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Why are these two greek words both translated to modesty in the ESV and, to my knowledge, not translated this way in any other bible version?

1 Timothy 2:9 ESV likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty [kosmios] and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,

1 Corinthians 12:23 ESV and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty [euschēmosynē],

The greek definitions of each of these words seem contradictory:

Kosmios: well arranged, seemly, modest

Euschēmosynē: of external charm, comeliness

Both these words are only used in the verses above. The 1 Corinthians verse is the one that seems really out of place to me. If the verse is trying to say that the unpresentable parts will be given the greater honor, like other translations say, why would the ESV translate it to modest?

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  • meaning in context is same as "modesty". Whats rather disturbing to me the rendering of HCSB 1cor12:23 our unpresentable parts have a better presentation." – Michael16 Sep 26 '16 at 18:34
  • Abbot-Smith Greek Lexicon -G2887 κόσμιος, -ον (in cl. -α, -ον), (< κόσμος), [in LXX: Ecc 12:9 (H8626)*;] orderly, decent, modest: 1Ti 2:9 (WH, mg., -ίως, q.v.) 1Ti 3:2.† * κοσμίως, adv (< κόσμος), decently, fittingly: 1Ti 2:9 (WH, mg.).† – Michael16 Sep 26 '16 at 18:35
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    By the way, the word translated as “modesty” in 1 Timothy 2:9 is αἰδοῦς. See the Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament and see the word entry in the LSJ. – Paul Vargas Sep 29 '16 at 20:48
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As noted in a comment and an answer, OP has confused the alignment of the Greek text with the ESV rendering; OP is also wrong to say that the use of "modesty" for this rendering is unique to it: in both cases it simply reflects the choices of the RSV on which it is based.

So for the sake of anyone looking into this Q&A, here's the full data:

(1) 1 Corinthians 12:23

ESV ...and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty [εὐσχημοσύνην euschēmosynēn],...

εὐσχημοσύνη, euschēmosynē = with a sense of "decorum", for which "modesty" works -- and "modesty" is used in fifteen English translations

(2) 1 Timothy 2:9

ESV ...likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty [αἰδοῦς aidous] and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,...

Perhaps what confused OP here was the re-ordering in ESV; here's RSV:

RSV ...also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire...

Here, the RSV follows the order of the Greek text, while ESV has chosen to invert the order of the "apparel" phrase with its modifiers "with modesty and self-control". And the underlying Greek term here is not kosmios, but αἰδώς aidōs, for which "modesty" is a reasonably central meaning. Around 25 of the English versions on Biblegateway use "modest/ly" for aidous here (noting that some translations do not use this equivalent with aidous, but with some other word in the verse).

Summary

The ESV rendering "modest" in these verses is shared with a large number of other English versions -- so not unique -- and in both cases this represents a sensible (even obvious) choice to represent the underlying Greek.

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The Greek text of 1 Timothy 2:9 is (from Nestle-Aland 27th ed.):

Ὡσαύτως [καὶ] γυναῖκας ἐν καταστολῇ κοσμίῳ μετὰ αἰδοῦς καὶ σωφροσύνης κοσμεῖν ἑαυτάς, μὴ ἐν πλέγμασιν καὶ χρυσίῳ ἢ μαργαρίταις ἢ ἱματισμῷ πολυτελεῖ

A fairly strict literal translation here would be:

In like manner also the women in modest dress [καταστολῇ κοσμίῳ],
with modesty [αἰδοῦς] and discreteness [σωφροσύνης],
not with plaitings, or gold, or pearls, or expensive apparel.

I think the confusion arises because the ESV translated κόσμιος as "respectable" instead of "modest" and translated αἰδοῦς as "modesty".

κόσμιος seems to be a really rare word. It only appears here and in 1 Timothy 3:2 in the New Testament, and only once in the Old Testament (Septuagint)

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