What Is Biblical Modesty?

This short Bible study explains what Scripture teaches about modesty.

Before doing this Bible study, please read the one-minute introduction Why Modesty is Getting a Bad Rap. It explains that many women see modesty as a sexist concept meant to blame women for male lust. 

Has a woman ever been blamed for her rape or abuse? Yes. But that does not represent the biblical concept of modesty, nor does it represent the Christian attitude toward sexual abuse. 

Let's look at what Scripture teaches in regard to modesty.

1. A vivid illustration.

Proverbs 11:22: Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.    

The Hebrew word for discretion is taam and it literally means "taste." Used figuratively in this passage, it describes a woman who lacks good taste or a woman who lacks good judgement. Modesty is directly related to our world view, our view of ourselves, and our view of Scripture.

This short Bible study explains what Scripture teaches about modesty.
desty is an attitude as well as a behavior. 

1 Timothy 2:9-10: 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.  

The Greek word Kosmios used to describe clothing in verse 9, means "orderly, virtuous, decent, modest, well-ordered."

1 Peter 3:3-4: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Modesty means we don't try to impress people with expensive clothing nor with our body. It's defined differently by different cultures, but it's not difficult to determine what is culturally and biblically modest.

3. Representing Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:31: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

The way we dress should reflect our faith and our Christian moral values. 

4. Refusing to tempt others.

Matthew 18:7: Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!

A man can lust for a woman even when she is dressed modestly. She is not responsible for his lust and she certainly isn't responsible for his decision to follow that lust and do something abusive. Rapists cannot use a woman's immodesty as an excuse. 

However, just as it's sinful to invite an alcoholic friend to a wine-tasting party, it's sinful to dress immodestly around men.  

This short Bible study explains what Scripture teaches about modesty.

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