I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
(1 Timothy 2:8-15 ESV)
I think it is important to keep the theme verse of 1 Timothy in view when studying this section. Here it is:
I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
(1 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV)
The purpose of Paul writing the letter was to tell the Ephesians, and us, how to behave in the household of God (a.k.a the Church). Not surprisingly there are certain roles that men and women are to play.
– the men are to be faithful godly leaders
– the men are to lead by praying
– the men are to pray with a clean heart
– more on the men in chapter 3
– dress in respectable apparel
– dress modestly with self control
– not gaudy
– be dressed with good works
– submissive to male leadership
– exercise a quiet and gentle spirit
Why so much regulation on clothing? Because Ephesus was especially plagued with immorality and sexual deviancy. The Greek goddess Artemis was there and she was the “goddess of fertility” so it is easy to see how people could launch off of that into further degradation. And so they did. I think the purpose here is the same as what Jesus said in Matthew 5 that we are the salt and light of the world. We are to be noticeably different and distinct from the world. This point is also made when you just consider the roles of the female in the household of God. The church must be markedly different and distinct from the world.