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Can believers use artificial nails and hairpieces?

The Apostle Paul gives instructions regarding how a Christian woman should dress and conduct herself: “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

The Apostle Peter echoes the same thought in 1 Peter 3:3-4: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  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.”

At first glance, these two passages seem to set down strict commandments that women should wear no gold jewelry and should never braid their hair.  However, this is not the case.  These scriptures cannot be taken out of context and universally applied.  

It is important to remember the apostles’ audience – newly converted wealthy Christian women of the first century.  They and their husbands had just come out of Paganism.  Many of these new Christian women were constructing elaborate hair designs using wire frames.  They wore flashy clothes and expensive gold jewelry all in an attempt to out-do other women.  They were not dressing modestly, because they were more concerned with their outward appearance than their inward beauty “of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:4)  

Paul and Peter were not forbidding a woman from wearing a golden wedding band or having her hair modestly braided. Instead, they were instructing women to concentrate on good works and a right attitude rather than trying to impress others with immodest clothes that were inappropriate or gaudy.  

The same principle applies today regarding attire, hairstyles, and fingernails, etc.  Should believers use artificial hair and fingernails?  A Christian woman may use hairpieces and artificial nails providing these enhancements are in good taste and do not draw undue attention to herself.  A woman should ask herself if she is dressing to please God or to please herself and the world. 

“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  Do not cause anyone to stumble.” 1 Corinthians 10:31-32