Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What to wear to Church?

If you are ever shopping around for a church you are generally looking for somewhere that you would fit in.  One common issue among people is how they are dressed, and maybe wondering if there is a proper way to bring yourself before the lord for worship.

With most things in the Bible I believe there are black and white answers to the question, however in researching clothing it seems to vary depending on the role you are in as far as clothing is concerned.  But lets start at the beginning.

Can I goto church naked?
I know you may be thinking ok this is a little to far right?  Well there is a little merit to the madness and that is do you know why you wear clothes at all?  Why not be like the animals and be who you are?  Clothing started out in Genesis as a way to cover the sin and shame that was induced by eating the forbidden fruit.  Genesis 3:7 says "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves."  When Adam and Eve had done this they immediately new sin and desperately wanted clothing to hide their shame and fashioned clothing out of fig trees.  So then God comes walking through the garden and is looking for Adam and Eve and explains how what they did was wrong and how it would effect the world for the rest of time.  God then also fashioned Adam and Eve some new clothes out of the skins from animals.  So as you can see from the beginning some clothing is required.

Different clothing for man and woman
The next piece of the puzzle is the type of clothing based on gender. A man or woman should wear clothing that is meant for their gender. There are many obvious reason for this despite the fact that the utility of the others clothing doesn't match. Deuteronomy 22:5, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God." One of the common questions is can women wear pants since men do.  As the times go on fashions change, and pants on women have become a very popular item.  The idea is still the same.  Women wear womens pants and men please wear something manly.

Wear clothing that is not deceiving of who you are.
Genesis 27 is the beginning for deceitful clothing. If you have been around a church for a while you may remember the story Jacob and Esau.  These two brothers had different skills and looks.  Esau was a rugged hunter who had lots of hair and was promised by his father to inherit the blessing.  Jacob and his mother devised the plan and made clothing from goat skins to have fake hair so that the blind father Issac would feel the hair and think that Jacob was Esau.  By doing this Jacob was able to steal the blessing from Esau.

Matthew 7:15 is another example of deceitful clothing.  He is telling us to be wary of those who are like wolves dressed as sheep.  This is really speaking to be wary of false prophets and people who take advantage of you.  But at the same time do you really want to put yourself in the possible opportunity to take advantage of someone else at their misfortune?

Dress with humility.
In worship and anytime that we come to the Lord he wants us to show humility and be humble in the sight of the Lord.  In the story of Jonah we learn about the town of Nineveh.  Nineveh at this time evidently had great wickedness happening and it was to the point that the Lord asked his servant Jonah to go and preach about the wickedness.  After a whale of a time and Jonah stopped running from God, he went to Nineveh and said in 40 days Nineveh will be overthrown.  Amazingly the Ninevites believed God and put on sack cloths and went on a fast while praising the Lord.  By showing humility to God for the things that they had done he spared the town from being overthrown.  Wearing a sack cloths back in biblical times wasn't much different than wearing one today.  That is what a poor man would wear because he couldn't afford real clothes.  Does that mean you need to wear a beggars clothing?  Do you still need to wear the finest of linens to goto church?

Clothing for the Clergy.
Do you happen to be a leader in the church? The bible has many scriptures on being a leader and it does have some scripture pertaining to clothing as well. Titus 2:7 says " In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness."  This is telling us that we need to be good examples to those around us and by that we need to wear the proper attire too.  A priest back in the day wore very elaborate clothing that is described in Exodus 28.  As we know times and fashions have changed and I don't see many people wearing those, however there are some interesting principles that can be used today.  The first is they are to look beautiful or I suppose I should say handsome since we are probably talking about a male in the church.  Why beautiful you may ask?  First impressions are everything.  You want the people to know that being with the Lord is a beautiful thing.  You want to be an example of the Lord brilliance and shine.  The second is purpose.  Clothing should be functional and have pockets for pens, the scripture, or notes so that the sermon goes smoothly.  The last is symbolic to the faith.  In the Old Testament the priests would have 12 stones on their wardrobe to signify the 12 tribes of Israel.  I can't say that I have seen any clergy wearing 12 stones nor have they had any other symbol on their attire.  The idea here though is to show that the outward appearance matches the inner appearance.  Maybe adding a cross as a lapel pin or cuff links.

Conversation Starters.
  • Do you think that part of giving God your best means that you wear the finest clothes?
  • Are you a member of a Church? If so do you feel the calling to teach to others? If so how would you dress to present yourself to the person to project the best image in Gods eyes?
  • How would you react if someone did come into church wearing rags?
Things to try.
  • Show up to Church how you normally are.  Get an idea how people perceive you in the church.
  • Search the bible for more evidence to why you dress the way you do. 
  • If you try these please comment below and tell your finding.


  1. The tradition is more of a cultural thing, and for many people it is done out of an attitude of respect as they enter the house of God. I feel that I need to honor God by wearing some of the nicest clothes that he has provided for me. Others can wear what they want to church, why not show God that I honor what he has provided for me. Why should I dress up to go to work, Weddings, Dates, Dances, Job Interviews...but show up to Church in Flip Flops, a T-Shirt and Cargo pants. I am going to put my best foot forward when going to honor God in his House.

  2. Making the choice to dress nicely is a personal decision. In terms of God, there is no supporting Scripture to say that doing either is sinful, disrespectful, or even glorifying to God. God sees our transparent hearts and is able to determine each person’s motives for each of their choices. Some things are simply best left between the individual and God. What we choose to wear to church or anywhere else is one of those things. Some cannot afford the proper apparel, some believe that dressing nice is putting your best foot forward, and some believe that too much formality cultivates unnecessary discomfort within the hearts of others, ultimately discouraging them from the true message of Christ. Others just don’t care either way. Regardless of their reason, no one else is in a place to judge another person for their personal choices, especially since we all make poor personal choices at various points in our lives. We are all just as guilty as the next person, before God.