Summary: Christians young and old find the subject of modest apparel a difficult subject to discuss objectively.
A. Text: Col. 3:17.
B. Christians young and old find the subject of modest apparel a difficult subject to discuss objectively.
C. Yet it is a Bible subject, so we must give our reverent and obedient attention to it.
I. DEFINING THE RELEVANT WORDS
A. “Immodest” has many connotations. Several basic English words must be distinguished.
B. Some of these words are:
1. Immodest = having an immoderate estimate of one’s self > having a forward nature > having a disregard for decencies of behavior or dress (from Latin modestus = keeping due measure).
a. Synonyms: arrogant, proud > bold, impudent, unreserved, unrestrained > shameless, unchaste.
b. 1 Tim. 2:9.
2. Lascivious = lewd, wanton, inciting to lust.
a. Licentious = lacking moral discipline or sexual restraint.
b. Synonyms: prurient, suggestive.
c. Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:17-19; 1 Pt. 4:3.
3. Obscene = offensive, suggesting impure ideas. On “purity,” the opposite quality. Phil. 4:8; 1 Jn. 3:3.
4. Meretricious = attracting attention in a vulgar manner > pertaining to or resembling a prostitute.
a. Synonyms: gaudy, tawdry, garish, flashy.
b. Prov. 7:10.
5. Ostentatious = marked by a vainglorious display.
a. Synonyms: vain, pretentious, showy.
b. 1 Tim. 2:9,10; 1 Pt. 3:3,4.
6. Unbecoming = beneath the standard implied by one’s character or position.
a. Synonyms: improper, inappropriate, not fitting.
b. Rom. 1:28; Eph. 5:4; 1 Tim. 2:10.
7. Indecent = not conformed to recognized standards of propriety (from Latin decere = to be fitting, suitable, acceptable).
a. Synonyms: indecorous, indelicate, unseemly, disgraceful.
b. Rom. 12:17; 2 Cor. 8:21; 1 Pt. 2:12.
II. UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES
A. It is shameful to expose one’s nakedness.
1. When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost their childlike innocence.
a. Clothing was needed to cover their nakedness - Gen. 3:7,10,11,21.
b. Note that the Lord put more clothes on them than they had put on themselves!
2. It is shameful to expose or draw attention to the private parts of the body - Isa. 47:1-3. Isa.
3:16,17; Lk. 8:26-35; 1 Cor. 12:23,24; Rev. 3:17,18.
3. One can be shamefully “naked,” in the biblical sense, without being totally nude - Job 22:6; Mt.
25:36,43; Jas. 2:15,16. Isa. 20:2-4.
B. Lasciviousness destroys others as well as one’s self.
1. Gal. 5:19-21.
a. “Licentiousness” (KJV = “lasciviousness”) = aselgia = lustfulness, sensuality; that which promotes lewd emotions and lustful desires.
b. Eph. 4:19; 1 Pt. 4:3. Rom. 13:14.
2. Mt. 5:27-30.
a. There is a twofold responsibility here:
1) The man is responsible to guard his mind from impurity. Phil. 4:8; 2 Pt. 2:14.
2) The woman is to help prevent the lewd stare.
b. It is inconsistent for a woman to dress provocatively and then resent being leered at by men.
c. Though lust is inexcusable on the man’s part, if the woman, by her apparel or otherwise, has encouraged it, she shares in the guilt.
d. Consider these possible examples of mutual guilt: Gen. 9:20-27; 38:12-26; 2 Sam. 11:1-5; Prov.
C. The Christian’s clothing must be consistent with godliness.