Bible Study on Living with Modesty
Bible Study Guide
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.
This is a suggested Bible study for any size group. The accompanying sermon outline serves as a resource as you prepare to lead this Bible study. Answers are provided with the questions when appropriate, but do not be too quick to give the answers. Allow the participants time to talk about the questions among themselves and offer their own thoughts and reflections.
Before class: Read the articles on modesty on two or three of the following websites for background information:
Go to the following link and copy this article for use in the conclusion of this lesson: Focus on the Family
Create Learning Readiness: Using the Context section of the accompanying sermon outline, give some of the background to Philippians 4:8.
Former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi often told his players, “The best defense is a good offense.” Is that principle applicable to the Christian life? Undoubtedly it is! Those who think positively will be more apt to succeed in their walk with the Lord than those who do not because they will adopt positive actions that will please Him.
In Philippians 4:8, the Apostle Paul zeroed in on some things believers should set their minds on—to think about to the point that they affect their Christian life. One of the words he mentions is pure. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance says the word means “properly clean, i.e. (figurative) innocent, modest, perfect :- chaste, clean, pure.” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, Abingdon Press, 1980, p. 6). Though the Bible is not a fashion guide, it is a guide for the Christian life-style. A Christian, whether male or female, should think and dress modestly.
Ask, what are some examples of immodest dress that you have seen lately? What, in your opinion, could the person have done to make their attire more appropriate?
There are three guidelines for the Christian life-style that are relevant to the issue of modesty that I want us to examine together today. The first is: the modest person will stay away from every form of evil. Turn to First Thessalonians 5:22. (Ask someone to read the verse. If more than one translation is available, ask that the verse be read from some of them.)
Ask, some things are obviously wrong, aren’t they? Let’s name a few of them. (If a whiteboard is available, write some of the responses on the board.)
Ask, can you think of some things that may not be wrong but give the appearance of evil?
First Thessalonians 5:22 says that we should avoid both that which is evil and that which has the appearance of evil. The word translated stay away from is a strong word that means “to hold oneself away from.” Looking at some of the things that we have previously mentioned, how could we stay away from them?
Turn to John 17:15-16. What effect, if any, does the idea that we are not to be “of” the world but still be “in” it have on the things we have just mentioned?
Ask, how could this be applicable to the issue of modesty in one’s attire?
The second guideline for the Christian life-style that is relevant to the issue of modesty is: the modest person will be a good example. Turn to Titus 2:7. The word translated example is one that means to make a mark or impression with a tool, a die, or a stamp. Though Paul wrote this verse to Timothy as a pastor, the principle applies to every believer. The modest person will set the right kind of example for others to see and follow. They will make the right impression by the manner in which they dress, as well as by the way they act.
Ask, how does 1 Peter 3:1-5 relate to this? Do the principles found here relate to men and boys as well?
Ask, what are some ways that we can dress modestly and set the right example for others to follow?
The third guideline for the Christian life-style that is relevant to the issue of modesty is: the modest person will practice self-control. Turn to Galatians 5:22-23. William Barclay says the word self-control refers to “the spirit which has mastered its desires and its love of pleasure.” Ask, how do you think self-control applies to dressing modestly?
Ask, in what way does Colossians 3:5 speak to this matter of self-control?
Ask, have you ever had to express self-control in purchasing (or not purchasing) some article of clothing—maybe something that you wanted but felt was questionable? What did you do?
In an article by Vicki Courtney entitled Sexy Too Soon, the author asks the question: “Have you shopped for girls’ clothing lately? Toddlers to teens are inundated with adult fashions. Pop singer Beyonce now has her own clothing line that introduces the red-light district to the school lunchroom.
“Popular clothing items among teens include thong underwear and shorts displaying suggestive words across the backside. The abundance of racy clothing emphasizes the message: Dress sexy.”
Later in the article she says that teenagers are being unduly influenced by their parents who “fret over physical appearance or enjoy media laden with sexual images.”
Ask, what message would you have for parents who dress their small children in outfits that are immodest and inappropriate? Are they setting a precedent that they may regret later?
The question that all of us need to think about as we close is: Am I living with modesty or am I setting the wrong example with my life-style?
What Can One Person Do?
- Always pray for God’s guidance both before you go shopping and as you shop for clothing. Ask Him to direct your thoughts and your purchases.
- Decide that you will not purchase anything that might be too revealing. If in doubt, choose something else.
- Look for stores that typically carry a good selection of modest clothing styles. The latest fashion may very well be outside the bounds of modesty.
- If you have friends who dress modestly, ask them how they decide what to buy and wear?
- If you are a parent of small children, exercise caution in the clothing you purchase for them. Be careful not to dress them in anything that you wouldn’t want to see them in when their bodies are more fully developed. Remember, you are constantly setting a precedent for the future even at a very young age.
- If you are a female, apply the eight step test located here to decide if an article of clothing is appropriate or not.