Please Dress Modestly (especially at church.)

Warning: This post may (probably will) offend those who have an affinity for fashion, peeling off layers of clothing when the sun comes out, sun worshipping, lulu-lemon, yoga pants, shorts, miniskirts and low cut shirts and dresses, and the like.


Have you noticed? The sun is staying out longer. And as the temperatures rise, we also see a directly proportional increase in bare skin.  The higher the temperature gets, the more the clothing comes off.

During the week it is not at all uncommon to see a lady in bum hugging short shorts, super low cut V necks with super cleavage boosting bras – or no bra at all. None of it leaving much to the imagination. I am not talking of people I don’t know either… some of these ladies are my sisters in Christ.  Can I just say that if my wife or daughters ever dressed like some of the young Christian ladies I have seen, I would remove myself from the eligibility list for office bearers because I obviously do not manage my own household very well.

Doug Wilson:

“Many of the current fashions for young women appear to be apparel in standard use down at the local Hooker Training Academy. As my wife recently put it, “It must be difficult for men these days trying to figure out which ones they have to pay for and which ones are free.”…the sin starts when Mom gives up in frustration and allows her daughter to dress this way, and Dad then ratifies the decision by letting her go out of the house.”…Too tight” is the most popular mode of disobedience among modern evangelicals. The whole world is invited to gawk at the topographical evidence concerning exactly where her underwear starts and stops, along with the exact condition, location, and size of her breasts. Many Christian women go to worship today dressed in a manner that would have gotten them thrown out of a bar fifty years ago. Ah, Christian liberty.” ~  Modest Daughters

Ok let’s be honest with each other here; that may sound harsh, but if modesty didn’t matter, God wouldn’t talk about it in the Bible:

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

When the Bible calls for modest clothing, it says the clothing should be appropriate for those “who profess to worship God. “  That means clothing should cover what it should cover.  Now, it is not only miniskirts and daisy-dukes that are immodest, so are low-cut or see-through or too-short sundresses and those thigh-hugging lulu- lemon yoga pants that clearly show the world where your underwear begins and where it ends.  My point here is that clothing should cover our nakedness – not draw attention to it.

Now, to clarify, I am not trying to doubt anyone’s sincerity of faith.  I am sure that those young Christian ladies I mentioned at the beginning of this post do really love the Lord and desire to serve Him, but their clothing sends all the wrong signals. If they love Jesus, and I am sure they do, they are proving themselves to be spiritually immature and unwise in how they dress.  Perhaps they just want to feel good about themselves or maybe they simply want to be in style, or perhaps they don’t know better.  But being ignorant is no excuse. Ladies trust me, you do not want a guy who would rather you look like a recent graduate of the “Hooker Training Academy” than a godly woman.

What kind of clothing do you wear? This goes for both guys and girls. What effect does your appearance have on others? When people look at you, does your clothing and appearance protect them from sinful thoughts and help them to take you seriously as a fellow believer? I am not only speaking of lust, I am also talking about the sin of haughty eyes or gossip, or any other sin that might be triggered by wearing too tight, or too little, clothing.

Now can I just throw this in?   I do not like to have to avert my eyes from a sister in Christ who walks past me on a sunny day, nor do I want to worry about accidentally looking “down” when I am talking to her…

Especially at church!

And neither do any of the other Christian guys!

They just won’t say it – I will.

Paulina-Carmel-Modest-ClothingPlease dress modestly at church.  And no I am not saying wear a burka or a parka, simply cover what should be covered.   You can look attractive and feminine and be modest at the same time.   For example, I don’t know many guys who would say this look (on the left) is unattractive, it covers what needs covering ( and appears to be summer appropriate).

As parents, it is important for these things to be discussed in the home. A father and mother should take care to instruct their children on modesty and living a godly life, which includes our choice of clothing.

Nakedness is beautiful in the context of a marriage between a man and a woman, nakedness is not beautiful as a public display – intentional or not. On a personal note, my wife is my standard of beauty, no one else.  So I would appreciate it if you would all dress modestly.

I received a number of responses to this post so I continued my thoughts with this post: How Should A Christian Dress?


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  1. Thanks for these thoughts OCD. I would like to add a YouTube video that discusses a bit of what happens to a man when too much is revealed. I had no idea that there was a disconnect with thoughts when too much is revealed, in retrospect I now understand completely. I suspect that subconsciously I knew this, as you will very seldom find me on the beach in the summer, my excuse is/has been I’d rather read, and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

  2. Colin says:

    I use among other resources when I teach this topic at Credo to grade 10’s.

    This is a timely topic that needs to be brought up with our youth. As adults we need to guide them effectively with education and example.

  3. Janelle says:

    Good Article Ryan, a good website for bathing suits/dresses for young girls and women

  4. mtsweat says:

    An excellent and fair treatment of a touchy topic. Well said! Blessings.

  5. Carolyn says:

    Great post, it’s being shared a lot and I’m thrilled to see so many youth reading it and sharing it! Of course it’s a great reminder for women of all ages, thanks for taking on this touchy topic!

  6. Flo de Haan says:

    I totally agree with dressing modestly at all times..not just on the beach. My opinion, it all starts at home with the Mothers being examples to their daughters. The fathers also paying more attention to how all the children are dressed.

  7. Boy says:

    The example from Timothy 2:9 is really weak, as I’m fairly confident it’s an example of a fallacy of equivocation. The author assumes that a words spelling is always the same as a words meaning, which, of course, isn’t true.
    If you read Timothy 2:9. it’s easy to see that the use of “modesty” refers to dressing in simplicity, not the act of preventing excessive exposure of a part of the body.

    Furthermore, the use of the “proprietary” and “decency”, supports my opinion on this subject. I don’t think the Bible gives us an objective standard on the limit from modest to immodest. This is reasonable, as our current standard is primarily cultural and so relative (ankles used to be real risky). Timothy is rather open ended, telling females to dress in a manner that “conforms to conventionally accepted standards of behavior or morals” (the actual definition of proprietary and decency in this context). Basically, he says wear clothing that isn’t outside of your cultural norm.

    I understand the concern for modesty, but I feel this article oversimplifies the matter. By what standard can you tell Christian girls that they are immodest when the world around them tells them they way the dress is normal? I’m not being postmodernist, the Bible is clear on many things, but modesty is not one of them. Trying to escape the world, and so sin, is futile. I know this from both the Mennonites, and from the Christian high school I attend. Both of which aren’t as different from the outside world as they/we would like to think.

    Personally I don’t think “modesty” is really that big of a problem, compared to others. Societal trends fluctuate from one way and another throughout time. I’d like to see, however, stronger supporting Bible verses, and maybe yet the author could change my mind.

    • Hi Boy,

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate differing opinions because if everyone thought like me, this world would be very boring!

      I am only going to address one part of the statement you made: “the author assumes that a words spelling is always the same as a words meaning, which, of course, isn’t true. If you read Timothy 2:9. it’s easy to see that the use of “modesty” refers to dressing in simplicity, not the act of preventing excessive exposure of a part of the body.”
      he author assumes that a words spelling is always the same as a words meaning, which, of course, isn’t true.”

      In the context of this verse and the letter, the word does not translate as “simplicity.” “Modestly” in this text is from the Greek word αἰδοῦς (aidous). Aidous, is loosely translated as shame or disgrace. The King James Version says, “Shamefacedness.” The word is a blend of modesty, humility and shame. The word also implies a parallel sense of reverence and honor toward a rightful authority. The word is the opposite of disrespect, brashness, imprudence, lack of respect, or audacity. In the context of the time when this letter was written, to respect authority meant to also to not gaze upon the rightful authority. One was to bow, or cast their eyes on the floor. So, when I write the word “modestly”, in context of this verse, that long definition is what the word means… not “simplicity as you stated.

      If you wish to read my other articles on the topic,for more scripture references, or to see where I am really coming from, please feel free, again thank you for your comment, I appreciate your taking the time to make your opinion known.

      • Boy says:

        I disagree.

        First, I did not say that the word modesty translates to simplicity. That is a really bad quotation. I said, “the use of “modesty” refers to dressing in simplicity”. It’s really quite different then translation.

        Second, I don’t speak Greek, however, your definition of “modesty” made so little sense in the context that I decided to do a little research. My suspicions were confirmed as multiple sites explained that the actual Greek word for “modesty” in Timothy 2:9 is kosmios, not aidous, like you said it was. Kosmios means orderly and decorous, and is has the root kosmos in it, the word for the universe.

        Therefore, like I originally stated, Timothy’s use of the word modesty doesn’t have to do with sexuality, but has everything to do with materialism. Timothy 2:9 is warns against showing off material possessions (gold/expensive clothing). You’d have to agree that this is quite different from your interpretation: “clothing should cover our nakedness – not draw attention to it”.

        I believe the word aidious is the Greek word for proprietary, not modesty. Similarly, the KJV uses the word shamefaced instead of proprietary, once again, not modesty.

        When you say, “if modesty didn’t matter, God wouldn’t talk about it in the Bible”,
        your use of the word “modesty”, isn’t the same as the use of the word found in the Bible. This is a fallacy of equivocation, and I think that’s a huge problem as it’s your only real argument based off of a Biblical text in this entire article.

  8. Hi Boy,
    I am happy that you took the time to do some bible study. Yes you are correct that kosmios is translated as modesty – and so is aidous. Both words must be taken into account when we decide to pursue our own agendas when it comes to modesty. I would also like to point out that this is a blog post, not a post graduate theological topical study.
    For your information:
    αἰδοῦς (aidous)
    1 Timothy 2:9 N-GFS
    BIB: κοσμίῳ μετὰ αἰδοῦς καὶ σωφροσύνης
    NAS: modestly
    KJV: shamefacedness
    INT: modesty

    My whole point with this article is to engage people to think and turn to scripture. And that has happened. Neither of us is going to win this argument, all that will end up happening is just two more Christians bickering over something silly in the blogosphere. Our goal should be to glorify God, not to be mr. right. Thanks again for your comments.