Biblical Morality as it Relates to Clothing

Kent Bailey

Christians must live lives that are holy. They must seek those things in life that promote godliness, righteousness, and moral purity. As Christians we dare not be conformed to this world. Surely, if the world can recognize immoral attire, Christians making proper usage of Biblical principles ought to be able to do the same thing.

The inquiry is raised as to how to best maintain Biblical Morality in so far as the type of clothing that one wears. One can indeed ascertain the truth on this issue. We do so by reasoning correctly regarding proper usage of the Scriptures and principles taught therein dealing with Biblical Morality and making a proper application to the type of clothing that we ware.

It is truly sad, however it is indeed true, to note the fact that many individuals in our modern day society do not make any connection at all between their views regarding moral principles and the type of clothing that they wear.

It is crucial that one realizes that the message of the Bible is relevant today just like it was when Holy Spirit inspired men wrote that which God directed them to write. It is the case that God is all-wise, all-powerful, and all-knowing. God did indeed have the capacity to not only design laws, commands, and principles for all accountable individuals of all nations and for all times (Matt. 24:35; John 12:48; 1 Pet. 1:23). The essence of our humanity has not changed. The reading and study of the Scriptures will reveal that throughout the ages accountable humanity has always had the same emotions, passions, and attributes. While times have changed, we as human beings remain the same. Therefore, the message of the word of God is just as relevant for those of us who live today as it was during the days of Biblical revelation.

We live in an age wherein individuals engage in the worship of the false-goddess of sex, Aphrodite. The evidence of this pleasure crazed pagan worship is further manifested in the pseudo-Philosophy of Hedonism and that of Jeremy Bentham and his affirmations of Utilitarianism. This false doctrine affirms that the concept of utility as determined by subjective thinking as the ultimate standard brings about the greatest pleasures in life, and that anything that brings pleasure to one’s life is the ultimate good that one can enjoy. This pagan philosophy has brought about a flood of pornographic literature and movies, adultery, fornication, venereal disease, illegitimate births, abortions and a vast expanse of both nakedness and nudity. In Galatians 5:19-21 condemnation is pronounced upon those guilty of practicing the works of the flesh. In verse 21 Paul also clearly indicates that those who engage in such like activity (homoia toutois); activity that is “like, similar, resembling,” or promotes immorality is also sinful and is condemned by God. May we be honest with ourselves—there is indeed a connection between Biblical Morality as it relates to clothing!

The type of clothing that is worn states a great deal about the individuals who wear such. When we see individuals in dirty clothing perhaps it represents diligent physical labor, or even laziness. The wearing of ragged clothing may represent poverty. Law enforcement and military uniforms identify one’s service as first responders and service to civil government or, in the case of the US Armed Forces, service to our nation. Expensive clothing speaks regarding the affluence of the wearer or a desire to appear affluent. The Scriptures indicate some clothing can, and does indeed, cast a bad reflection upon the morals of the wearer (Prov. 7:7-10). If a woman does not desire to appear to be a harlot, then she ought not clothe herself as such.

The purpose behind specific clothing design. Clothing designer, Mary Quaint openly stated that she designed the mini-skirt as a tool of seduction. We need to become aware of the purpose of various fashion designs. There is obviously a danger of abbreviated clothing. Even the world sets dress standards in places of employment as well as various public venues. We must never allow the world to advocate higher moral values than those practiced within the New Testament church.

There are Biblical principles of an eternal nature wherein God has set the standard for Biblical Morality as it relates to clothing. In Genesis 3:7-10, Adam and Eve made coverings for themselves. The Hebrew term chagorah refers to a garment that covers the midsection. Despite such coverings they were still naked and God made tunics for them (Gen. 3:21). The term tunic is translated from the Hebrew term kethoneth which refers to a garment that reaches to the knee. God gave specific instructions relating to the Old Testament priests (Ex. 28:4; 40-43). Note that God did not approve of nakedness and considered such to be sinful (2 Sam. 11:1-5). We must be concerned the aspect of modesty. The term modesty (kosmio) is translated meaning orderly, well arranged, or decent. In our present study we are concerned with moral decency. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 would certainly deal with such a concept inclusively that would apply to both men and women.

It is definitely shameful to expose private body parts that should be reserved for only the husband and wife (Isa. 3:16-17; 47:1-3). Christ taught that lust in the heart is sinful (Matt. 5:27-28). Such being the case, it is sinful to wear clothing (or the lack thereof) that will excite lustful desires in the hearts of others (Rom. 13:13-14; 1 Cor. 12:23-24). The term uncomely (aschemon) is properly defined in this context as being negative. It stands in contradistinction to that of comely (euschemosune) meaning elegance, gracefulness, or presentable.

The blame for immoral clothing within the Lord’s church. There are numerous causes. There is a failure in the home to teach truth regarding principles of Biblical Morality (Eph. 6:1-4). Some preachers and elders refuse to stand for truth (2 Tim. 4:1-5; 1 Pet. 5:4; Acts 20:28). Some Christians stubbornly refuse to receive God’s truth on this subject (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

May we have the love of truth and of moral purity to correctly apply the principles of Biblical Morality to the clothing that we wear.

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