Text: 1 Timothy 2:9
By: Bro. Ezekiel Oghenekaro
In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and [a]moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 1 Timothy 2:9
- Our message this morning may primarily be directed to women. I understand that and I embrace it. Yet, it has relevance for all. If you don’t believe me now, I hope you will by the end.
- Men, we are responsible for our own desires and temptations. We will be talking about how women’s dress and appearance impacts men. But this doesn’t give men an out.
- I will be honest about the minds and thoughts and temptations of men. But please be charitable and don’t walk away or wave the thoughts away, assuming that all men are unrestrained, uncontrollable, and perverted animals. If you assume this, you will be over-burdened in regards to modesty and you’ll have a cynical view of the men around you.
- Nevertheless, let’s be prepared to hear from the Lord.
There is this saying that, “you are addressed as you are dressed”. This saying is often true in our society even among the saints. Solomon echoed this sentiment when the made this statement in Prov. 7:10, “And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart.”
Many people will say, “Well, God looks on the heart. God doesn’t care what you look like on the outside. God just looks on the heart.” That is true. God does look on the heart, but man cannot see the heart. Man can only see the outer. Not only that, the outer appearance is usually a pretty good indicator of what is in a person’s heart. Although it is possible to look right on the outside and be wrong on the inside. What is on the outside comes from the inside. That is why Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). Granted, a man could say the right things, and have a wrong heart, but a man who had a right heart would never say the wrong things. So the outer appearance is the only indicator that someone is right with God, right in their heart. So God does care how we look. Not only does God care how we look, there are rules in the Bible for both men and women that should govern our appearance.
Whenever we start talking about these rules, the women are always the first ones to complain, because there are more rules for the women than there are for the men in the scripture. And I often wonder why the Bible has all these rules for the women and very few rules for the men, and the reason why is because men and women are made differently. I know that is not a “politically correct” thing to say, because our society today is clamouring for equality but it is none the less true. God made man and women differently.
Men are stimulated by sight. This is why Jesus told the men of His day and still speaks to us today that, “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Men are stimulated by sight. Men are always attracted to a lady, physically, before they are connected to her emotionally. In fact, they don’t even want to pursue the possibility of an emotional relationship, if the physical attraction isn’t there.
Women on the other hand are stimulated by touch. It could be a physical touch or an emotional touch. So all a man has to do is look at a woman, and he is stimulated. A woman has to be talked to, and she has to be touched. And as I said, that touch can be emotional. A man could talk to a woman in such a way that she is touched emotionally. Or it could be a physical touch. He could begin to pet her or stroke her in some way and that would begin to stimulate her.
Why Talk About Modesty – Genesis 2:25; 3:6-11, 21
At the beginning of time, directly following the creation of the world, we zoom down into the Garden of Eden, down to ground level, and we see in Genesis 2:25 that “[Adam] and [Eve] were both naked and were not ashamed.” This is very strange. Nakedness without shame. Nudity without embarrassment. Immodesty without immorality. This is the world that God created. The fact that it is unimaginable should tell us the immensity of sin and the unthinkable glory of the world to come. In the world as we know it, these are inseparable partners. Nakedness means shame. Public nudity is defined by embarrassment. Immodesty is intertwined with immorality. But not in the beginning. God created a sinless, guiltless, shameless world.
But it didn’t last. “So when the woman saw that the [forbidden] 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 [immodest]. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths” (Genesis 3:6-7).
Sin produced guilt. Guilt produced shame. Shame requires a covering. Before sin entered the world, there was no guilt. Because there was no guilt, there was no shame. Because there was no shame, there was no need for a covering. Oh, how sin has changed our world!
“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked [immodest], and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’” (Genesis 3:8-11). God says, no doubt with a deep sadness in His heart, “You’re not supposed to know that you’re naked… You’re not supposed to feel shame! You must’ve sinned…”
“And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). Sin > Guilt > Shame > Covering. One of the clearest evidences of total depravity is that each and every one of us in this room is covered. Because we are guilty, and we are ashamed. There is a sense in which fashion is simply the ever-changing clothing rack of the guilty. It is our attempt to recreate the beauty of God’s original creation and to hide our own shame.
1. CONSIDER THE EXAMPLE OF ADAM AND EVE
After they sinned, they made “coverings“ for themselves – Gen. 3:7-10.
- The word used in the Hebrew “chagorah“, means a garment which covers the mid-section (private part only).
- Despite such coverings, they still felt naked!
- The Lord made “tunics“ for them – Genesis 3:21.
- The word used in the Hebrew, “kethoneth“, means a garment commonly reaching to knee. Evidently God was not pleased with the brevity of the coverings they had made hence He made a better garment for them.
2. CONSIDER THE CASE OF THE PRIESTS
When God was distinguishing the clothing to be worn by the priests who will serve on the altars when the children of Israel will eventually get to the promise land, He instructed Moses thus – Exo. 28:40.
- The Lord instructed that tunics (trousers) NKJV or turbans (KJV) being designed for Aaron’s sons whenever they minister on the altar.
- This was the first time trouser was mentioned or designed in the scripture and it was made for men (the priests)!
- Reason: So that they do not expose their nakedness before the altar.
- After the priest, men kept on wearing trousers in bible times consider Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego– 3:21, Ezek. 44:18
- There was no scripture that mentioned that women ever wore trousers in the bible.
LET’S CONSIDER SOME RULES FOR DRESSING
Deuteronomy 22:5, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man.” Again, if a woman dresses like a man and a lot of women do, God says they have committed an abomination, and vice versa. It amazes me, but I do not know any Christian women who would think of committing an act of bestiality or homosexuality, but yet they would commit the abomination of cross dressing. The Bible says this is an abomination.
Why would I insist that a woman not wear trousers? There are several reasons. Reason number one is because they violate the first rule. It is man’s apparel. Deuteronomy 22:5 says it is an abomination, just like bestiality or homosexuality, for a woman to wear a man’s garment. And trousers are a man’s garment. Well, someone will say, I don’t believe that. Well, you can believe what you want, but the fact is simply this, in the Bible days, women did not wear crotched garments. Trousers have a crotch. Men in the Bible days wore crotch garments. Not only that, women in any society did not wear trousers until close to the middle of this century. Pants are called britches in the Bible, and britches were worn exclusively by men for the first 5,950 years of human existence (which means up until about fifty years ago). Even the garments worn by men and women in Bible days were different. The woman wore a long flowing robe, and men wore a shorter and tighter robe. Underneath the woman’s robe would be nothing. Underneath the man’s robe would be a pair of short trouser that would go down to the knees. Whenever a man would have to do some type of labor, such as to team up an ox, pull a trailer or dig a hole, he would pull up his skirt and tuck it in his pants that were under his skirt, and that was called in the Bible “girding up your loins.”
“Well, back in the Bible days all the women and men wore robes.” Yes, but they were different robes. Under the man’s robe was a pair of trouser. The pair of trouser was not under the lady’s robes. The trousers, or britches, were worn only by the men. You will never read in the Bible where britches were worn by women, but will read where they were worn by men – Exodus 28:40, Daniel 3:21.
Another reason we know that trousers are men’s apparel and not woman’s is common sense. Do you realize that you go to a fast food, school etc. you know which bathroom you were supposed to go to. Go in an airport terminal, go to the bathroom and you will see a picture on the bathroom door. It will either have a picture of someone in slacks or someone in a skirt. Now, if you are a lady, which of those two doors will you walk through? And if you are a man, which of those two doors will you walk through? Common sense tells us that trousers are men’s apparel. It amazes me that a woman would be appalled of just the thought of a man wearing a dress, but yet, men and women think nothing of a woman wearing trousers.
So the first reason why a preacher says a woman should not wear trousers is because they are men’s garment, and the Bible says it is an abomination for a woman to wear a man’s garment. The second reason, trousers are not, I repeat, not modest. In 1 Timothy 2:9, we read that women should adorn themselves in “modest apparel.” In the Greek, the word for modest is the word katastolh (katastole), and it means a long flowing garment. Kata means down – a garment flowing down; and Stole – a long garment, covering or wrapping. The Bible in First Timothy 2:9 tells women to adorn themselves in a long flowing garment, not a short, tight garment. That is what modest is, long and flowing. Trousers do not flow. I have never yet seen a pair of pants that flow. Therefore, even if “long,” they do not qualify as a long flowing garment. And since they are not a long flowing garment, they are not a katastole. Katastole is translated modest. Therefore, if a modest garment is a long flowing garment, and trousers do not flow, trousers are not modest.
Also, women are commanded to dress with shamefacedness. That simply means they are not to draw attention to themselves. And trousers draw attention to the women’s figure. So if you wear a pair of trousers, or even a tight skirt or tight gown, it shows the figure and it is not shamefacedness, or modest, because it doesn’t flow. It shows the figure and it stimulates men. First Corinthians chapter thirteen says, “Charity doth not behave itself unseemly.” You shouldn’t seek to do things that would cause someone to fall. Jesus said that if a man looks on a woman with lust in his heart, he has already committed adultery with her. Do you realize that if you dress in such a way that it shows your form and figure, and a man lusts after you, you have just let him commit adultery with you? “Well, he didn’t have to look.” Yes, and he could have also driven blindfolded into a tree somewhere. Get real. Granted, a man should know how to keep control of his mind, but women ought not to be tempting him either. So only a full and flowing skirt qualifies as a katastole, a long flowing garment. So only a dress or skirt could be considered modest, because modesty is a katastole, long and flowing.
Now let’s apply this to the second type of clothing a woman should wear. Why can’t a Christian wear shorts and mini-skirts? Well, once again that word modest or katastole, long flowing garment. Neither shorts nor mini-skirts are long and shorts do not flow, therefore shorts or mini-skirts would not be modest, because they do not meet the length requirement. A katastole is a long and flowing garment. The second reason why shorts and mini-skirts would be inappropriate for a woman is because the Bible specifically says that when a woman’s thighs show, she is naked. Isaiah 47:2-3 says, “Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.” Here was a women who wanted to cross a river. God wanted to disgrace the woman, (If you read the text in Isaiah chapter forty-seven, you will see why.) so He commanded her to walk across the river, then, to lift up her skirt so her thigh would show. And God said that when her thigh was exposed, she would be naked and her shame would be revealed. We read that she was told to uncover the locks, to make bare the leg, uncover the thigh and “thy nakedness shall be uncovered.”
The thigh goes from your hips to somewhere in the knee. So if a woman dresses in such a way where that part of her body is exposed, the Bible says she is naked. Mini-skirts or mini-gowns expose that part of the body. Thus, if a woman wears a mini-skirt or mini-gown, she is naked. Well then, if you wear a pair of shorts, you would be naked, according to God. Therefore shorts and the mini-skirt would be immodest, because they are not long, and because they expose nakedness.
We read that when Adam and Eve realized they had sinned they sewed fig leaves together. What did they do? They covered their genitals. What did God do? He said, “No, that is not good enough. You need to cover more than your sexual area. You need to cover your nakedness.” So what did He do? He slew an animal and clothed them in skins, so their nakedness would be covered.
What about tight skirts/gowns? I see a lot of women with tight skirts/gowns. When women wear tight skirts/gowns, you could see every curve on their body. Is that modest? No, because it didn’t flow. If it flowed, it wouldn’t show the figure. Was it shamefaced? No, because shamefacedness is to be dressed in such a way as not to draw attention to the figure. So a modest garment is a flowing garment. A tight garment or dress is not modest, regardless of how much flesh it covers. Granted, it may go down below the knees and you are not naked, but you are still not modest. You are still not shamefaced. So a woman needs to wear a dress or a skirt that is not just below the knees, but a dress or skirt that is full or flowing. It is modest only if it goes below the knee and it is not tight or reveals the form of the figure.
What about makeup? Well, once again, the Bible says a woman is supposed to dress with moderation and with sobriety. The Bible says, “Let your moderation be known unto all men” (Philippians 4:5). There is nothing in the Bible that says makeup and perfume are wicked. In fact, in the book of Esther, after she had bathed, she anointed her body (Esther 2:9). More than likely, she put on perfume. Granted, some who would oppose the use of cosmetics and perfume would point out verses in the Bible such as Isaiah 57:9, Jeremiah 4:30, II Kings 9:30, Ezekiel 23:40, Revelation 18:12-13, where wicked women wore perfume or wore makeup. They point out where Jezebel wore makeup, and the whore of Revelation wore makeup, therefore it is a sin to wear makeup. But we also see that in Bible days, amongst Jewish women, that the use of cosmetics and facial lubricants was common. We read several references where perfumes and cosmetics were used by godly women who loved the Lord (Proverbs 27:9, Song of Solomon 1:3; 3:6; 4:10, Esther 2:12).
- Men/women must dress in a way not to provoke/cause others to sin. Here I am saying, you do not think of yourself. Philippians 2:3-4
- There is nothing wrong with fashion but there is everything wrong with a fashion that is not modest as we have discussed.
- Brethren must consider as a matter of urgency, the need to dress well. A clothing may be modest but there is a place for every clothing e.g. you should try to be on your best for Sunday morning worship because you want to look good before the Lord. All things are lawful but not all things edify.
- If you do what God wants from you at all times, you will not fall.
- Finally, the church must take a stand against immodest… otherwise she will be a partaker.
May God bless us in Jesus Name – Amen.