Modesty

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Christian denominations vary widely on what constitutes Biblical modesty. Some have no dress code, while some fundamental Baptists scorn jewelry and insist on long skin-covering slacks and dresses. Some Amish even forbid colored clothing, technology, and require headwear. Here is a look at what the Bible says.

Contents

Clothing Length

While there seems nothing wrong with those who wish to dress in body-covering garb like Hazmat workers, to force others to do so in the name of Biblical commandments seems wrong. The prophet Isaiah walked around nude in Egypt for 3 years as a sign from God, while Peter and other disciples worked in the buff. Even Jesus showed none of the prudishness of his modern-day followers when serving His disciples. Saul and Micah prophesied nude.

Isaiah 20:2 At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.
3 And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;
4 So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.

John 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

John 13:4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

1 Samuel 19:24 And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?

Micah 1:8 Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.

Jewelry

The Bible does speak negatively of ostentatious, showy, gaudy jewelry. Such criticism would seemingly apply to men's watches as well as to female earrings and bracelets in that the goal should be beauty in character not physical appearance. Note however that the condemnation in Isaiah 33:16 may have been tied to use of ornamentation for purposes of promiscuity. Compare similarly wicked flauntatious behavior of men in Proverbs 6:12-13.

1 Peter 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Isaiah 33:16 Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
17 Therefore the LORD will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.
18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,
19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
21 The rings, and nose jewels,
22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.
24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.

Hair Braiding

The Bible also criticizes ostentatious braiding of hair and elaborate clothing, and emphasizes instead good works.

1 Timothy 2:9 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;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

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References