Does Modesty Matter To God

I have not been accused of being a “clothesline” preacher, yet I believe, teach, and preach that our outward appearance tells those around us much about our relationship with God. Before we ever say a word about “style” or “fashion”, the most important question is that of modesty.

Does Modesty Matter to God? As I seek the scriptures on whether it is so, I have to say it does. Modesty in our appearance is clearly seen from Genesis to Revelation.

To lay this topic out, I asked Evangelist Seth Cowart and his wife to answer this question concerning modesty. Here is what they wrote:

Modesty: If It Matters To The Master, It Should Matter To You

The English word “modest” is used only once in the KJV Bible.

(1 Timothy 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;) 

However, the Greek word for modest, kosmios, is used twice

(1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;). 

Interestingly, Paul used kosmios once to instruct ladies how to dress and once to instruct men how to behave. 

Therefore, modesty is such an important virtue[1] that both genders should reverently consider to be a vital part of their practical Christian life. 

While it is obvious that modesty covers a much broader scope than one’s appearance, it is the objective of this article to deal primarily with a practical application of modesty in appearance.

The Bible declares that our “body is the temple of the Holy Ghost”.

(1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?). 

As Christians, our “reasonable service” is to present our body as a part of our worship to God

(Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.)

The body cannot and must not be disconnected from our worship to God.  As a matter of fact, the body is included in the three-fold sanctifying work of God in the believer’s life

(1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.). 

God Cares About How We Present Our Body

Contrary to popular opinion, God does care about how we present our body. 

If the body doesn’t matter to God, then why did God care enough to cover its shame?

(Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.)

If the body doesn’t matter to God, then why did Jesus care enough to suffer stripes upon His back to heal it?

(Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.)

If the body doesn’t matter to God, then why would God care enough to fellowship with us in it?

(2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.)

If the body doesn’t matter to God, then why does God care enough to resurrect it?

(1 Corinthians 15:52-53 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.)

The body, and how it is presented, does matter to God. 

I submit that our dress code, in most cases, can be a direct correlation of the condition of our spirit. 

If one’s heart is full of lust, then lustfulness will be manifested in how the body is presented to others. 

On the other hand, if one’s heart is sincerely seeking God, then an image of chastity will be evident in how the body is presented to others. 

The question may be asked, does God really care about what I wear? 

The answer can quickly be found in the first few pages of the Bible. 

When Adam and Eve sinned and were made aware

(Gen. 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.)

The word “apron” refers to a girdle that is worn around the waist. 

Essentially, as Dr. Messer pointed out, Adam and Eve “covered only the parts of the body that [were] different, leaving the rest of the body exposed.”[2] 

When God questioned Adam about his absence from fellowship, though Adam’s waist was covered, he confessed to God that his fig-leaf apron was still nakedness.

“And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Gen 3:10). 

To the Lord their ‘fig-leaf fashion’ was inadequate; so He clothed them His way—with ‘coats of skin.’”[3] 

The Hebrew word for ‘coats’ is kuttôneth,” which was “the most widely used word for a long- or half-sleeved shirtlike garb reaching to the ankles” (Messer, 14).[4] 

The world is currently looking to the first Adam for their inadequate dress code of sensuality, but the Christian should be looking to the last Adam, Jesus Christ, for a modest dress code that glorifies God. 

As the Designer of clothes, God set forth the precedence for clothing to fully cover the body. 

The Men’s Department

Modesty tends to be a topic that is reserved for the ladies and us men-folk normally set this one out.  But, let’s not be so quick to excuse ourselves.  Modesty has a men’s department too. 

Modest clothing for men should be masculine.  I cringe to see gender-neutral looking clothes on men who profess a Christian experience. 

The ladies hear it more frequently, but God was sure to reciprocate the commandment for us men as well:

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5). 

There are particular styles of clothes, even though they are sold in the men’s section, that should simply be avoided because it resembles the styles and fashions of women’s clothing. 

Though our clothes should be undeniably masculine, we should use caution so as not to wear any clothing that emphasizes our figure or draws unnecessary attention to us or certain parts of the body. 

When Jesus described John the Baptist’s plain appearance, His description seems to balance masculinity and modesty:

But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft [or literally effeminate] raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts .” (Luke 7:25)  

Like John’s, our clothing should be masculine, but also simple.

Modesty is a principle, or a code of conduct. 

It doesn’t have a temperature limit or a location requirement. 

Modesty is a conviction that should govern the Christian in all places, in all activities, and at all times; even on our social media accounts. 

There are specific places and activities that may tempt us to compromise our modesty for added comfort.  But, in most cases, it is in these specific places and activities (gym, running, etc.) where there are more body movements and awkward motions being made. 

Special care should be added when picking out our activewear.  It may cover it, but does it conceal it?

The Women’s Department

I know modesty is a very real virtue that men have to pray through about.  But in my humble opinion, I feel like modesty requires more strength for women to attain than men. 

Modesty has never been so important for women than it is today. 

Almost everywhere you go there is an assault on female purity. 

A woman’s body is being used to advertise many products that are on the market today.  In each advertisement, our purity is being attacked. 

The fashion design industry not only tries to force us into a certain size, but the fashion magazines at the check-out constantly redefine society’s tolerance of indecent exposure. 

I know we are “the weaker vessel” and our Biblical role in the family is one of submission and obedience, but modesty will restore a woman’s dignity and increase her worth.  

While society shamefully plasters an exposed woman all over the place and views her body as nothing more than a marketing tool, God commands that husbands value their wives more than their own lives

(Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;)

The world wants to shame us, but God wants to honor us.  When God commands us in His Word to dress modestly, it is to promote an honorable appearance and to glorify Him.

Because of the nature of our human sexuality and the fact that males are more easily enticed into lust through the eyes, this means that the woman’s body should be held all the more special and sanctified. 

This is one of the reasons Paul says women are to dress modestly

(1 Timothy 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;) 

Sanctification means that the things sanctified are set apart for holy use.[5]

Women are beautiful. 

Men know this, Satan knows this, and our Creator knows this.  But the physical value of outward beauty shouldn’t be our greatest value. 

Psalm 45:13 The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. 

Our clothing shouldn’t draw attention to our body, but to the greater glory within, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We should dress in a way that draws attention to the face and avoid clothing styles that accentuate particular parts of the body. 

Women who dress to entice are seen as objects.  Sensual apparel flaunts the physical value and obscures the intrinsic value all women possess and thus corrupts the woman’s overall image.  “

Modesty . . . tries to order our human values.  What lust is, is when the sexual value of the person supersedes their personal value.

Jason Evert

Modest women dress beautifully.  Immodest women dress sensually.  Sensuality is not beauty. 

Psalm 149:4 “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.”  

Here is another quote I came across that I really love and agree with wholeheartedly,

Women, modesty means you have beauty and power.  And you use that to teach men how to love you for the right reasons.

Jason Evert

Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Deuteronomy 22 is a chapter that is mixed with ceremonial laws and moral laws.  “Into which category does verse 5 fit? 

The answer lies in the phrase ‘abomination unto the Lord thy God.’ 

God never used this expression when speaking of the ceremonial law. 

When He judged what was clean and unclean to the Jews, He declared the practice of the unclean as an abomination to the Jew

(Lev 11:7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.)

(Lev 11:20 All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. )

When He judged something as being detestable to Himself, God declared it ‘an abomination unto the Lord.”[6] 

1 Timothy 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;

The above Scripture doesn’t only condemn indecent clothing, but it also condemns the prideful desire to overdo it in our presentation of the body. 

Gaudiness isn’t godliness.  Our godliness should be so evident that it is even seen in how we present ourselves to others.

(1 Timothy 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.)

I do not view modesty as bondage or an unfair blow to womanhood. 

I have found delight in God’s commandment of modesty.  I view it as an opportunity to let my light shine in ways that men cannot. 

I have lost count how many times I’ve been asked “what religion are you?”  I think that question is comical because it implies that I look so different that I’m not even associated with the modern look of Christian women. 

I’ve found that my modesty can be a talking point to share Christ with others. 

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Our bodies should be instruments to praise God through. 

How we present our body is the first and sometimes most powerful impression others receive of us. 

Ask yourself this: Does our wardrobe worship God?  Is our closet consecrated to Jesus Christ? 

It is our sincere desire that this article would stir an awareness that our modesty is a way we bring glory to God. 

This video may also be helpful.


[1] Webster Dictionary, 1828 edition defines “virtue” as “nothing but voluntary obedience to truth.”

[2] Dr. Dollas Messer, “Bible Principles for Clothing” (Adairsville, GA [30103]: Grace and Truth Institute, 2014), 15.

[3] Messer, 14.

[4] Keith R. Crim and George A. Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, (Ann Arbor, MI: Abingdon Press: 1962), Vol. A-D, p 869.

[5] “Sinful Advertisement,” Matt Slick, Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, 23 May 2020, https://carm.org/what-about-using-womens-bodies-advertising

[6] Messer, 33-34.

We appreciate Evangelist Seth Coward and his family.  We are happy to say that Br Seth will be joining our writing staff here at BeYeHoly.org.  Look for more articles from him.

We appreciate Bro. Seth Cowart and his family. We are happy to say that Bro. Seth will be joining our writing staff here at BeYeHoly.org. Look for more articles from him.

Brother Scott

I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior in march of 1984. I was in the Navy at this time. It became my greatest desire to draw closer to God. Since that day I have been led by God's Spirit and the scriptures to live a life of Holiness. Holiness is not a bunch of rules, but rather it is the conviction and desire that I am pleasing to God in my life. These convictions are then what set the boundaries of my conduct and actions in life.

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