What Is Proper Women's Dress (I Timothy 2:9)?
The question of proper dress for women has been of interest to many. Actually, God's guidelines regarding clothing and dress are very general. God expects Christian women to dress in "modest apparel, with propriety and moderation (discretion, margin)" (I Timothy 2:9)—that is, in clothes that are not flamboyant and garish. A Christian woman should not be an "exhibitionist" in attracting undue attention to herself by wearing clothing that is provocative, suggestive, or outrageous.
By the same token, this does not mean that Christian women should be drab, colorless, or tasteless dressers. A Christian is to be a light to the world (Matthew 5:14-16), an example of balance and good taste. We should not be so out of step with the fashions of society that we stand out like the proverbial "sore thumb." Clothes can be fashionable without being immodest or peculiar. Apparel should be appropriate for the occasion—decent swimsuits for the beach, jeans for yard work, and usually a dress or other nicer outfit for special occasions. A Christian woman should especially strive to look nice for her husband and family.
In the Old Testament, God gives this law: "A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God" (Deuteronomy 22:5). This refers to transvestitism or cross-dressing, not to a woman's wearing of pants that are designed for women. The simple principle is that men should look and dress like men—masculine—and women should look and dress like women—feminine. By doing so, we will both glorify God.
The "meek and quiet spirit" of a truly converted Christian woman will be reflected in the kind of clothing she selects (I Peter 3:1-4). She will wear what is appropriate and stylish for any given occasion, but with proper modesty and decorum. And God will look on the heart of such a woman with approval.
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