What Did Jesus Do During the Three Days After the Cross? – LIVE Q&A for March 28, 2024

Can Christian Women Braid Their Hair? - LIVE Q&A on April 4, 2024

Can Christian Women Braid Their Hair?

This week, Pastor David’s lead question comes from Garrett:

Hello Pastor David. Why does the Bible prohibit women to braid their hair? (1 Tim 2 & 1 Peter 3) Shouldn’t this still be observed in church today? Thank you for your time.

Let’s look at the two passages mentioned by Garrett:

1 Timothy 2:9-10

In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.

  1. [9] In like manner also: The word also refers back to the statement that the men pray everywhere in 1 Timothy 2:8. Paul thought the principle of 1 Timothy 2:8 should apply in various congregations, and so should the principle in 1 Timothy 2:9.
  2. [9] That the women adorn themselves in modest apparel: This is how Christian women are supposed to dress, especially at their Christian meetings. The words propriety and moderation help explain what modest apparel is.
  3. [9] Propriety asks, “Is it appropriate for the occasion? Is it over-dressed or under-dressed? Is it going to call inappropriate attention to myself?” Moderation asks, “Is it moderate? Is it just too much – or far too little?” Moderation looks for a middle ground.
  4. [9] The braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing Paul mentions were adornments that went against the principles of propriety and moderation in that culture.

In the Roman culture of that time, elaborately braided hair said, “Look at me. Be impressed by me. Look at how much money and status I have.” That’s not the message a Christian woman should give out when she gets together with other Christians.

But let’s be honest – in the western world in the year 2024, braided hair doesn’t say that. Women have other ways that they can communicate, “Look at me. Be impressed by me. Look at how much money and status I have.” That’s why a woman today could never have braided hair at a church meeting and still break this command by the way she dresses, the accessories she has, and how she carries herself.

The principle is lasting, based on God’s command and what is good for God’s church. How that principle is expressed will differ somewhat from culture to culture and from generation to generation.

  1. [10] With good works: The most important adornment is good works. If a woman is dressed in propriety and moderation, with good works, she is perfectly dressed. Good works make a woman more beautiful than good jewelry.

1 Peter 3:1-4

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

  1. [3] Do not let your adornment be merely outward: Peter did not forbid all adornment. But for the godly woman outwardadornment is always in moderation, and her emphasis is always on inward adornment.
  2. [3] Arranging the hair: According to William Barclay, in the world Peter lived women often arranged and dyed their hair. They also wore wigs, especially wigs made with blonde hair imported from Germany. Peter had this in mind speaking of the adornment that is merely outward. Peter did not forbid a woman fixing her hair, or wearing jewelry, any more than he forbade her wearing apparel (fine is not in the original).
  3. [4] Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart: Real beauty comes from the hidden person of the heart. It isn’t something you wear or primp before a mirror to have. It is something you are.
  4. The real question is “What do you depend on to make yourself beautiful?” Peter’s point is not that any of these are forbidden, but that they should not be a woman’s [3] adornment, the source of her true beauty.
  5. [4] The incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit: The inner beauty of a godly woman is incorruptible. This means that it does not decay or get worse with age. Instead, incorruptible beauty only gets better with age, and is therefore of much greater value than the beauty that comes from the hair, jewelry, or clothing.
  6. [4] A gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God: Peter described the character of true beauty – a gentle and quiet spirit. These character traits are not promoted for women by our culture; yet they are very precious in the sight of God.

So, to specifically answer Garret’s question:

Here’s what the Bible forbids – Christian women, especially when they gather as the church, to dress or carry themselves in a way that says, “Look at me. Be impressed by me. Look at how much money and status I have.”

In New Testament times, that meant specific commands about braiding and arranging the hair. Today, the principle stays the same, but the application must fit with what draws attention and communicates status in our present day.

One example I use to illustrate how a principle endures yet the expression might change from culture to culture is the NT command for a holy kiss in congregational gatherings (made 5 times in the NT – that’s a lot). I’m not aware of any contemporary church group that commands congregants kiss one another to express a warm greeting – they correctly understand that the principle of a warm greeting endures, but how it is expressed can differ according to culture, time, place.

Romans 16:16

Greet one another with a holy kiss.

1 Corinthians 16:20

All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12

Greet one another with a holy kiss.

1 Thessalonians 5:26

Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.

1 Peter 5:14

Greet one another with a kiss of love.

I’m big on the principle that the Holy Spirit may speak to an individual believer about a matter that isn’t specifically commanded in Scripture. So, while I would say that the Bible does not forbid Christian women from braiding their hair in general, only from braiding their hair in a proud, attention-grabbing, self-exalting way among other believers – to zealously keep the spirit of 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:1-4 in a way that makes sense in our present day – while I would say that, I would not say “A Christian woman must braid her hair.”

No, never. If a woman says, “I believe that God is telling me not to braid my hair from this passage” – if she also kept the command in spirit – I would say, “Sister, you have freedom in Christ to braid or to not braid your hair. Just be zealous to keep the spirit of the command as it would apply to us today.”

What type of entertainment should believers watch? Is it okay to watch movies?

Yes, I believe so. I believe that there is liberty in Christ for Christians to watch movies. We know there are all different kinds of movies. Some of them more edifying, while others are less edifying. Some movies are so unedifying and so harmful that Christians should not watch them. To me, Christians have liberty to be entertained by watching movies.

I believe there is a place in the Christian life for entertainment. This can be greatly abused, especially in our modern age. There are many people who expect that they should be entertained constantly, and they become anxious or depressed if they’re not being entertained constantly. But I believe there is a legitimate place for Christians to be entertained, to be refreshed, to take your mind off your work or some of your problems, and just be entertained for a while. Can that be misused? Absolutely. It can be misused. But there’s hardly a single gift from God under heaven, that cannot be misused.

Therefore, I don’t have a problem with Christians watching movies. It’s a matter of Christian liberty. But they should be zealous to listen to the Holy Spirit, so that the kind of movies they watch would be generally edifying and not harmful to their walk with God. I believe Christians have liberty to watch movies, and they also have the liberty to not watch movies. If somebody were to come to me and say, “I believe that the Holy Spirit’s spoken to me and said I shouldn’t do that,” I’d say to them, “Brother, sister, then you shouldn’t do it.” We need to allow freedom in Christ both to do or to not do certain things.

Is believing what Christ did on the cross for our sins enough to take communion?

Is believing what Christ did on the cross for our sins enough to take communion? I asked because my husband refused communion because of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11. He believes that Jesus is the Son of God, the Word manifest in the flesh. He believes the whole Bible is true. He says he’s a Christian, but he has not submitted his life to Christ, and therefore said that he can’t take communion.

There may be many ways in which a person rejects the Lordship of Jesus in subtle and unconscious ways. Somebody could argue that every time we sin, it’s a rejection of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our life, at least in some way. But all that is different from a conscious and deliberate rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord over one’s life. I would say somebody who is in that place of conscious, deliberate rejection should not receive Communion.

I’m grateful that your husband believes all that he believes. Receiving Communion is a multi-layered, multi-dimensional thing. One of those dimensions is saying, “I am receiving Christ into my innermost being. I am partaking of Christ. I’m putting Him inside me in the deepest sense.” Again, I’m not saying for a moment that that’s the only dimension to what we do with commune. But certainly, it’s an aspect of it.

For someone to take communion while simultaneously consciously rejecting Jesus Christ would be as if they put the bread of communion in their mouth and then spit it out right away. “I want You, Jesus. I don’t want You.” So actually, I would simply agree with your husband. If you are in a state of deliberate, conscious rebellion against Him, and refusing to submit to His Lordship, then it’s better that you don’t take communion.

I don’t know if Jane’s husband will ever see this. But I would say to him, “Dear Sir, why continue on like this? You know who Jesus is. You know the work He did on the cross. I’m going to conjecture that you know that you need a Savior. Maybe what’s holding you back is that you are afraid you can’t make a complete or perfect or total commitment to Jesus. I understand. Nobody can. It’s impossible. But what you can do is bring Him the commitment and surrender you can bring to Him today. Bring to Him all you can. And whatever more there is to bring to Jesus, He will draw it out of you. I pray that you’ll come to a place of a full surrender. And by full, I mean as much as you’re able.”

What are the Five Solas and where did they come from? Why don’t many churches seem to talk about them?

The Five Solas are: Scripture alone, Christ alone, faith alone, grace alone, and glory to God alone.

They are the simple statements which summarize so much of the teaching of the Reformation. They were originally coined in Latin, as summations of reformation theology. I believe that they are all true, although I think that they could potentially be understood in a wrong way. I believe that they are not restricted only to those brothers who come from a direct Reformed tradition. I think churches should adopt them. They are not directly stated in the Bible, although they are formed from biblical concepts. They are good summations of Christian doctrine.

How do I submit to God in all my ways? Are submission and obedience the same?

Full Surrender by Dr. J Edwin Orr – https://a.co/d/7vRPqHx

The idea of submitting to God in all our ways, in full surrender, can sometimes intimidate people, and I understand why. People realize their own imperfections, and think, “I can’t make a full surrender to God. Either today, or tomorrow, or a month from now, I’m going to discover something that isn’t submitted to God. And then I’ll feel like I never made a full surrender.”

How do I submit to God in all my ways? I think we can address it straightforwardly. God understands that we are weak and failing. The Bible says that the Lord pities us as a father pities his children. God knows our condition better than anybody. God knows that, in an objective way, we are unable to give Him a full 100% commitment. In some way, it’s going to fall short. God knows that. God isn’t sitting in heaven saying, “You didn’t commit enough.” We just commit all we are aware of in surrender to God, recognizing that it’s not a perfect commitment. No doubt there are things yet to be submitted to Him. Just give Him all that you’re aware of. We can trust Him and pray with the Psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my thoughts. Try me and know my heart. See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” We can pray, “Lord, I give You everything right now that I’m aware of that I can think of. And I lay it before You in surrender. I know it’s not perfect, but I give to You what I can.”

The believer’s trust is not in the perfection of their surrender. The believer’s trust is in Jesus Christ who saves. So yes, we endeavor to lay our lives down as a living sacrifice on God’s altar, just as it says in Romans 12:1-2. But we recognize that it’s something which needs to be done continually, because we are imperfect beings. We bring to God what we can. We can be grateful that we’re not saved by the perfection of our surrender. We’re saved by the person and work of Jesus Christ.