Modesty Heart Check

I have been teaching through 1 Timothy 2 the last couple of weeks at my church. This past Sunday, we made it to verses 9-10 where Paul writes:

9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; 10 but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness.

In preparing my message, my wife reminded me of a resource from Carolyn Mahaney that helps women to think and to dress modestly. It’s called the “Modesty Heart Check,” and you can download the PDF here. It focuses not merely on the external but on the attitude of the heart. The pamphlet begins with a set of questions:

What statement do my clothes make about my heart?

In choosing what clothes to wear today, whose attention do I desire and whose approval do I crave? Am I seeking to please God or impress others?

Is what I wear consistent with biblical values of modesty, self-control and respectable apparel, or does my dress reveal an inordinate identification and fascination with sinful cultural values?

Who am I trying to identify with through my dress? Is the Word of God my standard or is it the latest fashion?

Have I solicited the evaluation of other godly individuals regarding my wardrobe?

Does my clothing reveal an allegiance to the gospel or is there any contradiction between my profession of faith and my practice of godliness?

The booklet goes on to give a litany of very practical guidelines for women as they think about how to dress modestly. This is a short booklet, but I think it is very helpful. You can download it here.


  • Reg Schofield

    My wife is a hair stylist and has to stay current with style but that does not mean without allowing a God centered attitude in what is right in what she wears and presents to her clients . Plus as she tries to honor God in this way , she will ask for my advice on any clothing selection and if I feel its a bit too much , she will take my advice and try something else. She has dressed very classy and well , while embracing this principle of modesty and discretion . I think if a woman is married the husband should take a active role in helping and listening to her when she asks about her wardrobe. Just my 2 cents worth .

  • Don Johnson

    What is modest is largely determined by the culture. My point is what was considered modest in the 1st century is very different than what is considered modest today. Applying these verses takes wisdom, but going thru this list of 21 items each time would seem to take a non-trivial amount of time and could easily be legalistic.

    At least part of what Paul is discussing relates modesty to lack of ostentation (as in flaunting one’s wealth) but I did not see any discussion of that, just sexual attraction. In other words, someone could thoroughly meet all 21 items of the published list and yet not reflect Paul’s intentions.

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