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Hairstyles and the New Testament (Robert Cavin)

This is from my friend and colleague Robert Cavin:

When we were on vacation in the south of England a few weeks ago, we stopped at Bath, England on the way home. Why? It’s the site of an ancient Roman bath. The place has the only naturally occurring, thermal hot springs in England. So, in the 1st century AD, the Romans built an elaborate temple and bathing complex.

A good picture of the inside:

But that’s not what got my blood pumping . . .

On the inside, they had a museum of sorts. As we’re walking through looking at ancient coins, inscriptions, etc., etc., I SAW THIS!

Why would this get me so excited?

Because it illustrates a verse in the New Testament. In the NT book of 1 Peter, the Apostle Peter is writing sometime before about 67 A.D. to Christians living throughout Asia Minor (modern day Turkey).

In 1 Peter 3:3, ‘ole Peter gives this exhortation to Christian women:

And let not your adornment be merely external– braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; (New American Standard)

The TNIV translates the greek word as “elaborate hairstyles” . . .

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.” (Today’s New International Version)

Peter tells Christian women to not be concerned with “braiding the hair” or  “elaborate hairstyles”. What in the world? What’s ‘ole Peter referring to? Well, if you’ll look at the bust, you’ll see that the lady’s hairstyle is in fact a ton of elaborately woven, individual braids! Here’s a picture from the back.

This bust was made in same century that Peter wrote! It illustrates the height of Imperial Roman fashion. What do you think ladies, will it come back in style? In the next verse, Peter writes:

Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:4, TNIV)

Timeless truth from God’s Word illustrated at the Roman Baths!

Published in1 Peter

Publications by Lionel Windsor:

  • Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians

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