The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
God’s Dress Code
“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
+ Clothing is to conceal, not reveal. +
This commandment is given to preserve and maintain the clear distinction between male and female. Certain garments characterize manhood while other garments characterize womanhood. God made the sexes and created them differently in many ways. Cross-dressing is a violation of Scripture. It is a sin for men to appear effeminate or for women to appear masculine.
It is documented that the changing of dress styles between the sexes originated among the heathen in their act of worship to their heathen gods.
“If we want men to see the image of God in our faces, we will need to keep our bodies covered.”
- Eby W. Burkholder
“They that borrow the fashions of the Egyptians may get their boils and blotches.”
- Thomas Brooks
This article is not an exhaustive study on the subject of dress, but a brief discussion on the purpose of clothing for men and women based on the Holy Scriptures. We must never get our standards from the world, they must come from the Bible, God’s instruction manual. His Word should always be our final authority on any issue; to God be the glory.
Please note, some will cry legalism in our use of an Old Testament verse to teach biblical principles. But the Word plainly states in II Timothy 3:16 that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” It is not legalism to encourage Christians to live for God. Any truth taught in the Old Testament and repeated in the New Testament should be taught in the church today.
The Truth About Clothing
According to Deuteronomy 22:5, we understand that God is very much interested in the way we dress. The word abomination means extreme disgust, hateful, vile, shameful, loathing, or that which makes God sick. It is the same word used for idolatry, homosexuality, witchcraft and beastiality in other passages (Leviticus 18:22, Deuteronomy 7:25 & Deuteronomy 18:10-12). This alone should command our attention and cause us to consider the matter with a serious mind. Whatever is called an abomination in the Old Testament remains an abomination in the New Testament.
Our text reveals the fact that God is not involved in the unisex movement of our day. Men and women’s apparel in Bible times was not identical, and no, they did not all wear robes; please read your Bible and quit watching television. To help in this matter, consider the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia. To illustrate this, men’s apparel included breeches and a special kind of belt that was called a girdle (Exodus 28:42-43, Ezekiel 44:18, Leviticus 6:10). Only men were told to “gird up the loins.” This was usually done when working, running, or in battle. The breeches covered his legs, at least below his knees, so that the short upper garment could be brought up and girded about the waist (Job 38:3, 40:7, I Kings 18:46, John 13:4). On the other hand, women wore garments that resembled floor length dresses which would not accent the figure. These garments were modest when working or bending over. The Greek word for apparel in I Timothy 2:9 is “katastole”, which basically means a long flowing garment, resembling a robe. For further study on this word, check Vines Expository Dictionary of The New Testament and Young’s Analytical Concordance.
Pants have always been a symbol of manhood. Even the world knows this. Just look on a bathroom door in our public restrooms. It is rebellious for a woman to wear pants or a man to wear a dress.
The Testimony of Clothing
The Bible speaks of the “attire of an harlot” in Proverbs 7:10. This verse proves that clothing speaks, and that we send a message by the way we dress. Her clothing showed her immorality and revealed to others that she was available. A harlot would reveal her body in public and especially her legs as she walked. Leg exposure stimulates a man, and the higher the exposure the more the stimulation. For a woman to display her legs before men is like an advertisement. The rule is, if it’s not for sale, don’t advertise.
A book is known by its cover. Whatever is written on the outside gives the general idea of what is on the pages within. No one in their right mind would put the title “Phone Book” on a “Science Book”. We identify people by their dress. For example, it is easy to identify a soldier, policeman, fireman, doctor, or a nurse just by their clothing. If you don’t want anyone to think you are a Marine, don’t put on the uniform. The same is true about a harlot’s attire. By the way, anyone can get attention by taking off their clothes, but it takes a real lady to get attention through her femininity. The reason we deal with women's dress more than with men’s dress is because men are more visually oriented (Matthew 5:28, II Samuel 11:2), but please understand, men also are to cover their bodies.
The Trends In Clothing
God is the originator and designer of clothing (Genesis 3:21). Modesty was the first issue addressed after the fall of Adam and Eve. They made themselves aprons to wear, but God made them coats. God designed clothing to cover the body from the neck to the ankle, and not just the loins or private parts. There are many people only wearing aprons today, which have less material in them than most neck ties. Things are bad when it is difficult to tell whether a person is dressed for an opera or an operation. Nudity has become the norm in our society. Men parade themselves in short pants and no shirt, while women put on their shorts, pants, tight dresses, short dresses, sleeveless blouses, halter tops, bathing suits, low cut blouses, stretch pants, etc.
In the Scriptures, nakedness is not limited to exposing the privates. In Isaiah 47:1-3, to expose the thigh is considered naked. We see the humiliation of the “virgin daughter of Babylon” in making her leg bare and uncovering her thigh. In John 21:7 to be dressed in undergarments is considered naked. So, according to the Scriptures, one does not have to be completely naked to be considered naked. Garments were given to cover the nakedness that was introduced by sin. The Bible equates nudity with demon possession. The demoniac was naked in Luke 8:26-35, but after his conversion he was in his right mind and clothed.
In our country it used to be against the law to swim publicly in trunks without a shirt for it was considered nudity and indecent exposure.
To illustrate the trends in dress, please note the following quote from Emma’s Diary taken from page 53: The most shocking site of the day was the one lady, wearing a bathing suit without any sleeves and the hem of the garment striking about her knees. We were looking for the guards to order her from the park. Emma was a little crippled girl born and raised on Dauphin Island, Alabama. This event took place on a family outing and picnic at Monroe Park in Mobile, Alabama in June, 1908.
Times have changed in the last hundred years.
Dress vs. Pants
The following is taken from What in the World Should I Wear by Mrs. Cathy Corel:
A friend of mine told me about her decision to restrict her wardrobe to dresses and skirts came as a result of a ladies’ class. All the arguments and reasons that could be given were unheeded until the lady who was speaking said, “Let me just demonstrate something to you.” She asked the ladies in the audience to close their eyes momentarily. She held up a large picture of a woman in an attractive, [modest] feminine skirt and blouse. She asked the ladies to open their eyes. Then she inquired, “What is the primary focal point to this picture? Where did your eyes first fall naturally?” The audience agreed that their eyes were first drawn to the face of the woman in the picture.
She once again asked the ladies to close their eyes. When they opened their eyes they were looking at a large poster of a woman in a sport shirt and blue jeans. She asked, “Now, be honest with yourselves, and tell me where your eyes first fell naturally when you looked at this picture?” Many of the ladies in the crowd were surprised to find that most people’s eyes first focused upon the hips and crotch area that were so vividly emphasized before they ever noticed the woman’s face. If this happens in a crowd of ladies, how much more would it be true of men?
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” I John 5:3
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523