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Is it a Sin for Women to Wear Pants?

Today’s Question: I was raised in a Christian home, and my father is a minister. We were raised to believe that women could not wear any form of clothing resembling men's clothing. Therefore, I was never allowed to wear pants or shorts. This caused me a lot of grief and resentment growing up. I was not able to participate in school sports and I had to dress out in a skirt in PE class. I have always felt that as Christians we should dress modestly. I believe that pants and even shorts of certain appropriate lengths are modest and allowable by God. I have never felt condemned by God for wearing pants or shorts, but I am still afraid to wear them in front of my Father. I have struggled with this issue for most of my life.

My father refers to the scripture in the Old Testament where Moses told the children of Israel that "a woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man" (Deut 22:5 KJV). This is my Father's basis for this dress code. Is it a sin for women to wear pants and shorts?

Audrey Gaddis

Bible Answer: I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with women wearing pants or shorts. Concerning the passage your father quoted, that proves just the opposite of what your father has tried to prove. The passage deals with "cross-dressers", women and men trying to disguise their gender. In our day, pants and shorts are clothing for both men and women. There is no disguising what gender you are based on wearing pants or shorts. Besides, consider this, there were no pants in Bible days—that is strictly a modern dress style. The men in Bible days wore garments called tunics that looked like dresses. Does this mean that men should wear the same "dress-like" garments that Jesus and others wore?

Concerning modesty: the Bible does teach it. I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, (1 Tim 2:9)

There are no strict rules for modesty, except what is subject to society. What is modest for one society would be immodest to another. Every believer must wear what his or her society deems as modest. Christian men and women should not wear clothes aimed to entice others and promote licentiousness. God knows everyone’s heart, so no one should try to fool God, He knows exactly why we wear what we wear.

Here is a follow-up question a dear lady had concerning this issue and my answer to her.

Mary's Question: I have been serving GOD for just three years and experienced being embarrassed by our pastor this Sunday morning. Just before the service ended  the pastor expressed his view that it was wrong for any member of our church to wear pants. I was the one who was wearing the nice dress pants. I can't begin to tell you how hurt I felt. I asked another sister about it because I thought maybe I took it wrong, but she said she took it that way too. But she thinks he meant it was O.K. for a sinner, who has nothing else to wear, but not for one who knows the difference. I don't have any conviction as to what to do. But I am hurt to the point that I don't feel like I want to go back there. PLEASE HELP ME IF I AM WRONG.

Tom's reply: Mary, you know my view that is is alright for women to wear pants, however, you don't go to my church. If it is culturally unacceptable in your church to wear pants, then start to wear dresses, and don't let this issue hinder your walk with God.


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