Just for Catholics

How Should We Dress?

Question: I am a Muslim and I have a few questions in mind about how Christians dress upů

Answer: Before answering your questions (listed below), allow me to review what the Bible teaches about dress.

In the beginning, when God created the first man and woman, they were naked and they were not ashamed. "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25).

However they lost their innocence when they sinned. They felt guilty and tried to cover their shame: "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings....So [Adam] said, 'I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself'" (Genesis 3:7,10). Since we now live in a sinful world, it is proper and natural to dress and cover ourselves.

Sin polluted our affections; men are prone to look at women lustfully. Jesus condemns lust. "I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Every man should have his own wife and she alone should be his sexual companion (Proverbs 5:18-20):

Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman,
And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?

From the their point of view, women should dress and act modestly. Every woman should keep herself to her husband only. Therefore the Bible says to women: "In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works" (1 Timothy 2:9,10). Please note that their dress must be modest (contrary to immodest and seductive clothes in our age), and their attitude should be of propriety which is the very opposite of the shamelessness that we see in our day.

Briefly this is what the Bible teaches about dress. Now to answer your questions:

1. Does the Bible support the way people dress up, and especially women who sometimes have hardly any clothing on them?

No, the Bible does not support the sinful behaviour of many men and woman who dress indecently, even those who call themselves Christian.

2. At a dinner party, a man has a closed collar dinner suit but his wife or partner is exposed. Is the man really proud about it or is he helpless?

If he is proud, he is to be pitied -- he should rather be ashamed. If he is helpless and his wife is rebellious, that is not the biblical model for the relationship of the husband and wife, namely love and submission.

3 A Christian friend said that Jesus came to liberate us and therefore we can dress the way we like.

Jesus came to liberate us, true! But He gives His people liberty to do righteousness, not to wallow in filth! "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh (sinful nature), but through love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13). How can people use the holy name of Jesus to justify lust and filth is beyond me.

4 If you go back even a couple of centuries, things were not like this in Christianity. How do people justify all this?

In the past, western society was greatly influenced by biblical values. What we see in today's western society is the carcass of a Christian culture murdered by godless modernism and humanism.

Finally, I would like to add an important point. Remember how Adam and Eve tried to cover their nakedness by the works of their hands. Well, despite all their works, they were still ashamed and afraid when they met God. Later on, God sacrificed an animal and dressed them up. "Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them" (Genesis 3:21). This is a beautiful picture of the way God covers us from the shame of our sin. Later on in history, God sent His beloved Son to the world. He was innocent and pure. Yet God willed that He should die, that He should take our sin upon Him, and clothe us with His righteousness. That is the only way by which we can stand before the majesty of the glory of God.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).

Copyright Dr Joe Mizzi. Permission to copy and distribute this article without textual changes. < BACK TO Q&A