What is modesty? I saw an online article wherein a female at her birthday party had the attention of others regarding her breasts. It was shameful. Yet, in a society that tries to moralize in accordance with secularism, the shame was turned around on those who spoke against such images, saying that her “big naturals” (term used in the article) are not her fault.
When I worked in the south stands of Ohio Stadium in the Fall of 2021, in the early months of the football season, many young females wanted to be seen in their skimpy outfits, and I suspect they would have cried foul and loud if any advancements would have been made toward them by those of the opposite sex. It was shameful! This is associated perfectly with spiritual and moral immaturity.
What is modesty? To begin, we must accept the fact that someone must define the term. There are two options or sources of definitions. First, there is that which comes from God. Second, there is that which comes from man. There is no third option.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines it “propriety in dress, speech, or conduct”, which is an okay definition, but what does propriety mean? Again, from the same source, it means “conformity to what is socially acceptable in conduct or speech.” Therein lies the problem. When society defines what is acceptable, then modesty, like morality, is fluid, always changing.
How does the Lord define it? The word “modest” is used only once in the New Testament in the American Standard and King James Versions (1 Tim. 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 (KJV). The word “modesty” (ESV) is used twice in the New Testament (1 Cor. 12:23 and 1 Tim 2:9). The word modest comes from a Greek word (kosmios) that means orderly, well-arranged, decent (Vine’s 3:79). Like the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the meaning of this is understood relatively well, but the difference between the two is this: man’s definition and application is always changing, the Lord’s is not.
What does the Lord want? Regarding godly women, this is what He wants. Women are to dress themselves in clothing that is well-arranged, decent; she is to do this with the Lord being the One she wants to please; she is not interested in pleasing herself or those who look at her. That is not to say (not even close) that she can’t dress in a way that presents her in the best light, but it is to say that if she wants to be seen because of that which the Lord gave her, Satan will be abundantly happy!
There is no hard-fast rule on what is modest in regard to clothing, but there is a hard-fast rule of life concerning how the Christian is to approach life. That is, she is to approach life with a godly attitude, a way of thinking that brings glory to Him who saved her. Let her husband see her the way she wants to be seen, let others accentuate the quality of her godliness in all respects, even in how she dresses. RT