Much has been said about the Old Testament Scriptures and standards. However, standards are also taught in New Testament. Thus far, the thrusts of this book have been to demonstrate the Old Testament authority for standards, and to prove that standards are not a "yoke of bondage," but rather, right for New Testament Christians.
Since some believe that the case against pants on women is only found in Deuteronomy, it would be wise to present many of the New Testament verses regarding dress.
"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;
"But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."
(I Timothy 2:9,10)
The main subject of the chapter is prayer. The command to pray, the object of our prayers, and what to pray, are the subjects of the first seven verses. Then men are admonished to pray "everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting" (vs 8). The next two verses, quoted often on women's clothing, speak of how the women should pray. "In like manner also" means that women should pray "everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting" adorned in "modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety" and good works.
Since the women are to pray everywhere, they must be dressed modestly everywhere. Webster defines modest as "chaste; decent; now, esp., not displaying one's body." Modest attire is expected from a woman professing godliness. "Shamefacedness" is really "shamefastness" - standing fast in modesty, not self-assertive or bold, nor flaunting personal charms in a way that careless, godless women of the world do.
God made man to be physically attracted to woman. Since man is still covered with the flesh, that physical attraction can lead a man into sin. Remember the works of the flesh include "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, (and) lasciviousness... (Gal. 5:19)." The sight of the female body attracts the lust of men (and that is true whether the man is saved or lost.) Proof of that statement is evident from the multi-billion dollar a year pornography business in this country.
Bible evidence abounds concerning man's attraction. David saw Bathsheba bathing, lusted after her, then committed a great sin. Job cried, "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid (31:1)?" Jeremiah lamented, "Mine eye affecteth my heart because of all the daughters of my city" (Lam. 3:51). God did not just state that adultery was sin, he forbade nudity among those who were not husband and wife in Leviticus 18. Jesus said that adultery was committed in the heart of man when a man looks after a woman and lusts after her (Matt. 5:27-28). I submit to you, that if a woman dresses in such a way as to entice the lusts of men, she is just as guilty for the man's act of adultery in his heart as the man is. Of course, this very verse rules out mixed swimming, unless the only particpants are the husband and wife alone. No woman's bathing suit, one or two-piece, is modest. They all accent the figure of the woman, and show portions of a woman's body that only her husband should be allowed to see.
Pants call attention to the woman's figure, especially the hips. Most of the time, the outline of a woman's undergarments are seen by all who notice her. Surely, that cannot be considered modest.
Women fail to understand the nature of man's mind. She sees a pair of jeans advertised on TV and thinks, "What great jeans." She fails to realize that the men who see the same advertisement are not thinking about the jeans, but what is in the jeans. Men who deny such attraction are either not being honest with themselves, not being honest with their mates, or have a real problem.
Many Christian women today wear clothes which attract the lust. It should be pointed out that both saved and lost men lust after such immodest women. Both sober and drunk men lust after immodest women. Good men and despicable men lust when seeing immodest women. These are not popular words, but they are true. The sooner we get honest with ourselves and begin dressing and acting like Christians, the better will be our lives, our homes, and our churches.
"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
"For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands:" (I Peter 3:3-5)
Sadly, Christian women are more concerned with being in style today than being right with God. According to the verses above, the woman's dress should simply be an expression of a meek and quiet spirit, intended more to please the sight of God than the sight of men. These verses are not forbidding the wearing of jewelry or fixing the hair. If that were so, then the verse is also teaching that a woman cannot wear clothes, "or the putting on of apparel." No, the point is that a woman's dress is not to call attention to her outwardly, but it should call attention to her meek and quiet spirit.
Clothes speak. Many studies have revealed that how a person dresses, sends a message about that person to all who see her. Columnist John T. Malloy revealed in an article printed by Summit Press Syndicate:
"Research into the effect of clothing on a woman's career has singled out pants as one of those items that give off all the wrong signals. The research says the wearer does not expect to be taken seriously, unless (surprisingly) it is in a sexual manner. (emphasis added) "And the truly professional woman doesn't want her clothes to send a sexual message."
Malloy's researchers asked 500 executives from a cross-section of American corporations, "Would a woman in a pantsuit fit into your office?" 402 said, "No." Next they administered the "twin test." This included two pictures of the same woman in two versions of the same blazer suit. In one she wore a skirt, in the other slacks. The respondents were then asked to guess which "twin" was smarter, better educated, earned more, and had a better job. Malloy reported the findings: "From 80 to 94 percent of the time, the positive attributes were assigned to the picture of the woman in the skirt. "Male executives assigned the positive attributes to the skirted woman 94 percent of the time while female executives made the positive association with the skirted look 88 percent of the time. "This was one of the rare occasions when the reaction of the general public mirrored that of the executives. The skirted woman got the nod from the general public 84 percent of the time. "I considered the results sufficient to conclude that a woman wearing a skirt will command more respect than the same woman in pants." (emphasis added)
Any honest person would have to admit that one's impression of others is affected by their appearance. As a Bible example that clothes speak, consider where the Scripture speaks of the "attire of an harlot." One wearing certain clothes would be considered an harlot, just as a person wearing a Marine parade uniform would lead others to think he was a Marine.
We recognize that wearing a Marine uniform does not make one a Marine, so neither does wearing the attire of an harlot make one an harlot. However, if you don't want people to think you are in the Marines, don't wear the uniform. The point is, your clothing does say something about you to other people, whether it speaks the truth or not.
Should we be concerned about the impressions others get of us? We just read where a lady's clothing should reveal the hidden man of the heart, a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God, of great price. But the Scriptures also say that we should abstain from all appearance of evil (I Thes. 5:22). Our testimony should be guarded at all times — even in our clothing.
Paul made it plain in Titus 2:3-5 that the older women were to be the right kind of examples to the younger women. Paul included many areas, of which being discreet and chaste are two. As has been stated, clothing speaks. Clothing should give the appearance of being discreet and chaste. The older women have the obligation to the younger women to dress in such a manner. Why? To teach the younger women so that the "word of God be not blasphemed."
I Corinthians 11:1-14 instructed that even the hair was to be different for the sexes. Verse 14 clearly states that the covering is the hair. The woman's head was to be covered, the man's uncovered. A common knowledge of human anatomy tells us that hair grows the same places on a man's head as it does on a woman's. The only place left uncovered by the natural growth of hair is the ears. The man's head is to be uncovered, the woman's covered.
Why the difference? Because man and woman have different positions in God's government in the home and church, just as they were created differently (verses 2-9). A woman's long hair demonstrated her submission to her "head" — her husband. If a woman's appearance is important during the most personal of spiritual practices, how much more is her appearance important in the sight of men.
Although this passage deals specifically with hair and not clothes, a basic principle is seen. There is to be a difference in the appearance of men and women.
"But," someone objects, "God looks on the inward appearance and man looks on the outward appearance." That is exactly what we have been saying. God does look on the inward appearance, and He tells us that the outward appearance ought to show what is on the inside. And since man does look on the outward appearance, we had better be sure the outward appearance is an accurate presentation of that which man cannot see on the inside