Modesty Standards and the Bible

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16

If you have ever read my blog before, you probably already know that I wear skirts almost exclusively.  Yes, even in the wintertime. (Leggings and boots make my skirts so warm and comfortable).  The main reasons that I wear skirts are cultural, and not Biblical.  However, if we are seeking direction in really, any topic, we can turn to God’s Word for instruction.

Today I wanted to share a few passages that I’ve found concerning dress in the Bible.  Ladies, if any of you are earnestly seeking answers from the Lord concerning modesty,  I truly hope that this is a help to you.

The following verses are taken from Genesis 3.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths…And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

From these verses, we can see that after the fall, Adam and Eve made clothing for themselves.  This clothing was not sufficient in God’s eyes.  For women and men.  (Men shouldn’t only cover their loins, while say, swimming).  From this text we can understand that what man deems as good isn’t necessarily so to God in regards to dress.  Also, we can see that contrary to popular opinion, God really does care about what we wear.  If He didn’t, the fig leaf loincloths that Adam and Eve fashioned would have been enough.

So what is God’s preferred standard of dress?

Honestly, there isn’t a lot to be found on this topic Biblically.  But clues can be found throughout scripture regarding the type of dress that is most pleasing to God if we look carefully.

Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground…make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.  Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen.  (from Isaiah 47).

From this text, we can discern that if our thighs are uncovered, we are considered to be naked before the Lord.  I’m so thankful that I discovered this verse while prayerfully developing a standard of modesty for our family.

And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.

1 Timothy 2:9 (NLT)

In 1 Timothy 2:9, we learn that as ladies, we should wear modest, decent, and appropriate clothing.  Among other things, this means that we should be properly covered, and that our clothing should not be form-fitting.  In reference to pants, it is so incredibly easy for me to wear pants that are a bit too snug (not intentionally), since I find looser pants to be an annoyance that tend to ride up when walking, and I don’t believe they look very feminine.  I’ve noticed that very thin women can often wear looser pants beautifully and modestly, however, we all should be careful of the shape we might be revealing.

Finally, in Revelation 7, we find the clothing that God Himself chose for us to wear in Heaven.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

Revelation 7:9

God has chosen for us to wear long, flowing robes in Heaven.  Friends, to me this the ultimate example of what perfection of dress to God looks like.  Robes cover our bodies almost completely, and are not form-fitting.  Throughout scripture, we find that God is our protector, and our covering.

I’m in no means suggesting that men should wear robes in our culture today!  However, as ladies, we have the option of wearing long, flowing dresses and skirts that are similar (but nowhere reach the perfection) of the clothing we will wear in Heaven.  If we have this option, then why not?  I know that for myself, when I dress this way it is a blessing to me.  I know that sounds silly, but it really is!  While this is in no way a salvation issue, if you are truly seeking to “sanctify” your life regarding dress, this information can be helpful.

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12 thoughts on “Modesty Standards and the Bible

  1. Ashley says:

    My issue is always with swimwear! My husband wouldn’t let me out of the house in a covered up swimsuit like the duggars wear…and personally, I would feel a bit foolish. However, regular swimwear is sooooo immodest…is there a middle ground?

    • Abby says:

      Hi Ashley,

      I have been making my swimsuits for several years now, and if you have a little experience sewing you can make some really cute modest swimsuits using the ebook from this website.

      I work teaching swim lessons at my local YMCA, and I did get some weird looks and comments from co-workers at first, but now they understand that it is just my way of doing things. And a lot of the little girls in my classes like my swim skirts and think they are pretty 🙂

      Here are a couple websites that sell swimsuits more on the modest side:

      Hope this helps!

    • Trisha says:

      Really wearing a swim dress doesn’t bother me. I would feel much more awkward if I wasn’t covered up. I’m used to being a little different anyway and all my friends and family are used to it. What I have found if I have modesty convictions that are a little different is to just go ahead and dress the way I feel I should. It feels a bit strange and embarrassing at first, but than everyone eventually accepts it, If they ever noticed to begin with. Maybe you could talk with your husband about your convictions and explain that you don’t intend to embarrass him, but you want to cover up a bit. Maybe even find some more modest options and get his opinion. So I guess I’m just saying, give it a try. It may seem awkward at first, but it is so freeing to be able to swim and do water sports without worrying about being exposed (to unwanted attention or sunburn)! an added bonus is that you don’t have to worry about having a perfectly toned bikini body!:) I hope you find something that works for you!

    • Gwendolyn says:

      I sew my daughters’ suits….I found tutorials online and made them each a rashguard shirt and a just-above-the-knee A-line skirt with attached bike type shorts underneath. I wear a similar style running skirt with attached shorts that I purchased and a tank style top with a modest neckline. I feel covered, but not so different that we attract a lot of attention. 🙂

    • Nicole says:

      Ashley, I usually wear spandex type capris under a swim skirt and the most modest top I can find! I am going to look harder for a top next year, what I wore this year was still a bit immodest in my opinion.

    • Hannah J says:

      I wear a swim dress, it goes to the knee and I have swim leggings to wear underneath that came with it that go mid-calf. It really just looks like any dress that I’d wear any other day but the fabric is different. You can find good deals on ebay too, that’s where I got mine!

      My husband likes it. He likes that only he gets to see me in things that look like bikinis 😉

  2. MommySue says:

    Such, such a great article. For years I have struggled in this area…what will the world think, right?? I don’t know why I’m still wondering…I have 8 children…you’d think by now I’d get it. Thanks for the swimsuit links as well! I am inspired! Bless you!!


    • Nicole says:

      Thanks for sharing, I definitely understand how difficult it is to march to the beat of a different drum. 🙂

  3. Megan says:

    Great article! I was curious to see what it was about and it is dead on! Pure truth. I wish i had more skirts and simple pieces to make multiple outfits, but i only have two long skirts, but I make what i have work! I would love to dress more modestly. 🙂

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