The Matter of Modesty: Challenging Traditional Church Perspectives

In an introduction to one of the first English translations of the Bible, Miles Coverdale said:

“It shall greatly help ye to understand the Scriptures if thou mark not only what is spoken or written, but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goeth before and what followeth after. ”

I think this is something we often forget as we are walking our Christian walks. We get caught up in traditions and we use scripture to create rules and prove points that probably shouldn’t matter. But if we were to follow the advice of Miles Coverdale, we might be surprised to uncover that there are whole passages that don’t necessarily mean what we think they mean. We often look for prescription, forgetting a passage’s intent is descriptive. 

In the United States, modesty teachings permeate Christian traditions of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps if we followed that string back to its roots, we would find that the special focus on modesty leads back to our puritan roots. (I’m only speculating here, but it’s a pretty good guess, eh?) Unfortunately, while the Modesty Culture may have good intentions, I no longer believe they are Scriptural. Let’s dive in and take a look at the most common passages used to make a case for women dressing modestly.

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