How Much Jewelry Is Considered Excessive in the bible?

How Much Jewelry Is Considered Excessive in the bible?
How Much Jewelry Is Considered Excessive in the bible?

How many pieces of jewelry are too many in the bible?

This is an important matter because restricting ornamentation is addressed in the Bible, notably in 1 Peter 3:3, which has prompted many emails to us over the years.
I’ve included one representative query below, which came from a dad with kids.
Please accept my sincere gratitude for this podcast.
We’re debating whether or not it’s a good idea to let our daughter wear nail polish.
She is just two years old, yet she already enjoys playing dress up.
I hope it doesn’t become necessary, but I guess it’s okay if it lets her inner child shine through.
In the end, my wife will have to answer that one.
Neither she nor I are really fond of her habit of constantly donning layers of cosmetics and jewelry.
But painting her toes is something she looks forward to.
I don’t know many people who would argue that all feminine adornments are undesirable, especially in light of 1 Peter 3:3-4.
Although it’s obvious that there are many who are incorrect.


Today, where do we set that limit?

First, I’d like to make a broad observation and New Testament analogy, and then I’ll go into the specifics.
Hairstyles, fashionable attire, and the application of makeup can all be compared to affluence and fortune in this hypothetical scenario.
To draw a parallel, consider this.
While the New Testament does not view wealth and prosperity as intrinsically sinful, it does portray a trajectory away from extravagance and toward a more austere way of living that is mindful of the perils of wealth and the appearance of loving this world more than God.

The analogy here is that the Bible does not condemn cosmetics, hair accessories, or fashion as sinful practices.
But the trend in the New Testament is toward understatement, modesty, inner beauty, and clothing that does not distract from one’s personhood rather than their body.
That, at least, is my basic impression.
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details.

Stunning Beauty: Two Classical Writings

It might be helpful to read two of the most bare-bones texts on the topic of women’s dress, accessories, and presentation.
These works are mostly directed towards women, yet there are obvious male parallels throughout.

Therefore, 1 Peter 3:3–4.
He’s telling these women of nonbelievers this because they might be tempted to use their sexual reality to convert their husbands.
Peter continues,

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Instead of focusing on outward displays of beauty like braided hair and gold jewelry, or even the clothes you wear, consider the value of cultivating the intangible but priceless quality of a peaceful and quiet spirit, as this is highly pleasing to God.

Here are verses 9-10 from 1 Timothy:

It is not right for women who profess godliness to adorn themselves with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather with what is fitting for women of their station: good acts.

The following can be inferred from these two sources.

Guidelines for Keeping It Cool

Keep from putting more stock in someone’s outward appearance than in their inner qualities.
Instead than focusing on outward appearances, “let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart” (1 Peter 3:3–4).
There you have it; the fantastic principle for ladies (and, of course, gents as well).
Akin to physical activity.
One of our favorite sayings is, “While bodily exercise is of some value, godliness is of worth in every aspect” (1 Timothy 4:8).
It follows that external ornamentation serves little purpose, while inside adornment is invaluable.
This is the first inference we can make from these texts.

Look within, not just at the outside.

Two, the limits Peter and Paul set are not intended to be absolute.
We can tell this because Jesus immediately follows the instruction to “not let your adorning be… the braiding of hair and jewelry” with the warning to “not let your adorning be… the garments that you wear” (1 Peter 3:3).
This is not to be interpreted as “Don’t dress up.”
It means “Don’t worry so much about how you seem on the outside; focus instead on how you feel on the inside.”
There can still be hairstyles and accessories.

Third, in 1 Timothy 2:9-10, Paul almost exclusively discusses what is “fitting” or “becoming” or “suitable” (these are Greek expressions that I made sure I had right) in terms of clothing:

katastol kosmi, or “suitable garb”

Regarding norms and propriety; using meta-aids.

me, I’m a himalist.polytelei means “not in expensive clothing; not in opulent or showy garb.”

“as is suitable for women who profess godliness,” or prepei gynaixin epangellomenais theosebeian in Greek.

The implication of these rules seems to be this: in a culture that is constantly shifting and highly corrupt, with fringe elements of grunge, gaudiness, and provocation, you should care more about what your clothes and accessories and makeup say about who you are as a person than about your skin color or your body type.
Paul describes this as “appropriate for godly ladies” (1 Timothy 2:10).

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Unwavering Femininity

And now we return to the subject of the young girl who wants to paint her nails.
The question of male and female sexuality and its definition is raised, and it is an important one.
What exactly differentiates a man from a woman?
Perhaps we didn’t think it was necessary to bring that up twenty years ago.
They all understood what that meant.
Well, now we must be on guard to ensure that our daughter develops a healthy, introspective appreciation for the fact that God chose to make her a girl and not a boy.
And we want our son to grow up knowing that God made him a boy and not a girl and being grateful for that fact.

Therefore, I will say without guilt that it is cause for celebration when our 2-year-old daughter expresses a desire to paint her nails but her 5-year-old son has no such desire.
We should encourage our boy to avoid exploring these kinds of feminine expressions yet support our daughter’s predisposition toward them (and there are sensitive ways to do that).
I refer to nail polish as a cultural representation of femininity rather than an innate one because of this fact.
Having painted fingernails isn’t a requirement of her genetic make-up.
Painted fingernails aren’t a genetic trait shared by females.

But what is intrinsic, what is divinely given, is that healthy boys developing into adult men are predisposed to adopt culturally appropriate gestures of manhood.
In fact, we owe it to them to assist them in their endeavor.
And God-fearing young women on the path to full femininity are predisposed by nature to embrace culturally appropriate displays of womanhood.
And I think that’s what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 11:14.
Doesn’t the world around you serve as a teacher, he asks.
Also, in Romans 1, he explains that people are rebelling against nature (Romans 1:21–28).

Consequently, the fact that she wants to do it makes me grateful.
And my wife and I would bring her up to know how completely unimportant nail polish is to who she is and what she may do in the world.
We want her to have the kind of perspective that, even if she loses all of her fingers in a factory accident, she will still be a beautiful, worthwhile, fruitful person because she is a follower of Jesus Christ and a daughter of the King of the universe.

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Attracting Noticeable Attention to the Sky

So, I would add a special concern here that we raise our daughters and sons not to be sexually provocative. This is in addition to getting our priorities right, embracing the goodness of maleness and femaleness, dressing in ways that are becoming and fitting to our devotion to Christ, dressing in ways that point to our personhood instead of our body, and avoiding the arrogance that seeks to defy convention in shocking ways.

As the saying goes, “the eyes that are drawn to more skin are drawn to more skin not because it’s attractive, but because it’s more skin.”

At this point, you should be covering up rather than baring more skin.
And that means looser pants and tops!
And if a woman at this point gets mad at me and says, “I don’t need to calculate my wardrobe according to male sexual desire,” which is such a popular rebuttal if you attempt to say anything about modesty nowadays, I answer, “Well, that’s true.
You can skip the math involved in figuring out what to wear.
Do you believe that lovely attractiveness is boosted by the amount of skin you expose? (I think ladies who desire to embrace feminine beauty and feminine godliness will comprehend this question.)

Here’s my response: extra skin attracts the gaze not because it’s attractive, but simply because it’s extra skin.
Having a lot of skin exposed is not attractive.
Aesthetics are irrelevant.
It’s all about having raw, tangible, magnetic skin.
The ability to be sexually alluring is not a reliable indicator of physical attractiveness, because sex and beauty are distinct concepts.
This is something that a godly lady understands.
She would rather not attract unwanted attention to herself.
Through her outfit, she hopes to convey her gratitude for being a woman, her appreciation for elegant simplicity, and her firm belief that Christ is her greatest treasure.

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