Oh...Don't bite the messenger here. I do totally believe this to be a true, Biblical statement, but I'm not telling you what to wear. Wear whatever you please. As for me and my house, well, you'll find my daughters dressing like the daughters of God they are and my boys will dress like the Contenders of Faith they are. We are all about gender-roles here. At least that's what we're teaching :o)
FOR MY DAUGHTERS ~ WHAT IS MODEST APPAREL?
I. Deut. 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.
I can almost see the eye rolls and hear the sighs when I quote this verse. “Surely, you aren’t going to go there!” Sorry sister, I’m going there. No better place to start than at the beginning.
“The woman shall not wear that which pertained unto a man” Yes, yes, I know, that’s the Old Testament. As if that should excuse us from giving heed to it.
Romans 7:7 says "What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: …"
If we didn’t have the law, we would have no knowledge of sin. The law is necessary both for our salvation and our Christian living. God’s Word (the AV 1611 King James Bible) clearly tells us that women who wear those things that pertain to a man are an abomination to God.
That word abomination is a very serious word that means extreme hatred; loathing. God feels very seriously about the way we women dress - it’s nothing to take lightly.
Now I am not about to get into a lengthy study on the various garments of Bible times. As far as I’m concerned, it is irrelevant. The Bible plainly tells us not to dress like men. Have you ever once considered the origin of women wearing pants? How about a little history lesson, shall we?
The introduction of women wearing pants didn’t come about till early in the 20th century. For six thousand years, women wore long, flowing robes or dresses. It wasn’t until women entered the work force that they also donned men’s garments. Ironic that when women decided to rebel against God, step out from under the headship of their fathers or husbands and compete with men in the work force, that they began dressing like men! Sort of a two-for-one rebellion. (an interesting article on the history of dress can be found here.
The word for garment in this verse is ‘simlah’ which means a dress, especially a mantle. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, a mantle means a loose flowing robe. I know, I know, you don’t like that, do you? I’m sorry - it’s all there in black and white for you to research yourself if you’d like.
II. I Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
Oh good, we’re in the New Testament now. I’m sorry sister, it doesn’t get much better for your britches in the NT either. Let’s start by defining a few words. We probably all think that we know what ‘modest’ means but it’s nearly unfathomable just how far we’ve come as a society from the true meaning of that world.
Modest means not forward or bold; not lewd; moderate; not excessive or extreme. After reading the definition, you might just breath a sigh of relief and say “well, my blue jeans certainly make the cut.” Not so fast J Moving on to apparel, which is defined as clothing; vesture; dress. Nice and generic until you dig just a bit deeper. The word for ‘apparel’ in the KJB is katastole which means a letting down…of dress. Last I checked, you didn’t ‘let down’ a pair of pants - you pulled them up. Also in Gill’s commentary on the Bible, he states that “the word rendered apparel signifies a long robe which reaches to the feet. My, how far we’ve come!
III. So what is modest?
We can easily see from the above verses that the wearing of pants and even ‘culottes’ are not considered by the Lord to be modest but you know what, that doesn’t automatically assume that all dresses are modest either. I’ve seen women come to church in dresses that made be blush. So establishing that women should dress like women and not men isn’t enough to cover the subject of modesty. See, there is an interesting verse in the Bible that says:
Proverbs 7:10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
Let’s take a few moments to examine these two phrases. First, the attire of an harlot. She must be wearing something different from the decent women of her day because her clothing defined her. What does a harlot wear? I’m sure that through the years, her clothing has changed but the purpose of those articles have not changed. A harlot:
1. Dresses to draw attention to herself
2. Accentuates parts of her body so that men will lust after her.
3. Dresses to be desired and sought after
If those three things don’t describe how most of our young American women dress these days, I don’t know what does. Mama, what are you thinking allowing your daughters to go about dressed like harlots with their shirts so tight you can see the outline of their undergarments? Pants that hug their backsides? Skirts so short they have to be careful not to bend down. For what purpose do you think they wear these things? To fit in, to be sure but ultimately, it is to get attention from the opposite sex. And attention they will get. Have you ever heard the expression, “If it ain’t for sale, don’t advertise it!” Maybe it’s that their mama’s are setting a sorry example and the daughters are just walking in her footsteps?
Just the other day, I went into the Dollar Tree and saw a mama with her two little Brittany Spears wanna-be's. They were about 5 & 7 years old and they had makeup on so thickly that they looked like they were getting ready to go work a corner somewhere. It was NOT cute. What on God's earth is that mother thinking? What could she possibly think others thought? If for no other reason than all the pedophiles and child abusers in our society, mothers need to get their heads out of the sand. God help our children!
The second thing we see is that a harlot is subtil of heart. Subtil is defined as sly; cunning, insinuating. This tells us that the women who is dressed like a harlot knows exactly why she’s dressed that way! She isn’t fooling anyone.
Modest attire does not draw attention to the female form. It covers that which the Lord calls “naked’. If anything above your knee is showing while standing OR sitting (or working, bending, etc) you are naked in the sight of God. (Ex. 28:42). I came to the conclusion a long time ago that if I had to adjust my clothing in order to sit down or be self-conscious when bending to pray at an altar, then it wasn't something I needed to be wearing.
But in all reality, we don’t need to get out a tape measure because covering your ‘nakedness’ is really just trying to conform to the letter of the law while missing the big picture entirely. Have you ever seen a child who was told not to do something and then proceeds to push the limits just enough so as not to break the rule but see how much he can get away with? That is what the question of skirt length is like. “How much can I get away with?” It’s not a matter of inches but intent . What is in your heart? Do you truly desire to please your Savior?
You can modestly and decently do just about any activity in a dress if it is long and full enough! I have done everything from paint to ride a 4-wheeler and everything in between in a dress. If modesty is really a concern, wear some leggings underneath. The purpose of dressing for our Savior is not to see how much we can get away with.
Other things to consider are, how low is your blouse? Can you bend over in it? Are any of your outer garments too clingy? Can you see the outline of your undergarments? Does your skirt or shirt hug any particular area of your body? Are you dressing to attract attention? Maybe you should examine your motivation.
IV. How’s your heart?
Isaiah 4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.
Sounds like they wanted their cake and to eat it to!
Let’s take a moment to peak inside your heart. Does reading the Scripture and seeing the truth that it contains upset you? Maybe you should consider why that is. God gives us instructions out of love for us and for our well-being. God wants his daughters to be pure of heart and body, to set an example for a lost and dying world. There are only two reasons why a Christian woman wouldn’t dress right. The first being that she is ignorant of what God expects, but if you’ve read this far, you are no longer ignorant! The second is that she has a heart problem.
Do you realize that if you know what is right to do and you don’t do it, it’s sin?
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
You are no longer have any excuses. Generally though, the problem is not a lack of knowledge but rather an unwillingness to obey God’s Word. See, doing the right thing can be a sacrifice. God’s Word calls us to be a living sacrifice for Him (Romans 12:1). I don’t think Jesus was very comfortable being nailed to a cross in shame that we might be saved. The very least we can do is live for Him.
V. Renew your mind!
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
All to often today Christians are more conformed than transformed. They have adopted the world’s mentality of “if it feels good, do it.” May I ask you, since when does the world set the standard for God’s children? The word conform is very telling. It means to be made to resemble, put on the form of. If you go to the mall, the grocery store or a sporting event, what are the masses (the world) wearing? Pants (or shorts). It’s a sea of pants wearing, immodestly clad heathen and Christians want to blend right in with them. Is blending biblical? Of course not. The Bible says we are to be a peculiar people (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9)
I hope this study has given you something to think about. If nothing else, I want my girls to believe God’s Word - all of it - and I want them to know why they do. In closing, may I ask….
IF YOU’RE A CHILD OF THE KING,
WHY ARE YOU DRESSING LIKE THE PAUPERS OF THE WORLD???