Modesty, or the lack thereof, is a major issue in today’s society, especially during the warm months. Being immodestly dressed is presented as stylish and “the norm” to young people and adults as well. How we are viewed by others has largely to do with our outward appearance. Does our outward appearance show that we are followers of Christ, or followers of the world? What example do we give others through the way we dress? This is especially true of our young ladies, who can teach other young ladies to be more like Christ through their example. For instance, a young lady can teach other girls to be more modest, by being modestly dressed herself. The problem of immodesty is becoming more and more prevalent as time goes by, and we must teach our young women and men to reflect God always in their attire.
What is modest is exemplified by how God clothed Adam and Eve after they realized they were naked. Genesis 3:21 says, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” He clothed them in coats of skins that covered them from their shoulders to their knees, according to the Hebrew word “kethoneth” which can mean “coat” as used here, and it also means “tunic.” A tunic in the Bible was a garment that reached from the shoulders to at least the knees. Since this is the ONLY example given in the Bible of how God wants us to dress, then wearing anything less today would be immodest. The Bible speaks against exposing our chest, loins, and thighs, and showing any of these body parts is considered “naked” in the Bible. We would be considered naked if we exposed any of these parts while either standing or sitting.
So while it is important that we make sure that our bodies are covered from the shoulders to the knees while we are standing, it is also important to make sure that we are covered in the same way while sitting down as well. I know that when wearing a skirt or shorts that reach just at the knees while standing, it is easy to forget that this same garment will raise up a little and expose the thighs when sitting, so that is why we must make sure that everything is modestly covered in any position we are in.
I Timothy 2:9 still says, “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;”. Being immodest not only applies to wearing too little, but wearing too much. Wearing overly flashy clothing, overly flashy jewelry, or too much makeup can also be considered immodest because a person who dresses in this manner is concerned about attracting the attention of others. Being immodestly dressed from wearing too little or too much, places a stumbling block in front of others by either tempting them to lust or tempting them to dress the same. We should always make sure that we allow people to see more of Christ in our outward and inward appearance and less of us and the influences of the sinful world in which we live.
Modesty is not only for women. Men should also make sure that they are covered from the shoulders to the knees. This principle applies no matter where a person is. So, no matter if a man or woman is shopping in a store, going to church services, or at the beach, they should always be covered from the shoulders to the knees. Anything less than this is considered naked and immodest by God. Examples of what the Bible considers naked can be read in Genesis 3:11; Exodus 28:40-43; Isaiah 47:2-3; and John 21:7;
What type of specific garments would be considered immodest? As said earlier in this article, any garment that exposes a person’s body between the shoulders and the knees is immodest. This applies to any garment worn out in public. Examples of immodest apparel would include, men going shirtless, or wearing shorts that expose skin above the knees in public. It would also include women wearing bikinis, bathing suits, shorts and skirts that expose skin above the knees, and any tops that expose a woman’s bosom in any way in public. Clothes that are too tight are also immodest.
As a woman, I know that finding modest clothing can be a challenge at times, but modest clothes are out there for men and women of all heights, shapes, and sizes. It just takes the dedication to find modest apparel instead of settling for clothes that are “in style,” but not necessarily modest. Being modestly dressed is much more important than being considered “fashionable” by the world. It is good to start teaching young boys and girls to be modest before they reach the age of accountability, so that, when they reach the age of accountability, they will be already equipped with the knowledge of how they should dress. They will also be more likely to make a habit of dressing modestly throughout their lives.
I hope that this article helps readers learn more about the importance of modesty and what type of clothes are considered immodest by God. I know that when I was growing up, I heard several sermons about modesty, but preachers rarely got specific about what type of garments would be considered immodest. I have strived to teach about modesty in this article through God’s Word, as well as give specific examples of what type of clothes would be considered immodest. May we, as children of God, work every day to show that we are different from the rest of the sinful world in which we live.