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Wordwise Insight, Issue #136
December 14, 2015


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): (What does it mean to dress modestly?)

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QUESTION: What does the Bible teach about modesty?

ANSWER: What an interesting question! And I must confess that until I studied the concept in more detail I tended to confine its application to women who wore too little, or too tight, clothing. It certainly includes that, but it’s a much bigger word.

Here are a few thoughts to ponder, drawn in part from the definition and significance of the English word.

It's About Decency
The Bible talks about doing things "decently" in the church (I Cor. 14:40). There, the word means in a fitting and appropriate way. Modesty is regard for decency of behaviour, speech and dress. It involves respect for what is appropriate and in good taste, according to established standards.

The catch there is that “established standards” can deteriorate (and have they ever!). As the Lord Jesus said of His day, "What is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God" (Lk. 16:15).

What is immoral and immodest has often not only become acceptable, but the norm. In Canada we now have provincial and municipal governments bowing to pressure from women to walk around topless–arguing that men are allowed to do that. (My oh my!)

It's About Humility
Modesty includes freedom from vanity (an excessive pride in one's appearance, qualities, abilities, and achievements). It involves freedom from exaggeration and boastfulness, being based, instead, on a moderate and balanced opinion of one’s self (cf. Rom. 12:3).

False modesty is not modesty at all. This is when the person says things like, “Oh, I’m not really a very good piano player,” or “I’m not really that good looking.” The person isn’t stating a fact, or even what he believes to be true. He really thinks quite well of himself, and is fishing for compliments. Edward Gibbon said, “False modesty is the meanest species of pride.”

It's About Avoiding...

(To read the remainder of this article, click on Modesty.


Come and Pay Us a Visit!

I have developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.

But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!

Through 2010, almanac entries dealt with what happened in hymn history on each day of the year. Beginning in 2011, I hope to analyze hymns from a biblical standpoint, linking to the material that has come before.

My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.

What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click Wordwise Hymns.

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