Culture and Clothing

Ever since the garden of Eden, God has had an opinion on the way people dress. From the animal skins used to cover Adam and Eve to the garments worn by priests, God has prescribed modesty as his people clothing style. But what about today? Does God care how men and women dress in today’s culture? Let’s take a look.

The reason I am even writing this is that I was asked to read Scripture for tomorrow’s morning service at Orwell Bible Church. The passage is 1 Timothy 2. As I read through the passage, I consulted The Bible Knowledge Commentary for an explanation of several verses. Among other things, the commentary on verse 9 was especially good.

“Next Paul turned to the females in the congregation. For their adornment they should not emphasize the external, but the internal. They should dress modestly, with decency and propriety (cf. v. 15). These terms stress not so much the absence of sexual suggestiveness, though it is included, but rather an appearance that is simple, moderate, judicious, and free from ostentation. The specifics Paul mentioned (braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes) are not wrong in themselves, but become inappropriate when they indicate misplaced values (cf. 3:3). In the Ephesian church these styles may have been associated with the local temple prostitutes. Christians must be careful about letting a pagan culture set their fashions.”

That last sentence of the commentary summarizes what often happens to Christians living in a culture that is unconcerned with God’s perspective on something as simple as clothing. While the way we dress should not be “everything” to us, we mustn’t let current cultural trends override what God intends for us to be and convey by our appearance. The Bible tells us that God not only cares about our dress but also a great number of other things including what we say, think, and do. And as we slowly conform to His perfect ways, we will become quite different than the culture around us. But that is okay. Our goal as followers of Christ is not to be purposely weird but it is to be as much like our Father as possible. Maybe that should be the new trend.

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