This post contains my opinions and interpretations of what I feel Biblical modesty should look like.
“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. (1 Timothy 2:9-10)”
This, I believe, is a simplistic explanation of how we should approach clothing as Christian women. These are the three rules I have in place for myself based on the verses from 1 Timothy.
1. Clothing should never cost more than you have spent on others or giving to a good cause.
2. Your concern with clothing should never take up more time than we put into more important matters such as family, reading the Bible or being available to help others.
3. People should not look at you and see you first and foremost as a fashion icon, they should see you as a light for Christ.
My deeper concept of modesty has always sprung from these few verses out of Romans 14, though the entire chapter is a more complete explanation and you should read it in its’ entirety.
“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. (Romans 14:12-15)”
These verses above use the discussion topic of food. In the time that this passage was written the discussion of what food was clean or unclean to eat was at the forefront of the people’s minds. In our time today I believe modesty is more widely discussed for its’ “cleanliness”. People’s opinions on what is or is not modest tend to vary greatly just with in the Christian church. Here is what I believe the Bible is trying to tell us about modesty from these verses. As Christians we are called to do all things out of love toward one another. We should never blatantly do anything that would directly or indirectly cause a fellow brother or sister in Christ to sin. I do my best to look at each situation I am dressing for and evaluate what would be a safest thing to wear for the group of people I am about to see. I know that wearing something too tight or too revealing has the potential to cause men to lust, or other women around me may be uncomfortable to have their men around me. Wearing an outfit that is expensive or highly fashionable may cause my female friends to be jealous. My point being that there is a time and a place for different types of clothing. Biblically we are called to read the situation and then respond in the most appropriate way we can manage. Even if you think what you are wearing is modest if someone seems uncomfortable or mentions something to you don’t be offended, just remember the verses above. Other people’s purity or comfort levels should always matter more to you then what you want to wear.
The bottom line about modesty is that it can mean many different things but if you are dressing yourself with Christ focused intentions and you are open to any conviction or correction then I believe you are doing it right.