The “Separateness From Idols” Principle

Leviticus 19:27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord. (Also Leviticus 21:5)

The “Trade Identity” Principle

Proverbs 7:10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

The “Humility” Principle

Isaiah 3:16 Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet…

I Peter 5:5b And be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

The “Discreet, Chaste” Principle

Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

The “Modesty” Principle

I 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.

The “Becoming” Principle

I Timothy 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

The “Hidden Ornament” Principle

I Peter 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

The “Charity /Brother’s Keeper” Principle

Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

I Corinthians 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.


MEMORY VERSE: (The “Example” Principle) Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. —I Timothy 4:12


CENTRAL THOUGHT: How we express ourselves, whether by conversation, skin, hair, outfit—the whole attitude—is to be governed by the principles of godly identity and separation from idolatry, humility, discretion, chasteness, modesty, shamefacedness, propriety, meekness, quietness of spirit, and charity.




Leviticus 19:27 “Round the corners…mar the corners”: the custom of the Arabs; also the Egyptians, from whose dominion and idolatrous influence God wanted to deliver His people, to cut their hair into a round shape like a bowl, and to make their beards into a square shape in imitation and honor to their gods. It was also customary to present these beard cuttings to their gods. God wanted Moses to make sure His people did not carry out these idolatrous symbols. “Thou shalt not make any cuttings…”: “It was a very ancient and a very general custom to carry marks on the body in honor of the object of their worship. All the castes of the Hindoos bear on their foreheads or elsewhere what are called the sectarian marks which distinguish them, not only in a civil but also in a religious point of view, from each other. Most of the barbarous nations lately discovered have their faces, arms, breasts, etc., curiously carved or tattooed, probably for superstitious purposes” (Clarke’s Commentary). “This, according to the ancient authorities, was effected by making punctures in the skin to impress certain figures or words, and then filling the cut places with stibium, ink, or some other colour. The practice of tattooing prevailed among all nations of antiquity, both among savages and civilized nations, The slave had impressed upon his body the initials of his master, the soldier those of his general, and the worshipper the image of his deity” (Ellicott’s Commentary For English Readers).

Proverbs 7:10 “Harlot”: prostitute.

Isaiah 3:16 “Wanton eyes”: winking, ogling eyes. The Syrian and Arabic translations have “painting their eyes.” “Falsely setting off the eyes with paint” (Jamieson-Faucett-Brown Bible Commentary).

Titus 2:5 “Discreet”: Of sound mind; self-controlled; balanced; moderate. “Chaste”: Pure. “Applied to persons before marriage, it signifies being pure from all sexual commerce; undefiled; applied to married persons, being true to the marriage bed. Free from obscenity” (Webster’s).

I Timothy 2:9 “Modest”: virtuous; decent. “Restrained by a sense of propriety; hence, not forward or bold; not presumptuous or arrogant; not boastful; not excessive or extreme; not extravagant” (Webster’s). “Shamefacedness”: modesty; bashfulness; reverence.




The scriptures in our lesson give a well-rounded picture of a person who is endeavoring to live a life of virtue, and how he or she is to express him/herself in attitudes, interaction with people and personal style—dress, hair, etc.

The verses from Leviticus come from a “thou shalt/thou shalt not” list within Moses’ law. The essence of many of these commands had to do with God’s desire for His people to be separate unto Him and free from the defiling elements of idolatry. Even to one’s skin, hair and clothing, God had specific desires. Many of the ceremonial laws were fulfilled in Christ and no longer apply, except in a spiritual way; for example, the prohibitions on unclean meats, giving of sacrifices, observing of days and feasts. But when there was a principle involved of separation from ungodliness, I believe God still applies the principle today, especially regarding idolatrous practices, worship rituals or lifestyles.

Tattoos have been around for thousands of years. As was mentioned in the Word Definitions, the Egyptians used them as part of their worship. They were used by the Greeks and Romans to mark slaves, criminals, and prisoners of war. The Japanese used tattoos for decorative or spiritual (idolatrous) purposes and to mark manual workers, prostitutes and criminals. In the Philippines, some believed tattoos had magical qualities.

Concerning their use by “secret societies” I read, “It has been believed that the wearer of an image calls the spirit of that image. The ferocity of a tiger would belong to the person tattooed with a tiger. That tradition holds true today shown by the proliferation of images of tigers, snakes, and bird of prey” (A Brief History of Tattoos on

During the gradual process of Christianization in Europe, tattoos were often considered remaining elements of paganism and generally legally prohibited. In the 1700-1800’s they became associated with sailors around the world and the lower or even criminal class, but by the 1870’s in Europe, among the upper classes, and even royalty, tattoos became fashionable. The earliest appearances of tattoos on women during this period were in the circus, where ladies were covered with images and used in sideshows.

Since the 1960’s tattoos have steadily grown in popularity. “For many young Americans, the tattoo has taken on a decidedly different meaning than for previous generations. The tattoo has ‘undergone dramatic redefinition’ and has shifted from a form of deviance to an acceptable form of expression” (D.J. Roberts, Secret Ink: Tattoo’s Place in Contemporary American Culture, 2012). According to a poll in 2012, for the first time women outnumbered men in getting tattooed—23%, compared to 19% of men. Celebrities have made tattoos more acceptable in recent years, with popularity resurging particularly in Europe, Japan, and North and South America (

The remaining principles in our lesson have mainly to do with the way a person expresses her/himself in clothing or hairstyle. The verse from Proverbs is from a dramatic story of a young man’s seduction by a wicked woman. The story describes her attire, her attitude (loud and stubborn) and her flattering persuasion with which she accomplishes his ruin and death. Isaiah describes the backslidden, proud women of Jerusalem who had taken on the cosmetics, jewelry and attire of the idolaters. Clearly, these are examples to avoid.

In the New Testament, Paul and Peter give us a glimpse of how God is desiring His church to display holiness, humility, modesty and godly reverence in and through the apparel and demeanor of the body.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




1. Origin: Where did tattoos, piercings and cosmetics have their beginnings?

2. Poles Apart: Name the attributes that are in God’s sight “of great price” and those of the immoral woman that are direct opposites.

3. Covered: Explain how avoiding revealing or form-fitting clothing manifests humility, reverence, purity and charity.




We live in a world where people are obsessed with expressing themselves—by social media; by clothing, shoes, hats, and t-shirts; by bumper stickers, art or photography; by hairstyles, jewelry, piercings or body art. But we have been saved from the corruption that is in the world. It is now our desire to express His life, His love, His will. We are not our own, so now we want to glorify Him with our bodies and with our spirits—with what we breathe out of us and how we express ourselves.

We have learned that includes the way we speak, write, think, dress and style our hair. We no longer want to advertise ourselves. We want to manifest Christ. While we still have individual personalities and it is not wrong to be ourselves, our focus is now on Christ living in and through us.

We presented a list of Biblical guidelines. But how can we know, how can we decide every minute detail? God has promised to give us His Spirit, Who would guide us into all truth. He promised to write His laws in our hearts. As we yield our minds and bodies to Him, He transforms our minds so we don’t have to conform to the world. Isn’t this better than a code, or a document of do’s and don’t’s?

“Lord, give me as a woman a meek, quiet and humble spirit! Take away my love for the world and my desire to fit in with the world. Show me how to portray holiness in all I say and do and wear.”

“Lord, give me as a man virtue, honor and humility. Help me to portray purity and holiness in my clothing, walk and conversation.”

And we all can pray, “Lord, help me to express YOU!”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




Several years ago, I was struggling to find the balance of self expression in my own life. It became such an obsession to find out exactly how a woman of God should dress that it was a bondage to me. There are so many fads and fashions out there that are not necessarily wrong, and there is a very real pressure, especially for young women, to want to “fit in.” The devil wants to torment us and make these things into a terrible muddle that steals our peace. This is the opposite of what our walk with the Lord should be. While our conduct, dress, and words should glorify Him in every way, I believe we are not “cookie-cutter Christians” in our styles, and we as women do not have to wear the exact same dress pattern or color of garment, or the exact same hairstyle. Rather, we should seek the Lord daily for guidance in these things.

I find that when I seek Him daily with all my heart, mind and soul, the things pertaining to the outward appearance will naturally fall into line with the desires of God’s heart. It is also good to seek the advice of godly older women in our lives. They have walked this road ahead of us and can give insight and wisdom to the concerns of the younger generation. Let us be willing to change our thoughts, preconceived ideas, and ways of dress to please Him Who has called us to holiness!

“Let me lose myself and find it Lord, in Thee!

Let all self be slain, my friends see only Thee.

Though it cost me grief and pain, I will find my life again,

When I lose myself and find it Lord, in Thee!”

—Sis. Valerie Eck, Edna, KS