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What Does the Bible Say About...Our Appearance?

I know the bible doesn't say much on tattoos and body piercing. I would like some scriptures on our influence and appearance to the outside world. How our appearance influences other people. Thank You.


“I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness [a sense of honor] and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” (1 Tim 2:8-9)

Basically, the Bible says that our appearance that influences others is our spiritual appearance (good works), and not the physical. This passage does indicate that women should dress modestly (in an appropriate manner). What is modest, though, may differ from one place to another. A woman wearing pants would certainly be immodest in Arab countries, not because it is revealing but because it is inappropriate. In the same way, I once unwittingly dressed immodestly in the Philippines by wearing a suit on Sunday morning, thus drawing attention to my strange way of dress. Using this definition, the Amish and Mennonites actually dress immodestly, even though they dress in a less tempting manner than most modern women (or men).

If piercings, tattoos, or clothing brings discredit on God or the church, we certainly should be careful about such things. However, we should not require others to avoid them just because it might bring discredit on someone. After all, it is not up to us to turn away someone who wants to become a Christian just because they already have tattoos or a pierced eyebrow. After all, most elder’s wives I know, and perhaps even some elders, have pierced ears.