Summary: We live in a world of constant change, including trends in the types and style of clothing we wear. What is appropriate dress for a Christian? Hopefully, this lesson will answer that for us.
A daily question (or at least a daily decision) most everyone asks (or makes) is - What shall I wear today?
For mankind, when answering this question certain considerations come into play:
1. What’s the occasion?
- dinner with the family
- sporting event
- the occasion’s are endless
2. What’s the style or current trend in
- would you wear bell bottoms today?
- a trend today is to wear baggy
pants, or even blue jeans with
holes in them!
- remember the time when baby boys
3. What’s the custom?
- In many foreign counties it is the
custom for women to cover their
head and face.
- In some tribes found in remote
regions of the world, it is
customary for the people to go
with little or no clothing.
When Christians ask this question, the considerations mentioned above naturally come into play; however, for a Christian (man or women) the overriding consideration must be , “Is it modest and proper for those professing godliness?”
Foundational Text : 1 Timothy 2:9-10
With the overriding consideration for Christians being modestly and godliness, the challenge then becomes defining proper attire within the context of modesty and godliness.
Do the factors within society that define modesty change?
- at one time, it was immodest for a women
to expose her ankles!
- at one time, it was “ungodly” for a man to
come to church without a suit and tie (at
least within some congregations).
- at one time, it was improper for a women to
wear slacks to a worship service.
Do the factors within society that define modesty change? I think we have to answer yes?
So the question still remains, What Shall I Wear as a Christian without compromising modesty and godliness?
- Should a Christian woman wear shorts, mini-
skirts, low-cut blouses, tight skirts or
- What about dresses with the backs out or
- What about a man, should he be concerned
- What about certain activities? Mixed
swimming, cheerleaders, or other activities
that require a certain dress?
I have to admit, there is no easy, simple guideline such as “no higher than an inch above the knee” outlined in the Bible. It is an emotional and often controversial subject. However, I strongly believe the Bible provides basic principles that can help any Christian in any culture. If we apply these principles above all other considerations (the occasion, the current style or trend, and even the custom) we can dress in a consistent, modest manner which exhibits godliness and Christian values! Let’s see what the Bible has to say:
I. Understanding the Origin of Nakedness
Nakedness is defined as: completely unclothed; bare, uncovered; exposed said parts of the body.
Man’s awareness of nakedness began in the Garden of Eden (cf. Gen 3:6-7). Notice again from the text what Adam and Eve did after sinning: being aware of their nakedness, THEY made clothes with fig leaves - specifically “loin coverings!”
The Hebrew phrase from which we translate “loin coverings” is chagorah (hag-ore) meaning a garment which covers the mid-section.
What would this garment leave “exposed?”
- most of the legs
- arms and shoulders
- parts of the chest (breast) and back region
Were these loin coverings sufficient in covering Adam and Eve’s nakedness? Were they in compliance with God’s standards? Notice Vs. 8-10. Why were Adam and Eve hiding? Because they were naked! But what about the “loin coverings?” I suggest to you that despite the "chagorah" Adam and Eve still felt naked!
What about God’s standard? Note Vs. 21.
God made “tunics” for them - translated from the Hebrew kethoneth (keth-o’-neth) which means to cover: shirt, coat, garment or robe.
Ary you starting to see the picture here? Evidently God was not pleased with the brevity of the coverings they had made.
II. Understanding the Shamefulness of Nakedness
I’m going to make a bold statement. I firmly believe that due to the overwhelming exposure of nudity (or partial nudity) in our society today we (including Christians) have become desensitized to it. After all we see it:
- Not only in most all movies rated above G
- It’s in most TV programs, including
- It’s on bill boards, in magazines, in video
- It can even be found in the church!
Don’t believe me? Consider the following facts:
- Number of new magazines in the U.S. in 1992:
- Number devoted to lifestyle: 60
- Number devoted to sports: 40
- Number devoted to crafts/games/hobbies: 35
- Number devoted to celebrities: 33
- Number devoted to sex: 97
What about television and the movies, let’s say, in the 60’s? Did you see nudity, or even partial nudity? Were products marketed by a beautiful girl wearing a two piece bikini? What would have been the public reaction then to such? So what’s changed from the 60’s to today? It’s our acceptance level! How many of us have: