Vol. 11 No. 3 March 2009
We all need to realize that our assemblies when we come together as a corporate body of believers to worship God are very sacred gatherings. While we live in the presence of Jehovah God at all times, our periods of worship are the occasions when we come before God in reverence through prescribed avenues of worship coupled with hearts filled with sincerity, praise and love.
The apostle Paul, in dealing with such assemblies, gave some regulations regarding the leadership of men and even the dress of women (See 1 timothy 2:8-15). It is the last point I want to discuss in this article. In 1 Timothy 2:9 Paul wrote, “In like manner that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety…” The word modest (kosmios) refers to that apparel which is orderly, well arranged and decent. While the Holy Scriptures do not regulate fashion, the principle of modesty is considered by the inspired writer.
A real problem seemed to have been prevalent relative to dress, especially a woman’s dress, when Paul wrote 1 Timothy. He specifically mentioned that women were not to emphasize the outward appearance in the extreme, that is, the wearing of gold or pearls or costly raiment when the most important aspect of a person’s life should be godliness and good works (1 Timothy 2:9-10). In other words, the problem in Paul’s day in the matter of apparel in the assemblies was that of over-dressing.
Generally speaking, the problem in our congregations today is the opposite, that is of under-dressing by many of our ladies. Christian women should be very sensitive to this problem. It is recognized that there are some items of clothing that could be suitable for play, family outings and the like that would be out of place during an assembly designed for worship to God and the edification of the church. Attire that would be too revealing, like low cut dresses and blouses, short skirts, shorts or tight apparel that emphasizes the erotic parts of the female anatomy should be shunned by Christian ladies. Mothers should set the proper example in this matter and properly train their daughters in the area of modest apparel and especially in regards to dressing for periods of worship.
Then, there is the matter of influence. What do others think of me? What kind of impression am I making? Do people regard me as being spiritual or worldly because of my dress? Would I cause a person to think evil because of the brevity of my apparel? Might I not influence others to wear even less clothing by my example? Immodest dress infers that one is drawing too much attention to oneself. That would be the case whether one wore too much jewelry and expensive apparel as mentioned by Paul or too little clothing in a situation that would be considered immodest. This is often a problem that is prevalent among our congregations, especially in the summer months. Our ladies should give prayerful consideration regarding this particular area of Christian influence.