More on Beach Wear

Since we’re having such a good time discussing the merits of bikini-wear, I thought I would just stay on topic  for the moment. When someone (like me) suggests that something (like a bikini) is immodest, our first instinct is to say, “Show me a verse where bikinis are not allowed.” We tend to want lines drawn and lists made up which are easy to enforce. We want a wooden rule which is easy to read. Show me why I can’t rather than show me why I should.

Our other tendency is to limit the rightness or wrongness of bikini-wearing to a matter of heart motive. Then it becomes off limits to discuss, because we all know that it is a big no-no to judge heart motives. So where do we go and how do we decide?

Let’s come at it another way. Rather than looking for the absence of evil motives, let’s look for the presence of good ones. The Bible says women should be (to list a few things) sober, discreet, chaste (Titus 2:4-5), meek and quiet (1 Peter 3:4) holy (vs. 5-6), modest, dressing with propriety and moderation (1 Timothy 2:8), characterized by faith, charity, and holiness with self-control (vs. 15). So let’s say a Christian woman is wearing a thong to the beach. She says her conscience is clear and her husband doesn’t mind and she has no impure motives at all. But that is not the same thing as having  good, Christ-like motives as she puts on her thong. Is she being discreet, chaste, holy, etc.? Show me how a thong (or a bikini) is a demonstration of propriety and moderation, chastity and self-control.

Okay, here’s one. I can imagine a woman coming to Christ who has grown up in Europe frequenting the topless beaches. Let’s say that she realizes it is no longer appropriate, so she dons a bikini top. I would commend her for moving in the right direction. But I would also expect that as she matures in Christ, she will eventually stay away from that beach entirely! Nevertheless, she is wearing a bikini, going against the crowd in an attempt to be modest, and she may even get ridiculed by her friends for doing so. But most of the girls who are wearing bikinis are not in this situation at all, and they are the ones I am addressing here.

We want to measure the amount of skin, the hem length, or the neckline in square inches and defend our ground based on our lack of evil motives and the lack of a Bible verse that mentions skinny dipping. But we should be looking somewhere else entirely, and that is to Christ. How does our clothing demonstrate that we belong to Him? How does it display our discretion, holiness, chastity, moderation, self-control, and meekness? When we look at it that way, we are getting closer to the truth.

And one last point. Christian women are to adorn themselves (1 Peter 3) in a manner that impresses God. But dressing to be attractive is not at all the same as dressing to attract.

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55 thoughts on “More on Beach Wear

  1. Well said. I get tired of hearing “why can’t I?” instead of “why I should.” Having grown up in a very legalistic church environment, it is also refreshing to see those who agree with a focus on the relationship with Christ rather than on drawing lines “just because.” Thank you.

  2. Oh this is so well said. Again, thank for showing us how to think clearly. I appreciate this so much. God bless you.

  3. Thank you for continuing to discuss this, Nancy. The only reason I make a point of asking the questions I have is that I have seen so much legalism on this issue. Both the legalism of Pharisaical, conservative Christian ladies (“How could she wear THAT?”), as well as the legalism of foolish rebellious Christian ladies (“Show me a verse where it says I can’t!”)–and at various times in my life I could identify with both of these problems. I Timothy 2:15 would be the cure for both kinds of legalism!

    Happy Birthday tomorrow, by the way…

  4. I would love to agree with you but there seems to be an obvious contradiction. In the previous bikini post you basically say “no” to bikini’s in a black and white fashion (if I’m reading you correctly). Then when someone asked about where in the bible it says not to wear a bikini, your response is you shouldn’t look for ways to draw lines in the sand on this topic. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding but this seems like a double standard. Would love for you to address the bikini topic over at “ask nancy” on canon wired. It might make more sense hearing you explain in person? Thanks!

  5. What a great post! I am often at a loss how to back up my anti-bikini argument. Contrasting the presence of good motives with the absence of bad ones makes so much sense. Thank you!

  6. Folk might find Jeff Pollard’s book useful – “Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America”.
    He makes a real effort to find a standard for modesty based on Scripture, looking at instances where men and women are described as ‘uncovered’ or ‘naked’ and what they are actually wearing.
    Steve Wilkins is quoted on the back of the book as saying – “In times like these, Jeff Pollard’s ‘Christian Modesty’ is a much needed tonic – must reading for every Christian parent.”

  7. Yes, the Bible tells us to be “modest” and “chaste” but how do we know what modest is when the culture is constantly changing the definition. Me wearing a calf-length dress would have been considered immodest 100 years ago but now believers don’t even question it’s “modesty.” I wouldn’t want to wear a bikini myself because my chest would be hanging out, which could guys to stumble. But that standard doesn’t work for everyone either. What about the super skinny girls who can wear bikinis and show no cleavage? It’s a very confusion subject and I wish it was as black and white as you say, but I can’t seem to think that it’s that easy.

  8. i remember listening to a talk by mark driscoll where he said something to the effect of “if your boyfriend’s exegesis of scripture somehow ends up with you naked – don’t listen to him.” personally, i don’t find it confusing. whatever line of reasoning you take, if you end up half naked in front of bazillions of people; old, adolescent, closet perverts, your high school biology teacher, the mailman and a passel of confused 8 year old boys – it’s probably not that bright of an idea. the emperor himself figured this out in retrospect with upsetting clarity. and on a practical note, only 1% of the populace actually looks good naked. the rest of us are just disturbing. hooray for clothes!

  9. I am sorry but I just don’t see this as a confusing issue. A bikini is in no way modest or chaste (even on very skinny girls). Our culture is made up of mostly pagans, and we as Christians insist on following along in these pagan’s foot steps. We need to start setting our own standards and stop making excuses to fit into the world.

    Nancy, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your patience with us. Your guidance on sticky issues like this has helped me so much.

  10. Most Christians are Pagan. The Bible is pretty clear, Satan will deceive the whole world in Jesus name. Ante – Christ means impersonator of Christ. Fake Christianity will take a false revival to every nation kindred tongue and people. This is also the vehicle that brings the true revival at the very last. Looking at it from 180*, The Natives that were considered pagan had more true religion than we do. They could have lived here indefinitely, in harmony with Nature. Civilized is just a word for un-natural, and uncivilized. The Aborigines had no possessions, wore no clothes, and were basically harmless. Who is preaching the Elijah, John the Baptist message today? Simple diet, simple dress, sober hard work surviving in the wilderness? The Amish are the greatest witness in the world, you know how they dress. We will destroy the world before we even think about working that hard. “Men will be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”

  11. I appreciate your approach to this… women who believe bikini wearing is morally wrong do well to love their Christian sisters who disagree, to gently or perhaps even at times firmly encourage them to rethink their swimwear. So often, though, I sense this is an area where many of us women struggle with a bizarre pride… pride in our own modesty and/or resentment toward the immodesty of others… a sort of, “Thank God I am not like that woman who wears ____ over there.”

  12. First, thanks for opening up this topic… I appreciate your modesty, your faithful intentions of clothing yourself and children, but I am a little disappointed. As Christ followers, I’d hope that the conversation here would point at helping the lost, the unsaved, the broken, the confused… how can we as beautiful, wonderfully made children of God do this when we are so, so, so preoccupied ourselves in the idea that what type of bathing suit one wears to the pool or beach has to do with lust, attractiveness, modesty. I mean, come on… of course we are to be modest, not distracting others away from the amazing crown Christ has given to us. We are so blessed to be able to go to the beach or pool (anywhere you’d wear a swimsuit) and hopefully strike up meaningful conversation with others, and hopefully not isolate ourselves with the wearing of a wetsuit or something. I think the issue is much larger here… shall we ourselves get lost in the details, or can we intentionally, relationally, and verbally share with others the great love and sacrifice our Lord and Savior offers… I am not defending the wearing of immodest clothing, nor rebelling against my faith; just a reminder to not get lost in the gray here. My swimsuit is my uniform at the pool… some of its uses are: support, dries quick, covers my nakedness ;), easy to swim in. How far do we take this modesty issue… should our girls not wear leotards to dance or gymnastics? Or not wear spandex when racing bikes? The list goes on…

  13. Thanks for these posts, Nancy! I guess it’s not that bikinis have become more modest; it’s that immodesty has become more acceptable.

  14. I agree that there is nothing modest about a bikini. It seems to me that bikinis push the limits of modesty to the extreme~~a few well-placed scraps of fabric strategically arrayed so the wearer barely avoids being naked qualifies as modest? “Whew! That was close!” It might not be so obvious with various other articles of clothing, but there is no way a bikini qualifies as modest.

  15. Miranda’s comment got a good chortle out of me:

    and on a practical note, only 1% of the populace actually looks good naked. the rest of us are just disturbing. hooray for clothes!

    –Seriously. Most of the time when I’m at the pool the reason for averting my eyes from bikini-clad women has nothing to do with hotness. (However, not so much the case when you get out to Virginia Beach. There they’ve worked harder on keeping bikini-ready at all times.)

  16. One more thought: This bible verse, I think, applies here. 1Cor 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble… For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

    So for some this may be not wearing a bikini, not drinking alcohol in certain company, not eating too much around someone on a diet, etc. Motives do play a part here, so judge your own. Am I considering others above myself? Is my behavior affecting someone else negatively? If we all, as devoted Christians, would stop judging others behaviors and seriously just spent the time looking deep within our own hearts, the light of God would shine so brightly out of us that the details would be unnoticed! People would not be awkwardly focused on our behavior, dress, or expression and we as Christian women would be relaxed and confident in our demeanor and attitude. People are drawn to God’s presence to His amazing beauty, and we could relax and let it shine. Just another thought!

  17. Thank you, Mrs. Wilson! I especially liked the last line: “But dressing to be attractive is not at all the same as dressing to attract.”

    I would also like to add a comment for the unmarried ladies out there. I know that there is a temptation to feel pressure to dress without modesty being a priority when trying to attract a husband. You may feel that the scantily clad woman will get a husband first. Well, it is possible I suppose, but believe me men are not mere animals with uncontrollable desires. A godly man will be turned off by such a woman and find you all the more beautiful. I was horrified to learn what my husband thought about modesty after I was married. Not because there was something wrong with him, but because I realized my thinking had been all wrong! It was a good thing I had a father who cared enough to keep me in check, or I would have foolishly (and gladly) gone with the rest of the world in my vain attempt at attracting a husband and run off the best one!

  18. Jessica, consider it this way. If you had a dear single friend recently convert to Christ and decide she wanted to be chaste would you view her “we’ll just make out on the couch but not go back into my bedroom” policy as a positive or a negative sign of God’s sanctifying work? On the other hand, would you ever raise your daughters to embrace that sort of dating relationship? In the former case your (hypothetical) friend would be moving towards Christ (and would hopefully continue to move towards Christ as she gets a better idea of what chastity should look like), but that doesn’t mean that you would want your (again hypothetical) daughters to go through all the same points she did as they likewise seek to be chaste Christian women. Different people have different starting points in this Christian life. Some of us have wonderful parents and “good kid” testimonies. Some of us struggled more growing up. Some of us didn’t come from Christian homes at all and (therefore) have much further to come just to reach the point where all the church babies started.

    That make sense?

  19. thanks for the articles. We have tried to teach our children – boys and girls alike about modesty and try not to take them to places where they would be exposed to nakedness. If a man is attracted to my daughters because of their lack of clothing I would consider him lustful and not an appropriate date or husband…and if my boys were attracted to a woman because of her lack of clothing, I would think the same of my sons. Is that the proper foundation to start a marriage? Then there would always be the problem of adultery as there will always be someone more beautiful or less dressed out there. The beach is probably not the best place to look for attention or a future date.

  20. I confess, it took me many years of my adult Christian life to come to understand that our dress is really about and for the sake of others. It is a completely different way of thinking from how most of our American culture views clothing. However, it is a very God centered way of thinking. If our goal was to honor others by how we appear in front of them, I believe we would approach our choice of clothing very differently. If we spent more time considering how to honor our parents or husbands with what we wear instead of pushing the envelope for our own gratification, we would be such a more pleasant aroma to God. After all, if the Christian life is all about loving others as God has loved us, except when I just had a baby and I feel frumpy so I wear low cut shirts to show off my new voluptuous breast because it makes me feel sexy, well then I think we have missed the point Christ has lived out for us of “My life for yours”. But when I sacrifice my own physical attractiveness by wearing a more modest neckline, even though I look more attractive in the lower neckline that shows my cleavage, I honor those who will look at me and I am showing great love and faithful to them and to God. I think that much of our thinking would benefit from a changed in this direction. Too much self thinking and defending is usually what gets us into trouble.

  21. We have a saying here in Toledo for such issues: “It’s the principle, not the method.” So, to copy Nancy’s post above: “The Bible says women should be (to list a few things) sober, discreet, chaste (Titus 2:4-5), meek and quiet (1 Peter 3:4) holy (vs. 5-6), modest, dressing with propriety and moderation (1 Timothy 2:8), characterized by faith, charity, and holiness with self-control (vs. 15).” So there we have the PRINCIPLE, straight from the Lord. Now, I think to make a blanket statement to every reader on this blog (don’t wear a specific item of clothing-ever-the method) is unrealistic. I think you need to address this on an individual basis where you can know more about the situation. I can’t help but think about avoiding the ditches that were mentioned a few blog posts ago on the topic of using The Lord’s name in vain.

    We don’t live in vacuums and there are different cultural norms. We’d look prudish in bloomers and shirts so we don’t wear those and we’d look scandalous in a bikini so we don’t wear that but my tankini with a skirt makes me look GOOD. but I’m safe in that, aren’t I because it’s what every mature christian female is wearing, right?-I can’t help it if I look HOT in my tankini!!!! You see, I don’t think you can take the “heart” issue out of this argument.

  22. I actually have read Jeff Pollard’s book, and I disagree with his argument. I did appreciate his history of clothing in America, but if I remember correctly, he tries to argue that any clothing that ends above the elbows or knees is considered Biblically “nakedness” (on both men and women). I thought it was a bit of a stretch, so I’ve been since hesitant to adopt his other rather strict definitions.

    Clothing throughout history has always been designed to show off certain parts of women’s bodies. I am way more comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt than I ever would be in a low-cut, Edwardian, Jane Austen-style dress! The challenge for ladies in every age is how to be beautiful, attractive, and modest, and I don’t think ladies at other points in history necessarily had it easy.

    We are dressing for others, not primarily ourselves, but on the issue of modesty we can’t lose focus that we’re trying to be specifically kind to men. In this I do believe that a husband or father’s wise advice is especially helpful; his covering ensures that we are not dressing primarily just to make sure that other ladies at church don’t gossip about us!

  23. Thanks so much Nancy!

    By the way, Crystal Comis, who made an earlier post, made us an extremely cute and extremely modest swim suit for our oldest daughter. It’s encouraging to have a tool to teach modesty as well as good fashion sense to my girls. “A fair page deserves a fair margin.” Frumpiness seems to just be another form of immodesty… “Look at me!! I’m being REALLY modest!”

  24. How many of us would put on our bra and underwear (or maybe half of it!) and go outside to get the paper in the morning, with all the neighbors watching?!?! That’s what wearing a bikini is like! We wouldn’t do that, would we? The Bible is very clear about how Christian women are to dress and I thank you Nancy, for discussing this openly. Some women don’t understand that they are dressing for the wrong reasons, and I believe some women don’t see that they are dressing to attract. We are to glorify God in everything that we think, say or do, and that includes how we dress.

  25. I have four daughters and I instruct them on the topic of modesty by using three principles:

    1. To the degree that you expose your skin to the public eye, is to the degree that you are immodest.
    2. To the degree that what you wear fits tightly around your body accentuating your figure, is to the degree that you are immodest.
    3. To the degree that what you wear draws attention to and emphasizes your female body traits, is to the the degree that you are immodest.

    Notice the key is ‘degree’ since I believe that hard and distinct lines are not always easy to draw in these areas and I would rather my girls learn discernment and proper decision-making in this area of their lives instead of a ‘dad approved’ list.

    Therefore, short pants 5 inches above the knee are more immodest than shorts that goes past the knees and shorts that go past the knees that are baggy are more modest if they are not skin tight or have some crazy logo branded on the buttocks area.

    I think this approach is unarguably sensible and easy to follow though we might not all end up with the same clothes 🙂

  26. It is good to see women out there who are taking their thoughts captive and putting them into submission to Christ and His Word! I really enjoyed reading your treatment of this subject and had to share it on my facebook with others!

  27. Pastor Eddie – by that argument, would you say a woman wearing a burka is the most modest woman of all? If not, should women not want to be “as modest as they can be”?

  28. Great question Kate and yes that would be right. As I said, these are principles not mandates. I personally find a burka to be overkill if you will, so that would not be a good choice. One can find modest clothing that doesn’t involve wearing a sheet over every inch.

  29. Thank you, Mrs. Wilson, for your clear, Scriptural, sensible statements. I greatly appreciated such a straightforward approach, and have enjoyed reading the many comments, some of which I found to be very edifying.

  30. As the mother of four (going on five) boys, I may not have given this issue as much thought as all you parents of girls, but I’m going to throw in my two cents anyway:

    I know we’re talking about beach wear here, but in all the discussion of exposed skin in the comments I’ve read, we may be missing some of the broader application of the mandate for Christian women to be modest.

    Modesty is a kind of humility. Think of what it means to give a “modest” reply to a compliment. Modesty precludes being a show-off.

    In addition to dressing modestly, I Timothy 2 tells women to dress in “respectable” apparel and with “self control” (ESV). We may not encrust ourselves with gold and jewels. The passage seems to be saying that good works are the adornment we should be after.

    In other words, if we parade around in outfits designed to turn heads, we’re being immodest. In many—perhaps most—cases, the amount of skin that we’re exposing is almost beside the point. There’s a kind of immodesty that shows up at the neighborhood barbecue with all knees and elbows neatly hidden but with designer logos and runway labels on ostentatious display. There’s a kind of immodesty that dyes the hair chartreuse and wears spiked dog collars around town in order to turn heads and invite comments—all the while keeping those womanly features well hidden under faded jeans and a leather jacket.

    Whether I showed up at the church picnic in a bikini or a ballroom gown or a burka, I would, I believe, be dressed immodestly. Let’s face it, in each case the only reason I’d pull such a stunt would be to draw the fixed attention of the wondering parishioners—hardly a 1-Timothy-2-style display of respectability, self-control, or good works, if you ask me.

  31. Pastor Eddie, by your logic, a woman whose face is uncovered is a “little bit immodest” and one whose hands and wrists are visible is “a little bit more immodest.” While I appreciate the markers of exposure and tightness as good guidelines to consider, I don’t think the process is quite so mathematical.

  32. Hey, thanks for this follow up post on your previous post about swimwear, it’s great to hear and I agree wholeheartedly! I think the line about “walking around basically naked in public” really nailed it. I’m not trying to look down my nose on anyone or be judgemental, but here goes: Christian women, it’s time to be counter cultural and hang up the bikinis! Stop defending their use, stop argueing about why there’s nothing wrong with them and start focusing on the modesty and chasteness that God commands in His Word.

  33. I think this is a great topic. My husband recently told me about a bumper sticker he saw on a car that read “Tell your breasts to stop staring at my eyes.” Now obviously it’s a ridiculous sticker, but I can’t help feeling that there is some truth in that statement. When we expose our bodies we invite gawkers.

  34. Thank you, Nancy, for these posts – you have done a wonderful job of explaining and illustrating the heart of the matter.

  35. Hmmm, I was asking an honest question and I feel like a couple people here chastised me instead of answering…and didn’t read my entire post.

    What I meant was, NOW-A-DAYS Christians say “Calf-length skirts are modest, bikinis are immodest.” 100 years ago, christians would have said, “Calf-length skirts are immodest!!!” and bikins weren’t even a factor. So, my question is, how can we tell hat is modest and immodest when the CHRISTIAN definition is constantly changing (previously I said culture, which I can see was understandably misunderstood.)

    I am not even talking about the world here-I am talking about Christian opinion. OBVIOUSLY, we should look at the Bible, but it doesn’t give a black and white lists of “this is modest and this is immodest”

    And, I agree with whoever talked about Edwardian/Jane Austen dresses being super low-cut. It’s not like this is a new issue.

    SO, to those who this is not a questionable issue to you-good for you. I still question it and that doesn’t make me any less spiritual-I am simply asking questions.

  36. Thank you for these posts. When I was younger I was more legalistic about my clothing. As I have gotten older (I still feel young at 30), I think I have loosened up a bit too much. These comments referring to the heart issues have been a blessing to me.

  37. I’ve been thinking that modesty is something like etiquette. They’re both expressions of love with practical outworkings that are sometimes clearly based in biblical principles, sometimes culturally influenced, and sometimes may even seem arbitrary. But there’s much more confusion, hysteria, fussiness, tension, defensiveness, etc. about modesty.

    Why? For one thing, because for better or worse, there are no longer any clear guidelines, arbitrary or otherwise, and culture abhors a vacuum. We eagerly take advantage of the opportunity to set ourselves up as authorities (everyone doing what’s right in his or her own eyes). Some take what they think is the moral high ground, claiming the moral authority to create a Talmud’s worth of regulations on necklines and hemlines and panty lines. Others take what they think is the path of liberty — wearing whatever they please because nobody can tell me what to do. Most of us here are somewhere in the middle, wanting to avoid licentiousness without becoming legalistic, and not being terribly sure how to navigate the path between them.

    Enter Nancy Wilson pointing us back to the key principle: What are my motives? How can I dress to bless? How can I be God-honoring, neighbor-loving, and self-respecting in my appearance? Yes, that will still leave us with a lot of judgment calls, but it should take a lot of the anxiety out of them.

  38. Being a bear of very little brain, I had to go back and check Jeff Pollard’s book. I think he is arguing for a torso and thighs covering, and I do appreciate the fact that he is trying to work from Scripture out. I’m not a Biblical scholar, and I’m not trying to suggest that he has it all right, but even our responses to efforts like this can tell us a lot about our hearts and motives. (eg. ‘this is poor exegesis’, or ‘what would I wear to swim in then?’) Thinking through these things helps me to check out the state of my heart. Blessings upon the Wilsons all, for having the courage to challenge us.

  39. April K. – you say you are having trouble figuring it out, ie what is immodest and what is not. Do I understand you correctly? I do not believe the Christian standard is constantly changing. Do you really think that? God is the same, yesterday, today and always. Cultures are different and fads come and go, but they really do not have anything to do with the modesty issue.

    So, I struggled with this too years ago and here is what I found. If you ask yourself “why” you are wearing something, it always helps. Are you trying to impress? Trying to draw attention? Trying to show something off (even if it’s a necklace!). Is how you are dressed glorifying to God? Are you dressing a certain way because you feel less than those you are going to be around? So, it really doesn’t matter much whether the skirt is knee length or floor length or at the knee. What matters is the why behind it all. That isn’t all that matters. Modesty is a heart issue! Wearing a bikini is out, as well as anything else that reveals parts meant only for husbands to see! Dress in what is comfortable to you. Maybe you like more slender fitting (yet not revealing) clothing over long and really loose and flowing. I wear a variety of clothing. Of course it is all modest, no low necklines, nothing above the knee, and nothing so tight you can see the outline of every roll of fat! Ha Ha. God wants you to obey His commands and enjoy doing so. Don’t make it a burden. Start by just going through your closet and get rid of anything you think is too revealing. Remember, our lives are to be about Him, not about us. Our every thought and act should begin with “how is this glorifying God? Am I doing this for Him or me?” If you are still questioning whether a bikini is too revealing, then most if not all of what I have tried to help with here is not going to benefit you much. I will pray for God’s revealing wisdom for you and that you can come to peaceful terms for dressing yourself.

  40. Hmm…seems to me that April’s right on the money about the specifics of what’s modest having changed over the years. And conversations like this make it pretty clear that there’s even enough variation of standards amongst Christians in 2010 to make things a little confusing. April’s asking some reasonable questions because she is already seeking to honor God in how she dresses, not because she’s trying to weasel out of being modest.

  41. Valerie,
    When I first saw your comment come through my email, I thought it said, “More on Beach War,” and I thought one of my girls must have put up a new post! Thank you for all your timely comments. There is a war going on, that’s for sure.
    So glad you’re coming out for the Fall Conference!

  42. Absolutely what is modest has changed over the years. It used to be a shame for a woman to allow her ankles to show. However, God and His Word hasn’t changed. Modesty is a heart issue and it just takes time for all of us to be sanctified in our lives in all the ways we need to be sanctified by God. I pray my comment to April did not get misconstrued to seem as if I were insinuating that she was trying to “weasel out of being modest”! I would not presume that on someone I do not even know. Hang in there April. None of us have “arrived”.

  43. Thanks Valerie 🙂

    Cherry, I did not take it that way-no worries. But, I think you misunderstood me. I do not mean GOD’S standards change, I meant Christian opinion has changed. There is no black and white “Do wear this, Don’t wear this” in the Bible-just the principles you mentioned.

    I do not personally feel a tension over this issue. I dress conservatively and am comfortable with my convictions in this area-trying to evaluate my wardrobe on the principles you mentioned. I actually work in full-time ministry with college girls and am constantly trying to encourage them to think along those guidelines.

    The reason I am asking questions is because these are the things my girls ask me and, though I will never be prouncing around in a bikini, I do see legitimacy in thier questions. There are women I work with who are very godly who will occasionaly wear a bikini to the beach. And I do not think they are harlots or would categorize them as women trying to draw attention. So, not to belittle a high standard of modesty, I am having a hard time with those who are adamant that this is a balck and white issue.

    Thanks for listening. 🙂 Good discussion and I love you all.

  44. April and Cherry,
    Just want to mention my original point, and that is what dressing in a bikini does to the wearer. Thanks for the ongoing discussion!

  45. Mrs. Wilson
    I left a comment earlier about what I think about wearing bikinis. Perhaps you missed it. This is only the second time I have ever commented on a blog and I think I can see this is not really for me! It is really hard for me to communicate this way! I was just trying to give April advice from one sister to another, but apparently missed her earlier response. I and my daughters truly appreciate your ministry.

    God Bless

  46. Thank you for this post and comments! I find rules about inches and skin surface area unhelpful because they are usually supporting a different kind of immodesty, that is, ostentatious modesty. And ostentatious is the opposite of modest, so go figure.

    I try to keep three things in mind while I dress –
    First, God wants women to be beautiful! And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dressing yourself in order to present yourself (and that’s your physical body) well or attractively. A Proverbs 31 woman was known for how well she and her family dressed – people noticed and bought her wares for themselves! I applaud Bekah’s pursuits in this area! There are too many positive descriptions of adorned women in the Bible to think that we have to be feel guilty about looking good.

    Now, there are two restrictions on this: we shouldn’t stumble other Christians (men included) and we shouldn’t be ostentatious. Some clothing types, (maybe bikinis ?) would probably have stumbled men in any century, so that’s a static principle. Ankles, shoulders, and nose rings, are ostentatious depending on the culture, so I see that as a fluid, use-your-wisdom principle.

    Mrs. Wilson, I really appreciated Pastor Wilson’s sermon on how to deal with weaker brothers vs. legalists. We should all bend to the weaker brother on the modesty issue, no doubt, and not stumble Christian men. But how do we deal with the Modesty Police who are running about with their rulers? I’ve considered taking the “I’ll toast your good health, teetotaller!” approach, but I’m not sure about it.

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