Addressing the Dressing IV: Hair and Roman Culture

In the previous post, we learned that women’s clothing in ancient Rome was not terribly varied: respectable women worn the stolla and palla and differentiated themselves from one another with variations of color and jewelry.  Adulteresses and prostitutes were most notably marked by the wearing of the toga, or at times a stolla that was made of thin and revealing Coan silk. A woman’s moral nature was indicated by her choice of clothing, and prostitutes were marked by either various degrees of nudity or the willful rejection of “female” dress.[1]

The previous post dealt a blow against the myth that says “the problem in 1 Tim. 2 and 1 Pet. 3 is one of women dressing immorally, as indicated by their prostitute-like hair.”  In recognizing that hair didn’t indicate that someone was immoral, the previous post also posited the question:  What did ” braided hair and gold or pearls” indicate?

This brings us today to the topic of hair.

crazy hair

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A Dumb Joke and Links

So, I’m editing and putting the finishing touches on the fourth modesty posts right now, as well as writing the fifth and sixth.  I’m also biting off far more than I can chew with my youth group: I’m doing a total Bible overview in six-seven weeks (talk about an ambitious project with junior/senior high kids).  I’ll probably put that overview on here at some point as well, though in a slightly extended form.

Still, I’m trying to make time to toss a few small things up from time to time.  Here’s some random tidbits:

  1. I was trying to track something down on Facebook recently and randomly saw that an old eschatology post had reached a rather eschatologically ironic number of people.


I’d be a little worried, but the word on then internet is that John MacArthur has said something about having a “666” as being all right, so I’m good. Continue reading

Addressing the Dressing III: Clothes and Roman Culture

In the previous post, we looked at the word “modest” in the New Testament and walked through 1 Cor. 12:23 and 1 Tim. 2:9 and ended up closing the post with a little discussion of what “not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire” meant.  The question arose as to what braided hair with gold and pearls indicated in ancient Roman culture, and the comment was made there is an evangelical myth that such things indicated that a woman was a prostitute.  I suggested that such was not the case, and today’s post will be the first part of a two-part answer to that question.  In this post we’ll take a look at women’s clothing in Roman culture, and the following post will take a look at women’s hairstyles.

In Roman culture, one didn’t find the same sort of wild variety in clothing, and little changes in style. Dr. Kelly Olson (expert on ancient Roman fashion and Professor of Classics at the University of Western Ontario) writes, ” Rome was a sartorially conservative society, and the basic shape of female clothing…did not change for centuries.”[1]  All people, men and women, had clothing that was some sort of long tunic, though “women’s clothing was recognizably female”.[2]

Women had a fairly basic variety of wardrobe choices in ancient Rome.  It seems common knowledge that typical Roman men wore (essentially) one thing: the toga.


This wasn’t the case of Roman women (or at least, respectable ones…but more on that in a moment). Continue reading

Rick Joyner, Interpretive Keys, and General Insanity.

So I’m clearly not blogging much, but I read an article recently on Charisma Magazine.  It was shared in this tweet:

As is typical of my ways, got a little bothered.  I took a shot off the port bow on Twitter:

One thing led to another and I ended up writing a summary and critique.

Here’s the Charisma article.

I thought I would share my response with you, my readers.  It’s hopefully a little helpful and practical example of sorting through a deceptive argument and recognizing how a deceptive person can say true things in the construction of a lie.

Here’s my summary and critique:
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Addressing the Dressing II: Biblically Understanding “Modesty”.


Fewer words in Biblical theology have greater potential of moving large groups of professing Christian women to hate you.


Fewer words in Biblical theology have more diverse associations.

Fewer words in Biblical theology have more associated confusion.

Fewer words get serious exploration, since everyone already knows that it means, right?

Not so fast.

So what does the word “modesty” actually mean, like in the Bible?

If you look up “modesty”in your ESV, you’ll strangely come across only two occurrences: 1 Cor. 12:23 and 1 Tim. 2:9 (there’s zero occurrences of “modest”). Now that doesn’t mean that the concept doesn’t occur more frequently, but rather that the English Bible translates a Greek term as “modesty” only twice.

In case you’re wondering if I’ve stacked the deck because of my chosen Bible version, that’s hardly the case.  The NIV only has those two occurrences of “modesty” as well.  The New Living Translation has 1 Tim. 2:9 and 2:15.  The RSV has all three (1 Cor. 12:23; 1 Tim. 2:9, 2:15).  The NASB and KJV only have 1 Tim. 2:9.  The Message hilariously has none of those but rather has Song of Solomon 2:10-14; Matt. 10:11; Mark 6:10; Luke 9:1-5; John 8:54-56.  Let’s be serious: if your study bible is The Message, you may have confusions about a whole lot more than “modesty.”

MSG Study

Nice coaster…

So let’s look at those two sections of scripture quickly (sticking with the ESV) and unpack the term “modesty” as best we can:

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