What is “shamefacedness?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

First Timothy 2:9: “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;….”

If we examine the word itself, we see two main parts—“shame” and “face.” Therefore, “shamefacedness” is the ability for one’s face to show shame, someone who can be bothered by things inappropriate. Strangely, it does not trouble some individuals to be vulgar and crude. They utter obscenities with ease, behaving in the most uncouth ways—even in public. This is all they know, as they grew up with such “normal” behavior. Thus, to them, it is outlandish to act polite and modest, proper and decent.

Women are the primary audience in 1 Timothy 2:9, although men should certainly be cautious about their conduct as well. When dealing with members of the opposite sex who are not our spouses, there should be restraint and discretion, bashfulness, or regard. There should be “shamefacedness,” especially as pertaining to how we dress.

By the way, the Greek word rendered “shamefacedness” in 1 Timothy 2:9 is aidos, found one other time in the King James Bible. It is in Hebrews 12:28, so translated “reverence:” “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:….” Whereas 1 Timothy 2:9 is respect toward others, Hebrews 12:28 is respect toward God.

Also see:
» Did King David engage in vulgar dancing?
» Should a woman lead a group in prayer?
» Should a Christian be polygamous—having multiple spouses?