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This post is actually a troubleshooting post for my post titled “What Does the Bible Say about Boobs? over at Blissful Moments Doula.  You can find that post >here<.  I know many ladies will have so many questions about the assertions that I made, but many of those have to do with modesty rather than the Biblical passages on breasts.  So I decided I would continue the discussion here on my blog.

What Does the Bible Say about Modesty?

I’m sure many of you have read the post on “What Does the Bible Say About Boobs?” and have come up with many rebuttals.  I will attempt to address the most frequently asked questions here.

Modesty and the Bible

Modesty in I Timothy 2:9

In the New Testament, we often see I Timothy 2:9 as the ultimate verse relating to modestly.  Why is this verse used so often?  Because the Greek word for modesty is only used twice in the New Testament.  Both times they appear in Timothy and the other one is most often interpreted as ‘respectable’ or ‘good behavior.’  The Hebrew word for modesty is also less about external appearance and dress, but rather about humility.  Tsana (or צָנַע) is to be humble, be modest, be lowly.  Biblical modesty had to do with being humble and modest in heart (Proverbs 11:2).

It isn’t just the word modesty that has been used mistakenly throughout the years of our Biblical heritage.  The entire verse is most often pulled out of context.  Read I Timothy 2:1-10 for the full context, I’ll summarize below.

In the first verse, we are talking about the four basic kinds of prayers that we are called to pray for all people.  Then we see that all followers of Christ should seek peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  We read on to realize that it pleases God who wants our lives to be an example to others to bring them to salvation.

After this we see an instruction to men to pray.  Finally, we find the instruction to women.

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

Adorn  – Greek word definition – adorn, garnish, or trim, (aka the extras)
Modestly – Greek word definition – orderly, i.e. decorous:—of good behaviour, modest
Decency – Greek word definition – a sense of shame or honour, modesty, bashfulness, reverence, regard for others, and/or respect
Propriety – Greek word definition – soundness of mind, i.e. (literally) sanity or (figuratively) self-control:—soberness, sobriety

I am going to challenge the traditional view of this verse.  I feel that Paul was not discussing women’s outer garments in this verse.  God was calling women to decorate themselves by dressing in good behavior, reverence, and self-control rather than gussying themselves up with elaborate hairstyles and expensive clothing.  Verse 10 wraps it up, declaring that women should dress with good deeds that are appropriate for women who profess to worship God.  Paul was telling the women to care more about obeying God in good deeds and garnishing their hearts with modesty, reverence, and self-control.  He wasn’t telling them what to wear.

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” – I Peter 3:3-4

1 Peter 3:3-4 supports this view.  In fact, if we took the same literal view of 1 Peter 3:3-4 as we do 1 Timothy 2:9, we wouldn’t be wearing anything externally.  Let us agree then, that these verses are encouraging women to add on to themselves godly qualities rather than subtracting clothing or even braids.

So Should We All Just Free the Boobies?

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom. – Proverbs 11:2

Just because the Bible doesn’t speak about modesty in relation to our dress, doesn’t give us an excuse not to use wisdom.  We should not be prideful as women of God and flaunt our new found freedom.  Our culture has shamed our bodies for centuries and they do not understand that God made us beautiful and functionally stunning.

I offer the same advice that I offered in the previous post.  Pray and ask God how He wants you to dress to glorify Him.  Pray that God shares with you his heart about breastfeeding and embracing the way He created the breast.  Pray that others within the church and in our culture will begin to see the breasts in a healthy way without shame.

Also speak with your husband about how he thinks you should dress.  We want to dress in a way that brings glory to our husbands and lets them know that we want them and not other men.  Many men are also beginning to realize that breastfeeding is completely natural and that hiding a baby’s head beneath a blanket is unnecessary.  Again, reference my other post to see that the breast is not naked.  However, if your husband asks you to cover up and you choose not to cover, then you are in sin.  Please discuss this in submission and respect with your husband.

If you are not a follower of Christ, I am not trying telling you that you have to follow Biblical rules.  It’s still a great idea to pray and speak to your husband.

 

What About Men?

This is me teaching women about their bodies, this is not me instructing men regarding their own spiritual health.  If you are a man reading this, go to your pastor and discuss this with him.

Men are in charge of their own eyes, their own thoughts, their own hearts, and their own sinful lust.  Nowhere in Scripture does it tell women to cover up their bodies so that men won’t lust after them.  It’s not in there.

Read Matthew 5:27-30.  In verse 29, Jesus says, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Where in this verse does it tell women not to cause men to lust?

Check out Proverbs 6:25.

“Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
    and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;”

The command is to the man not to desire the adulteress.

Too many times women have seen these verses and decided that it was their personal responsibility to shield every man’s eye from her beauty and from her body.  Each man’s mental life is not our battle in regards to our clothing.  If you are intentionally seducing a man with your attitude, that’s another story.

Should we give no thought to what we wear?  As Christians, we want to do everything for God’s glory.  Paul says that he tries do please everyone in all that he does to bring the most people to Christ. We don’t dress to keep every single man from possibly falling into lust, but we dress to God’s glory.  Again, we all need to pray about what that means for our lives.  How will we glorify God in the culture where we live?

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” – 1 Corinthians 31-33

Conclusion

I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that we need to teach our children to have a healthy view of the body.  I want girls to be raised up loving themselves and loving their breasts.  I want boys to grow up thinking that his mother is beautiful even if she’s breastfeeding.  I want boys to know that God gave us breasts to feed children and NOT to view in por-ography.  I want us to raise our boys to realize that one day they will have a wife who they will love and that they want to save their eyes and heart for that woman.  Our view of our bodies will radically change the view of our sons and daughters toward their bodies and the bodies of the opposite sex.

Will you give up the shame in order to raise up a godly generation that rises to call their mother blessed?

 

Portrait-Brooke-300-x-300

Brooke Shambley

THE Boholistic Mom

If you want to ask questions below, please feel free to ask.  If you find verses other than what I’ve found, please share them.  I love to study God’s word.  If you choose to be condemning, condescending, or utilize poor language, you post will not be shared.  Thank you for reading and I look forward to further discussion.

 

Resources

Baby Dust Diaries – The Bible Says About Breastfeeding in the Bible

Peaceful Parenting – Breastfeeding in Public: A Christian Father Speaks Up

Red and Honey – Uninhibited Breastfeeding in Public: Reclaiming My Womanhood from Perversity

Link Previously to Mama Psalmist and Quote – Let’s Flesh This Out Breastfeeding and the Bible

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