What does it mean to dress modestly?

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What does it mean to dress modestly?

In describing the mode of dress appropriate for women in church, the apostle Paul exhorts them to dress “modestly” with “decency and propriety” then goes on to contrast immodest dress with the good deeds which are appropriate for those who profess to be true worshipers of God (1 Timothy 2:9–10). While the Bible only specifically addresses the need for women to dress modestly, the same teaching would apply to men in principle. Both men and women should bring glory to God in their manner of dress.

Modesty in the way we dress is not just for church; it is to be the standard for all Christians at all times. The key to understanding what constitutes modesty in dress is to examine the attitudes and intents of the heart. Those whose hearts are inclined toward God will make every effort to dress modestly, decently, and appropriately. Those whose hearts are inclined toward self will dress in a manner designed to draw attention to themselves with little or no regard for the consequences to themselves or others.

A godly woman endeavors to do everything with a “God-ward” perspective. She knows that God wants His people to be concerned for His glory and the spiritual state of their brothers and sisters in Christ. If a woman professes to be a Christian yet she dresses in a way that will unduly draw attention to her body, she is a poor witness of the One who bought her soul by dying for her on the cross. She is forgetting that her body has been redeemed by Christ and is now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). She is telling the world that she determines her own worth on a purely physical basis and that her attractiveness depends on how much of her body she reveals to them. Further, by dressing in an immodest fashion, displaying her body for men to lust after, she causes her brothers in Christ to sin, something condemned by God (Matthew 5:27–29). Proverbs 7:10 mentions a woman “dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent”—here, the woman’s heart condition is displayed by her manner of dress.

The Scripture says that we are to dress modestly, but what exactly does that mean in modern society? Does a woman have to be covered from head to toe? There are cults and religions in the world that demand this of women. But is that the biblical meaning of modesty? Again, we have to go back to the matter of the attitudes of the heart. If a woman’s heart is inclined toward godliness, she will wear clothing that is neither provocative nor revealing in public, clothing that does not reflect negatively upon her personal testimony as a child of God. Everyone else in her circle may be dressing immodestly, but she resists the temptation to go along with the crowd. She avoids clothing designed to draw attention to her body and cause men to lust, for she is wise enough to know that type of attention only cheapens her. The idea of causing men to sin against God because of her dress is abhorrent to her because she seeks to love and honor God and wants others to do the same.

Modesty in dress reveals a modesty and godliness of the heart, attitudes that should be the desire of all women (and men) who live to please and honor God.

Source: Elizabeth George, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, 2007

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What does the Bible say about clothing?

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What does the Bible say about clothing?

Clothing has played a major role in the history of God’s interactions with man and is featured prominently from Genesis (3:7) to Revelation (22:14). Outward attire sometimes symbolizes inward realities, and in the Bible clothing often has spiritual significance.

The first mention of clothing is in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, their eyes were opened (Genesis 3:6–7), which means they had a new awareness that they were naked. The accompanying shame propelled them to fashion the very first clothing—they sewed fig leaves together to try to cover their bodies. So, even from the beginning, clothing has symbolized the need to cover our sin and shame. God, in His mercy, killed an animal and made garments for Adam and Eve from the skin of the animal (Genesis 3:21). This act of God serves as a picture of our inability to effectively atone for our own sin. The fact that an animal had to die—blood had to be shed—in order to cover Adam and Eve’s shame is a foreshadowing of the later sacrifice of Christ. Our inability to cover our own sin necessitated God’s Son coming to earth to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves (Philippians 2:6–8; Titus 3:5).

Throughout human history, clothing styles and colors have been indicators of a person’s status, wealth, position, and gender. The Bible contains many examples of clothing used to communicate different things. Royal robes were worn by kings to distinguish them from commoners (2 Chronicles 18:9; Esther 6:8; 1 Kings 22:30). Sackcloth, a coarse material that was uncomfortable to wear, was worn during times of grief and mourning to symbolize the inner pain someone felt at the loss of a loved one (Joel 1:8), to show repentance (Jonah 3:5), or to mourn a political tragedy (Joel 1:13; 2 Kings 19:1). Prostitutes had a certain manner of dress and could be recognized by their clothing (Genesis 38:14–15; Proverbs 7:10). Leather belts were a sign of poverty or asceticism; Elijah and John the Baptist both wore leather belts (2 Kings 1:8; Mark 1:6). Men and Continue reading “What does the Bible say about clothing?”