Question: What is appropriate Christian attire for women? Or, should Christian women wear pants?
Answer: I believe this question is in part referring to a verse in Deuteronomy. 5 “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)
This verse is “probably intended to prohibit such perversions as transvestism and homosexuality, especially under religious auspices. The God-created differences between men and women are not to be disregarded.” (New International Version, footnote)
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)
“If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” (Leviticus 20:13)
God’s concern is not so much on how a person dresses, but more on why is the person dressing the way they are? God looks on the inside to see what our motivation is.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)
God does make it clear that a woman is to dress modestly. “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” (1 Timothy 2:9,10)
At the time these scriptures were written, neither men nor women wore pants, as we know them today. Both men and women wore robes; however, their undergarments were probably different.
If a woman wears pants, will she look like a man? Probably not, unless she is wearing a man’s pair of pants and is deliberately trying to look like a man.
A Christian woman needs to focus on being dressed modestly. I have seen some women in a dress, who would have looked much better in a pair of pants instead, because the dress was so low-cut, tight, and/or short; that it was extremely immodest. God does not want women to draw attention to themselves. He wants the focus to always be on God.
“For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” (Romans 14:7-9)
Each woman should dress to please God and her own husband. If there is an occasion where a Christian woman is dressed inappropriately, that should be between the woman and her husband. If it is definitely against God’s word for modesty, then the Pastor and church elders may have to approach the couple and give counsel on what God’s word says about dressing modestly.
Does God’s word forbid women from wearing pants? No, but it does forbid a woman from trying to dress and look like a man. God further admonishes a woman to dress modestly. Remember, a woman answers to her husband and to God for how she dresses. We do not have the right to judge someone else for how they dress.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
“Or how can you say to your brother, Let me remove the speck from your eye; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
What about in the church? A woman should dress modestly and appropriately. If the woman is going to be in the nursery where she will be bending over and sitting on the floor, then a dress would probably not be modest or appropriate attire.
A person, male or female, should wear clean clothes and make sure they have good personal hygiene. The lack of nice clothes, or not having a dress should not keep a person from attending church.
God gave His Son for us, surely we can take the extra effort to look nice when we go to God’s house!!
I trust this helps,
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