Biblical Modesty – Gene Hill

(Mark 7:14-23; Jeremiah 10:23; 17:9)

Gene Hill


It doesn’t take much study to conclude that our society and culture have changed remarkably in the last 60 years or so from the previous standard of morality to what they are currently. It is also remarkable to observe how the speed of such change is increasing.

As examples of such change as well as how far reaching it is, ask any given gathering, “What is a woman?” or even what pronouns a person wants used in reference to them. What we are seeing is a break with reality or certainly a refusal to recognize reality. If you refuse to accommodate their preferred pronoun usage, or disagree with how folks currently identify what a woman is you are vilified as being insensitive.

We are creatures of volition. Consequently, mankind has the capacity to observe our environment, see what brings success and causes failure, evaluate both courses of action and then decide to behave in a way that will bring benefit even if it means some degree of pain is experienced in the process. These evaluations are always made in relation to our particular world view, which is always religious. What is a world view? “We define a world view as ‘a pattern of ideas, beliefs, convictions, and habits. A worldview shapes what we pay attention to and what we ignore. What we believe and what we pay attention to can cause us to interpret the world in a certain way” (Noebel, p. 159).

For our purposes in this article, we are presupposing the existence of an infinite Being who is responsible as Sole Proprietor for His creation, that He has provided sufficient evidence of His existence through His creation, and has self identified Himself to His creation by communicating specific information to us through the Holy Bible of which we have an adequate copy based on a study of the extant manuscripts.

When we say, Biblically Modest, what specifically are we discussing? A web search on Bing (accessed 10/29/2022) informs us that biblical is that which relates to or is included in the Bible, and that modesty is behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency. Therefore for one to be biblically modest is to comport oneself in any given situation in such a way as to be in harmony with any and all pertaining standards found in the Bible.

Biblically Modest Thinking

Our mind is a very important facet of who we are and how we ultimately will be. Vine’s says of the word translated mind that it denotes generally the seat of reflective consciousness, comprising the faculties of perception and understanding, and those of feeling, judging and determining (p. 69). The apostle Paul informs us that this mind will have one of two ways of perceiving and understanding and thus behaving. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (Rom 8:5). The marginal reading in verse 6 for carnally minded is ‘the minding of the flesh’. A carnally minded person may range in behavior from living lives of indifference (2 Thess. 1:8) to murder (Acts 7:51-60; 12:1-3).

The first account the Bible presents of the carnal mind is that of Adam and Eve in their temptation by the serpent (Gen. 3:1-6). The forbidden fruit was presented as that which would provide something God had neglected to give them. The serpents presentation was such that Eve now saw the tree as a food source, that it was pleasant to see and that eating the tree’s fruit would provide that which was lacking in their lives. Vs 6. John tells us that this is nothing more than worldly lust, 1 John 2:15-16, and James informs us that this leads to death (Jas. 1:13-15).

Jesus tells us that it is out of the heart that both evil things and good things can flow (Matt. 12:34-35). In Matthew 15:19 we see a list of pure evil, For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. The question we then ask is why is this the case? Paul gives us the reason in Romans 1:18-32 but particularly verse 28, And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.

Biblical modesty requires a spiritual mind and the Bible tells us how to acquire that mind set.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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 (Rom. 12:1-2).

The parable of the sower tells us that the Word of God is sown in hearts through the preaching of the gospel (Luke 8:11-15; Matt. 28:18-20). The Word has power (Rom. 1:16) to convert the hearers so that they are willing to repent of their sins and submit to the truth (Acts 2:14-47). In putting off the old man of sin the new life in Christ begins (Rom. 6:1-11, 16-18). Since the mind has been transformed, the new child of God begins the journey to heaven (1 John 1:6-10; Eph. 4:17-32).

Biblically Modest Speech

What constitutes speech that is Biblically Modest? The serious nature of words is seen in the words of the Lord,

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matt. 12:34-37).

We have seen that the Christian has a newly transformed heart through obedience to the Word and uses that obeyed standard to direct his thoughts and thereby his words.

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6).

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Col. 3:16).

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers (Eph. 4:29).

There is simply no room for mean, hateful, derogatory speech in the life of the child of God. “Rather we are to speak truth to our neighbor” (Eph. 4:25).

This sort of speech can be used to chastise someone for their behavior as when Paul confronted Peter (Gal. 1:11-21). It is employed in confronting false teachers, shutting their mouths (Tit. 1:9-11), or delivering those making shipwreck of the faith to Satan (1 Tim. 1:18-20). The same breath can both admonish and warn as Paul did regarding the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:17-38). These things should not cause wonder when we realize the power of words, whether spoken or written. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). Words of the Gospel are powerful enough to save souls (Rom. 1:16).

The source for how and what we are to speak is God’s Word and His works. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night (Psa. 1:2). I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Psalms 77:12. When we are versed in the scripture, we are able to provide an answer when asked (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 3:15).

Biblically Modest Behavior

The writer of Proverbs tells us this, There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prov. 16:25). Paul admonished the Ephesian brethren about their behavior,

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (Eph. 4:17-19).

However John informs us of a way that is in direct contrast with a seemingly right way that isn’t a walk of vanity. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

The Psalmist tells us that God’s word guides our feet, illuminates our path and provides us with understanding (Psa. 119:105, 130). Jesus says that His words are spirit and life (John 6:63). Such being the case, it would be wise to see what the Scripture says about how to live.

There is behavior that becomes sound doctrine as found in Titus 2:1-10. Aged men are to have sound judgment, be honorable and honest, have self-control and moral conviction, be affectionate (note Tit. 1:8), and possess cheerful endurance.

Aged women are to be reverent in behavior, to not be slanderous in speech, nor addicted to wine (cf. Rom. 6:16; 2 Pet. 2:19), teachers of righteousness, instruct younger women in soundness of mind, to love their families, be self-controlled, innocent and modest, home-makers. Young men are likewise to develop and have sound judgment, exemplary behavior, and sound faith. Peter tells us that righteous conduct will bring harsh judgments against us (1 Pet. 4:4).

The kind of behavior caused by gospel obedience is readily apparent clearly identifying us as servants of righteousness (Rom. 6:16-18). Paul says that such behavior will bring persecution. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).

Biblically Modest Personal Presentation

As the title of this article suggests, Biblical Modesty is the focus of this assigned topic. More than likely when the title is first read our minds turn to clothing and not just the style but also the quantity that is worn—or not worn as the case may be. When contemplating just how to approach this topic, it occurred to me that the length of the hemline or the tightness of cloth was really not the problem itself but rather a symptom of a greater problem which is the condition of the heart.

As creatures of volition created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-28) we can decide how we will behave. I will be judged by and held accountable for the things that flow from my heart as previously discussed. I hold the view that simply because I have the power to perform doesn’t give me the authority to act. Because I can doesn’t mean I should (Acts 10:34-35; Rev 20:12; 28:4; 62:12; Pr 24:12,29; Ec 12:14; Jer 17:10). Why would a child of God want to behave, speak or dress in such a manner that someone will stumble as a consequence? If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-40) and if I should behave towards my neighbor as I would want him to behave towards me( Matt. 7:12) then I simply would not do anything that would tempt another.

While it is true that the contrast of my righteous behavior to that of worldly behavior can draw bitter attention, those speaking evil of me will one day acknowledge my righteousness (1 Pet. 3:16-17; 2:12; Titus 2:8). A wife’s good presentation can win her husband (1 Pet. 3:1-2). Our presentation glorifies God. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matt. 5:16).

Probably the most important factor of all when considering how we present ourselves is that the Heavenly Father sees. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). The question the child of God ought to ask and to always have before himself is how is the Lord viewing what I think, do and say? May each of us always have concern that as those professing Jesus as Lord we always behave in a way that is readily identified as being Biblically Modest.

Works Cited

Noebel, David A.; Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews; Summit Ministries P.O. Box 207, Manitou Springs, CO 80829; 2016

Vine, W. E.; An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words; Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey; First Published, 1940; Seventeenth Impression 1966

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