How should a woman dress in church?

by Matt Slick

For the most part, women in churches dress pretty well. They are modest and try and represent the Lord properly. However, occasionally there are women who are new to the church environment, are new converts, or might be attending out of curiosity. This means that women will dress differently, for different reasons, in different social contexts.

One of the things that most women probably already know is that men are visual creatures. A doctor once told me that the man's visual processing area in the brain is twice that of the female's brain. This seems to make sense since by far the greatest number of people addicted to pornography are men. It certainly appears that we are drawn visually to the opposite sex more than they are to us. Heck, my wife looks like she was designed by an artist. But I look like I've been mauled by a pack of large dogs. Face it, women are far more appealing to look at than men...and men are designed by God to more visually oriented than women.

"The brains of male humans are larger than those of females, even after differences in body size are taken into account...males tend to have a larger visual cortex than females...Visual acuity has consistently been shown to be better in males."

Christian woman dressing in church

It should go without saying that a Christian woman should dress modestly in church. This means not showing much cleavage, if at all, or wearing short dresses that are too short. But, there's a problem. What is too much cleavage and when is a skirt too short? The answer is simple. Too much cleavage is when it is too much, and skirts are too short when they are too short. In other words, it's difficult to quantify. 

Now, of course, it doesn't mean women should dress in Muslim burqas. After all, modesty is subjective and culturally defined. So, it's difficult to say what should and shouldn't be done in all circumstatnces. But if a woman has in mind the idea of dressing modestly as she would before the Lord Jesus, then that would be a good rule of thumb.

I recommend that if a woman is not sure about how to dress, ask someone. Ask a husband, or other women were more mature in the Lord.  But, you don't have to dress like a prude, either.

What about women who are new converts or are new to church?

It is a good thing when new converts come to church. It is also great when people who are not believers are checking church out for the first time. In both cases we want to be sensitive to them. It's more important that there there hearing the word of God being spoken and enjoyed the fellowship of believers. So, of course, we should not be judgmental about how they dress. Our goal is to love on them and have them mature in Christ and learn how to dress modestly from the examples set by the women in the local church body.

To that end, we must all play a part in loving all who come through the church doors and, hopefully, exemplify godliness in attitude, speech, and our appearance. Were not to judge them. Were to pray for them and by our lives and our behavior point them to Christ.

But for those women who are already Christians, they should dress modestly, in a way that is appropriate for the culture, the season, location, etc. I like to say that they should dress in a way that they would dress if Jesus were there with them. It's simple. It's not always easy to implement, but it's a good rule of thumb.





About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.