Biblical Dress Code
Recently I was asked if there is a dress code in the Bible. Since what is acceptable socially
has changed so drastically over the last several years, some of our young people are confused about what is proper
and what is not.
For a long time, and especially over the past 35 years, beginning with 1960's "mini-skirts," fashion
has swung back and forth like a yo-yo at the whim of the designers. Pushed by a radical fringe element anxious
to re-write morality, they have gotten worse and worse to the point that an entire generation of youth now thinks
that just about "anything goes."
This is not only true in fashion design, but in the music, movies, magazine and television "entertainment"
being produced today. It is all part of a Satanic plot to destroy the minds (and all-too-often the bodies) of
our youth. And it's working! For the young, peer pressure is a formidable force. Desire to be "in"
is very strong among them. They live in the here and now, and the future is far, far away in their mind's eye.
The Bible does, indeed, have a "dress code." It is not codified, as are the 10 Commandments, but it
is there, nonetheless. I remind you that the Bible itself tells us we have to get into it and dig out His truths.
We are to rightly divide the Word of Truth.
2 Tim 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to Yahweh as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed
and who correctly handles the word of truth. (NIV)
We are to search the Scriptures for His truths. John 5:39 and Acts 17:11.
2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of Yahweh, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,
for instruction in righteousness:
The Scriptures are a reliable guide. If we are willing to let them correct us, they will. But if we try to weasel
around Scriptures we don't want to obey, if we twist and wrest them to say what we want them to say, or ignore
the ones we don't like, then they will be unprofitable to us.
So with those thoughts in mind, let's examine some Scripture relating to proper dress:
Let us go back to the very beginning of man's creation, about 6,000 years ago. At first Adam and Eve were naked
and unashamed. They did not know about wearing clothes. But after Eve listened to the snake-oil salesman and
bought into his lie, and Adam, who knew better, went along with her, they suddenly became aware of sin. They were
afraid of their Creator. They realized they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together to make a covering for
their private parts, and hid themselves, because they were naked (Gen. 3:7-8).
Gen 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together,
and made themselves aprons (or "coverings" as the NIV has it, while the NRSV says," loincloths").
Notice that even after covering themselves with the loincloths or aprons, they still felt naked, so they hid from
Yahweh (Verse 10).
Then we find that Yahweh Himself made them coats of skins: Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did Yahweh
Elohim make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Apparently He did this because He did not consider a loincloth sufficient clothing. Also, He had to kill animals
to get the skins. Probably Adam and Eve had to watch the helpless, innocent animals die, realizing it was because
of their sin.
Yahweh has always required the shedding of blood to atone for sin. Since all mankind has sinned, those who accept
the shed blood of our Savior, Yahshua the Messiah, as atonement for those sins, can be saved from death. But those
who will not accept Him must die for their own sins (Romans 3:23 and 6:23).
We are told to be modest in our dress: 1 Tim 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety,
…" (King James version says dress in modest apparel).
So then the question is, what is "modest apparel?" Strong's Greek dictionary says this word means, "costume."
Young's Literal Translation has, "long robe." We also find a long robe mentioned in Revelation 1:13,
being worn by Yahshua upon His return:
Rev 1:13 and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to
his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.
Proper attire is required at certain times, as we see in the story of the wedding garment, in Matthew 22:12-13.
This man showed up for the Master's wedding in unsuitable clothing, and was cast out. It does not say what he
lacked, or what he wore. But it was made plain that he was not properly dressed.
After the resurrection, Yahshua appeared to His disciples by the seashore, and in John 20:7, it is recorded that
Peter had removed his outer garment, and was fishing "naked," according to the KJV, but the NIV and others
says he had merely removed the outer garment.
In any event, when told by John that "it is the Master" standing on the shore, Peter immediately put
his outer garment on and jumped into the water. Did he feel "underdressed?" Obviously.
2 Sam 10:4 Wherefore Hanun took David's servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their
garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away.
2 Sam 10:5 When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king
said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.
The Ammonite king who had befriended David had died, so David sent emissaries to express his condolences. But
their mission was misunderstood, and the Ammonites humiliated David's men by cutting off half their beards and
cutting the skirts of their robes off up to their buttocks. They were too ashamed to return to Jerusalem in that
Isa 20:4 So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and
old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.
Isa 47:2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over
Isa 47:3 Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not
meet thee as a man.
These three verses from Isaiah refer to exiles being taken from their own country and shamed and humiliated by
their captors by being forced to be improperly and immodestly dressed. It indicates that a garment that exposes
the buttocks or even the thigh, is not modest, and is something to be ashamed of.
In fact, Yahweh gave orders for His priests who served before the people, to NOT ascend His altar by steps, lest
their nakedness be exposed.
Exo 20:26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.'
So, what were they to do?
Exo 28:42 "Make linen undergarments as a covering for the body, reaching from the waist to the thigh.
Exo 28:43 Aaron and his sons must wear them whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting or approach the altar to minister
in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die.
The obvious implication is that the upper leg or thigh is not to be exposed, at least during a religious service,
in Yahweh's presence. And, as is written in another place, "doth not nature itself teach you…" and,
"teach the young women to be discreet, chaste, …"
As can be seen from the scriptures quoted above, Yahweh is just as concerned about improperly dressed men as He
is about women. Too tight or too short clothing, shirts unbuttoned too far, whether male or female, is displeasing
to our Creator. Let's strive to strike a balance that will be pleasing to Yahweh and our fellow-worshippers.