Modest Dress of Christian Females
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During the course of a sermon, a "pastor" (loosely-termed) came to 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and read it in the KJV: "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; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."
Instead of exegeting the passage, this pastor said, "I'm not going to touch this one with a ten-foot pole." This is a true story; I heard him say it on tape.
Why did this "pastor" abrogate his "pastoral duty" when it came to the modesty of women? To anyone who saw how the women were dressed in his assembly, the answer is obvious: This "pastor" was afraid to get into specifics as to what constituted modest dress, because if he did so, he would face the wrath of the shamelessly immodest women of the assembly and would be called a "fundamentalist" or a "legalist."
Yet passages on the modesty and immodesty of women are found throughout the Bible. If God put them in the Bible, we had better not ignore them.
Why does the Bible focus on women rather than men when it comes to modesty of dress? As Solomon said, "That which has been, it [is] that which shall be. And that which has been done, it [is] that which will be done. And there is no new [thing] under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). As it is today, so it always has been: the women of the world love the glitter and glamor. They love to behave and to dress in such a way as to be sexy and seductive. The men of the world love it and feed into it. It is a truly disgusting dance of whoredom.
Whorish dress has not stayed outside of the professing church. In most cases, the women in the professing church and the world look no different. Their "everyday" clothes are whorish, their "dress-up" clothes are whorish, and their "recreation" clothes are whorish.
But this is not how true Christian women are to dress or conduct themselves. They are to adorn (arrange) themselves in modest, proper clothing, with shamefacedness and sobriety.
The Greek word for "shamefacedness" is aidos, which gives the sense of looking down or having downcast eyes. The word for "sobriety" is sophrosune, which means self-control, moderateness, temperateness, and discreetness. How much of today's fashions for women fit into this category?
Braided (plaited) hair, gold, pearls, and costly array are all characteristic of a woman who loves to draw attention to herself, who uses her hairstyle and jewelry as decorations. "Such gaud characterizes the spiritual harlot - Revelation 17:4" (JFB). "And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and being gilded with gold and precious stone and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominations and unclean things of her fornication."
Before we go further about modern fashion, let us look at some Old Testament passages. Isaiah 3:16-24 says, "And Jehovah says, Because the daughters of Zion are proud, and walk with stretched out necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing [as] they go, and make a tinkling with their feet; So Jehovah will make the crown of the daughter of Zion scabby; and Jehovah will lay their secret parts bare. In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of the ankle bracelets, and the headbands, and the crescents, the pendants, and the bracelets, and the veils; the turbans, and the leg ornaments, and the sashes, and the houses of the soul, and the amulets; the rings and nose jewels; the festal apparel and the outer garments; and the mantles, and the purses; the mirrors and the fine linen; and the turbans and the veils. And it shall be, instead of a smell of perfume, there shall be an odor of decay. And instead of a sash, a rope. And instead of well set hair, baldness. And instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; burning instead of beauty."
The above is an example of the opposite of shamefaced appearance. "Mincing" means short steps reflecting an air of haughtiness or seduction. "Wanton eyes" means seductive looks, winking seductively, and even falsely setting off the eyes with paint. Face-painting is mentioned in Jeremiah 4:30: "And you, O stripped one, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with crimson, through your adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, through you make large your eyes with paint, you beautify yourself in vain. Lovers despise you; they will seek your life." It is common knowledge that the women who painted their faces and ornamented themselves were prostitutes. They did this to attract men.
Proverbs 7:10-11 gives the description of a whore: "And, behold, a woman to meet him, with a harlot's dress, and a guarded heart; she [is] loud and stubborn; her feet do not rest in her own house." It is obvious from this passage that there was a certain manner of dress that was characteristic of whores.
What does this all mean for today? Some would say that we can never know what modesty of dress really means, so we should not even try to define it, much less obey it. But God put this in the Bible for a reason. And true Christians will strive to obey God's commands, not out of any notion that their obedience makes them more recommended to God or more fit for heaven or that their obedience forms any part of attaining or maintaining salvation or favor with God, but out of love for God who saved us and out of assurance that we will cross the finish line not based on anything we do or anything done in us, but solely based on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Immodest dress is anything that is designed or intended to sexually attract or call attention to one's self. So when Christian women are looking at buying or wearing a particular item, they must always ask themselves questions like these: "Why am I doing this? Why am I wearing this? Why is this particular piece of clothing designed the way it is?"
Let us get even more specific.
Why do women and girls wear makeup? Why is it expected that females will wear makeup? Face- and eye-painting has its origins in prostitution. It is used by females today for the same reason that it was and is used by prostitutes. Just one look at makeup advertisements confirms this. It is to make the person more attractive.
Why do women and girls wear jewelry? Why is it expected that females will wear jewelry? Some jewelry, like wedding rings, are a sign to others that this person is married. But what about decorative jewelry? It is just that - it decorates. It calls attention to the face or other part of the body. It is meant to attract, to make someone look at the person.
Why are most women's clothes made the way they are? What do most fashion designers have in mind when they design clothes for women? All you have to do is listen to a women's fashion clothing designer talk about why he or she designed clothing a certain way. The fashionable clothing is designed to be purposefully sexual. Almost all the clothes in the women's clothing departments and stores are designed to make the woman sexually attractive.
There is no denying this fact. Look at the difference between men's and women's clothing. Why is there a much higher prevalence of low-cut blouses, shirts, and dresses among women's clothing than among men's clothing? Why are so many v-necks or scoop-necks in women's clothing? Why do many women's fashions try to bare something, whether it be a part of the back or the front or the leg or even the shoulder? You cannot get around the fact that these things are designed the way they are because the designers have wicked things in mind. Whenever my wife and I go shopping with our children for clothes for the females in our house (one woman and two girls), we get angry. It is disgusting to see that stores (even K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Sears, etc.) expect all girls and women, including my daughters and my wife, to dress like whores. Take something as benign as shirts. In the stores, there are separate sections for girls' shirts, boys' shirts, women's shirts, and men's shirts. One would expect, if there were no other motive than to clothe people, that the girls' shirts would be designed the same as the boys' shirts, and the men's shirts would be designed the same as the women's shirts, maybe with some color differences. But no - they are noticeably different. The first thing one notices is that the hole for the head is noticeably bigger for the female shirts. Why would this be? Is it because females' heads are bigger than males' heads? Of course not. Upon closer inspection, the hole is actually shaped differently as well as being bigger. What is it for? It is for the neckline to be lower on the females' tops! When one looks at button-down tops, most of the females' tops do not button as high as the males' tops. In addition, shirts for females are shorter than the shirts for males.
Why are there these differences? Everyone with a modicum of sense knows why. For the most part, male clothes are not designed to be sexually attractive, but female clothes are designed to be sexually attractive. It is fashionable today for females to wear tops that have their midriffs exposed. Yet if a male were to wear a similar top, this would be seen as "feminine." The world has defined femininity as whorishness! Even in clothing for young girls, the world of female fashion is already trying to get them to expose their chests and their midriffs! And, since most women want to dress like whores (and to have their daughters dress like whores), the wicked world of fashion is very willing to give them what they want. Christian women end up buying men's shirts for themselves and boys' shirts for their daughters and/or make clothes at home for themselves and their daughters.
Little girls of the world learn that femininity means whorishness at a very young age. The dolls they play with have whorish clothing. The animated Disney movies they see always have the main female character dressed in whorish clothing (usually something strapless). It is all around.
It is also very telling to note that high-heeled shoes were designed to make women walk in a certain provocative, "mincing" way.
Finally, there is the swimsuit. It is nothing more than underwear worn in public. Why is it that women would be ashamed to be seen in a bikini walking down the sidewalk in a city, but it all of a sudden becomes acceptable when there is sand and water? Do the standards of modesty change when one comes upon sand and water? These are the same women who would be very upset if someone walked in on them in their bedroom when they were only clothed in their underwear, but when there is sand and water around, the shame is gone. The hypocrisy is evident. Can a woman wearing a modern swimsuit in public ever say that she is obeying 1 Timothy 2:9? And how many women in a beauty pageant would qualify for shamefacedness? It should be obvious that beauty pageants of any sort, whether or not there are swimsuits, are wicked.
Christian women and girls - be modest, be proper, be discreet, be decent, be shamefaced!