Modesty Minute Series

The Modesty Minute Series is a series for young teens about embracing modesty over immodesty.
Modesty is:
“the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities: the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention: freedom from conceit or vanity: propriety in dress, speech, or conduct” ~Merriam-Webster Dictionary App

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Modesty Minute: Beauty and the Beast of Bad Translations

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

A lot of Christian females think that they are god-fearing, but let’s examine that definition a bit closer using popular, bad translations.

Have you ever read this scripture?

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:30‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This scripture tells us that a God-fearing woman will be praised because she rejects being charming because it’s misleading and by the way, beauty doesn’t last.

Or this one?

Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; `But’ a woman that feareth Jehovah, she shall be praised. ~Proverbs 31:30 ASV

This scripture tells us that a God-fearing woman will be praised because she rejects that grace [!]— perhaps they mean “being gracious”— is deceitful to others and beauty is vain. I think that’s rather bold to put grace in there.

Maybe this?

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. ~Proverbs‬ ‭31:30‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This scripture, similar to the NIV tells us that a God-fearing woman will be praised because she rejects being charming because it’s deceitful and by the way, beauty won’t last.

Or how about this?

Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.

‭‭PROVERBS‬ ‭31:30‬ AMP

This scripture tells us that a woman should not be charming and grace[!] — perhaps they mean graceful— because those qualities are misleading to others. Plus, superficial beauty is vain. However, a woman who fears God by reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting God with awe-filled respect, she will be praised as a God-fearing woman.

How about one more!

Charm can fool you, and beauty can trick you, but a woman who respects the LORD should be praised.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:30‬ ‭NCV‬‬

This scripture says “Watch out for charm and don’t be tricked by beauty, but if a woman respects the Lord, she’ll be praised. They actually removed the fear of the Lord here. This is why too many women think fearing God is simply respecting God.

Let me show you why all of these interpretations stink.

First, this is why we need to go back to the King James.

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:30‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Notice that this word favour is different from charm. The Strong’s Concordance interpretation (that reveals the greek underlying meanings) will tell you that it means graciousness and charming, yet the Brown-Driver-Briggs definition will tell you that it also means acceptance. Now let’s think about that: Many women can argue that they are not charming. However, is there any woman that can say that she hasn’t used aspects of her beauty to gain acceptance? This is the difference. The bad translations point to an act of charming others and some point to allowing beauty until it passes. However, the King James points directly to “why a woman uses her beauty, which is to gain acceptance (favor).”

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:..

Note the comma mid-sentence and the colon.

Therefore, this KJV bible scripture is telling us that a women who fears God shall be praised because she rejects using beauty to gain favor with others for it is dishonest and ungodly and beauty itself is empty (i.e. It does not add to godliness so she does not rely on it).

Certainly, the word “grace” and the word “favour” have the same Greek word, which is why you see certain translations I posted above use the word “grace.”  I called it bold.  Here’s why:  When women think of being graceful or gracious, they tend to think of “elegance” such as that of a dancer.  Therefore, the idea speaks of being graceful or charming itself as deceitful.  So, therefore, “favour” does not come to mind as using beauty to obtain “favour from men”  is deceitful.  Grace in this context is certainly not “favour from God.”  These words are closely tied together, but obviously not clear in interpretation because many Christian women still use beauty to obtain favor.  When examining the greek meanings, we must clearly understand the context in order to apply the right interpretation that supports the doctrine. Hence, vain becomes an “empty thing” rather than vain becoming something we have that “passes away.” The context is about fearing God.  The NIV, ASV, AMP, NKJV, and NCV got it wrong; check out the NRSV, NASB, the NLV, and the MESSAGE. None of these interpretations use the word favour, but replace it with the word charm.  Therefore, the understanding of not using beauty to gain favor gets lost.

Don’t you find it interesting how a woman “being praised” was not reinterpreted in the bad translations? It seems to me that they were just fine with keeping that.

Cite this article: Please update the Accessed or Retrieved date (September 13, 2015).
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“Modesty Minute: Beauty and the Beast of Bad Translations.” AWS Magazine Online. Ed. Bobbie Chariot. Savior Sanity LLC., 1 Mar. 2017. Web. 13 Sept. 2015. <https://awomansaved.com/modesty-minute-beauty-and-the-beast-of-bad-translations>.
“Modesty Minute: Beauty and the Beast of Bad Translations.” AWS Magazine Online. March 1, 2017. Accessed September 13, 2015. https://awomansaved.com/modesty-minute-beauty-and-the-beast-of-bad-translations.
Chariot, B. (Ed.). (2017, March 1). Modesty Minute: Beauty and the Beast of Bad Translations. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from https://awomansaved.com/modesty-minute-beauty-and-the-beast-of-bad-translations.

Thank you for reading!

Bobbie Chariot

Bio: Founding Editor

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