Beauty

There are several words in the New Testament used to express the idea of beauty, but the only time the word itself is used is in James 1:11.

“For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away,” James 1:11 (NASU).

The word beauty in this verse is the word “euprepeis” (that’s strictly an English rendering). “The Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Lexicon of the New Testament” defines this word as “of a place that has been cleaned, very attractive.” And, “something very well suited” to something else, or, “they are very well suited to each other.”

When dealing with appearance, human beauty is mostly subjective. When it comes to whether something is beautiful to God, it is quite objective.

One of the most indicative ways this is seen in the Old Testament is in Exodus 28:2, when God instructs, “You must make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for glory and for beauty,” (ESV). Another translation of this verse is, “Make sacred garments for Aaron that are glorious and beautiful,” (NLT).

Keil and Delitzsch’s comment on this verse says, “Before they could draw near to Jehovah the Holy One (Lev_11:45), it was necessary that their unholiness should be covered over with holy clothes, which were to be made by men endowed with wisdom, whom Jehovah had filled with the spirit of wisdom.”

God is concerned with spiritual cleanness and purity. That’s what he thinks is beautiful, not physical appearance. As the wise man wrote, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised,” (Proverbs 31:30 ESV).