Modest attire is one of the hardest struggles that a Godly lady faces. There is a very delicate line a lady must walk to avoid drawing attention to her body while still showing her God-given beauty and countenance. Sadly, the standards of dress we see today, even in churches, are horrible. Women today seem to have lost even the very basic sense of what is modest and decent.
As you learned from the definition of the word modest, there are many aspects to being modest. For many, the primary idea of modesty has to do with dress and how the body is revealed. We will see more about other aspects of modesty later in this study. It is true: how a person is dressed will say a lot about her. Because of this, society has placed a large focus on the way we dress. Popular styles tell us that the body should be revealed. This is typical for the Devil. He is a liar. He is trying to establish an opposite to everything the Bible tells us. The Devil would have us believe that revealing the body is necessary to attract a spouse. That revealing clothes are glamorous and nakedness is natural. One of the Devil’s goals is the destruction of every human on the face of the planet. The Word of God offers us a very simple contrast: outside of marriage, revealing the body is an open shame.
Gen 2:24-25 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.(25) And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
In this passage, we see the beginning of the first family in the creation. Adam and Eve were the first husband and wife, they were naked together and they were not ashamed. This passage is often referred to when explaining the physical relationship between a husband and his wife. However, that is not necessarily the only context here. At this point, they were not ashamed because they had not sinned. They did not know what shame was and they did not understand the concepts of nakedness, sin and shame. They had not eaten of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We cannot understand what it would be like to live without a sin nature or exist without the knowledge of “good and evil.” This concept is impossible for us to comprehend. However, this is the state Adam and Eve were in at this point. Just as we could not comprehend living in a completely sinless state, they had no comprehension of good and evil, of sin or of right and wrong.
Gen 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (2) And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: (3) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.(4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.(6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
To begin, let’s parse, or take apart, this passage. In verse one, we see the serpent. Today, we know snakes as a sly, subtle animal. It is able to sneak up on its prey and quickly strike. Sometimes, a snake’s strike seems to come from nowhere. Likewise, the devil is a subtle creature. The devil sneaks up on us and deceives us with lies and half-truths. That is just how it all begins here. The devil lies to Eve by telling a partial truth. Eve answers the devil explaining that they can eat of every tree except one. She adds that they cannot even touch that tree. Now, here, she is adding to God’s command. God never told them they could not touch anything. In fact, they were the keepers of the garden. How could they keep the garden if there were trees they could not touch. Satan’s reply is an outright lie. In Genesis 2:17, the Lord commanded them that they would surely die if they ate of the tree of knowledge. The devil went on to add that their eyes would be opened and they would be like gods knowing good and evil. At this point, it was only God and the angels who knew good and evil, Adam and Eve did not. Eve believed the lies of the devil, ate the fruit and fed it to Adam. Their eyes were opened, and they did now see good and evil. They did not sin by being naked. This was how God created them. However, now that they could see good and evil, they realized that there was shame in being naked. Consider the next verse:
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.
As soon as they ate this fruit, their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked. Later, we will see that God compares nakedness to an open shame. They realized this fact before God inspired the first letter of the Word of God to be penned. Once they realized they were naked, and ashamed, they attempted to make coverings for themselves. They sewed together fig leaves to make themselves aprons. Merriam-Webster’s on-line dictionary defines an apron, in this context, as a garment tied around the waist. In all likelihood, these aprons covered the “vitals,” but were they sufficient? By any definition, an apron would never be considered to cover ones nakedness. In fact, Adam did not even consider himself to be clothed sufficiently.
Gen 3:9-10 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? (10) And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Just a few verses after Adam and Eve realized they were naked and sewed themselves aprons, God came looking for them in the garden. As God was looking for them, they hid themselves. Adam told God they were hiding because they were naked. Did their aprons cover any more of their bodies than the modern bathing suit?
Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Again, Merriam-Webster’s on-line dictionary gives us a definition to consider for the word coat: an outer garment worn on the upper body and varying in length and style according to fashion and use. Clearly, a coat covers the upper body and extends below the waist to different lengths. We can assume that whatever God made, it covered whatever God defined as naked.