Addressing the Dressing VII: The Right to Bare Arms

So we’ve made it through seven posts, covering different information about modesty than many were expecting.  Today’s post is a fair bit longer than my normal length, but I’d love to finish up this series.  Here’s the barn-burner finale everyone requested.

In the first post, we introduced the topic and gave a broad look at the categories of women in churches that have concerns about modesty (or a total lack thereof).  In the second post, we looked at the biblical terminology.  In the third post we looked at the mark of a prostitute in ancient Roman culture and in the fourth post we looked at what gold, braided hair indicated in ancient Roman culture.  In the fifth and sixth posts, we took a look at the main remaining biblical text that was untouched: 1 Peter 3:1-6.  In the seventh post (which was called “VI” since the fifth was a two-part post), we summarized the content of the previous posts and looked at how “modesty” relates to expensive handbags.  I closed off the seventh post by pointing out the obvious: I hadn’t yet addressed what would be considered standard “modesty” fare…namely talking about women who dress in clothes that flaunt their culturally-afforded fashion rights.

Second Amendment

Many women think modesty talk has to do with utilizing the right to bare arms…or more specifically stopping at the arms.  When it comes to typical “modesty” discussions, the conversation often runs in one of three directions:

a. Guidelines to help someone determine just what a woman is allowed to bare.

b.  Trying to find explicit statements about baring/not baring specific things (knees, thighs, shoulders, etc.) in the Bible that aren’t really there.

c.  Grumbling about how men can’t control themselves, no matter what a girl covers up…so the existence of the issue is really the guys’ fault in the first place.

Seeing that my summary of b reveals my opinion about that rather obviously, and seeing that I’ve already taken a rather thorough look at the directly relevant scriptures in the previous posts, I’m going to leave that one as already dealt with sufficiently.  The Bible doesn’t directly talk about how many inches above/below the knee a skirt should be, or whether or not women can wear pants.  People who claim otherwise are exegetical hacks.  The Bible does give direction on issues of what a woman can or cannot bare, but not specific guidelines regarding styles of clothing or units of measure.

That leaves a and c, so let’s take those on full-steam.

The Falling Neckline and the Rising Skirt

This is going to be simpler than you expect.

Point 1: Nakedness is associated with shame in the scripture:

– In Genesis 2:25, the Bible records that “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed,” which would contrast with the typical situation of “naked and ashamed” in the post-Genesis-3 world.  In Genesis 3:7 & 10, Adam and Eve knew that they were naked and covered themselves up, albeit inadequately.  In Genesis 3:21, God himself clothes them in garments more fitting for them.  After God covers up Adam and Eve’s nakedness in Genesis 3, nakedness is exclusively and consistently something marked by shame in the Bible.

– In Genesis 9:21-23, you turn your eyes away from seeing someone’s nakedness and attempt to cover them.

– In Genesis 9:24-25, the man who exposes someone’s nakedness is cursed.

– In Exodus 20:26, the altar was not to be ascended to via steps lest someone below the priest might see up his garment from below.  In other words, any danger of exposing nakedness was to be avoided.

– In Exodus 28:42-43, the priests were to have undergarments “to cover their naked fleshlest they bear guilt and die.”

– In Leviticus 18:6-19  the Israelites were warned against publicly uncovering the nakedness of anyone they might possible meet or be related to, male or female (also in Leviticus 20:11-21).

– In 1 Samuel 19:24, public nakedness was seen as a public humiliation (also in Isaiah 20:2-4; Amos 2:16; Rom. 8:35; Rev. 16:15).

– In the whole Bible, disrobing someone was to bring shame and disgrace them (Is. 20:4, 47:3; Ez. 16:37; Hos. 2:3; Mic. 1:11; Nah. 3:5; Acts 19:16; Rev. 17:16).

– In the whole Bible, willfully looking upon someone’s naked body was shameful (Is. 57:8; Ez. 22:10; Hab. 2:15).  It seems like it doesn’t need to be said, but the whole book of Song of Solomon (along with selections from the letters of Paul) points out that the shame isn’t there between a husband and a wife.

– In the whole Bible, it was the mark of an honorable person to attempt to cover the nakedness of the poor or oppressed (Is. 58:7; Ez. 16:7-8, 18:7, 18:16; Matt. 25:36-38, 25:43-44).

– The term for someone who willfully uncovers their naked body is “whore” (Ez. 16:36, 23:11-19, 23:29).  Only a prostitute is brazen and foolish enough to willfully do to themselves what their enemies would attempt to do to shame and disgrace them.

That brings us to the next point.

Point 2:  Women who willfully display their nakedness act shamefully.


Ezekiel 16:1-42 has an extended (and amazingly graphic) metaphor where God talks about Israel’s unfaithfulness to him.  It starts off with Israel being an infant that is born and immediately thrown into a field where Israel perishes (16:1-5).  God then sees Israel, commands her to live, and causes her to grow to sexual maturity (16:6-7).  Then, God covered her nakedness and married her, giving her every possible gift he had to offer (16:8-14), but Israel responded to God’s graciousness in ways that were simply breathtaking (16:15-34).  God makes the explicit contrast between his treatment of her and her treatment of herself when he states:

Therefore, O prostitute, hear the word of the Lord: 36 Thus says the Lord God, Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your whorings with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them, 37 therefore, behold…” (16:34-37)

It’s worth pointing out that God states three different horrid sins of Israel in 16:36.  God says that wrath is coming because of:

a. Israel’s lust being poured out and her nakedness being uncovered in her whorings with her lovers.
b. Israel’s lust being poured out and her nakedness being uncovered in her whorings with her idols.
c.  Israel’s presentation of the blood of her children to her idols.

Now one would think that the sexual promiscuity was the more severe problem than the uncovering of nakedness, but it’s interesting that God mentions the lust and the uncovering of Israel’s nakedness as equal and separate sins.   It would seem somewhat unnecessary to point out that someone was sexually promiscuous and naked, right?  I mean, the two are somewhat inseparable, but God still makes explicit mention of it.  The whole metaphor is one of showing of the vast an unthinkable shame of Israel, and her own willful uncovering of herself is part of that unthinkable shame.

Ezekiel 23 has a similar, and even more graphic metaphor of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God.

It’s also worth pointing out that in the third post, I made mention of how in Roman society, prostitutes were recognized by wearing male clothes made of thin silk; silk that would be somewhat translucent and revealing; prostitutes were associated with varying degrees of nakedness (the wealthy ones wore more clothing, but it was still purposely revealing).  The connection of revealing clothing with prostitutes is thousands of years old.  The more a woman uncovers her body, the more she acts in an way that parallels the unmistakably historic uniform of a prostitute.

Point 3:  Don’t bring shame on yourself: avoid any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness.

Call me crazy, but I’m guessing that a women who wants to please God would want to not act shamefully; they would not want to act like Israel did in Ezekiel 16 or 23.  I’m guessing that they’d want to stay away from that sort of activity…as far as they could.  In other words, flee from the kinds of revealing, sensual or sexually-charged clothing that has become “normal” in contemporary culture.  Also, it’s worth saying that fleeing from any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness would involve not wearing clothing that purposefully draws the eye to specific areas.

So then let’s get concrete.  What should a woman wear?

Well, I cannot and will not give anyone hard and fast rules for clothing.  You all know that with just a little desire and ingenuity, someone could make anything inappropriate.


Avoid any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness, and you will answer to God and your conscience for figuring out what that will look like.

Avoid clothing that exposes or draws eyes toward your cleavage.

Avoid clothing that exposes or draws draws eyes toward your buttocks.

Avoid clothing that exposes or draws draws eyes toward your reproductive parts.

Avoid clothing that exposes or draws draws eyes toward your midriff/legs.

Avoid clothing that is tight and form fitting enough that it reveals rather than covers your body.

When in doubt, don’t do it.

What’s reasonable?  Cover up whatever you can without resorting to efforts that are unrealistic (i.e.  involves welding).

The way that all plays out will vary from woman to woman as each woman has a different body (i.e. tall, curvy, etc.).  Some women have challenges because they have more pronounced body parts that are harder to cover, but that’s why I’m trying so hard to avoid concrete rules.  Do whatever you need to do to avoid any degree of self-induced nakedness.

The Unrestrained Boy and the Stumbling Brother

Again, this is going to be simpler than you expect.

Point 1: Teenage boys who are obsessed with sex aren’t your concern:

If you have to stop and wonder “will dressing this way cause a hormonal young man to tempted with thoughts of sexual lust?” the answer is yes. 

Yes it will.

Write it down.

Now not all will, and sometimes not even some will, but it’s always true that someone will.  Speaking as a guy, I have run across a tsunami of adolescent (and sadly adult) males whose thoughts turn sexual at the slightest provocation.  I won’t go into what would be unnecessary and vile discussion, but I’ve learned that many fellows have a hair trigger for that sort of stuff.  You cannot prevent contributing to their lusting except by one things:

a) Avoiding any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness.

That doesn’t mean that you’re free to dress however you wish, but rather that you stick with the previous three points above and avoid any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness.  If you’re wanting to not cause a brother to stumble, then talk with some married women who have teenage boys and ask them to help you understand where the bar of expectation should be set…and when in doubt, cover it up. It’s not like there aren’t fashionable contemporary options available for girls who want to dress trendy and yet still be covered up.  Almost every brand of clothes has multiple options, regardless of your personal style.  Let’s be honest: in this digital and global era, everything is “in style” somewhere, and certain classics are always in style.


This is part of the 2016 Dolce and Gabanna line: Jeans, plain white t, cute top (I don’t have a clue what it’s called).  You could copy this look at almost any decent store.

Point 2:  Forget your fears of “causing a brother to stumble”:

In the light of the previous point, I know of girls who essentially take two approaches to the “don’t cause a brother to stumble” problem:

a. They play the “it’s not my problem” card and use that as an excuse for their wounded conscience that convicts them of the fact that they dress in a way that’s self-shaming.

b.  They obsess over trying to guess whether or not something will “cause a brother to stumble”.  They want to wear this or that, but are frequently frustrated when they try to anticipate the reactions of the fellows in their lives.  They try to find some sort of accurate gauge for “what’s modest” but cannot anticipate (with the desired accuracy) the reaction of the opposite sex.

I got some ideas for women in both categories:

a.  For the women in category (a) – Avoid any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness.

If a guy is looking at you and seeing things that he shouldn’t, it’s because you’re presenting that stuff to the world.  Cover it up and stop the insanity of  confusing sexy with attractive.  Dressing “sexy” means “dressing in a way that stimulates a desire for sex” and that desire is never stimulated in only the guy you want to notice you…hence girls get bad reputations.  Everyone notices when girls dress in ways that bring shame on themselves.

Also, wake up and realize the obvious: the kind of guys you attract by dressing “sexy” aren’t the kind of guys you want.  If you’re trying to attract a god-fearing man who’s got some character, try attracting him with the things that will be attractive to his heart.   Don’t abandon your physical beauty, but don’t make it the only thing you’re offering and present your physical beauty in a way that doesn’t bring shame on you.

b.  For the women in category (b) – Don’t ever participate in any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness.

I’m going to say it again:

If you have to stop and wonder “will dressing this way cause a hormonal young man to tempted with thoughts of sexual lust?” the answer is yes.

Write it down.

Some of the young men out there have self control and don’t turn into donkeys in heat at the slightest provocation, but to many do.  Most of them have the wherewithal to not show it…much.  Your concern shouldn’t be hypothetical lust, but covering your own nakedness with the Lord and your biblically-informed conscience as your guides, not your own hypothetical suspicions regarding the penchant for young men to think what they shouldn’t.

But wait!  What about Romans 14?  1 Corinthians 10?  What about the weaker brother, or the passages that talk about causing a brother to stumble?

In those passages, what’s being discussed are matters that are “grey” issues; issues where the Bible doesn’t draw clear moral lines and the conscience of a weaker believer is violated because they don’t follow the same moral standards as the stronger believer.  The conscience of a young man is not being violated in this scenario, but rather a young woman is violating her own conscience when it comes to matters of clothing.

The real application of those passages here would be in not judging (as spiritually inferior) a woman who dresses differently than you .  The matter of clothing is in fact a grey issue, but it’s a grey issue between women.  Guys need to avert their eyes from things that tempt them (i.e. Job 31:1; Matt. 5:27-30) and ladies, both young and old, need to avoid any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness.

But wait again!  What about bathing suits?

Avoid any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness.  That means “no thorax skin”.  I’m TRYING to avoid making a list of rules!  But yeah.  Wear a t-shirt and a swim skirt over your bathing suit.  Wear a wet suit.  Wear whatever you need to wear to avoid any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness…Heck, wear under armor or even regular old armor.


But wait AGAIN!  What about context?  Do different contexts have certain allowances?

Avoid any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness.  That means “at church” and “at the beach” and “when you’re in a wedding party”.  Do whatever is realistic in order to avoid any reasonable degree of self-induced nakedness.  It might involve an uncomfortable conversation, or bystanders may wrongfully assume that you’re ashamed of your body, but don’t violate your conscience for the sake of social convenience.

Do whatever you need to do.

Get a retro 1920’s swimsuit and make a joke of it.

Who cares!

So the bottom line: cover it up.

No, I’m not going to give any more pictures or examples.  I’ve given one, and I’m already nervous about that. I’m sure a few people who have got this far in the post have already analyzed and dissected it.  I’m sure that a few hearts have been tempted to either judge me for my standards or create a list of rules based on that singular image…so I’m now going to give the most cautious direction I can in looking for examples.

If you want some direction, look at the remaining royalty in the world.  Read The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor or even better: the Royal Hats blog.  Sure, a blog about royal millinery mainly has photos of royals when they go out on formal occasions.  That being said, follow royalty when it comes to looking for general guidelines on how to dress.  I say this because the remaining royalty in the world have no shortage of 2 things:

a.  Money.

They can afford whatever they want and wear nice/expensive clothes.  They don’t just run off to thrift stores and buy whatever is cheap.  They buy whatever they want, regardless of price (generally speaking) and they dress respectably and elegantly…or in a “courtly” manner.  I believe that word has already come up in a previous post!

b.  Personal advisors.

In other words, they never dress shamefully because they represent nations.  Royals define the term “class”, so if you want to dress “classy”, keep abreast of how royals dress.  They’re generally not unfashionable, but they don’t follow typical Hollywood fashion trends.  If you don’t like how they dress, that’s fine.  Copy the principles behind their style and make it your own.

We’re at 2,900 words now, so this post has gone on long enough.  I hope it’s helpful, let me know in the comments!  Also, if you think of questions regarding the 9 million specific scenarios I didn’t address, ask away.

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “In fear and trepidation, knowing I probably missed more than I covered” Unger

47 thoughts on “Addressing the Dressing VII: The Right to Bare Arms

  1. You’re a brave man. Also, you’ve already thought of all the hilarious things a weirdo like I am might say in the comments so I’ll save us the trouble. Good work. I had started this same blog series 3 or 4 years ago and just never got around to writing it. I appreciate the work involved.

    • Thanks Michael. I appreciate another weirdo who understands the amount of self control is involved in a topic like this, especially with all the puns I could have milked out of it.

      I tried to keep it serious and avoid unnecessary silliness, but still insert enough that it doesn’t come across as too heavy.

  2. This series has been such a great help. Confirmed many things for me and this last post put into words what I have felt but not been able to explain. Thank you so much. This series will be required reading for my two girls when they come of age. Thank you again.

  3. I feel concern for a young woman who, though she once claimed to be a Christian, dresses provocatively and (not surprisingly) expects a baby mere weeks after her 20th birthday. As her employer, do I have a right to advise her on modesty away from work? Does her current rejection of Christ mean it’s not my place to comment on her morals?

    • Oh boy.

      Here’s some rough ideas:

      As her employer, you don’t have any call on her outside of work, and certainly over her religion or practice thereof.

      If she no longer professes to be a believer, you can definitely ask her about what God’s doing in her life…unless she’s become a professing atheist.

      As a Christian, you want to reach out to her in her difficulties and come alongside her with a generous amount of care and support, along with a soft reminder of why she’s in her current mess and an encouragement to return to the Lord that she left.

      What you probably need to remember is that dressing inappropriately is a symptom, as is sleeping around. They’re not the disease.

      Sin is the disease, and sin isn’t taken care of by naming it as such. Letting her know you think she’s “bad” will likely confirm the “all Christians are hypocrites” stereotype she probably has.

      Loving her in tangible ways and caring for her will be far more helpful when you give her the gospel. Remember though; the gospel is about her and Christ. You don’t enter the picture, and neither does whatever you think about her clothing or immorality.

      I hope that’s not too confusing.

  4. Thank you for this series, well done! Also, I’m glad you provided all the links to the previous posts in the series in this post as it’ll make sharing a lot easier :)… now, on to the series on “generational curses”!!

    • Thanks for your kind words Lauren!

      I’ll get started on the generational curses series in a few weeks. This sort of stuff takes a lot longer to write than you’d suspect. I’ll have a few weeks of filler in the meantime.

  5. Pingback: The Daily Discovery (March 24, 2016) - Entreating Favor

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  7. Good post. I had one thought though. Often in the World there is no shame in nakedness, for example, those people who are naturists. Young women often also feel proud of their bodies and want to show them off without apparent shame.

    The conscience must become seared to varying levels of nakedness within culture. What we consider modest now would have in times past been considered very racy. One the other hand, indigenous tribes have a level of nakedness that they consider acceptable but we would definitely be ashamed with.

  8. Sir, I am an Evangelical Christian woman and I live in Northern Ireland. I have not read your series on modesty but I have read some of your thoughts and viewed some of the accompanying photos. I am very disappointed because it seems that what you consider modest, I consider immodest. Take for example the photo of the woman above in tight jeans. How is that modest? The woman in the swimming attire isn’t very modest either. My 17 year old daughter and I have modest swimwear (akin to swim dresses or skirts) and they are both feminine and modest. I noted your photo of the Royal family and wondered what they were doing in a post on modesty. William and Kate lived together for years before they married and were known for riotous living and she still doesn’t know how to cover up. You had a photo of a woman weightlifter and described her as a “great Christian woman.” In what way is a woman who wants to be as strong as a man (which is not possible) and who downplays the differences between men and women a “great Christian woman?” The standard for Christian women’s dress should be the following, “long, loose and layered” or “long, loose and lots of it.” The Puritan Richard Baxter got it right when he warned those who enflame passions that they could start a fire they may not be able to put out. He also said that Christians should walk among diseased souls (the unsaved) as though they were walking with a candle among gunpowder. I also heard of a US detective with 17 years experience who stated that in most cases of sexual assaults on women, provocative clothing was a factor. So immodesty is not just sinful, it is dangerous. My husband and I have a blog and, if you wish to view it you can find us at

    • So you openly admit that you didn’t read what I wrote but simply judged me on the basis of the few pictures I included?

      I even spoke about that IN the post.

      You just blindly toss out an arbitrary standard of “long, loose and layered”, cite Richard Baxter, and judge the spirituality of one of my longtime personal friends on the basis of the single fact that she lifts weights.

      And then after how you introduced yourself, you have the GALL to give me a link to your blog and invite me to come glean from your wisdom?

      I absolutely give up on humanity.

      • You haven’t addressed any of the points I raised Sir. You were not invited to our blog to “glean from our wisdom.” You talk much about Christianity on your blog Sir, yet you have been very unChristlike in your response to me. What is wrong with mentioning Richard Baxter? Do you not think we can learn from the wisdom of the Puritans? So you are giving up on humanity? What melodramatic nonsense.

  9. If you read my first comment above Sir, you will see that you are bearing false witness against me. I said I read some of your thoughts on the subject of modesty. I did not say I read NONE of your views. Secondly, you were not invited to our blog to “glean from our wisdom.” Those are your words, not ours. I have written on the subject of modesty many times on our blog so I do not need to read every word of every other Christian’s blog posts on the matter. I have also stood as a candidate in two elections here in Northern Ireland and, although I was not successful (as the world counts success) I had a wonderful platform to share Biblical principles. I spoke out against abortion, homosexuality and Islam (and many other social ills) and endured great hostility toward my views. Some homosexuals desired my death. You do me and my husband a grave disservice Sir by your response to my comments. My election manifesto for last year can be read online if you google my name Susan-Anne White. If you read my manifesto, you will see that it is Biblically correct NOT politically correct. In fact that was my campaign slogan.

    • Your political efforts are irrelevant to the question of what modesty means in the Bible. I’m sure that you’ve endured lots of opposition for whatever views you’ve taken. I’m sure you’re a valiant defender of all that is good and upright.

      Your views on modesty are, at least according to Scripture, in error. The proof of that is clearly and systematically laid out in the posts you obviously didn’t pay much attention to.

      • You plumb the depths with your sarcasm and mockery. You say that our views on modesty are in error. Prove it from Scripture and then answer the following question please.We are not Mennonites but we have been to a Mennonite conference (conservative Rod and Staff type) and none of the women were in tight jeans and none of then were weightlifters. As you are a Mennonite who is “embarrassed by what passes for a Mennonite these days,” perhaps you could explain why the Mennonites we observed believe in (and enforce) uniform-style modesty on their women and would not permit them to wear jeans or have a career as a weightlifter. Are their views on modesty in error according to Scripture?

      • I do have a question too though about the photo with the woman wearing jeans. If the jeans are skin-tight, does that count as “displaying her nakedness”? Some people will say that women need to have their curves covered, and they also cite the sexual revolution in the 1960s as the only reason women wear jeans.
        Thanks Lyndon!

        • That ends up being a matter of conscience. If it bothers you, don’t do it!

          It was admittedly hard to find a picture that was SOMEWHAT balanced. That picture may certainly not be.

        • No worries! I just wasn’t sure if wearing pants would constitute as showing nakedness (even though no skin is showing). How would that be a matter of conscience?
          Thanks for doing this post and for responding to comments! I appreciate it.

        • Well, that would depend on whether or not the person wearing pants had a conviction about how form fitting is too form fitting. That’s assuming that a person thought that form fitting clothes were leaning towards uncovering ones nakedness…

          If, like one commenter on here, there is a personal conviction that all clothes should be billowing and not following the contours of the body, then they should do that until such time as their conscience allows them to do otherwise.

  10. Thanks for a great series. We really needed a well researched, biblically accurate analysis of this issue. I hope youth leaders will consider teaching from this and/or sending their students the links to this series.

  11. In addition to some wonderful biblical and historical perspective to share with the young women who call me “Mom” and those I lead in small group, there is fantastic teaching here on how to deal with those who throw stones. Thanking God for you today and your very evident love for Him and your desire to help fellow travelers.

  12. LYNDON!! This is a gold mine!!! Thank you so much for sharing your study and though I giggled through a few of the points as you walked on eggshells, I so appreciate all of the time and effort of study. I am teaching the women’s part of our purity conference at calvary and this post has been immensely helpful at getting my thoughts condensed and concise. I will quote you in the talk if that’s okay! 🙂 Thanks a ton! Hope you guys are doing well!
    – julie martin

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  14. Thank you , Thank you, Thank you for articulating a truly Biblical stance on modesty. God is honored when we speak the truth in love and express concern for the Body of Christ. We are His Ambassadors and His Witnesses until He Returns. As I heard a pastor taught recently : why would we want to imitate/undress like the culture that is under God’s judgment. Steer Clear!

  15. I finally got through this series. While I do not think women should wear their dresses up their asses I certainly do not condone mid-length dresses or a little cleavage showing. Women are here to dress to help men control their lust. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:29) If men are lead into temptation to sin, by dress or in other ways, that is choice and God makes it clear in Matthew that each individual is accountable to keep themselves in check. I remember watching a documentary years ago on Link TV where an Iranian woman was shot point blank in the head in the middle of the street because the man accused her of causing him to lust after her. What brought attention to this story is that the woman was fully covered from head to toe with only a couple of slits in her head dress to see where she was going. How in the hell this woman caused him to lust after her? The bottom line is it does not matter is a woman is covered from head to toe, wearing a burlap sack, if a man does not keep himself in check he is going to lust after her.

    Why do many men indulge in child pornography lusting after little girls who in no way are dressing provocative? When you allow yourself to be lead by that piece of skin between your legs it leads to all sorts of sexual immorality and the excuses are they asked for it because they dressed in a certain way.

    When you argue that what’s modest and what isn’t is a valid concern for women, you tell them that their appearance matters more than your accountability to God. They have become your object of praise and not God. You tell them that whether or not you are sexually aroused by their actions or their dress is more important than keeping Jesus commandments. You tell them that they must, at all times, be thinking about you when they are making decisions about their own lives. That’s arrogant. That’s immoral. You are accountable for your own actions regardless how any woman dress! This article was terrible and a bunch of fluff!

    • You may have read through the articles, but I don’t think you followed the argument…or even paid attention.

      Not only are you using the definition of “modest” that I overturned and rejected in article 2 (as well as 3-7), but I also did not tell women “that they must, at all times, be thinking about you when they are making decisions about their own lives”. Not even close.

      In fact, the last post attacks that whole idea. Women don’t need to spend time fretting about the response of boys at all. They need to simply consider the conviction of the conscience, not the hypothetical reaction to random men. That’s point 1 and point 2 in this very article.

      How did you miss that?

      If I had argued the points you’re attacking, I’d agree that the series was terrible.

  16. 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;

    Isaiah 47:2-3 “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.”

    He makes equivalence between uncovering the thigh and nakedness

    Exodus 28:42
    And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:

    When describing the pants to wear to cover nakedness it said to reach from the loins to the thighs, meaning cover the loins and thighs, not make pants that went from your hips to the beginning of the thigh but through the thigh, which ends at the knee.

    Ezekiel 16:7-8
    7   I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.
    8   Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine.

    Here it equates covering your breasts, having long hair, and wearing the proper skirt as covering your nakedness. The breast begins at the collarbone. Find where the collarbone begins on your neck in the center and that’s where you need to cover.

    It actually goes further when studying clothing. Women are not allowed to wear pants but to wear skirts/dresses. Men are only to wear pants or shorts (to the knee) and never skirts or dresses. It’s a serious sin

    Deuteronomy 22:5
    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.

    • So serious a sin indeed, but answer me this then. Shall men of that time be cast into the flames for not wearing pants? Because in all accounts such a mode of dress as skirt and pants did not at the time exist.

  17. I read this entire series of blog posts tonight, and was fascinated by the careful, thorough analysis of the cultural reality pertaining to clothing, hair styles, etc during Roman times. I found it very helpful and useful. So I was startled at the lack of the same level of research on the cultural factors of gender roles, women’s status, the context of who was receiving Peter’s epistle and what that group was experiencing as you unpacked 1 Peter 3 and the story of Abraham and Sarah. There’s valuable word study present, but that part of the cultural context is glaringly inadequate and all but absent.
    Yes, Sarah’s character is affirmed by Peter. And that doesn’t translate to validating all her actions and decisions, or that the choices she made are prescriptive for us as wives today. Much of our precious Scripture (especially the OT) is descriptive, not prescriptive, as it tells the story of God’s people. And that is an essential distinction.
    I do not have your extensive background in biblical languages, nor any seminary-related letters after my name. I have much to learn about biblical exegesis and hermeneutics (I’m currently continuing my education in this area, although with four young kids that we homeschool, it’s a slow process…), and still I find that a deep study of gender realities in the first century is just as essential as exploring and understanding all the other forms of context as we read and interpret the Bible. To not acknowledge and factor in women’s second-class (or worse) status during the time of the early church as we do the careful work of Scriptural study and interpretation is careless at best. I take this work very seriously in my desire to grow in looking like Christ and faithfully responding to God’s call to ministry.
    I hope that as you move forward, you will seriously consider how the cultural devaluing of women during the time when Scripture was written impacts our understanding now, of those texts with gender-specific instructions. Reticence to do this hard and messy work is understandable, but unacceptable regardless of how uncomfortable. These texts should not be thrown out or dismissed but instead allotted the same meticulous examination we do in other areas, and great care and caution exercised in how we apply them now.
    Ultimately, I found myself agreeing with most of your conclusions in your last installment, although we’d have different theological understandings in other areas. But I will hold to the second part of Phil 3:15, that where we think differently, that too God will make clear to us, so that there will be growing unity in the Body of Christ.

  18. Genuinely furious to have clicked and read this and found no recommendations on matters of women baring arms ( weapons)
    Does the bible make condemnations for women who take up mens roles in holding and using arms or does it not?

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