run it through the test of Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

The wearing of these such adornments (jewelry, makeup, fancy/colored/permed hair, immodest, flower, patterned clothing etc) are the manifestations of (not limited to) pride and vanity, let us run those two traits through the Philippians test.

Finally, brethren, if pride and vanity are true, pride and vanity are are honest, pride and vanity  are just, pride and vanity are pure, pride and vanity are lovely, pride and vanity are of good report; if there be any virtue in pride and vanity, and if there be any praise for pride and vanity, think on these things.

As we can see, outward adornments of such stated in the scriptures are not within the character and nature of a godly woman.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Let's look at the stark contrast between the whore of Babylon and the bride of Jesus Christ:

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.  (Revelation 19:8)

The bride (believers who are born from above and following after Jesus in obedience) is to be focused on living for Christ, not adorning a body that does not belong to them.  

 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.  (1 Corinthians 6:21)

  In the Old Testament God had specific requirements on how the temple was to be adorned and He has done that as well for us today through 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Peter 3.  He does not want the Holy Spirit to reside in a temple (body) that has the worldly graffiti of makeup/cosmetics, jewelry and various unbiblical adornments.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:20)

Let us keep in mind the warnings Paul brings us to those who will not obey even in the 'so called' little sins of adornment...

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.  (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

He then goes on to say:
And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 2 Thessalonians 3:14 

But it's just a little thing?  Paul doesn't think what we call little things are little because he referred to a lazy man. 

Why would Paul say that?  Because:
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)

By harboring (which is approval) a brother or sister who insists in sinning in the way of adornment after clearly being shown in the Word, they are a danger to the body.

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Be very careful to not be listing sins as small and therefore not put them as a priority to be taken care of because we clearly have shown you that nothing is small and in fact let's ponder this verse:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty  (1 Corinthians 1:27)

What we see are the 'so called' smallest issues turn out to be huge issues because they can cause you to be rebuked and shunned so that you may be ashamed.  By clinging to these so called little leavens, there is the risk of ruining the whole batch.

Worldly adornment is unbiblical and not in line with the word of God, instead it is in alignment with the world. 

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Please repent and get in line with God's Word.
We care so we reach out to you in love.

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:8-10)

These instructions are for those who have been repented and been born from above (John 3:3) so if you have not been born from above please click HERE to learn the gospel good news and how to be redeemed.

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For His glory…