Legalistic Modesty Vs. Biblical Modesty

We need to face a sad truth-modesty has become a bad taste in many women's vocabularies. And understandably so, it's been shoved down their throats and used as a measurement of how "holy" someone is. Many women feel bitter at the very sight of a skirt! Does it have to remain this way? I don't believe so. God has used this blog in my own life in a very positive way-over the course of 2009/2010, He convicted me (by way of seeing how damaging it can be) that I was being too legalistic when it comes to modesty. I regret having posted comments on a modesty website that I wish I could take back. They weren't rude, or intentionally hurtful-but in a way they were. To make a long story short, girls were posting pictures of outfits I personally didn't feel were modest. It got into constant arguments, to the point that it was getting mean. I finally decided to no longer participate in the website anymore. Then, a couple years later I realized that I was in the wrong. I shouldn't have been judging the outfits on how "modest" they were. 
I've met so many young ladies who are truly striving for Biblical modesty through my blog, it's so encouraging! And through God's gentle hand (as well as help from all of you!) I discovered the differences between Biblical modesty, and legalistic modesty. I'd like to share a few of them, in the form of myth, versus truth. 

Myth #1: The Bible doesn't say anything about modesty!
Truth #1: The Bible does have something to say about modesty! Check out this verse: 
  • "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." 1 Timothy 2:9 (Emphasis mine)
Myth #2: The Bible clearly states that we shouldn't braid our hair or put on jewelry!
  • "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." 1 Peter 3:3-4 
Truth #2: 1 Peter 3:3-4 isn't saying that you shouldn't braid your hair or put on jewelry! This verse (in simple terms) is saying we shouldn't make our hair and necklace more important than our relationship with God, or our character. God cares much more about where our hearts are, then what we're wearing (that comes after the heart). 

Myth #3: No one judges your character on how you dress!
Turth #3: Check out this verse: 
"And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart." Proverbs 7:10 (emphasis mine)
Obviously this woman was judged on how she dressed! If you think about it, people are judged almost instantaneously by their apparel. We glean, age, character, cleanliness and so much more from clothing! So dressing modestly (or immodestly) does affect how people view us. 

Myth #5: Biblical modesty is a list or rules and regulations.
Truth #5: The Bible never clearly states specifics regarding what is modest and what isn't. My personal belief is that each individual should choose what is modest apparel for them, it's between you and God! Who are we to say that a certain item isn't modest? In the end, we all have to give an account for the choices we make in this life, including how we dress. 

Myth #6: God doesn't like beauty-we should wear paper bags on our heads. 
Truth #6: This is the most ridiculous of myths, have you looked around you lately?! God loves beauty! He displays it all the time-in nature, people and weather! Just the other day I was driving down the road, admiring the changing colors and almost felt like applauding! It was stunning, the yellow, the red and brown set against a deep blue backdrop. 
On top of all that, the Bible has quite a few references (I won't mention all of them) to physical beauty:

  • "He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter." Esther 2:7

  • "To bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. " Esther 1:11
  • "And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he." 1 Samuel 16:12

  • "So he left all that he had in Joseph's charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance." Genesis 39:6
I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Go ahead and leave me a comment! (don't forget to include any myths and truths you'd like to add!)


  1. Well the only one is I do think that pants are immodest as the bible says in Deuteronomy 22:5 that we shouldn't wear anything that pertains to men's clothing. We all know that skirts and dresses are women's clothing and that if we saw a man in a skirt it would be weird, but we see a girl in pants (men's clothing) and think nothing of it. Maybe some people don't see it this way and that's ok. It is a personal conviction between the person and God, but that is just my belief. :) and I think "modest" pants look bad. And cute pants are immodest.

    Please don't take this comment as hate or trying to tart a fight! I love your blog and I am not trying to put other Christians down for wearing pants! Modesty is more than the clothes we wear and it is a personal conviction.

    Love your blog, Natasha!

    Ps. I'm almost nervous about posting this! If you don't want to publish its ok with me. :)

  2. Thank you so much!!!! This has been something that has been bothering me so much. 4 years ago my family was going to a more legalistic kind of church, it was really starting to put pressure on my family that we needed to pretend who we were to look "holy" to everyone else. Also we were starting to question if we still agreed with what that church taught. After much thought, prayer, and discussion we decided that we needed to go to a particular church. A completely different story about how that went that would take a very long time to tell. It was painful to leave that church as I had grown up there, but I knew and my family knew that God was calling us to a new church. At this new church things were different there was not the same feel that what you looked like mattered. You were still expected to dress mice for church, but outfits that some the girls wore at this new church would have been though "immodest" at my old church.

    It was freeing actually to go to this new church were there was so much more focus on God and doing things for him, not what other people would think. I didn't worry about what they would think of the music I listened to, the shows I watched, or what I wore. I had never thought that I had any pier pressure in my life until we left that church and went to the other church. Judging people is something that had become a bit of a soap box for me, though I don't like to talk about it much as I know some one who does and ironically I get the feeling that they are judging those they see as judging.

    Also what is modest can be culturally relevent, a book that helped my family realize this was called Torches of Joy. It is about a missionary family in the Philippines. A really great book!

    Anyway all that to say, that your post was awesome! :) And I am sorry if this comment seems to go on forever.

  3. Great post Natasha! I too have come a long ways when it comes to the issue of Modesty. Overall, I've learned to just let God work in my heart and to ask myself if what I'm wearing (or how I look like) is honoring to Him. That is the most important thing and if you are dressing to please Jesus everything else will just fall into place.

    The only "myth" that I'd like to mention is this one,
    If you are dressing modestly, it makes you a modest person. Some of the most flirtatious and seductive girls/women I've met, were actually super modest in their attire. For example, cape dresses, head coverings, little makeup, no jewelry. So I believe that it really IS a heart issue more than anything. Get your heart in the proper place first, and your outward appearance should follow! :-)

    1. Hi Natasha and Marie Danielle,

      I agree with you, Marie. Modesty starts with the heart. To put all the emphasis only on the clothing is to miss the point entirely. It's like a hypocrite who says that God sees the heart first, but they themselves judge people SOLELY on the clothing.

      In terms of modest clothing men vs women, let's admit, is there any real set rules of this? Some modest websites I read insisted that skirts and dresses are modest, while pants are not because they are men's clothing. Well, in Jesus times, all men and women wore long robes, rite. In old time China, all men and women wore pants. Scottish traditional costume for men is a skirt called kilt. To insist that dresses and skirts are the only modest clothing for women is like telling the world that one local point of view is the only one that matters, and superior to the rest of the world's. I think the point is women should not dress like men, and vice versa.

      I myself don't wear micro minis, but still wear skirts above the knee and sleeveless top. I don't wear hotpants, but I do wear shorts to the beach. I wear swimsuit when I swim, though not revealing bikinis. And I don't think those who do as evil. My only rule is to dress attractive, NOT attract-ing. I believe in modesty and promote modesty on my blog, but I don't believe in arrogance or being judgemental. SOme might say that my clothes are not really modest according to their standard, and I'm OK with that.

      Besides, you attract more bees with honey, than with vinegar. :)

      Visit me:
      LeeAnne, Style N Season

  4. Good post, Natasha. Very true.

    God bless you as you continue to honor Him with your life!

  5. Very good post - thank you!

    I always figured I'd get to this age (49) and it wouldn't be a question anymore, but I never cease to be amazed at women my age & up who are -wowie, zowie! I didn't need to see all THAT! ;-

    Tabitha, I don't know if you're aware of it? but there is a publication called "Skirt". It comes out in all these major cities and is very womancentric, between ads and groups that are meeting, etc. Each city is pretty autonomous, publishing what is relevant in there location (along w/ some in-all-publication stories). I mention "Skirt" because in each issue, they take some local guy and put him in a skirt! photograph him! play it up - i.e. John Jones supports women! - and yes they always ask the men how they like being in a skirt - the usual comment is "breezy!" ;)


Everyone is welcome here and I LOVE hearing from my readers! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I will try to get back as soon as possible with you if you ask a question, however if you'd like you may also email me at

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