Clothing standards – the proper covering for the body


When writing to the Corinthian believers, Paul said, “You were bought with a price. Glorify God, then, in your body.”

This statement was made at the end of instruction regarding purity from fornication and one’s body, which belonged to the Lord. That is its primary meaning. Yet, it bears a secondary meaning; one which is emphasized on this page. Fornication, in its full meaning, will be dealt with on its own page.

The New Covenant Scriptures do not explicitly enlarge on the established truth that modesty in dress realized in amply covering the body is the will of God for all people, especially all believers. The reason for this is because the believers of the first century Greco-Roman world were not significantly guilty of violating this particular standard of modest apparel. Their violations were in the area of immodest apparel through over-dressing. From our perspective, the fact that they were free from the first type of immodest apparel is truly amazing; especially since the sexual sins of their culture ran in various extremes. In our culture, skimpily clothed people and sexual temptation, lust, and sins go together. In theirs, they did not. Be that as it may, people who were insufficiently clothed in public were looked down upon by the matrons of the Roman Empire, whose opinions and tastes were highly valued. These same well-bred Roman wives were full of double standards, though. They would attend obscene plays and read pornographic writings at the same time that they ridiculed certain people simply because of their barely clothed bodies. The clothing that was derided exactly paralleled that of swimmers or female tennis players of our day. It was the type of dress donned exclusively by gladiators and athletes (and some actors) of the time. Sometimes athletes and actors appeared in the nude. At other times they barely wore any clothing. The reason for the general social rejection of skimpily clad people was because the culture of the first century Mediterranean world was, with the exceptions just named, a fully clothed culture. In fact, this same fully clothed standard still applies today in that world, although not to the degree of the first century. The word “drape”, from which our word drapery derives, is a Latin word and originally applied to abundantly folded, hanging garments. The Romans were well-know for the abundant and meticulous folds of their togas and cloaks. The moral standard for clothing – in this case meaning the amount of clothing worn – was much higher than our own. The standard for covering the body was reflected in words like “abundant, copious, plentiful, more than enough” and words like these. In our world, words like “scanty, meager, sparse” and words like these are socially acceptable when considering the same standard. Furthermore, in their day, the double standard applied: one for athletes/gladiators/actors and another for the rest of the populace. In ours, the general standard of clothing is the same for everyone. God’s providence so ruled in the ancient world that the milieu was, by-and-large, free from offenses in the scantily clothed category.

Yet, aside from these strong environmental facts, the believers of the first century had a very strong Jewish heritage upon which they were established. It was so prevailing that they would have properly stood before God regarding the clothed body even if the people of their environment had dressed to the contrary. The standard of clothing of their social world only strengthened their inherited high standard. First century Christianity had deeply established Jewish roots and was itself established by Jewish apostles. Their cultural background wielded a very strong influence upon the nascent assemblies of God. While, certainly, many Jewish rites and aspects were superseded by The Way, other moral traits remained firmly grounded. This was and is the Divine intention. The standard of properly clothed bodies was one of the moral rules of living that remained from Judaism. This will be clearly understood as we proceed.

Before proceeding, it must be emphasized that it is very important that both aspects of modest apparel regarding insufficient (scanty) dressing concern us, as was the case with the believers of the ancient world. Furthermore, it is also very important that proper emphasis be placed on each aspect. There is a Godward reason and a manward reason for dressing modestly according to God’s will. However, in our culture, the manward aspect of such under-dressing always receives the coverage, focus, and emphasis. This is a huge mistake. The primary reason for modesty in clothing has to do with holiness before God. The secondary reason for dressing modestly concerns our fellow man.

The Godward disposition: God established His will for the proper clothing of humanity at the very beginning of His relationship with mankind. It is very significant that this was done before there was a chosen people and before the Law of Moses. In fact, it was done before any covenant was established between God and man. This enactment of God transcends law as a rule and is established on His holiness! This fact must not be missed! Here it must be said that proper clothing is not insignificant with God; it is not incidental. Rather, the proper approach to God and walk with God are firmly affected by the way that one is clothed before Him. God is honored or dishonored by the very way that a person is physically presented before Him. This is according to His design! At the beginning, when Adam sinned, his remedy was to cover his nakedness with leaves. At this point this fact must be brought out. The correlates of sin, nakedness, and shame stand firm. Admittedly, we are dull of understanding and do not fully comprehend the relationship. (I have never heard a teaching explicating this truth as grounded in these correlates.) Adam and Eve comprehended the offensive relationship and when they sinned they sought to cover the shame of their nakedness that was revealed through their sin by sewing fig leaves together to make aprons to cover their genitals. This act was a correct response before God, but it was insufficient. The word translated aprons means loincloths. The leaves were, in fact, fig tree leaves. It wasn’t one leaf stuck to the private member, as often depicted in artwork regarding Adam and Eve, but it was a group of leaves sewn together that was intended by the pair to hide their genitalia. As such, it hung down from the waist to conceal. Yet, having devised this remedy, the two showed by their actions that they really understood that even this measure was not acceptable to hide their nakedness. For when God came to them to fellowship with them, they hid themselves among the trees of the garden. The reason they hid themselves was because, (according to Adam) “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” This is the first disclosure that insufficient covering before God is really viewed as nakedness, not only by discerning man, but also by God. Immediately after Adam’s declaration that he was naked, God rendered a series of verbal judgments to the serpent, then to him, and finally to Eve. At the end of these judgments, God did a very significant thing. He superseded Adam and Eve’s remedy of covering with the one of His Own making. The Scripture declares, “And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” The following things are highly important! In the place of loincloths, God made and applied garments of skin. The word that translates garments means “shirt”, but it is not shirt in our modern understanding and usage. It is shirt understood as a long shirt-like garment that covered nearly the entire body! (These kinds of shirts are still worn by men in some eastern countries, although they are usually now worn with long pants.) In fact, the word was borrowed by the Greek “tunic” and The Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Covenant Scriptures) translates the very word as tunic – as does the remarkably good New King James translation here in Genesis. This Hebrew word translated “shirt”, or better, “long-shirt” and its corresponding Greek word “tunic” is a garment that covered the entire upper body to the lower neck, could be sleeveless, but often had sleeves to the elbow and always reached either to the knees (most often) or ankles (infrequently). This word was not only simply taken up in general Greek usage, but is the very word “tunic” that is used in good translations of the native word in the New Covenant Greek text. Returning to Genesis, some translations use the word “coats” to depict this word. While this translation can be regarded as adequate, as long as long-coat is understood, it is not the best one – “tunic”. That is because tunic never lost its original and proper definition. With this very kind of covering, God “clothed” Adam and Eve. The word translated clothed means “to wrap”. Understanding the definition of tunic renders the kind of wrapping that God performed. The fact that God so clothed them is not to be lost sight of. This was His action of acceptability of the pair. In this way He provided acceptable covering for the sin-produced shame of their nakedness in the presence of His holiness. At this point many people wrongly see sin atonement occasioned by the skins that God used to clothe Adam and Eve. It is supposed that it is to be inferred that where there are skinned animals there is blood and since blood would be used later to make atonement for sins, then this fact must be present in this action. This is classic anachronism. It is reading into this event facts that are not there. Animal blood would, indeed, later be used to make atonement for sins. It would also be transcended and fulfilled in the great and true atonement in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. However, forgiveness of sins through atonement by animal blood is not the issue at hand. It is not even an issue involved. The issue, the only issue, is reverence and humility before the face of Almighty God because of the introduction of the shame of physical nakedness due to sin into the lives of mankind. This particular reverence and humility is only realized through God’s provision of covering the naked body in His presence. The naked body that originally revealed and inherently symbolized innocence from sin now was the very means that revealed and symbolized the antithesis of innocence from sin – guilt and shame because of sin. As such, it must be covered before the face of the holy God Who cannot accept or fellowship with sin, which is itself the very and exact opposite of His Person. By covering the guilty two with wraps of skins, God distanced Himself from their sin while at the same time accepting them into His presence. It must be grasped that it was not only the genitalia of Adam and Eve – the seat of humanity through generation, so to speak – that must be covered (as Adam thought), but the greater part of their formerly naked bodies that now must be covered. Again, this was because their once innocent flesh now testified of cataclysmic, death-producing rebellion against God. As such, the flesh body must now be transformed – that is, covered – before Him. This is why animal skins were used. Plant leaves were insufficient. Only material found at hand in the flesh of animals was proper for the kind of covering that was demanded by God’s holiness! Their covering of hide was now wrapped around man by God. Plant leaves were too meager to equip for proper covering. Animal skins were copious enough to be used for this purpose.

After these initial enactments which concern the extent to which people must be clothed before God, the same high standard of clothing is seen through the provisions of the Mosaic Law. It will be clear, in the nature of the cases considered, that the ultimate purpose for these instructions was not Jewish only, but was given because of the exact same concerns that arose in the Garden of Eden – nakedness must be fully covered! (Any distinctive Jewish legislation had to do with Israel’s uniqueness in the presence of the Lord during those times.) In Exodus, immediately after giving the well-known ten commandments through Moses, God gave additional commandments which were to keep the Israelites from sin. At the end of these commands He gave a prohibition against the Israelites attaching steps to His altar for blood sacrifice. The sole purpose for not adding steps to the altar had nothing to do with exclusive Jewishness. Rather, it was so that the nakedness of the sacrificers not be exposed by going up the steps. God prohibited any substantial flesh from being revealed before Him. It was assumed that the worshippers were clothed from their upper bodies down. But what is extremely important to grasp is that the Lord forbad even the revealing exposure from below. Shortly after these commandments, God gave definite instructions for the special clothing of the priests of Israel. Among these particular commands He gave a unique provision against nakedness before Him. The uniqueness of the legislation is the extent that the provision goes to in order to forbid nakedness. Aaron’s sons were to be clothed with tunics (the word already considered), wide belts, and caps. Furthermore, even though they were to wear tunics that reached at least to the knees, they were to wear undergarments that extended from the waist to the thigh. This undergarment resembled men’s boxer-shorts underwear of our day. The point to be taken is that this garment was itself overlaid with the tunic! The purpose of the covering of nakedness must not be missed. Indeed, the penalty against Aaron’s sons violating this high standard was death! This was because only in this copious covering of the genitalia before the Lord was God’s holiness not dishonored. While the greater part of the flesh of the body was to be covered in the presence of the Lord, special emphasis for modesty was applied to the organs of generation. This is the meaning of this law.

The Supreme Standard - That of Heaven

Next, heaven itself manifests this standard of modest dress and thereby declares the only acceptable rule for array in the presence of God. This fact is very, very significant. It is very highly important; for heaven is the pattern, the archetype, from which revelation of the holiness of God flows forth. The pattern of heavenly holiness was not only for the Old Covenant believers, but is also for us of the New Covenant Kingdom age. This fact has been entirely lost sight of. When Paul commanded the Colossian assembly to “seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth”, it is precisely to the image of God as revealed in Heaven that he was referring. When Paul wrote these words, Jesus had already sat down on His throne with the Father as the central Head and embodiment of the Image and Glory of God for heaven and humanity.

In a few places throughout the Scripture, the throne of God (the place above) is revealed. It is from His throne that His holiness emanates. His throne is made up of concentric spheres of heavenly beings that all manifest and testify to His Glory. While all thus bear His image, distinct features are allotted to each group of beings. As such, all are perpetually and literally arrayed in manifested reverential holiness before Him! Although God is a Spirit and His heavenly creatures are spiritual beings, He has set up all life, both eternal and temporal, to be ruled and expressed through the headship of the male. God is the Father and Jesus is His only begotten Son. These same headship characteristics apply to all of His created heavenly order. The living creatures who carry His throne are composites of men. The twenty-four elders who are enthroned before Him are also males. The archangels Gabriel and Michael are males. In fact, Gabriel means Man of God. Of the myriads of angels who ever appear to do His bidding, they are always represented as males. (Female angels are a man-made invention.) It is in the full sense of male that all of these created beings stand and represent God. While they do not perform sexual acts – a heretical teaching that appeared late in the interpretations of Israel – the male pudenda are used in God’s revelation to demonstrate both supreme strength and reverence. Strength is represented in the obvious generative powers that male genitals have always witnessed to symbolically. This fact is so stamped on humanity that it has been understood this way in very many cultures across the entire stretch of time even apart from Scriptural revelation. Reverence is expressed in the disposition of covering the same genitalia. This covering is revealed in the very array of these heavenly beings. Of angels in heaven, all that is ever said about their appearance is that they resemble fire. Nothing but the flames of fire can be seen of them in this realm. (When angels appear on earth, they are represented as clothed in white garments; that is, when their garments are even mentioned.) Nothing is said about the heavenly descriptions of Gabriel and Michael. The two described groups of beings that stand close and closest to God in heaven are made up of the 24 Elders and the Cherubim of Glory, respectively. Concerning the 24 Elders, John said that they sit on thrones and are clothed in white robes and have golden crowns on their heads. The word clothed translates a word which itself is a compound of two words meaning to throw around or to wrap around. The word translated robes is the word that is properly translated cloak. This was the large outer garment that wrapped around the entire body and was often used as a bed/covering by poor people. It corresponds to the Roman toga. The best overall Biblical translation is that of the New Revised Standard Bible. It states that the 24 Elders are “dressed in white robes”. The best translation of this phrase is, “wrapped around in white cloaks”. Their bodies are amply covered, that is, from the neck to the lower legs or feet. When the Cherubim are described, more detail is given. The detail is also thorough. When John describes these beings, he does not give as much functional detail as do Ezekiel and Isaiah. This is how John describes them: “And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature is like a lion, the second living creature is like an ox, the third living creature has the face of a man, and the fourth living creature is like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures each have six wings and are full of eyes all around and within.” Ezekiel gives the greatest detail concerning the appearance of these heavenly beings. Very much can – and will – be said about these beings as bearers of the image and purposes of God revealed through Ezekiel, Isaiah, and John. Teaching at length about these things will occur on the alphabetized page under the heading, The Images of God’s Spirit as revealed in His Temple – motifs of Christian maturity. At this point, I only mean to bring out God’s will concerning reverence and modesty as revealed in them. Ezekiel states, “As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies.” In the ancient Hebrew language of the Old Covenant Scriptures, words stood intimately together as word families. What this means is that the definition of each root word was often significantly carried into the meaning of its derivatives. The word used by Ezekiel for “covered” means exactly that – “to cover over”. Furthermore, it derives from the root that means “to cover, conceal, hide”. The meaning is that with two of their wings the Living Creatures concealed their bodies by covering them over. The word used for body is precisely that – the whole body. Any part of the body that is not meant is specified, as is the case in this description of these beings. The legs that are described as straight legs are the lower part of the legs that are just above the feet. This is revealed in the definition and usage of the word itself. Significantly, because the word means the lower leg terminating into the foot, a number of Bible versions translate this word “legs” in this place as “feet”. In Isaiah, the description of reverential modesty revealed in the Cherubim is brought to its fullness. When he saw the Glory of God, he stated it thusly: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him stood the Seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.” Before continuing, some seeming discrepancies should be cleared away. (Others will be cleared away later, when all these things are considered in detail.) These are all descriptions of the same heavenly beings, who, as created beings, stand closest to God in heaven. They are actually His throne bearers. In John and Ezekiel they are called the Living Creatures because they stand closest to God and reveal His Name. While all creatures of heaven are in Life and can be called living in the real sense of the word, these are called the Living Creatures because, as created heavenly beings, they bear and manifest the Life of God, par excellence. In Ezekiel they are also called the Cherubim. This is their proper name. The word is of uncertain derivation. It is the pluralized form of the word Cherub. It is without any doubt that the word is used as a proper name for the ox that makes up these composite creatures. For when Ezekiel describes these same creatures later in his writings, he substitutes the word Cherub for the word ox. The ox is the tireless worker, the powerful worker. It is in this particular sense that the Cherubim are so named. It is this sense that the Cherubim are designated, dignified, and vindication in the presence of God. Work is an integral part of holiness. Without work you have no true holiness, only theoretical holiness. Artistic depictions of Cherubs being chubby, little baby-like winged beings in heaven are, like female angels, purely of fleshly origin; they are another man-made rendition. Isaiah calls these same beings Seraphim. Like Ezekiel, he uses the plural form to depict their unity in oneness. The word Seraphim derives from the word seraph, which means to burn. These are the burning ones; burning in the fire of zeal for God and also burning in the execution of His judicial knowledge. But Isaiah’s revelation goes further. Because the Seraphim rise over the throne of God, they assume the only true requisite posture. They are shown to have six wings. With two they cover their faces. With two others they cover their feet. And with the remaining two, they fly. The covering of both the face and the feet are meant to reveal the utter humility and reverence, respectively, which are demanded of them who function in the immediate presence of the Lord. The picture presented isn’t that only their actual faces and feet are covered, while their bodies are not. Quite the contrary! The picture is that their entire bodies are fully covered in the presence of God. The most dignified creatures of heaven are repeatedly revealed in this reverential and modest array. They are the pattern of the things of holiness above to be imitated below.  We, who live below on earth among corruption and sin, are to physically array ourselves in no less reverence and humble modesty before the Lord.

Another question can be appropriately asked. Is there any further Biblical indication of this reverence before the Lord demonstrated among men on earth? The answer is that there is. Keep in mind that there does not have to be such a demonstration because the Scriptures of God are amply filled with this directive through act, commandment, and revelation, as established above. After first rightly assuming that the acts and commandments of God were obeyed and remembering that the first century Mediterranean culture was an amply clothed culture, there is an incident in the Gospel of John that is only truly understandable when properly considered. After the resurrection of Jesus, Peter and six other disciples of Jesus went fishing. After working that night without a catch and still being out a distance in the water, at dawn they saw Jesus standing on the shore. He told them to cast their net in a certain place and they would catch fish. (At this point, they did not know it was Jesus Who spoke with them.) When they followed His direction, they could not haul in the net of fish because of its weight. Instantly, John recognized Jesus and told Peter, “It is the Lord”. Then Peter did a very significant thing; something that when naturally and commonly understood is surprising and baffling. He grabbed his fisherman’s work cloak and wrapped it around himself and jumped in the sea and swam to Jesus. On its face, this act is both counterintuitive and counterproductive. In normal circumstances, no one hinders himself this way when swimming. The Scripture states that Peter was “naked” when working. Keep in mind that naked in Biblical language means anything from total nudity to not properly clothed. Peter was not totally nude. This was highly revolting to the Jewish mindset of the first century. No Jewish man revealed his private parts to anyone, except his spouse in the proper setting. Peter was clad only in his inner garment for work. To think that he was totally nude or even wearing only a loin cloth is wrong. He was wearing his tunic only and had dispensed with his fisherman’s cloak. This word translated fisherman’s cloak appears only here in the Scriptures and was a rugged outer garment used by fishermen for purposes of protection and durability. It was a garment of plentiful length and breath that would amply cover both the body and clothing of its wearers. The word itself derives from a word which appears only twice in the Scriptures. The occurrences are in Paul’s writing and mean “to put on, to invest with”. In both instances the word means to be clothed with the spiritual, heavenly dwelling or body that replaces the natural, earthly body of this life. It is not a meager substitution, but the complete replacement, the total overlaying with the eternal dwelling that is explained. Clearly, the fisherman’s cloak was one which wrapped around, that is, overlaid the tunic of the fisherman. But the question remains, why would Peter do such a thing? Why would he put on a cloak to swim to Jesus on the shore? The answer is in knowing a powerful fact about ancient Jewish customs. Among Jews of the first century, greeting someone was viewed as a religious act. Words used in greeting invoked God’s blessings upon the person being greeted. In addition to this specific custom, Peter knew that he was addressing God. He had already known of and made the confession concerning the Divinity of Jesus. He was also fully aware of and in complete agreement with the confession of Thomas, who, shortly before this episode made the declaration that Jesus was both Lord and God. It is not without significance that Thomas is named first among the companions of Peter who went fishing with him. Because Peter knew that he was approaching Jesus, because he understood greeting as a religious act, and because he knew that Jesus was Lord and God, he properly arrayed himself reverently in clothing himself sufficiently. 

The Manward disposition: This section will be shorter than the preceding one because there is less diverse Biblical material to cover. The manward disposition is a logical one, established on common sense. It is the kind of common sense that adheres in much of righteousness and holiness. It is the kind of common sense that condemns men through the very act of taking leave of it. For instance, through Paul, the Holy Spirit condemns unbelievers simply because they have failed to see God’s eternal Power and Godhead as being clearly revealed and understood through His creation. In fact, Paul states that they who fail to see this way have no excuse. When it comes to our subject, you simply do not unclothe yourself to a significant degree or dress meagerly or skimpily so that you will not be guilty of exciting anyone of the opposite sex to lust. The question is not, has someone actually been stimulated sexually because of your revealed body? No, rather, the question is, have you given occasion for anyone of the opposite sex to become sexually stimulated because you have revealed your body before them? Sexual sin is a very powerful sin; one that eternally condemns. It is not only the completed acts of full-blown fornication that fatally condemn one’s soul, but even the initial acts of sexually lusting after someone equally condemn. Jesus said that if your eye causes you to sexually lust for a woman, you must rip it out and cast it away. For it is better to enter into heaven with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into Hell. Through Paul, the Spirit of Jesus said that the constant mindset of the believer must be to determine not to put any stumbling block or snare in your brother's way. In another context, Jesus also said, “Woe to the world because of snares! Snares must come, but woe to the man through whom the snare comes!” This common sense understanding of not presenting oneself meagerly clothed before the opposite sex does not only apply to females, but also applies to males. I say this because in our culture – from one degree to another – men have been seen as exempt from this mindset. This is patently ridiculous. Women can be – and are – just as sexually stimulated as men can be and are. Although the ancients did not have the same scientific understanding of sex hormones as we do today, they fully understood sexual drive to be powerfully dispersed upon both sexes. In fact, unlike in our day, the ancient Greeks believed that the women were the ones who possessed the greatest sexual drive between the sexes. They were the sexual “animals” of their day, not the men! These are the same Greeks who introduced the Romans into all kinds of sexual corruption and depravity. So, it really should be readily seen that wearing insufficient clothing in the presence of the opposite sex is an occasion to excite sexual sin. How can anyone who names the Name of the Lord participate in and actually instigate any kind of sin that produces death, like this one does? Regarding a peculiar trait of our day; it is absolute foolishness to believe that the beach or poolside elements of sun and sand or concrete and water inoculate from sexual stimulation! Women who would not be caught dead in public wearing only their bras and underwear don’t bat an eye in donning swim wear that is nothing more than “glorified” or slightly padded bras and underwear. Some think that they have surmounted the modesty problem simply by wearing a little mini-shirt over their glorified underwear, with the added instruction that some women must not forget to shave or clip around their pudenda, not for fear of inciting to lust and fornication, but to avoid embarrassment lest the little skirt come up and they be shown to be hairy. From the other side, men are expected to dispense with their sexual drives when heading to mixed swimming or sun-bathing and are expected not to look, but to look skyward or any other direction than at the naked (according to God’s Word) bodies of their female counterparts. Women reveal their bodies before men, but men must not look! Men are also guilty of not sufficiently dressing in public and, therefore, laying sexual snares for women! Contrary to a prevailing myth about female sexuality, like men, women are also sexually stimulated by what they see, even if not to the full degree that men are. Furthermore, tight clothing, like meager or little clothing, has the same stimulating affect upon both sexes. It also reveals, often giving a false, idealized provocative presentation of the body. All of this is common sense! And all of this behavior and display is blatant foolery, hypocrisy, and iniquity! They who do such things are in deep need regarding holiness and the love of God. One more thing before I summarize. This concerns women. This is another thing that should go without having to be explained, being common sense. In our culture, breasts are powerful sex organs. They are, indeed, secondary sex organs. Nevertheless, they highly stimulate. Although this isn’t the case for some cultures in our times like it wasn’t for many cultures of ancient times, it is without doubt in our modern Western culture. Any who think otherwise are simply deceived. As one of very, very many cases in point, all one has to do to acknowledge this fact is to consider the rise of Playboy Magazine in the early 1960’s. It gave significant strength to the pornographic magazine industry and in those days showed women exclusively revealing only their breasts. Full nudity came later. Women, to the extent that you reveal any part of your breasts before males of our modern Western culture, to that extent you lay a snare of sexual stimulation before them. This also should go without saying – like sand, sun, and concrete; a ball-room, a wedding, or any other setting, for that matter, does not immunize from sexual sin.

In summary: Believers are commanded by the clear instruction of the Word of God to dress modestly, that is, to dress in normal clothing that abundantly covers the body. This instruction of the Scriptures originated extremely early and upon the occasion of the first sin in the Garden of Eden. As such, it is the standard for humanity, especially for believers in Jesus. The primary reason for dressing in ample attire is grounded and established in holiness before the Lord. Through Peter, God’s Spirit said, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” Conversely, dressing immodestly before the Lord constitutes one as irreverent. The second reason that someone is to dress modestly is to avoid immodest, meager dress and, therefore, not be a snare and present an occasion for sexual sin in another’s way. In these two reasons the holiness of God is vindicated and the love of God is propagated, respectively. Paul said, “You were bought with a price. Glorify God, then, in your body.” Jesus said, “Woe to the world because of snares! Snares must come, but woe to the man through whom the snare comes!”