Many of the world, and even some of my brethren, view nakedness or nudity as “stark nakedness” (without any clothes on at all). You have heard of nudist camps, where people prance around without a stitch of clothing on. Likewise, you have heard of “nude beaches” (the beaches aren’t nude), where the beach goers are without any clothing. Is total nakedness or nudity the true definition of nakedness? What is nakedness?
We would be wise to go to the Bible for our answer to this question. The Psalmist David wrote, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psa. 1:1, 2). Therefore, to be wise, we must seek the wise counsel of Bible principles and teaching.
Without a doubt, the weather is warming – the summer season is just around the corner and the attire of many is scant, to put it mildly. Even though these we refer to are not “stark naked,” are they naked? Many would say NO! Let’s see!
In the beginning, after Adam and Eve sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings” (Gen. 3:7–NASB). Evidently, the “loin coverings” made by Adam and Eve were not adequate clothing in the eyes of God because, according to Genesis 3:21, the text says, “And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” These “garments” or “coats” (KJV) were “generally with sleeves, coming down to the knees” (Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, p. 420). Hence an important principle of truth was established in the beginning by God, that all mankind, especially Christians, need to heed!
Further, in Genesis 20:26, God commanded saying, “Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.” If we go to Genesis 28:42, we see that God commanded Aaron and his sons (priests) saying, “And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness (‘their bare flesh’ –NASB); from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach.” Hence, exposure of the “bare flesh” of the thighs was called nakedness by God. Those who wear miniskirts, short skirts, swimming attire, shorts, cheerleader uniforms and the like, expose the “bare flesh” of their thighs. Therefore, those who wear clothing which exposes the “bare flesh” of the thighs are naked in the eyes of God! Some may say, “the shorts I wear don’t expose my thighs or the dress I wear comes down to my knees.” Where do your shorts or dress come when you are sitting down with your legs crossed? Is any portion of your thighs above the knee exposed? If so then, your nakedness (“bare flesh”) is in view of all that are present.
The Bible teaches that women are to “adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments” (1 Tim. 2:9) NASB. Likewise, this principle would apply to men, even though men are not mentioned. Paul instructed Titus saying, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience” (Tit. 2:1, 2). Is a man “sober, grave, temperate and sound in faith” when he wears shorts that expose his thighs or goes without a shirt before women?
Nakedness refers to nudity and it also refers to inadequate clothing. James spoke of the brother or sister who was “naked, and destitute of daily food.” Naked here would include nudity but likely refers to inadequate clothing. Vine says, “(b) scantly or poorly clad, Matt. 25:36, 38, 43, 44; Acts 19:16 (with torn garments); James 2:15” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 781).
The apostle Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12:1, 2). Paul, here, did not mean to put our bodies on display!
You see, the Bible definition of nakedness does not mean only nudity; it includes inadequate clothing, which we have mentioned. As the weather warms, you will see people of the world displaying their nakedness. In the words of the apostle Paul when he instructed the Ephesians in Ephesians 5:3 concerning fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness; concerning nakedness I make the same plea, “let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.” Think on these things! – tgmc
Who Tells You How To
By Doug Roush
People get offended rather easily. It is not the aim of this article to offend anyone. Rather, we would like for people to stop and think about a topic that, quite frankly, people take for granted, or they give little or no thought to it. This is not the only topic people treat this way. We could ask the questions, “Who told you what to do to be saved?” or “Who tells you how to worship?” These are serious questions. However, not many people give these questions serious thought. They assume they know the answer, and then they act on their assumption.
Often, when we ask the question of an adult or teenager, “Who tells you how to dress?” the answer is, “Nobody. I choose how I want to dress.” Although each of us chooses how we are going to dress, we want to dress in a manner that will be approved by the people whose acceptance we seek. So, the real question should be, “Whose acceptance do you seek?”
As a Christian – a follower of Christ – we should seek God’s acceptance. He sets the standard of righteousness, holiness, and godliness. God’s word reveals the standards of salvation and true worship. God's word also reveals the standards of modesty and nakedness.
When Adam and Eve sinned, “...the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings” (Gen. 3:7 NASB). “Loin coverings” is from the Hebrew word, chagowr or chagor and (feminine) chagowrah or chagorah, and is defined, “1) a girdle, a belt, 2) a girdle, a loin-covering, a belt, a loin-cloth, armor” (Brown-Driver-Briggs). When God asked Adam concerning his whereabouts, Adam responded, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself” (Gen. 3:10 NASB). Adam and Eve knew that the “loin coverings” they had made for themselves were not sufficient to cover their nakedness. God did not correct Adam. In fact, the necessary inference is that He agreed with him. Genesis 3:21 reads, “And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them” (NASB). The word “garment” is from the Hebrew word, kethoneth or kuttoneth, and is defined, “a tunic, an undergarment; a long shirt-like garment usually of linen” (Brown-Driver-Briggs). It is translated, “coat,” “garment,” “robe,” in the King James Version. The KJV translation of “coat” and “robe” is consistent with the amount of covering that would be supplied by a “tunic,” “a knee-length garment with sleeves, a round neck, and a loose body worn by men in ancient Rome, or a similar garment worn during the Middle Ages,” (Encarta Dictionary). The nakedness of Adam and Eve was not covered until God “clothed them” with a garment that covered them from the neck to the knees.
In addition to the garment God provided Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness, we are well served to consider an additional garment God ordered to cover the nakedness of the priests, when they stood above the people. In addition to the tunic the priest was to wear, God ordered “...linen breeches to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs” (cf. Ex. 28:39-42; 20:24-26 NASB). Clearly, God considers the exposure of “the loins even to the thighs” to be one area of nakedness.
The “loin coverings” Adam and Eve made for themselves did not cover their torso and, most likely, did not adequately cover them “from the loins even to the thighs.” Adam and Eve were honest enough with God to admit that their garment left them naked. Many of the garments that are worn by both men and women today leave them naked in the eyes of God. Those who revere God will wear garments consistent with a tunic, i.e., covers their shoulders, has a round neckline (i.e. a neckline that does not expose the nakedness of the chest), and covers them to their knees.
God has the right to tell us what to do to be saved, how to worship Him, and a hosts of other things, including the right to define nakedness. The question is, are we going to dress in a manner consistent with one who professes godliness (cf. 1 Tim. 2:10), or are we going to dress in a manner consistent with the style of the day, but exposes our nakedness? – Knollwood Church of Christ Bulletin Articles, July 2013.