THE PRINCIPLE OF PERFUME
WITH REGARDS TO MAKEUP
I will give credit where credit is do. The following is
taken from the book by Ralph Woodrow called "Women's Adornment -
What Does the Bible Really Say?" pages 28-30.
" Churches which equate a plain look with salvation,
commonly look with suspicionon women who wear makeup. After all,
didn't wicked old Jezebel paint her face? Some feel that women
who use makeup are 'not saved.' Others would not carry it this
far, but they would regard makeup as a sign of low
spirituality........what does the Bible say about the use of
things such as perfume, powder, and lipstick?
First, consider perfume. The use of perfume is generally
acceptable - even by those who would frown on the use of
lipstick. In Bible times, perfumes were highly regarded and used
in a variety of ways.......References to perfume in one form or
another are found from Genesis to revelation.......Gen.37:25.
Gilead was the home of a number of fragrant shrubs and plants,
including (as mentioned in the text) the 'balm of Gilead'
Two of the most ancient recipes for perfume are found in the
Bible. One perfume was made form sweet spices, stacte, inycha,
galbanum, and frankincense - 'a perfume.....pure and holy'
(Exodus 30:34-38). The other contained myrrh, cinnamon,
calamus, and cassia (Ex.30:22-33). These ingredients were mixed
with oil and poured upon Aaron's head and flowed down to the
skirts of his garments (Ps.133:2). While this particular perfume
was reserved for anointing the high priest, the general idea of
using perfume could not be wrong or it would have been entirely
out of place here.
That various perfumes and spices were held in high regard is
repeatedly seen in the Song of Solomon......(1:12-14; 3:6;
In Psalms 45:6-8, we read: 'Thy throne, O God, is forever
and ever......all thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and
cassis, out of the ivory palaces.' In Ecclesiastes 7:1, a
'precious ointment' is likened to a good name. And Proverbs 27:9
says: 'Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so doth the
sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.' In all these
references, perfume is used in a good sense; is likened to good
things; is highly regarded!
Esther, commonly considered a great champion of women among
the Jews, was perfumed for one year before she was taken unto the
king - 'six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet
odours' (Esther 2:12,13)!
There are several references to perfumes in connection with
Christ. Following His birth, 'frankincense and myrrh' were
presented to Him(Mat.2:11). A very strong perfume was put upon
Jesus when Mary took ' a pound of ointment of spikenard, very
costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus.....and the house was
filled with the odour of the ointment' (John 12:3). Jesus did not
criticize this act; Judas did. When Jesus died, Joseph and
Nicodemus wrapped the body in linen cloth with myrrh and aloes
In view of these Biblical references, certainly today's use
of perfume, cologne, shaving lotion, and things with a good
smell, sensibly used, should not be questioned. Likewise, it is
our opinion that a sensible use of makeup is not contrary to the
principles of the Christian faith.
NONE CAN RIGHTLY OBJECT TO MAKEUP ON THE BASIS THAT IT IS 'ADDING
TO NATURE', ANY MORE THAN HE COULD SAY THAT USING PERFUME IS
ADDING TO NATURE. THE ONE SIMPLY HAS TO DO WITH APPEARANCE, THE
OTHER WITH SMELL............."
End of quote
If God has no CLEAR scripture or command or teaching to say
that the use of "makeup" is evil, sin, an abomination to Him, and
is not to be used - period, then the PRINCIPLE from God's word
concerning the use of perfume, oils, and the like, should
naturally and logically be applied to the subject of cosmetics.
As Ralph Woodrow said, one simply has to do with smell, the other
with appearance. The same principle would also apply to the
use of jewelry. Now some will say there are two NT verses that
teach against the use of jewelry for the Christian woman(men also
I guess), one by Paul and one by Peter. We shall look in detail
at those verses and what the real truth of the matter is, in what
they teach, in another study on this subject. I will say here,
they do not contradict the many verses in both OT and NT that
show God's people did use jewelry as an adornment with His
It is also interesting in the examples Woodrow gave(the one
on Esther and Jesus), to note a principle. Under certain
circumstances and in certain situations what would be possibly
looked upon as extreme and very unbalanced use of the physical
in way of time, effort, and expense, could be quite normal and
fully approved of by the God of heaven. Would be a none issue
with Him. We must always be careful to view all things physical
within their context, history, setting, culture, time and
purpose, intent and attitude, God's freedom of liberty within his
law, before we make any judgment on the matter.
Let me go back to the book by Ralph Woodrow, pages 32- 35.
" Luke tells about a woman with long hair whose sins were
many(Lk.7:37-47). Would this prove that all women who have long
hair are sinners? Would the fact that Proverbs 7:17 mentions a
harlot using perfume prove that all women who use perfume
are harlots? Or because an esteemed woman such as Esther was
bathed and perfumed for one year(Esther 2:12,13), would this mean
that women today should go to this extreme? Would the fact that
an unfaithful wife wore jewelry(Hosea 2:13), prove that all
women who wear jewelry are unfaithful? Of course not. On the same
basis then, the fact that three scattered references to women
painting their eyes (along with such things as
taking a bath, fixing their hair, or putting on clothing) cannot
prove that the use of cosmetics is wrong. It is the motive, the
attitude, the intention of the heart that can make such 'fixing
up' right or wrong........"
Sin by association is not necessarily sin at all. Let's
suppose it was written about Jezebel: "And when Jehu was come to
Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put on her wonder bra, red
panty hose and shiny black patented leather high heeled shoes,
together with her silk yellow dress. And combing her hair loose
so it hung to her waste, she looked out at a window." Would this
make wonder bras sin per se? Would silk yellow dresses become a
sin to wear? How about black patented shoes or having a head of
hair loose to the waste, would they be sin also?
What if it had been written that Jezebel perfumed herself
and put on a pearl necklace, would that nullify the verses where
such are used in a good sense, and so become sin for all women to
use perfume or a necklace?
Back to Woodrow:
" .......Camphire, mentioned in the Song of Solomon(1:14;
4:13) and identified as henna (Strong's Concordance, #3724),
provided a much used reddish-orange dye. Concerning this, the
Encyclopedia Judaica (Vol.8, p. 327) says: 'Throughout the ages
the peoples of the East prized this beautiful, fast dye which was
used for dying the hair and nails.'
Henna was also used on the palms of the hands and soles of
Considering how well-known and how widely used these various
forms of make-up were in the land of the Bible, if God was
against its use, why is it nowhere stated in the Bible? Out of
31,101 verses in the Bible, not one gives a direct command
against make-up.........How true is the statement: 'Man looketh
on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart' (1
Some have opposed the use of makeup on the basis that it is
decoration. But what is wrong with decoration? Wearing a dress
with pretty colors might be considered decoration. Joseph had a
coat of many colors. Was this wrong? The idea that any decoration
is wrong has led to some foolish extremes. Some groups wear only
dark clothing. In one such group, the people were told to paint
the grills and bumpers of their cars, black! Chrome, they
reasoned, was too flashy for God.
We wonder where men ever got the idea that God wanted people
to look drab. Nature is not this way. Suppose God had not
included color in nature. Suppose the grass, trees, mountains,
lakes, and oceans were without color! Imagine orchids, lilies,
violets, poppies, and roses without color!
The garments of the high priest were bright and flashy. The
temple was decorated with gold. The 'new Jerusalem' is described
as having all sorts of dazzling stones and jewels.
We recognize of course, that the use of bright colors in
makeup and jewelry could easily be overdone and fail to convey a
spirit of humility. But the extreme view that God requires a dull
appearance(often accompanied with a dull personality) is
certainly not consistent with the over-all teaching of the Bible.
The very drabness can be made a display of vanity."
Some wise, and true, and balanced words from Mr.Woodrow, I
say. Yes in deed I do say.
To be continued