Thursday, August 3, 2017

Modest Is Hottest…Is In The Bible

            The Christian world argues for and against modesty (in Christian women). (Oxford dictionary defines modesty as “(of a woman) dressing or behaving so as to avoid impropriety or indecency, especially to avoid attracting sexual attention.”1).

            A blog entitled ““Modest is Hottest” is not in the Bible” claims that “The Bible does not breathe a word of such nonsense.”2 The nonsense obviously refers to modesty - the women who do not dress modestly. The blogger’s chief contention is two-fold:

            (1) The Bible does not directly castigate women who do not dress modestly. (In fact, as his title states, modesty as a theme is not mentioned in the Bible.)

            (2) Women are not responsible for men’s choices (If men injure women for their ‘not-so’ modest dressing.).

            Therefore, the blogger implies that women can dress as they want to, “I hope today that you my sisters feel free to dress with both charity and charm, with dignity and dazzle, to adorn yourself in a way that makes you feel beautiful and confident, in a way that allows you to experience solidarity with other women of different bank account and/or breast size, to make your clothing choices based on the values of God’s kingdom (which includes wearing clothing that is ethically manufactured), and to feel free to let men take the responsibility for their own right eyes/hands and figure out how to be respectable men who treat all women, regardless of cleavage or legs for days, with dignity and respect.”3

Modesty Is Not In The Bible

            The premise that “modesty is not in the Bible, so women can dress as they want to” is flawed. Consider the reasoning that invalidates this premise:

            The argument that “something is not present in the Bible, so that something is permissible by God” is a fallacious argument. The logical form of this argument is:

            1. What does the Bible teach about modesty?

            2. The Bible does not mention modesty.


            3. The Bible permits women to choose their attire (without being concerned about modesty).

           This argument is equivalent to the fallacious claims of the detractors of Christianity, “the word Trinity is not present in the Bible, so the God of the Bible is not a Trinity.”

            It is irrelevant whether a particular practice or a particular word is explicitly mentioned in the Bible or not. The Bible offers principles for a godly Christian life (as much as the Bible teaches us that God is a Trinity). These godly principles should be deduced from the various pertinent teachings found in the Bible.

Distorting Biblical Teachings

            While discussing 1 Timothy 2:9, the blogger creates a false dichotomy of sensual modesty and materialistic modesty (modesty includes both), so to disregard the biblical principle behind modest attire, “This passage, which is about proper attitude and decorum in the church, though it may have a vague implicit reference to the sensual kind of modesty, is actually very explicitly referring to a materialistic kind of modesty.”4

            Think about this. Would the Bible mandate Christ’s disciples to live a hypocritical life? No! Never! The Bible teaches that our lives should be consistent i.e. who we are in the church is who we should be outside the church. So if we are to dress modestly in the church, the Bible, by no means, would implicitly or explicitly teach that we are permitted to dress sensually outside the church. This is fundamental to a Christlike lifestyle.

            The blogger seems to forget the fact that our Christian life should be a constant (24/7) worship of God. There should be no fundamental distinction between our life inside and outside the church,

            The argument that a particular teaching is not mentioned in the Bible and hence it is valid is so fragile because, in this time and age, explicit teachings found in the Bible are either religiously rejected or diligently distorted. Atheists reject God’s presence despite the Biblical assertion to God’s presence. Then there are those Christians who endorse homosexuality or gay lifestyle despite the Biblical assertion that homosexuality is a sin against God.

            The innate sinfulness of man is so creatively subtle that an effort to distort the biblical teachings is always within man’s intellectual frontier. Therefore, when man is so creatively agile to reject the explicit teachings found in the Bible, how much more of an effort would it take for him to disregard or distort the presence of an explicit or an implicit teaching in the Bible?

Is Temptation Lost?

            The blogger quotes Matthew 5: 27-32 to solely implicate the lustful man. This is both right and wrong. The blogger says, “Whoa! Not only does Jesus say nothing about female culpability in a man’s fantasies, he absolutely destroys any excuses a man might make about his inability to control his own urges. No, Jesus says, a man’s culpability begins and ends with his own dang eyes and right hand.”5

            While it is true that the sinner is responsible for his/her sins, it is also true that we are not called to lead others to stumble, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!” (Matthew 18: 6-7, NIV).

            Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Thus she sinned against God. So should not God punish only Eve?

            Why did God curse the serpent? The serpent tempted and caused Eve to stumble and sin. Hence sin includes both the sinner and the instigator (tempter).

            Consider this perspective on sin in our context. If a woman wears sensually provocative attire and if that woman in that attire tempts (either actively or passively) another person to sin, then the wrath of God is upon both the tempter and the doer of the sin. This is a non-negotiable tenet in Christianity.

Who Judges Modesty?

            God judges!

            The blogger contends that “No one really knows what “immodest” means….There’s no universal agreed-upon standard for what turns men on. It’s a self-defeating exercise from the outset.”

            With eternity in perspective, we are answerable to God. God in HIS infinite wisdom knows what modesty is and is not. Our knowledge of God through our prayer life and our understanding of God’s Word would lead us to dress appropriately, for our attire should glorify God always.

Why Cover?

            Why do we even cover ourselves? The Bible provides us an answer, “When the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food, was attractive to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Genesis 3: 6-7, NET).

            When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they realized good, evil and their nakedness. Hence they covered themselves. So covering ourselves is an appropriate response since we, the fallen beings, are in God’s presence.

            But that’s not it. God clothed Adam and Eve, “The Lord God made garments from skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21, NET). There is a valuable lesson to be learnt from this deed of God.

            If covering ourselves is unnecessary, God would not have made garments for Adam and Eve. The fact that God made garments for the purpose of covering ourselves, teaches us that covering is of utmost importance.

            Consider this from another vantage point. If I have a perfect body, then I would most likely be tempted to wear clothes that would emphasize the perfection. If I have an imperfect body structure, then I would wear clothes that would mask the imperfection.

            Emphasizing the perfection God has blessed us with is in one particular sense to emphasize God’s blessings. But in another sense, our emphasis of God’s perfection endowed upon us could make a person, who does not possess that perfection, feel deprived and sad. So do we still desire to flaunt our perfection? This is up to each person and his/her relationship with God.

Is It Sinful To Wear Provocative Attire?

            Do you think that a woman who does not wear anything provocative, never sins? No! Sin originates from our heart (Matthew 15:19). Everybody is prone to sin, irrespective of our attire.

            The Bible mandates modest attire. Since the Bible is the Word of God, modesty is the way forward for Christians – both men and women included. Any deviation from this instruction is to go against the Word of God. 







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