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Christian Women's Attire

Is it God's Word or Man's Device ???


I have been raised in good churches that taught the Bible pretty well.  However, one issue from time to time keeps rearing it's ugly head up, and that's about the philosophy on women wearing dresses all the time.  Is it embedded in God's Word?

I've heard both sides.  My wife wore a dress for over 17 years.  I have read 1 Timothy 2:8-10 which says:  "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.  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; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."

Let's take a look at these verses.  Do we men pray everywhere?  The Bible does say 'pray without ceasing' (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  And if you do pray everywhere, do you have your holy hands in the air?  The Bible says right here that men are to pray everywhere with their hands in the air.  Seriously, do we men do that?  No.  Perhaps it would be nice to imagine it, but nothing would get done physically.

Next we immediately come to the three words in these verses that say "In like manner" that women...  In what manner?  In like manner of the men.  Most men are modestly dressed.  It is most known that women tend to show parts of their bodies that they should not.  So yes, women need to hear about modesty.  These verses go on to explain modesty.  The verse says "modest apparel". According to Webster's dictionary, modest means 'not being excessive'.  That is exactly why this verse continues on to explain 'broided hair', which means excessively stylish.  This excessively stylish hair style, the gold, pearls or costly apparel is all for 'show'.  It is a pride thing.  God does not say you cannot wear a gold ring or necklace, what it is saying is the excessive display of it.  It is a pride thing.  God hates pride.  Proverbs 6:16 says: "These six things doth the LORD hate:"  And the first thing listed in verse 17 of Proverbs 6 is pride.  Just look at commercials and see how they promote the pride factor on clothing, jewerly, shoes, etc. 

These verses are teaching modesty in our dress code.  It does not say that women have to wear dresses all the time.  It does not say that men have to pray with their hands up in the air all the time also.  I have visited many churches where they were strict on women wearing dresses all the time; however, a lot of the dresses were not of humble apparel.  Ladies in slacks would have been much more modestly dressed.  These passages are showing that women should not be trying to draw attention to themselves by the way they dress or the jewerly they wear or even by an elaborate hair style.  We are to have a humble and meek attitude, and a humble attitude does show forth in the way we dress, the way we talk and the way we behave.

Another passage of scripture that I have heard preached wrongly is Deuteronomy 22:5 which says:  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."  The word pertaineth, according to Webster's Dictionary, means to belong to.  But some preachers are twisting this scripture to say that slacks belong to men and that women should not wear them, when actually it is saying if the clothing belongs to a man, that women are not to wear it.  I do not want my wife wearing my underware, nor does she wear my shirts and pants.  And I certainly do not wears hers.  This scripture is talking about cross dressers.  And that is definately wrong in the eyes of our Lord as stated here in this scripture.

Some may say that all pants belong to men.  Let's get some history in here.  The word pants actually comes from the word 'pantaloons'.  Also meaning women's culottes.  A seam up the middle making two legs.  Later they were referred to as breeches or stockings.  This is taken from Webster's Dictionary.  Before pantaloons came on the scene, everyone wore tunics.  The defination of a tunic is "a simple slip-on garment knee-length or longer, belted at the waist and worn by men and women of ancient times".  So this indicates that both men and women wore tunics = skirts.  Just look at the old pictures of ancient men and women.  There are a lot of them on the internet and in encyclopedias.

Let's go back to the Bible at the beginning in Genesis.  I have heard that the first example in the Bible usually carries through the whole Bible.  So let's go to Genesis first.  Genesis 3:21 says: "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them."  Now let's read Scofield's note in your Scofield Bible, page 10, number 1. It reads 'Coats of skins; Type of Christ, made unto us righteousness -- a divinely provided garment that the first sinners might be made fit for God's presence.'

This was a 'modern' day farmer back in the day.

Now think about this.  Did God give Adam and Eve two different garments?  No.  Why?  Because it is the same salvation for both the man as it was for the woman.  The garments were created identical because it symbolizes that we all are saved the same way ... through the blood of Christ.   God does not supply salvation for the man different than for the woman.  This is why both coats of skins were identical.  Now, let's go to the last book of the Bible, Revelation.

Revelation 6:11 says: "And white robes were given unto every one of them."  This does not say that just the women received robes.  It says robes were given to 'every one of them' ... male and female.

  • The cloth used for clothing was not cut nor sewn together to make the first clothes. What actually was done was that square or rectangle pieces were made of one piece, the right size to fit the each person and then draped and held together with a belt and pins.

Being made in one piece illustrated that salvation is of one piece, Jesus was not cut nor sewn together.


Are there Christian women who do not dress modestly?  Yes, that is exactly why these verses were given to us.  However, modesty does not mean no pants on women just like it does not mean that men must keep their hands up constantly and pray everywhere. 

Now let's look at another topic about women ... their hair.  The Bible states very clearly that it is a glory for women to have long hair.  1 Corinthians 11:15 says: "If a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given her for a covering."  Yet, some preachers today will focus on women wearing dresses all the time and say nothing about Christian women having short hair.  Is this a hypocrisy?

In chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians, this worldly church of Corinth was having an issue about demanding women to cover their heads, especially when they prayed.  God showed them in verse 15 that a woman's hair is given to her for a covering. Yet today, this point is not preached in these dress-demanding churches.  Long hair is a covering to women. But we are not under the law.  We could go on about how Peter was rebuked by Paul because Peter had influenced others to separate from men who were not circumcised.  (Galatians 2:11-21).  I have seen church members separate from me because I do not 'make' my wife wear a dress all the time.  Galatians 2:19 says: "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God."

Lastly, I would like to share another main reason not to be a dress-on-women demanding church.  Romans 14:13 says: "that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."  Romans 8:9 says: "But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak;"  I'd like to share a personal experience here ...

My wife had a friend before she was saved.  A very sweet friend.  When my wife was saved and was told by the church that she must wear dresses all the time to be 'modest', she obeyed.  Her friend wanted to be saved also, but the stumblingblock of dress caused her friend to turn away from God.  We were her stumblingblock through a dress standard of men.  Then, after God opened our eyes that having this 'law of dresses' is wrong, we found out quickly how it felt to be frowned upon and treated as an outcast when my wife was seen in slacks.  We felt the hurt that we ourselves had caused others by our former stand on women in dresses.  We no longer want to be a stumblingblock.  We do not want to turn others away from the gospel.  If we bring someone new to church, and our woman visitor wants to wear pants, then my wife will wear her modest slacks so that this new visitor will not feel intimidated and possibly be turned away from our Saviour.  And just to make it clear, my wife usually wears dresses to church.

God says in 1 Corinthians 11:12 "For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God."  If you think about it, if women are to wear dresses all the time, than in so like manner us men must wear our full suits and ties all the time.  You should adorn yourself in your 'Christian' apparel so everyone knows you are a Christian.  You should go to work, if you are a mechanic or a garbage collector or even a painter, in your suit and tie.  No matter what your job is, you must wear your suit and tie -- your 'Christian' apparel-- so people know you are a 'Christian'.  ( I say this facetiously.) Yet, this is what we are telling and demanding from Christian women.

Let us teach modesty and humble apparel like the Bible teaches.  Let's get this issue of man made doctrine out of our churches.  Preach against immodesty.  Preach humbleness of heart and sound doctrine.  Not the device of man.  Perhaps having your woman in a dress constantly is a man control thing that some men feel they must use. So is it really God's Word or is it really man's device for control???

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