I have been thinking about a few biblical passages addressing women’s attire and have a number of questions regarding them:
- Did the Church ever prohibit women from wearing jewelry, styling their hair, etc.? The blblical passages on which I have been thinking would seem to suggest that it did. In a few of the epistles, it seems that the inspired writer says that women should not wear gold/silver or even braid their hair. However, these passages also state tha they should not “put on garments”. What exactly does this mean? Ar these passages talking about not wearing jewelry/styling your hair at all or are they simply telling women not to wear elaborate/showy/expensive jewelry/hairstyles/clothing? I have heard it suggested that women not wearing jewelry/styling hair was an early disciplinary issue but does not apply today. So, if this is the case (is it?), why is such permitted today? What changed from then to now? I mean, I have never seen anything, then or now, inherently sinful about wearing even the most elaborate of hairstyle/jewelry so long as it is done with proper motives (not simply to show off wealth, for instance, but, rather, just to be pretty, for instance).
Instead of saying that women should not wear jewelry/hairstyles, elaborate or not, are these passages really saying that, instead of putting one’s central focus on this, they should, rather, put their focus on, as it were, “inner beauty”? Is this a valid interpretations of the passages I’m thinking of or is it not? Why or why not?
Also, if the issue of hair styling and wearing jewelry was a matter of discipline, since it was included in a divinely-inspired letter, would it have then been considered binding on believers as a divinely authoritative statement? But, again, I don’t see what has changed from then to now, so, if it was a divinely-established discipline then, why would it not still be one now? Are even decisions on disciplinary matters, when contained in inspired letters, also to be considered as binding as, say, teaching on faith and morals, at least during the time they are written?
Indeed, disciplinary or not, why were such rules imposed on early Christians (if rules were indeed imposed on them regarding jewelry/hairstyles)? What was the motivation behind these? Again, I don’t see anything inherently sinful in wearing even elaborate jewelry/hairstyles. And, again, what has changed now so that we can now wear such things? Was then issue then perhaps a matter of causing scandal in making those watching those who would wear hairstyles/jewelry (especially elaborate) that these people were being too show/arrogant? Again, then, couldn’t the same be the case today? Was this “discipline” applied, say, only in a church setting so that, for instance, other members wouldn’t be distracted in the church setting by these clothes/hairstyles as they were worshipping?
Are there any good commentaries on these passages? Has there been any good teaching on them? Any teaching considered infallible? Any opinions/facts/observations from folks here on them?