Search Results for: modesty

Modesty Then and Modesty Now

Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary

MOD’ESTY, n. [L. modestia.] That lowly temper which accompanies a moderate estimate of one’s own worth and importance. This temper when natural, springs in some measure from timidity, and in young and inexperienced persons, is allied to bashfulness and diffidence. In persons who have seen the world, and lost their natural timidity, modesty springs no less from principle than from feeling, and is manifested by retiring, unobtrusive manners, assuming less to itself than others are willing to yield, and conceding to others all due honor and respect, or even more than they expect or require.

2. Modesty, as an act or series of acts, consists in humble, unobtrusive deportment, as opposed to extreme boldness, forwardness, arrogance, presumption, audacity or impudence. Thus we say, the petitioner urged his claims with modesty; the speaker addressed the audience with modesty.

3. Moderation; decency.

4. In females, modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners. In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle. Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor.

Main Entry: mod·es·ty
Pronunciation: \ˈmä-də-stē\
Function: noun
Date: 1531

1 : freedom from conceit or vanity
2 : propriety in dress, speech, or conduct

Is it any wonder why there is no real understanding of modesty any longer?



Swimming Modesty

When anyone discusses modesty invariably the conversation eventually goes to swimming. Why? Because most feel that it is impossible to swim modestly. I agree and disagree.

I agree that it is practically impossible to swim modestly because if you are in any kind of public area be it the beach or a pool you tend to have any number of immodest people around exposing themselves with abandon. No matter how modestly you or your family are dressed, very rarely are the other swimmers dressed modestly.

But it is possible for families to dress modestly themselves for swimming. I am surprised at the women who think they would never be immodest but yet when swimming they choose what is deemed by the world as a “modest” swimsuit. By the world’s definition of modest, this means a one-piece swimsuit that is not high on the thighs, low in the chest area or open in the belly or back. That is what most would deem a modest swimsuit today.

But think about it, it is that really modest?

Does modesty change according to location?

Why do we excuse certain attire for the beach when we would never, ever want to walk around in public like that?

Why is it acceptable to wear “colored underwear” in public?

My family strives to be modest and yet enjoy swimming at the beach and pool.

There are two portions to our modesty.

We strive to be modest with our eyes.

What this means is we avoid as much as possible environments where there will be large amounts of immodest people. That means we won’t be swimming at European beaches since topless swimming is still practiced in some areas. We also would not be swimming in public pools in France since tight swimsuits and swim briefs (think Speedos) are required for public swimming.

Since my family is very fair skinned and skin cancer is thus always a risk, we use lots of sunscreen. Nevertheless, I have also learned that if I take the kids out very early in the morning we can swim for a few hours without so much of a risk of sunburn. So we tend to swim until 10:00 or 11:00 AM, still with sunscreen on. Then we might head to an indoor pool for a while, if available, or head inside. Then later that day we will head out again around four to five PM and swim until dark or later.

It turns out this schedule has an added benefit. Seems the more immodestly you dress the more likely you are to be out at noon until around four. Sleeping late and a late breakfast delays many from being out early and then by four or five everyone starts heading in to dress for supper. I guess also the more immodestly you dress the more you want others to see you, thus you aim for the peak crowd time.

We strive to be modest ourselves.

Since we must worry about sun burning, my children have always worn a t-shirt or some type shirt when swimming. It saves on sunscreen costs and time (lathering up seven people takes a while!). So the boys wear long swim shorts (board shorts) that are thankfully in style and easier to find now. They also wear a t-shirt, either a regular t-shirt or the newer types that the material doesn’t hold water. An added benefit is to have them all in bright colors (orange, green) so that I can easily spot them. 🙂

The girls when young wear regular one-piece swimsuits with shorts and a t-shirt. My oldest daughter and I wear regular swimsuits and beach cover-up like pants and shirts. My daughter actually made her own swim pants from a tight mesh material in royal blue and cut from a Capri pants pattern. They have lasted her a couple of years already. My pants are bought beach cover pants from white heavy lace type material. Both of us wear three quarter length sleeved shirts made from lightweight gauzy material. I have had total strangers come up and ask where I got my shirt from. One was handmade but should have been slightly heavier material thus less clingy when wet and the other was just a bought ladies white summery shirt.

We don’t have problems swimming in the pants and shirts nor have my children even when teens thought it was strange to dress that way. The boys would never swim without shirts. Why cook your back and shoulders if you don’t have to? The girls enjoy not having to get sunscreen in all the little gaps in the typical swimsuit.

Although many public pools even in the US will require swimsuits and not street clothes, never have we had a problem with swimming as we are normally dressed to swim.

There are several companies that make modest swimsuits. I haven’t found any that I liked enough to make it worth the price and so far, our method seems to work well for us.

Two things I have learned though:

~ White tends to stain over time with sunscreen use. I prefer white myself, but it does not last as long.

~ Check the material. Don’t use heavy cottons. Sport like material is better and less clingy. I wish I could better name the type materials that work best.

History of Women’s Swimwear

Modest Clothing Directory

HydroChic Water Sportswear


Modest Swimwear


Modesty Irrelevant in College?

Modesty ‘irrelevant’ at Univ. of Chicago

The university announced the decision to parents in a letter that was sent in mid-December. The change in boarding rules will allow students of the opposite sex to reside in the same room, and the school says the decision was born from a student-led initiative. Students who wish to have a coed roommate will not need parental consent.

Laurie Higgins, the director of the division of school advocacy with the Illinois Family Institute, calls the decision troubling, but not surprising. “I think it reflects a number of troubling assumptions: One is that sex differences are irrelevant, that modesty is irrelevant — and modesty is not equivalent to prudery — that parental values and beliefs are irrelevant,” she notes.


Modesty Survey – The Rebelution (1 Tim 4:12)

Modesty Alert Post – This may not be appropriate for men who do not have daughters or are not in leadership over women.

Although the survey answers were done by teens and men, 12 – 60 years old, they can be rather frank in their descriptions of immodest attire, clothing items and behavior in women.

Modesty Survey by and Alex and Brett Harris, defined as “a teenage rebellion against low expectations.”

The Modesty Survey is an exciting, anonymous discussion between Christian guys and girls who care about modesty. Hundreds of Christian girls contributed to the 148-question survey and over 1,600 Christian guys submitted 150,000+ answers, including 25,000 text responses, over a 20-day period in January 2007.

The following are some sample comments Christian men wrote about women and modesty. There are hundreds of comments on a variety of modesty questions at the website.

Black High Heeled Boots

~ I’m actually not sure why, but something just feels “wrong” when I see them, especially on Christian girls/women that I respect.

~ I don’t think there is anything wrong with them in and of themselves, of course, however, in my mind there are certain kinds of women who wear them historically–and that’s not the best of company to keep!

~ Depends how far they are covered by the dress or skirt. If they are not covered, then it is immodest because of the association most people have with high black boots on women.

~ They usually are simply because they are reminiscent of what prostitutes wear, and are often accompanied by short skirts. They can also cause girls to walk in suggestive ways.

Miniskirts are immodest

~ This is obvious to me, why else would someone wear so short a skirt unless it is to flaunt their bodies?

~ There needs to be an option stronger than “strongly agree” for this one. It’s even worse if the girl actual moves, as miniskirts tend to show everything clothing is supposed to hide.

~ Miniskirts make a statement. They offer a promise of a chance to be allowed to see more.

Other Posts about Modesty


Modesty – Nakedness in the Bible

When God was giving Moses instructions for the temple and for the priests, He gave very detailed instructions. Right down to the under garments! For those who think wrongly, that the Lord does not care about our clothing, all you have to do is actually read through the Bible.

Ex 28:42-43
42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
43 And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him

The Lord tells the priests to wear linen breeches from the loins to the thigh. The “loins” is the upper and lower abdominal regions and the region about the hips including the pubic region and the reproductive organs. The “thigh” is the area extending from the hip to the knee. Therefore, the priestly breeches would have looked something like this:

This is in order to cover their nakedness! How many women (and men) wear much smaller garments and then argue that they are not naked? But notice this is the undergarment worn under the remainder of the priestly attire. The priest then wore a linen coat (robe) over these breeches or trousers.

These breeches or trousers were to cover their nakedness. What does the Bible mean by nakedness?

Isa 47:1-3
1 Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate.
2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.
3 Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man

Notice that baring the leg and uncovering the thigh was nakedness. Uncovering someone’s nakedness was shameful.

Ex 20:26  Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon. KJV

The Lord even commanded the Israelites to never walk up stairs to the altar so as to not be nakedly exposed in His presence. Most churches today have steps up to the podium or stage. Many women do not realize how short a dress becomes when viewed from behind when she is walking up the steps to the stage.

Now how many ladies come to church each Sunday morning thinking they are dressed so nicely, yet the Lord looks upon them in their nakedness, shame (Isa 47:1-3) and iniquity (Ex 28:42-43). There are women who honesty do not understand what the Lord requires as modest attire but there is no excuse in the church and specifically, the pastor, allowing women to continue in iniquity all the while claiming to be Christians.

Other Posts about Modesty


Modesty Posts across the Web

(Sorry for the bad links, I think they are fixed.)

Christian women have obligation to dress modestly, Mary Mohler says

The world’s attitude toward fashion, Mohler said, should not be the church’s.

“The [world’s] attitude is if you’ve got it, flaunt it,” she said. “Leave as little to the imagination as possible. Regenerate Christian women, I don’t believe, leave home with this attitude. We seek to live godly, holy lives.”

Nevertheless, immodest dress is a problem in local churches on Sunday mornings, Mohler said. Women may not have a worldly attitude about modesty, but because of naivete, carelessness, busy lifestyles or cultural pressures, some women unknowingly dress immodestly, she said.

Also see the document Modeling Modesty.

Am I saying that never, ever, not even once can she wear a halter top, tube top, cropped top, mini skirt, skin tight shirts, anything that shows cleavage or midriff, hip-hugger jeans and shirts that don’t meet, that she can’t even go into an Abercrombie store, that she can’t keep Clinique in business when she is 14, and that her Sunday clothes are going to be different from her other clothes? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Unlike the discount store whose tags say, “there are no rules,” her father and I believe there are rules. There are absolutes. There is a line that you just don’t cross. I hasten to add that it wouldn’t matter if her father was a seminary president or a ditch digger, the rules would be the same. Mary Mohler

Modesty: God, My Heart, and Clothes (pt. 1) by C. J. Mahaney

Perhaps you can relate to Jenni. Maybe modesty sounds unappealing to you. If we played word association you’d come up with “out of style” and “legalistic.” Maybe you think God is indifferent about the clothes you wear. What does he care?

But, as Jenni ultimately discovered, there is “not a square inch” of our lives—including our closets—with which God is not concerned. Even more, he cares about the heart behind what you wear, about whether your wardrobe reveals the presence of worldliness or godliness.

Modesty: The Attitude of the Modest Woman (pt. 2)
Modesty: The Appearance of the Modest Woman (pt. 3)
Modesty: A Pastor’s Concern (pt. 4)
Modesty: A Word to Fathers (pt. 5)
Modesty: The Right Adornment (pt. 6)
Modesty: The Modest Woman’s Allegiance (pt. 7)

Sister… show mercy!

Where am I going with this? Oh, don’t try to look so innocent. You know exactly where I’m going.

So here comes this brother into the assembly of the saints, hoping for a rest from the battles of the week, a moment to regroup, sing, pray, get the Word, fellowship. He looks up to the choir, or to his left or his right — and in a tick of the clock, he’s facing the same struggle he faced every time he turned on his TV, opened a magazine, or went down a city street. He’s seeing things that make it far too easy for him not to keep his mind focused where it needs to be focused.

And he’s not in a nightclub, he’s not at a singles’ bar, he’s not at the beach. He’s in church.

Young lady, I’m talking to you

Given that I took an illustration from church service, many naturally thought I was writing about how Christian women dress in church. I wasn’t. I was writing about how Christian women dress publicly, period. Church provides a bright and shining illustration, but it isn’t as if (to speak bluntly) there’s some virtue in dressing like a saint in one building, and like a slut in another.

The Spanish Dancer and the Duck

Men tend to lust after women. And women tend to lust after being lusted after. We struggle with modesty because we all want to be the Spanish dancer. No one wants to be the duck.

But there are men out there who are fighting hard for integrity. They’re doing battle every day, desperately trying to stay pure and focused on their wives. And what do we do? We whip out our fans. We look hot, on purpose. We flirt. We pose. On purpose. We aren’t about to tone down our characters. We know how to play the part. We do it well. And everyone likes it. They’re paying attention to us, aren’t they? And we’d be lying if we said we didn’t enjoy it.

Modesty Posts:

Maidens of Virtue – Stacy McDonald

The Style Quiz by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Paul Washer on Modesty in the Church

“Modesty Heart Check” by Carolyn Mahaney

Calvin Klein vs John Calvin’s Opinions on Clothing

Modesty Quote

Attire of a Harlot !?!

A Church In Need of Prayer – (Part 2) Specifically the comments


Modesty Quote

What would it mean if our churches stopped encouraging our own teenage and preteen daughters to dress like Hooters Girls? What would it mean if we insisted that our young girls insist on being treated with the dignity with which they were created? What if fathers and brothers and uncles took seriously the command to guard such dignity, even to the point of turning away from buying someone else’s daughter as a “product” on the cover of a sports magazine or a fashion catalog? What would it mean if our senior adult ladies took time to share the Gospel and a cup of coffee with the young woman who thinks all she has to offer is a tight T-shirt and a miniskirt?
Russell D. Moore

Paul Washer on Modesty in the Church

“I do not so much have to pray up when I’m preaching under a tent in inner-city San Anton[io], but I have to pray up and know that I am walking with the Lord when I walk into an average Baptist church because of the way most people dress. And you say, “It’s legalism.” No it’s not. They’re commands in the Bible. It doesn’t say we’re all supposed to dress like a Puritan, but it does say we’re supposed to be decent and cause no offense or stumbling. “Well you can’t judge a book by its cover.” Yes you can! Jesus said you can; by their fruits you will know them.”

Paul Washer

Quote from Defending.Contending.

Modesty Posts:

Maidens of Virtue – Stacy McDonald

The Style Quiz by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Paul Washer on Modesty in the Church

“Modesty Heart Check” by Carolyn Mahaney

Calvin Klein vs John Calvin’s Opinions on Clothing


What Can We Learn About “Adorn” From the Bible?

Titus 2:9-10 (ESV)

9 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,

10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.


Titus 2:10 (NIV) and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.


Titus  2:10 (AMP) Nor to steal by taking things of small value, but to prove themselves truly loyal and entirely reliable and faithful throughout, so that in everything they may be an ornament and do credit to the teaching [which is] from and about God our Savior.


The phrase “adorn the doctrine of God” doesn’t appear anywhere else just like that so we have to break it apart even more.

“Doctrine of God our Savior” is very easily understood.  We’ve already studied what is meant by doctrine which is teaching or instruction – teaching of God our Savior.  God our Savior also expressly points out that Jesus Christ, our Savior, is God.  No point debating that – it is clear.

The word for adorn is Kosmeo which is often translated as adorn, garnish or trim.  Any idea what word we get from this Greek word?


Kosmos is also a related word meaning “orderly arraignment” and is used often for world.

We can look up the other uses of the word Kosmeo in the Bible to get a broader meaning of the word.


Put in Order

Matthew 12:44 (ESV) Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order.

Luke 11:25 (ESV) And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order.


Matthew 23:29-30 (ESV)

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous,

30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’

Trimmed – to remove excess, make neat or to tidy

Matthew 25:7 (ESV) Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.

Adorn is the most common usage.

Luke 21:5-6 (ESV)

5 And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said,

6 “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”


1 Timothy 2:8-10 (ESV)

8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;

9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,

10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

1 Peter 3:5-6 (ESV)

5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands,

6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.


Revelation 21:2 (ESV) And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.


Revelation 21:19-20 (ESV)

19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,

20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.


So are we as believers are to put in order, decorate, trim and adorn the Gospel of the Lord?  That sorta implies we are to fix it up or make it look better than it does.  I don’t think so.

As we will see with the next few sections our adorning is not something we add to the Doctrine or the Gospel; it is our goal to not allow our manner of life to detract from it.

For the full series of posts in order click below:

Renewing the Attitudes of our Heart Series


To Teach What Is Good (Titus 2) – Carolyn Mahaney

I haven’t listen to too much of Carolyn Mahaney however, I found her series on modesty to be very helpful –  “Modesty Heart Check” by Carolyn Mahaney. Her series on Titus 2 is now available as a free download audio.

To Teach What Is Good (Titus 2) – Carolyn Mahaney

Here is the updated series from Carolyn’s classic messages to women based on Titus 2. Topics include self-control, purity, kindness, having a love for husbands and a tender affection for children, making your home your center of ministry—and more. Carolyn teaches about how these qualities in women glorify God and draw others to the gospel.

“In an unusually compelling series of eight lectures to women, Mrs. Carolyn Mahaney explains the significance of Paul’s command to women in Titus 2:3-5 … Wives, mothers, singles, widows—all will benefit from the solid instruction, touching stories, and uncommonly clear and powerful exhortation contained in Wisdom for Women from Titus 2.”
—review in the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s Update, June 2000

HT: Sheri at Graham Family Ministries

Note: The Sovereign Grace website had technical issues initially due to the over whelming demand.  So if you had difficulties downloading try again later.