Should Christians Wear Bikinis?

706 Comments May 14, 2012 in Christian Life, Teen Girls and Women

Okay… here we go again!! I’m about to step on the toes of many people… even some of those I love dearly.

But it’s not because I want to offend anyone, it’s because this is such an important issue.

I don’t think Christians should wear bikinis

I’ve never understood how a girl can shriek in panic if her dad or brother or grandpa comes near her bedroom door when she’s changing, wearing a bra and panties, but then run around in less than that on the beach and think it’s okay.

I really do not understand that.

I and my girls do not wear bikinis. The reason is modesty.

But why do I think modesty is so important? Why should tans and fashion be pushed aside in favor of modest, breast-belly-bum covering clothing?

Because…

  • God says you are made with value, and that value has nothing to do with your breasts or how sexy you are.
  • Boys and men (yes even the old senior citizen men on the beach) are turned on by your body.
  • Boys and men who see a woman’s body – especially a naked body (or mostly naked) – can remember that image even if they saw it for less than 13 seconds. And they can recall it more than 60 YEARS later with excruciating detail.
    • That means, yes, when Mr. Not-So-Pure-Old-Man on the beach goes home and wants to have self-sex he may well be thinking about you in the bikini. I’m not kidding.
  • Your brother and his friends (and cousins and uncles and probably grandpa) cannot help that their brain and body have a physical and chemical reaction to seeing your breasts and almost naked body.
    • Which means that you are putting these guys in a very, very difficult position. Many of them control themselves when you are around, but don’t even ask what they say when you are not. Trust me… they do say things, and even do things!
  • Boys and men who see you in a bikini have an automatic response to you: their brain actually reacts to you as if you are not a person, but rather a tool like a chain saw or hammer or power drill. Yep… you just became something to be used, not loved.

Don’t believe me? Watch this video.

God wants more for you. He wants you to know you are loved because of who you are.

He wants you to know you are beautiful because He made you.

And no matter how unfashionable it may be, you will have the respect and honor of the men around you if you don’t put on that bikini.

Finding Modest Bathing Suits

Here are some places you can find modest bathing suits:

Should Christians Wear Bikinis - Carla Anne Coroy - A DivinitaSole Bathing Suit

  • http://swimmodest.com/ – We bought these for years. We loved them! They are one-pieces, but very, very comfortable.
  • http://www.simply-modest.com/
  • http://www.divinitasole.com/ – I particularly like the ‘Bowtie Tankini’ and the fact that you can choose modest cut bottoms.
  • http://www.limericki.com/ – we’ve found great tankinis here paired with the shorts bottoms. Not everything is modest, use wise judgment.
  • http://www.swimsuitsforall.com/#back – many of these are modest, especially if you notice that they have ‘modest’ options for leg openings, back opening, and neck openings. We’ve found this site great for one-pieces as my girls have exceptionally long bodies and finding a one-piece is very, very difficult. Again, make sure it meets your modesty standard. (CAUTION: We have recently tried to return a swimsuit here and had significant difficulty with customer service.)
  • http://hydrochic.com/modest-swimsuits.html – they have some seriously modest swim suits including long sleeves, long legs, and skirts. But still sporty!
  • http://www.dressingforhisglory.com/ – this was recommended by Nicole in the comments. It looks like a great site and I may just try them out!
  • http://www.landsend.com/ – Recommended by Julia and Kellie. Caution: Not all bathing suits are modest! Please choose carefully and wisely.
  • http://www.llbean.com/ – Also recommended in the comments. Again, please choose wisely!
  • http://www.girls4sport.net/ – These rash guards look great! Thanks to Julie for the link!
  • http://www.mermaidmaternity.net/ – Thanks to Laurel for this great site for maternity bathing suits!
  • http://www.coolibar.com/ – another great site from a new commenter! So glad to have all your suggestions!
  • http://freshmodesty.com./ – Thanks to a new reader, this site is great as well. I checked it out and it looks like she sells a great modest bathing suit pattern that is fully customizable to your degree of modesty and style. And she’s even got a modest maternity suit! As I looked throughout her site I saw there were other great modesty tips and how to turn plain things into cute things. Looks like a great site!

What Do You Think?

You know where I stand, but maybe you don’t agree! Or maybe you do!

Tell us what you think on this issue!

One more question: If you have lived or currently live in a culture other than a typical North American culture, please comment on how modesty issues are different or the same in that part of the world. If another part of a woman’s body is sexually attractive in that culture (thighs versus breasts, or necks versus bottoms, etc) what does modesty look like there?

Some Related Posts by Carla Anne

Low Necklines – Modesty Part One
Carla Anne discusses modesty standards for tops. Includes tips on finding or adapting tops.

Modest Mocks – Modesty Part Two
Carla Anne gives step by step instructions on how to make a Modest Mock. Want to wear that great looking top, but the neckline is too low and you don’t want to wear another shirt underneath? This is a fantastic solution.

Purity
Carla Anne responds to a Toronto Star article based on the book “The Purity Myth”, which claims that “the myth of sexual purity is damaging a whole generation of women”.

Saved by Faithbuddy

As this post went viral our hosting provider was not able to keep up with the multiple hits per second. Even the temporary server they migrated us to was not fast enough!

Thankfully our ministry sponsor Faithbuddy was able to quickly step in and get carlaanne.com back online. (Thanks Guys!) Faithbuddy has spent many years developing a prayer-focused social network, and it’s now in testing. You may want to check it out.

 

Due to overwhelming response I will no longer be approving comments or discussion on this post. Feel free to join the conversation on other topics around the site. Blessings, 

Carla Anne

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  1. Jamie says:

    Lust is the central issue here. Please see this article on the Bible, lust, and erotica:

    http://www.fileswap.com/dl/pOLGcVcHCq/Lust,_Erotica,_and_the_Bible.pdf.html

    This PDF file contains excerpts from two articles (not mine). It is text only. It contains no visuals, no links to web pages, etc.

  2. Nick C says:

    My last post seems to have disappeared????

    @Carla Anne: Initially you asked “If you have lived or currently live in a culture other than a typical North American culture, please comment on how modesty issues are different or the same in that part of the world. If another part of a woman’s body is sexually attractive in that culture (thighs versus breasts, or necks versus bottoms, etc) what does modesty look like there?”

    I have given you two extreme examples one in which modesty demands a great deal more than N. America for both mixed and single sex company and another extreme where in a very specific context, the body is not sexualized at all.

    @Ronald & @Carla Anne: also in followup: If e.g. the breast was not seen in a sexual context in certain cultures, (e.g. Polynesian/African…) consider the implication of demanding “you must cover up for us” the American/European who does find it sexual? (Here I am of course making assumptions.) I still do not find any thing in Scripture that dictate what amounts to a particular fashion, if e.g. the Polynesians were perfectly modest and not ashamed before. This is of course an *academic* discussion, and somewhat off topic. But we are considering what is and what is not modest. The original post acknowledged that standards of modesty might be culturally dependent. But when culturally dependent standards are presented as widely different, they become unacceptable, based on what so far appears to be cultural bias and not Scripture.

    • Carla Anne says:

      Nick, my point is simply this: men’s brains are wired to respond to naked bodies. This is a physiological response. Simple. The Bible doesn’t need to say it… the body explains to us how God created us. Just like the Bible doesn’t say you should clip your toenails. Some things God graciously gave us the intelligence to discover on our own. And this is that kind of discovery.

      And to make you understand… my blog is read by North Americans NOT people in the jungles of Africa or on the shores of a European beach. The test noted in my post was done on American men. And the last time I checked, God made all men in His image – there is not a different model for the various continents – so I would assume that ALL men (minus those few who don’t fit the stereotype) are impacted toward sexual lust when they see bare or nearly bare female bodies. And – this is NOT about whether or not it is a woman’s fault or a man’s for his sexual issues. This is simply about the fact that men ARE impacted by seeing too much skin on a woman, and that as Christian women we need to be sensitive to that fact and live and dress in such a way as to help them maintain purity.

      It may be a different part of the body in other regions but it will still be that seeing whatever that part of the body is will still affect the men physiologically. Is there a chance that cultural training plays a part? Yes, I suspect there is. However, the main issue is this: If a Christian woman wants to help her Christian brothers and sisters in Christ maintain purity in heart and mind she will cover up those parts of her body that will cause him to lust. And since we cannot take a vote and please everyone, we must use some basis of information that seems to be true for the largest part of the population. Bikinis (and by bikinis I am not talking about modest 2 pieces, but rather an actual bikini which constitutes a very small bottom and very small – think triangle patches and string ties – top) and other similar articles of beachwear or even clothing will arouse a man’s sexual lust in North America.

      In the tribes of Papau New Guinea it would be best for women to cover their thighs. But either way… the part of the body that contributes to lustful thinking when exposed should be covered up.

      And never did I say that the Bible specifies a type of fashion. I want you to understand that the principle of modesty, AND the principle of helping our brothers not to stumble, AND the principle of holy living (among others) would logically point one to the conclusion that covering up one’s body at the beach is taught in Scripture.

      Nick, you have missed a very crucial part in all your posts, and that is the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law must be kept, otherwise you become like the Pharisees. So when you argue about this being obviously wrong because of medical situations, etc, you are missing even Jesus’ teaching about the spirit of the law. And I do think that in as many cases as possible, and to the highest degree possible, both patients and doctors should aim for the greatest amount of modesty. And many do.

      As much as you have studied, and as much as you have posted on this regarding biblical interpretation, I still strongly disagree, and would advise my readers to take this matter to the Lord in prayer, to study the Scriptures themselves (and not the interpretation of others, but the actual Word of God) and to seek godly counsel from their pastors, mentors or other spiritual leaders.

      I have four children. I have been a teacher. I have been involved in mentoring both children, teens, and adults for years and if I have learned anything, it is this: That those who look to get away with the most do not have a heart to please the Lord with all they do, but rather choose to get by with as little submission and obedience as possible so as not to relinquish their own rights thereby choosing themselves as lord, and not Jesus Christ.

      One who has tasted and experienced that God is good, and that His forgiveness is eternal, and whose love is deeper and wider than one can imagine will go above and beyond the call of duty (the letter of the law) to help others experience that same freedom and joy that comes from submitting and pleasing the Lord. Those are the ones who will quickly and eagerly give up their own rights so that others might not stumble.

      Those who fight for their rights – regardless of how others might suffer from their actions – have not surrendered them to Jesus. Because that’s what Jesus asks of all of us – that we surrender all. Including our rights. Even our rights to wear a bikini, or to look at those in one.

      And no, we did not delete your post, we simply deleted your link as it was inappropriate.

      Blessings.

      • Ronald says:

        The same standard is for the medical field as for any other person. Those looking upon nudity with lust in their eyes are in sin. There is no exception. The key words here are “with lust.” You have to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. I am not hear to convince you of sin, Holy Ghost convicts of sin. If you do not think it sin to sleep with other women outside the marriage bed, look at other women outside the marriage, then you have to stand before a holy and righteous God with that conviction. I have studied this subject, as Jamie says she has. I have come to a different conclusion. Most of the time when men and women “twained” had intercourse, God considered them married. There are exceptions that God did not consider those married who twained but in those cases an undesirable outcome happened which required repentance.

        Nick, you seem to be demanding a chapter and verse, but you will get purity issues by principle. If you do not then you will stand before God with your opinion. Your argument about the hernia, in my opinion, is not a valid argument. You are taking two totally different circumstance and trying to apply one law (that of nudity) to it. Jesus came and gave Holy Ghost to guide and direct us in all truths and I believe, you are not being led by His Spirit, but by man’s logic, understanding, wisdom, etc. which is foolishness to God. Concerning Peter, the text neither states it was appropiate for him being naked or not appropiate, but the one thing we do know is when Jesus revealed Himself in His glory, Peter covered his body. I do not know what theology you are under or doctrine, but again say you will stand before God with your convictions. It should not bother you we think contrary to you, if you are comfortable with your stance. We are not comfortable with your stance and we will stand upon the conviction God gave us.

        To pull an evangelistical statement…If I am wrong about this issue, I have lost 20-60 years of lustful sexual pleasure of allowing my flesh to be fulfilled (but I am not wrong). If you are wrong, you have taugh others to sin and if you engage in such activity will be accountable for such sin. The results of that are clear in that it would be better for a millstone to be tied around ones neck and them cast into the bottom of the sea…and if it is sin then to be separated from God for eternity. I will continue to live holy, as I think the Bible teaches, and teach others the same.

        I am going to leave this discussion with this as I think I have said all I can and have to allow God to convict the hearts of the reader of His desires and what is truth. If our studies are to glorify God through Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) then I commend all posting of their studies and encourage to keep seeking truth.

        • Carla Anne says:

          Ronald, I thank you for your conversation and I agree with you! I appreciate the way you said this so carefully and succinctly. Bless you!

          • Nick C says:

            The threading is confusing. I missed these posts and posting a reply below (if that is OK?) Also, I don’t think a post was deleted, I had a glitch on my end.

      • Jamie says:

        I completely agree with the statements “men’s brains are wired to respond to naked bodies. This is a physiological response. Simple. The Bible doesn’t need to say it… the body explains to us how God created us.”

        Please consider this example:

        A man is walking on the beach, and he sees a beautiful woman wearing almost nothing. He is aroused. I agree with you that his arousal is a physiological response. It is a function of God’s creation. What I don’t agree with is the belief that this same arousal is what Jesus condemned in Matthew 5:27-28. God did not design the human body to have naturally sinful responses.

        Some might believe that the sinful quality of the arousal is dependent on the situation – i.e. whether the man is married to the woman who arouses him. The physiological response would be innocent in some situations but sinful in others. That brings us back to the original contradiction: saying that God created the man in such a way that his natural response in certain situations is to sin.

        • Carla Anne says:

          Let me make something very clear. The initial physiological response is not sin in and of itself. It is the lust that happens afterward if that natural response is not curtailed. And it is very, very difficult, if not impossible in many situations, to determine when someone has crossed that line. Only they can personally determine if they have allowed that arousal to become lustful.

          HOWEVER… we know that along with arousal comes the temptation to lust. Yes! A man can choose not to. But it is very, very difficult for many men to choose not to. For most the only way to control lust is to control arousal and interest. And the only way for many to control that is to deny himself any “peek” at something that would cause that.

          And believe it or not, there are more men who delight themselves in sinful lust than there are men who don’t. Even among Christians. Is it a woman’s fault that he sins? No. But if she provides her body as fodder for his imagination she has done nothing to help himself, and has, in essence, allowed herself to become a tool or object of lust in his mind. She has not loved her “brother” the way she should. And neither has she loved the “sister” who is, or someday will be, that man’s wife.

          • Jamie says:

            Re: “It is the lust that happens afterward if that natural response is not curtailed.” If I understand you correctly, you’re saying that God created the natural response but requires men to resist the response He programmed into them. If they do not resist, they sin. We are back to God’s design setting men up to sin.

          • Carla Anne says:

            Jamie, God gave men the perfect solution for this… it’s called marriage.

            There is nothing sinful about how God created us. But what God has created Satan has corrupted. In the same way: it is not a sin to eat. God gave us the desire to eat and enjoy food. it is a sin to be gluttonous. Yes… we must resist to avoid sin. ABsolutely.

            But God did not set up man to sin… that was Satan’s job. God, in fact, according to Scripture has given men, through the power of His resurrection that raised him from the grave, and through His Holy Spirit the grace and power to live without sinning in the face of temptation.

            A God of power can do that. A god of my own making cannot. A God of power can give strength to withstand temptation and live victoriously in spite of it. But a god of my own making – and even a theology of my own making – would rather lower the standards and say “therefore I must” sin because I was made this way.

            So… YES God created men with that natural response.
            YES God has provided a way for men to enjoy that natural response – within the context of marriage to a woman.
            YES God requires men to resist that response except for within the confines of their marriage.
            NO God did not set men up to sin.
            YES God always provides a way out of the situation so temptation does not REQUIRE sinning.

          • Jamie says:

            I do not believe that God designed responses in humans that place them right on the edge of sinning, so that if they are not on guard against their God-created responses in most situations, they sin. That’s not how hunger works, for example. Hunger motivates a person to eat, but there is a lot of margin between hunger and gluttony. My perspective is that if we believe there is a razor-thin line between a man’s God-created, biological sexual response and lust, we’ve misunderstood either biology or lust.

            Do you believe that the ministry of Jesus or the apostles reversed the morality of some sex acts – that is, sex acts that used to be inherently innocent became inherently sinful (or vice versa)?

      • Bubba Rockz says:

        One thing I think is overlooked, is the lack of education of the women on what the Bible says they are. Especially what they are to a man. In old times Men had to go to the Women’s fathers for approval toward Marriage. In today’s world women are now out doing things for themselves. I am not saying things are better or worse for that matter, but women don’t know they are a jewel to the right man. Even the Bible talks about their bodies being sweet as honey as well as mentioning certain body parts. When they are wearing bikinis or other types of garments that fall in that category, to me they are like a sack with holes in it, when its time to use the goods, most of it may have been wasted.

  3. Ronald says:

    When reading about missionaries to cultures you are talking about, we read about the cultures becoming more holy in their dress, they began to cover up their bodies as their souls prospered in the Word. The culture argument in America does not hold too much ground as passages speak of not doing things to cause you brother to stumble, refrain from the appearance of evil, and being Christ-like. We see Peter covering his body when the glory of Christ was revealed to him as a great example of Holy Ghost convicting him to cover his nakedness.

    The Bible teaches us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling and that each of us will stand before God alone and be accountable for our own actions. I see many “christians” trying to make a place for sin, which is not the definition of Christ-like. Not being ashamed of our nakedness has nothing to do with it being right, but the conviction of God in our lives to do what is right and not doing it is what we need to be ashamed of.

    The norm of the church and before that Israel has set principle of what the standard of God is, as God’s standard does not change with culture nor time. The standard has always been Yeshua (Jesus). Researching the history of the church (prior to 325 AD) and the life of Israel helps us in determining the standard. The church was corrupted with Constantine and that corruption has caused a non-holy gospel to influence the world. This gospel is a doctrine of demons. The only standard we have is that of Messiah. No matter what culture we deal with this standard will be held by the true followers of Jesus Christ.

    • Carla Anne says:

      Ronald, thank you. I quite agree.

    • Nick C says:

      @Ronald,

      My initial reply was somehow lost in the blogosphere

      The thread here has evolved somewhat, but some posters effectively claim the Scriptures describe an objectively measurable point or formula at which you must not show any more skin, or have claimed that seeing someone naked is inherently bad, regardless of the cultural standards in place.

      Specifically though you state: “It was sin for Noah’s son to laugh at his fathers nakedness…” The Scriptures do not state that Noah’s son “laughed.” In English, they state with some variation that he “saw” or “uncovered” Noah’s “nakedness” and “told his brothers.” You are inferring something that is simply not there in the text. I could not assist my father in his old age with showering or toileting and report the assistance to my siblings if this were the meaning of that passage.

      (I think this is addressed earlier in this thread — Later passages speak of something having been “done” to Noah. There are varying opinions as to whom and what was done, but it is clear it wasn’t simply reporting “dad is naked in the tent.”)

      I’ve stated above that God did not condemn Adam and Eve *merely for being naked* but no one has suggested it was a sin to see one’s spouse naked so why it would be sinful when there was no one else around?

      Yes, St Peter put on (something) to greet Jesus. Depending on the text cited, he had “stripped for work.” Nothing in the text suggests that he should be condemned for having stripped for work, or that it was anything out of the ordinary.

      Obviously we cannot take an EEG or a survey of a pre-colonial era Polynesian. However, nothing suggest they were any more or any less lustful simply due to their “pre-Christian” attire, than the pre-Christian “Germans” in theirs.

      Finally, you ask the motivation of the young woman I mentioned first which I can’t know. However, if her suit draws excessive attention, which I believe it did, then it is the gold and braids, regardless of her motivation, and therefore immodest, just as a bikini, or board shorts and t-shirt, in other particular settings.

      You imply that the Pharisee was hiding sin when praying loudly or donating money loudly. Was the donating of money or praying sinful? Of course not, doing so without humility, to be seen doing so so that he would “look good” for doing so was the issue.

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  5. Ronald says:

    @ Nick,
    I could not find my original post. If I posted “laughed” it would have been for the reason of an implication in the text. The text implies Ham did not honor his father and part of this was talking openly about his father’s nakedness. In Exodus 20:26 we see God commanding linen drawers to be made to cover the loins to the thighs. This must be what pleases God in our dress. In Leviticus 18 we also see the Lord not wanting us to see certain members of our family in their nakedness (Strong’s H 6162, which I will leave it up to the reader to seek God about). I am wondering if a bikini (or speedo) could allow a person to visualize in their mind much easier the nakedness. It is not lust in the heart that is sin. Yes one can lust at a burlap bag on a person, but giving the occasion to sin is greater with the issue at point.

    Adam and Ever were not condemned for “being naked” but because the knowledge of sin entered into their thought process, God did cover their nakedness. They of course could not have lusted, but God knowing they would have children with a sin nature covered their bodies. The covering for their bodies would have been according to how God wanted the Levites covered as God does not change. He does not have 2 standards, but 1 and that standard as mentioned is Jesus Christ.

    Concerning Peter, you are right about what may have been customary (working naked), but when he seen the Lord in His glory, he deemed it to be insufficient. Again their is not a work standard and a presence of God standard…

    Motivation is a huge issue and you are right with the “gold and braid.”

    The analogy of praying not being sinful, but the motive of the Pharisee’s praying is, is not the same as revealing your body with no motive to cause lust in another to lust. Nudity is wrong no matter what the motive, taking the Lord’s name in vain is sin no matter what the motive, bowing down to idols is sin no matter what the motive, etc. Some things are sin just because the Bible tells us their sin.

    As I posted earlier…this is an issue we must take to the Lord in prayer, humble ourselves before the Lord and work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We cannot loose sight of the holiness and righteousness of God and His standards.

  6. Jamie says:

    The scriptures restrict nudity in some situations, but there is not a blanket prohibition on nudity. Nick has shown why “Nudity is wrong no matter what the motive” cannot be true. That would mean all medical-related nudity is sinful, which would require doctors to avoid helping people if help cannot be administered with the patient’s clothes on. Jesus affirmed that love for God and people are the most important commands and the foundation for all morality. Because of that, I do not believe God would not require us to avoid helping the sick, even if nudity is involved.

    In Ex. 20:26, if God meant to require everyone to wear undergarments, I do not believe He would’ve addressed the command only to priests at the altar. He would’ve written a clothing requirement for every person in all circumstances, but that is not a law in the Bible.

    In Lev. 18, God disallowed uncovering certain relatives’ nakedness in the context of active sexual expression. The whole chapter is a distinct contrast to what some believe is God’s standard: not seeing anyone’s nakedness in any context except the nakedness of a singular spouse. It would’ve been much simpler for God to write that standard, but instead, He went to the effort of writing the specific laws we find. I do not believe God would have us add to His laws, only seek to understand them.

    Genesis does not tell us God’s motives in clothing Adam and Eve. Any motives we assign to it are speculation. The same applies to Peter putting his clothes back on when Jesus was near. The text does not tell us Peter’s reasoning, only his actions.

  7. Ronald says:

    @ Jamie, I have not implied nudity is wrong for whatever motive. On the contrary, I stated “motivation is a huge issue.” God gives grace to those in the medical field to not lust and to keep their minds pure. Since I am in the medical field though, I know many non-Christians in the medical field that make sexual explicit comments about patients. Holy Spirit living in the life of a believer gives strength, power and grace to overcome the desires of the flesh (sin) and to accomplish God’s will.

    The question at hand is “should Christians wear bikinis?” The reason for this question was one of causing another to lust. To throw all this other stuff in is taking away and giving excuse to sin as Paul would say “God forbid!” (we would sin that grace would abound). In fact on the contrary Paul, as well as the other epistles teach if we try to find an occasion to sin we are not a child of God, but a reprobate. God’s Word is very clear about giving up ones life to gain eternal life, dying to self and living as Christ would, putting on the new man, etc. If wearing seductive clothing is part of this new life, then then one needs to read God’s Word again and ask for wisdom concerning such issues.

    Every believer is a now a priest in God’s kingdom (James). The priesthood and tabernacle are shadows of what was to come. Without holiness no man will see the Lord (Hebrews). This can only be seen through the priesthood because they were the ones commanded to teach holiness in the Old Testament. God sets principles in His Word.

    You said we are to seek understanding in God’s law. Let us seek understanding in “being holy because He is holy.” What does this mean concerning wearing bikinis?

    These small posts are not conducive to teaching (discipleship). Sometimes principles have to be searched and word studies done to bring understanding. Christians not wearing bikini’s is right on the money concerning God’s holiness. God’s intention after the fall was to cover the body to keep us from sexual impurity, as well as for other purposes. This is clearly a principle in the Holy Bible as well as, not allowing space for one to stumble should or cause one of the least of His to sin should be taught.

    I will add again, we all have to work our salvation out with fear and trembling and stand before a holy and righteous God. We are only fruit judges, Holy Spirit judges the intent of man’s heart.

  8. Jamie says:

    Re: nudity being wrong whatever the motive, I quoted you directly. Please see the next-to-last paragraph in your previous post.

    I agree with you that word studies are necessary. Please see this article (not mine) on lust:

    http://www.fileswap.com/dl/pOLGcVcHCq/Lust,_Erotica,_and_the_Bible.pdf.html

    The Greek and Hebrew words sometimes translated as “lust” are used to convey desire in general, whether good or bad. The forbidden desire referenced in Matthew 5:27-28 is not mere sexual arousal. It is the earnest desire to steal what belongs to another – in this case, another man’s wife. Jesus was expounding upon the 10th commandment: to not covet anything that belongs to one’s neighbor.

    • Ronald says:

      I am not willing to sign up to see the post on the website above. The mindset for “nudity being wrong for whatever motive” would have been pertaining to context of “should Christians wear bikinis” and was not thought out to the point of healthcare. I will be more careful with my typed words. at Mat 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
      Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
      Mat 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
      Mat 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
      Does not sound like covet to me. Sounds like Jesus is talking about lusting after another woman. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…as for me I will stick to knowing this passage is about sexual desire for someone other than your married to. Just wondering where you are getting your teachings from and what is the way to salvation from sin?

      • Jamie says:

        It is not necessary to sign up. Click the “Slow Download” option.

        One of the things I mentioned earlier, and the article addresses, is that in Matt. 5:27-28, Jesus used the same Greek words for “covet” and “wife” as the ancient Greek (ca. 300BC) translation of the Old Testament used for the 10th commandment. That is one reason I believe they address the same thing.

        Another reason is that Jesus did not contradict the scriptures God had already given. He was a Jew who lived and taught under the Law. Jesus would not forbid sexual desire if the sex itself was lawful. I encourage you to read the laws in the Torah where God forbids certain sex activity. Understand what is forbidden for males: stealing someone else’s wife (adultery), sex with close family members, bestiality, and lying with a man as with a woman. That still left a lot of options – far more than many are willing to admit. If a man – married or not – desired a single woman who was not a relative, the Law did not prohibit him from sleeping with her. That is not to say he had no obligations as a result; if she was a virgin under her father’s care, he was obligated to pay the bride price, and he was to marry the girl if her father allowed.

  9. Nick C says:

    @Ronald.

    Where is the basis in Scripture to draw this distinction: “The mindset for “nudity being wrong for whatever motive” would have been pertaining to context of “should Christians wear bikinis” and was not thought out to the point of healthcare.”

    The reasons given in this thread for not wearing a bikini, (not *potentially* causing another to lust or being immodest) can also be applied to a health care provider. And how do you define health care provider? Physician, nurse, physical therapist, massage therapist, accupuncturist? All treat with different modality.

    You also suggest that even some medical providers see patients in a sexual way, but nonetheless, you do not seem to require the same level of modesty in that setting. If there is a different level, then personal motivation and context provides the distinction. Do you believe St Peter was immodest while he was working? There is nothing in the text from which to conclude he was (and I concede he was not) so while he was working. But, St Peter having “stripped for work” is treated matter of factly.

    The argument I am making here is against the attempt to set an objective standard of modesty for N. America, based upon personal preference and dubious science. Differing cultural levels of modesty are dismissed with unsupported broad statements of cultures being sinful or non-Christian. If personal motivation and context provides a distinction, that applies to the clinic, the beach, the home, the sauna.

    @Jamie

    I read the treatise on lust. (which is only a link) I’ll have to read it again in more detail. The author appears to argue that Jesus was explaining the rationale behind the 10th commandment in reference to the 7th? without making either redundant? I’m also taking away (and simplifying) that “lust” (as “desire”) takes on an immoral quality only when one “lusts” after what one cannot “have” i.e. someone else’s spouse or property. Is that your understanding? How would you apply that to the discussion at hand? It does seem to change some of the fundamental perceptions if I’ve reading it correctly.

    • Nick C says:

      My post above re: St Peter, I mistyped. There is nothing in the text to suggest either way regarding him being modest or immodest while fishing. The way the text simply notes he had “stripped for work” in the same matter of fact matter as describing “cast their nets” in my opinion implies he was modest for the work of fishing.

      • Jamie says:

        Nick,

        Thanks for your reply. Yes, I believe that Jesus was pointing out how the 7th and 10th commandments are related.

        Yes, my understanding is that desire takes on an immoral quality only when one has the intent to steal what belongs to someone else – house, wife, servants, cattle, etc. Matthew 5:27-28 is not fundamentally about sex. Intending to steal a wife – whether for sex, good cooking, or anything else – is adultery in the heart.

        How I would apply to the bikini discussion: Some are concerned that if a guy sees a girl in a bikini, it may cause him to have sexual thoughts. I see that as a non-issue because God did not forbid sexual thoughts (or, in many cases, sex itself). He forbade plotting theft.

        Believers in Jesus are new creations. The old has gone. The new has come. Though we might sin on occasion, sin on a large scale is not appealing to a believer. Most Christians don’t go around wishing others were dead, plotting theft, ruining others’ reputations, damaging property, wounding, deceiving, etc. Those things are not constant temptations, and they usually aren’t even things we consider. Yet many Christian guys think that the one area they can’t seem to get a handle on is “lust.” They see it as a constant struggle. Their dilemma should strike us as exceedingly odd. Do we really think that God has given men a genuine distaste for sin in every area… except one? Perhaps the problem is not an incomplete change of heart. Perhaps the problem is a misunderstanding of sexuality and sin.

        Men have been told that it is a sin to look at nudity or even intentionally admire the figure of a woman who is not their wife, and Matthew 5:27-28 is the primary passage given as a reason. If these men understood what Jesus was saying and what He was not, they would be able to throw off an immense weight of false guilt, stand up straight, and lead boldly as the men of God they are.

        • Melissa says:

          Nick,
          Read that verse carefully. Any lustful thought is a sin and your saying that because men have said that it is impossible not to think about it. Women are also making it hard for men as well and I believe that some things you said is right but I believe that the devil wants us to believe that we cant do it but look at Jesus the bible says that he was tempted in every way possible and YET he did NOT SIN!!!! In his mind and also physically He did not sin, we are to strive to be more like Jesus not the people of this world. I feel that we are using that as an excuse to think lustfully and take the bible out of context. The bible is simple but people make it difficult. With God I feel that He gives us wisdom for the bible. And I feel this in my heart only because God is with me and showed me what is right.

          • Melissa says:

            Sorry speaking to jaime not nick

          • Jamie says:

            Hi Melissa, thank you for your reply. I truly appreciate your sincerity and heart for God. I have read the verses extremely carefully. Please see the article link I posted earlier. I agree that lust as Jesus condemned it is sin. I make no excuses for men who would consider breaking up a marriage to take another man’s wife. Some who do not know God would do such an evil thing.

            I also agree that we must keep scripture in context. For this passage and everything else in the New Testament, knowledge of the Old Testament is essential. Until we understand the standards set by God prior to Jesus, we are extremely vulnerable to almost any interpretation of Jesus’ words. A preacher might interpret Jesus in a way that completely disagrees with what God had already said (as many do when discussing Matthew 5:27-28), but unless we know the Old Testament, we might simply nod and say Amen.

          • Melissa says:

            I agree. Thank you Jamie for your input and love for God as well. As a sister in Christ and a woman I see that dressing immodest is wearing a bikini, wearing short dresses, and things like that. I believe it is wrong to wear anything like that at church and I believe that only the husband may see his wife in that way but it depends what the woman thinks of herself and why she is doing it but most women dont say ” Im doing this for God” when we should live for God and do what pleases him and your right when reading the bible we should be careful. God has showed me many times when something is wrong, like in the way women dress but I have a lot to learn so thank you for your input. Strive to be like Jesus everyday. Im praying for your life that it may be filled with much love for our God.

  10. Jamie says:

    Thank you, Melissa! I appreciate your encouragement and prayers.

  11. Nick C says:

    @Jamie & Melissa

    If I’m understanding correctly (and I’m going to assume that “covet another man’s wife” also means “covet another woman’s husband”) there is no immorality in lusting after my own wife if I am married, or a new BMW, or the single woman on the bus next to me (if I am single) but is is immoral if I lust after my neighbor’s BMW, or the woman on the bus happens to have a wedding ring? Or is that an oversimplification?

    @Carla Anne et al

    I’ve used up a lot of space. But I want to restate my position. You are saying it is immodest to appear in a bikini on the beach, or nude in a Finnish sauna, because Scripture says to be modest and also to not cause another trouble. But what in Scripture provides the exception if you are seeing your doctor? There isn’t one. If there isn’t one, then what matters is *why* and *where* someone is wearing or not wearing something, not *what* they are or are not wearing, and I think Scripture supports this position as I’ve indicated above.

    A man must bare his genitals for an hernia exam, but he need not do so to enjoy the beach in N. America. His modesty is therefore determined by the circumstance, not an absolute rule against baring certain body parts.

    Even assuming a “traditional” view contrasting to Jamie’s above, if the Finns are not lustful in the sauna, despite being totally nude, there is no sin and no immodesty, no more so than the man above with his physician.

    Note, I am not disagreeing that certain swimwear could be immodest in N. America, but as I’ve stated, even what may be acceptable by you or me as ‘modest’ in N. America is immodest elsewhere in the world. It is therefore impossible to make an objective measurement of modest vs. immodest. Change the circumstance and what was modest isn’t and vice versa.

    IIRC the the Celts and the Romans argued over how monks ought to shave their heads. I see what to wear at the beach as a similar argument.

  12. Jamie says:

    Nick,

    Thanks for your reply. From what I understand you to say, I think you’re on the right track. A few thoughts for clarification:

    Assuming that “covet another man’s wife” also means “covet another woman’s husband” might be an application in our specific culture, but it is not what Jesus was saying to the original listeners at the time. In biblical times, especially the OT in which Jesus lived and taught, wives were the property of their husbands, much like land, servants, and cattle. Husbands were not the property of wives. The idea of plotting to steal another woman’s husband was not a consideration because the husband did not belong to that other wife. (I am aware of Paul discussing spouses’ mutual claim over each others’ bodies later in scripture. Paul’s words may warrant further research.) So Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 were not originally meant to be taken both ways.

    Regardless of whether a man was married, he could look at a single woman with sexual desire because actually having her was not forbidden and it would not violate a husband’s property. If the woman was still a virgin under her father’s care, sex with her would require payment of the bride price (compensation for devaluing the father’s property) and marriage if the father allowed.

    Although modern Americans view sex very differently, property rights and purity of lineage (being sure that the son who inherits my estate IS in fact MY son) were primary considerations in OT sex laws. This understanding brings illumination to otherwise puzzling differences in the laws – for example, why being discovered having sex with a neighbor’s wife carried the death penalty but having sex with his slave did not. Or why a married man could have sex with multiple women, but a wife could not be found having sex with a man other than her husband. Or why the laws did not address masturbation or female homosexuality at all. The standards for men vs women were not at all equal, but we have to understand them as they were because they are the context in which Jesus spoke. If we don’t, we will unknowingly misunderstand Jesus to teach against the standards God had already established. It should go without saying that we cannot understand scripture in a way that makes God appear to criticize Himself – in this case, Jesus criticizing the Father’s “permissiveness” (as we might see it) in the area of sexuality.

    I’ve read a lot on this subject. The writer of the article I linked to has other resources that are very helpful (though I am not permitted to link to the website here), and the book Divine Sex by Philo Thelos is a pretty comprehensive look at the scriptures that address sex. There are a lot of OT stories and laws that seem very strange from a modern perspective, and many Christians simply ignore them as irrelevant. After reading Divine Sex, most of those passages make a lot of sense, and I see why God included them in scripture.

    • Nick C says:

      Interesting. Although if Jesus “fulfilled” the law, not replaced it, that would also suggest that the old law were no longer applicable, not that a new law “replaced” it but that the point of the law was to prepare for Jesus, and thus its purpose had been served. But I’m not confident in my interpretation.

      Note, if causing another to lust is not a factor, for purposes of the discussion at hand (which I think still necessitates a deeper discussion — wear this/don’t wear that is an oversimplification leading to the logical problems I’ve tried to point out) that still doesn’t change the admonition to act with modesty. One of the problems I see, and why I’ve responded in such detail, is OP and many of the other posters define modesty in terms of preconceived attitudes based on cultural prejudice rather than Scripture.

  13. Leanne says:

    I did not read all the posts here but just wanted to say that I appreciate the work that goes into locating quality websites. I prefer to dress modestly for my sake not the sake of others. I have never been comfortable “letting it all hang out”! I preferred this before I became a Christian and even more now.
    Thank you.

  14. Zack says:

    If the Christian God gave men innate lust, and then required them to overcome it or go to hell, he is hilarious to me.

    • Jamie says:

      Exactly. Creating a man to experience sexual arousal and then threatening him if he does not completely suppress it (in most situations) would be cruel. But God is not cruel, and the scriptures do not forbid arousal. What they forbid is stealing another man’s wife or plotting to do so.

  15. Nick C says:

    @Carla Anne

    Late response to the post above.

    I apologize for the cross posting a reply to your 1/11 post. I overlooked the
    blog threading.

    We are not fundamentally disagreeing. But please consider these three
    points: (obviously there are exceptions.)

    1. I think we agree that the male medical provider has trained himself to see
    his female patient’s body differently. His “normal physiological response” may
    very well be the same in both situations, but his learned response is
    very different. If it weren’t, he could not do his job.

    Consider the pre-colonial tropical male. He has grown up seeing his
    mother’s breasts. Saw her nursing his siblings, saw neighbor women do the same,
    his sisters nurse their own children. He may even remember his own
    suckling. Regardless of his physiological response, he has been trained to view
    the breast when exposed in his everyday life in a non-sexual way **just as the
    medical provder does.** His learned response is the same as the medical
    provider. You accept the years of training of the one, yet easily
    dismiss the generations of training of the other.

    2. We can both imagine a bikini swimsuit which would be immodest on a N.
    American beach. What does that mean to the person wearing it? We can’t know
    for certain, but ultimately if the goal is to “look sexy”, the costume reduces
    the female body to an object of lust to be displayed. One problem I’m trying
    to point out is the long sleeve/knee length skirt also reduces the body to an
    object of lust, this time to be covered up in shame. Both gather attention, I
    contend both are immodest for that reason, and both demeaning under the
    circumstances. Focusing solely on “don’t wear this or that” risks that kind of
    outcome, which I think can be equally damaging to a person, as the
    possibility of causing someone to lust.

    3. The sauna participants also have a learned response, again one that goes
    back *generations*. But even in that setting, there are still standards of
    modesty: a particular body position or a loud conversations become immodest.

    Finally, Ronald has indicated his departure from this discussion. But I do
    take offense to his implication that if he is wrong, he’s only missed out on
    60 years of lust, but if I am wrong I will have to answer for causing others to
    sin, presumably at the peril of my soul.

    Those statements are irresponsible, and have no place in a discussion of faith.

    I appreciate the dialogue. I’m not sure I agree or not with all Jamie’s position,
    but do find it thought provoking. Nor am I arguing about the “right”
    to wear what you want. Again, we fundamentally agree on admonishment to act
    with modesty. I think a subject like this, as simple as it may seem, needs
    to be addressed in much deeper terms. I do agree that we need to look at the
    spirit of the law, which is why I’ve taken such great steps to point out
    inconsistencies. The spirit of the law requires us to also consider where we are and what we
    do. In the clinic, we can’t cover up, but we can avoid, e.g. making the provider uncomfortable
    by our own dignity. A rule can’t do that. Our principles should guide our decision making, not make decisions for us.

  16. rg longmire says:

    The assumption of gawd is amusing.
    Now, modesty I can understand.
    Why can’t a person simply be modest without flaunting gawd or using he/she/it as an excuse?

  17. John says:

    I am a Christian……..and i don’t agree to this…..

    • Melissa says:

      Well John one question, what do you think of when you see a woman wearing a bikini? Do you still think its right if your sister, mother, aunt, or cousin is wearing something like this? Your a guy and be honest with yourself. This is wrong because womens body should be covered, not exposed.

  18. lebza says:

    hi Carlaanne.. I am a bit late to this post but i hope my comments will be useful and offer a different perspective. I live in Botswana and grew up in Zimbabwe, both landlocked countries. So we do not have a swimming culture here since one has to pay to go to a public pool. However, having travelled to othr African countries where there are beaches I have observed a very interesting thing. Very rarely do you see an black African woman in a bikini. In fact, they wear a big tshirt and shorts. You will only see younger women and children wearing bikinis. I guess with modernization has come less modesty in our society. Africans are quite conservative and the idea of walking around half naked is unthinkable to most but I must say the culture is changing as we get more and more influence from western media.

    • Carla Anne says:

      Thanks for connecting on the blog, Lebza! I really appreciate your view on this topic, especially as you are coming from a different culture. I completely agree that much of the world’s culture is being affected by our less modest western culture.

      Blessings, Lebza!

  19. TheScientistWhoBelieves says:

    Women respond to naked bodies just as much as men can. Your “biblical sources” are refuted through science. Sounds like a political mindwashing madness men created in the bible. And the women and men that buy this crock are slaves willingly. What a sad thing religion has created.

    And for the record, this “God” you speak of never ever requires anyone to lower other’s who differ from your views. This is the type of Christianity people stray away from because all you do is dictate dictate dictate through your sexist views. I bet in your opinion, because men cannot control their “lust” it is women’s fault for being raped. Because those men are just “wired” to lust for naked bodies. And when were clothes equivalent to a naked body?

    Just a thought. Take a science class.

    • Carla Anne says:

      TheScientistWhoBelieves, thank you for your comment. But what you say makes no sense at all. The Biblical sources I use are not refuted, but rather are confirmed by science. There is nothing political about my statements. The religion of Christianity stands out in the world for its promotion of rights for women, affirming their high value, and that they are in fact NOT slaves to men. Please read the Bible before you make false statements about an entire religion.

      And… if you have read ANY of the comments I’ve made, you will know that women are NOT responsible for the lust of men, but they are responsible for helping their brothers (which would be the Christian men around them). Never in a million years would it be a woman’s fault if a man raped her. For someone who claims to be a scientist, you sure don’t use the scientific method OR logic OR good reading skills that one might expect.

    • Melissa says:

      Hahahahaha you make me laugh. I understand and ive taken a science class and im not going to argue all I am going to say is no mayter wat God loves u and u should start looking at yourself instead of people. Im tired of people arguing for the wrong reasons and honestly why r u here?? I know that God has impacted ur life in a way and ur sick of christians but wat give u the right to say wat u just said. Enough arguing everyone believes in something and honestly most people around the world believe in a God so ur response is something that u should have never said. Stop looking at others and be the best person u can be. Even if u dont believe in God im praying for u and just remember even if u hate christian, we love u. God bless and hopefully u can see that not everyone is perfect and just because u believe in science doesnt mean ur smarter and better then christians and other religions.

  20. Alix says:

    I absolutely agree! We lived in Uganda for a few weeks last year, and over there breasts are considered tools, and not sexual, but thighs are extremely sexual. I think it should all be covered. I swim in a tshirt and capris.

  21. Nick C says:

    @Alix & @CarlaAnne: I think this re-enforces my point that modesty must be referenced to specific cultural norms, not a fixed standard. If e.g. breasts are not considered sexual in a particular society, why should they be covered ***in that particular society*** if having them uncovered is common and consistent with cultural norms? To date no one has really responded to that proposition. If uncovering your thighs in Uganda is immodest, the Christian should cover the thighs.

    @TheScientistWhoBelieves: IIRC Carla Anne relies upon a particular university study for her position. While I have serious doubts about the overall scientific value of the study, (as far as I can tell, a very small demographic was tested: college age, heterosexual, American males, and as far as I can tell predominantly white upper class — and the demographic questionnaire presented a rather narrow choice of women’s role as a baseline for “benevolent” or “hostile” sexism– but sexism regardless) nonetheless she does rely upon science. Have you read the other posts in this thread? The debate began as a discussion of modesty (and granted from the position that we should act with modesty) the topic of lust became relevant that discussion.

    If as you say, science has refuted her position (on modesty and lust, and the male response to the female body) I’d be interested to learn more.

  22. Alicia says:

    I’m 14 and I wear a tankini. But recently my mom has give in me the option to wear a modest bikini.

    Where I live almost every girl wears a very small bikini. Even the girl leaders in my church wear modest bikinis. If I am on a beach where there are 5-10 girls around me wearing close to thong bikinis (friends at school). And I am wearing a modest bikini (No cleavage, butt covered). Will that random guy be thinking about me when some one next to me has the perfect body and wearing close to nothing. I really don’t think that is likely.

    The reason I want to wear a bikini is because it is so much more convenient. Its almost impossible to find a tankini the right size (I’m 5’7 and size 5 juniors) cute, and cheap. Most tankinis are $40-50. I have to use my own money and I’m not that rich. Where I live girls go through swim suits in less than a month. So to find one that requires all that monthly, I usually don’t go swimming because I don’t have a swim suit.

    I have been praying about it a lot, and I feel like it is necessary to get a modest bikini. I have found some really cute ones for less then $25. But I am still a little bit uncertain.

    • Carla Anne says:

      Alicia, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you are thinking about this issue. Good for you! I have a challenge for you… but before I tell you what it is, let me show you what I see.

      You gave me lots of reasons to wear a bikini… but not one of them had anything to do with what God says in His Word or about living according to the holy life He has called us to. What I heard you say is that fashion is very important to you, that you are not satisfied or content with the same swim suit for more than one month, that you are trying to keep up with the standards of the people around you, and that there is still something inside you that is holding you back. Did I get that right?

      If you are able to purchase a $15 swimsuit every month that is cute, then you are able to purchase a swimsuit that is completely cute AND modest for $45 and wear it for 3 months. Same cost!!! or better yet, wear it for a year and save money, look great and be modest!

      My challenge is this: 1) Find verses in the Bible in favor of you wearing a bikini (they won’t be about bikinis, but about permission to do what every one else around you is doing, or about grace, or about freedom), find verses in the Bible not in favor of you wearing a bikini (again, it will be about the principle not the actual topic). 2) Then… ask your grandparents what they think. If your grandparents are not Christians or not around anymore, ask an older lady at your church. 3) Then for the third part, try writing a letter to the man you might meet and marry some day. Explain to your imaginary future husband why it’s okay for you to wear a bikini but why you won’t let him see you in your underwear. And of course… keep praying about it! I think the Holy Spirit is already speaking to you which is why you are a bit uncertain.

      Then do me a favor and tell me what you decide!!! :) I’d love to hear how this challenge works for you!

      • Alicia says:

        You are right about me I am really into fashion. But the reason for all the girls going through swimsuits so fast is because we wear them so often. I go to the beach at least 3-4 times a week with my friends. The mixture of the sand and waves causes swim suits to wear out and stretch out very easily. Changing a swimsuit monthly because of fashion would a bit ridiculous. Sorry I should have been a little more clear.

        Thank-you for pointing out to me that I need to back up my reasoning more with the bible. I will try your challenges, and right now I am kind of leaning toward sticking with a tankini. I know what my bible time will be about for the next few weeks. Everything that I have read in the past is usually about not tempting your brother in Christ.

        I will definitely let you know my decision :) Thanks again for your help.

        • Carla Anne says:

          Alicia, I’m so grateful for your mature response! I look forward to hearing your decision!

          In regards to good quality swim suits. As a family we have been in the pool every day of the week, sometimes more for more than a year, and my daughters and I each have just one swimsuit that has lasted over a year. If you are looking for a good quality swimsuit that won’t stretch out, get wrecked by chlorine, sun or sand, look for one that is 100% polyester. You never know what kind of great suit you can find… especially if you pray about it and ask the Lord to guide you to the right place to shop! :) Blessings! I’ll look forward to your answer.

  23. Jaime says:

    You mentioned shrieking in getting dressed and a dad or brother comes into the room, but if I am in my underwear and bra and that happens I usually do not shriek, only if i am in the process of taking clothes off/putting them on. Usually if i am at the beach I am not in that process and I already have the bathing suit on. Secondly, I think old men/ young men who lust are going to anyway whether I wear a bikini or a full body suit. If i am young why not show off what I have worked hard at by eating well and working out? If the bikini is modest i think it should be okay. This is my opinion and I like what you have to say I am just trying to figure out what the right thing to do is.

    • Carla Anne says:

      Jaime, thanks for your opinion. One of the issues is also pride. When the New Testament women were told to dress modestly, not to have braided hair and so on… it was because they were showing off. So your argument that you deserve to show off what you have worked hard at, shows that you are more concerned about your appearance than your character. A strong and godly character willingly lays down her rights to avoid being a stumbling block to others. A bikini is not modest… there are some modest two piece bathing suits, but not bikinis. The right thing to do is to be more concerned about the struggle some of the men around you have with lust and sexually impure thoughts, than to be proud about your appearance. It’s good to have a good appearance and work out and eat well… but if it’s for the purpose of showing off, you have to re-evaluate whether or not your life is geared toward pleasing people or God. God should be our only audience. He should be the only One we try to impress.

      By showing off your body, you are drawing attention to that rather than the beautiful heart you have. And regarding those men who are going to lust anyway… yes, they might. We can never change that, and we are not responsible for their action. But we ARE responsible to put good options in front of them.

      If you had a recovering alcohol over for dinner, I would hope you would care enough about him to serve him milk, juice or water. Anything non-alcoholic! If he brings his own bottle of wine or beer or other liquor, or gets drunk after he leaves your house.. .that’s his issue. But if you HAD served him alcohol and he got drunk, wouldn’t you be at least partly responsible? Of course. Could he say no? Yes, he could, but it’s nearly impossible. When we do that we are acting as if we are on Satan’s team, trying to pull him down, making it hard for him to succeed.

      Is that really the kind of godly behaviour we should have? No. It is the same with men who struggle with lust. By offering your body as a visual image for him to lust over, you are not helping him in the pursuit of holiness but rather, acting against godliness, and making it difficult for him to choose well.

      I have teenage sons who attempt to live pure lives. You have no idea how often they come home from an event and are disgusted with how the girls have dressed. In order to maintain purity they are drawn to the young ladies whose bodies are covered up so they can have an actual fun conversation instead of being distracted by their bodies. The girls they are drawn to are the ones who respect themselves and the guys around them by covering their bodies. Wouldn’t you rather want to have guys attracted to you because of your character and the way you respect them than for the body you have?

      It’s something to think about.

    • Jamie says:

      Jaime,

      I don’t think you should worry about wearing bikinis. The Bible does not forbid people from thinking sexual thoughts. If you research the Greek text in Matthew 5:27-28 (the primary scripture cited in discussions about “lust”), you will find that Jesus was simply paraphrasing the 10th commandment: You shall not covet (desire with intent to steal) your neighbor’s wife, house, servants, cattle, etc. It has little or nothing to do with sex or thinking about sex.

      http://www.fileswap.com/dl/pOLGcVcHCq/Lust,_Erotica,_and_the_Bible.pdf.html – Use the slow download option to read the article for free.

      Also consider the Shulammite girl in Song of Solomon. Conservative scholars believe she was either dancing naked or wearing see-through garments. Her lover is not the only one watching her, for her friends call after her, asking her to return so that they can gaze upon her (SOS 6:13). Far more sensual than sunbathing in a bikini, here we have scripture portraying a sexual dance (and those enjoying watching it) in a positive light. The Esther story has a similar level of sensuality.

      Enjoy being beautiful. Enjoy the fact that others enjoy your beauty. If guys experience sexual excitement when they see you, it does NOT mean they are perverts, and it does NOT mean they won’t appreciate the rest of who you are. It’s similar to when you’re married. A good husband will crave your body AND appreciate you for the person you are. It’s not either/or.

      • Melissa says:

        Sorry jamie but read the whole bible…yes in that time it was different but did God specifically say that those women were able to do that….your reason is invalid…Look at God comands and not how the people in that time were….you should look at others but better yourself for the Lord:) if you read the whole bible and not just a verse you will see that God does forbid sexual thoughts…many people often mistake the bibles verses but we are all learning but just here to give u these verses

        Mark 7:20-23 ESV /

        And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

        Galatians 5:19-21 ESV /

        Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

        Matthew 5:28 ESV /

        But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart

        • Jamie says:

          Hi Melissa, thank you for your reply. In response to “did God specifically say that those women were able to do that,” I believe that if God paints something in a positive light in His scripture that it would be an acceptable thing to do. The SOS reference seems self-evident to me.

          I encourage you to read the article I linked regarding Matthew 5:28. Understanding the Greek terms makes all the difference. I also encourage you to investigate the Greek for words like sensuality and orgies. Simply reading an English interpretation of scripture from a modern Western perspective will not give an accurate understanding of scripture (on this topic as well as others).

          I agree, God forbids sexual immorality. Sexual sin is very real. I also echo your encouragement to read the whole Bible, especially the laws in which God defines specifically WHAT is sexually immoral and the testimony of the OT which demonstrates and reinforces those standards. Despite what might be said on a Sunday morning, sexual immorality is not defined as “everything sexual except that between one man and one woman within marriage.” For example, God did not forbid polygamy, and God described Himself as having two wives. See Jer. 3:6-10 and Jer. 31:31-32.

          Some might suggest that things changed in the NT, but the NT does not contain a new set of rules. Both Paul and Jesus appealed to the scriptures of the time (the OT), indicating that neither of them saw their teaching as contradictory to it or as changing the moral standards God had already established. That makes sense, as we believe the Bible is a unified message from God who does not change.

          • Melissa says:

            I believe that the bible is clear in Matthew 5:28 and you should not change what the bible clearly says and regarding woman dancing almost naked…what do you think about strippers?? Is that correct then?? Bikinis and mini dress were all worn by stripers and prostitues and I believe that the bible does say things for a reason but my point is dont look at the historical stories when you want to look at what YOU want to do. Mamy people excuse themselves using something in the bible and I read that article and for me…what the bible CLEARLY says goes…for me I will not tempt a man. When I am married my husband is the only one to look at me and like I said before the bible is CLEAR and I cannot find anything that justifies what you believe so I cannot trust it. I read my bible and I know the truth:)

          • Jamie says:

            If I understand you correctly, you believe Matthew 5:28 says that it’s a sin to look at a woman with sexual desire. Please note that in the translation you quote, there is no exception for looking at one’s own wife. Is that truly the clear message of the passage – that ALL sexual looking is sin? I believe (as I expect you do) Jesus wasn’t talking about looking at one’s own wife, but should we add an exception that is not in the text because the exact wording doesn’t actually match what we believe to be true?

          • Melissa says:

            You didnt answer any of my questions but im not here to argue…I believe that people make excuses to change the bibles ACTUAL meaning and I have researched this subject and studied it at school and church for years and this is what i am going to school for:)…your reason is based on what YOU want to hear…if u want to wear a bikini by all means…if u want to dance naked ok but I doubt God wants his children to do wat the world does…you cannot have one foot in the world and one with God. Im praying for you and I will not continue arguing when it is absolutely pointless. May God bless you always:)

          • Silas says:

            Jamie I truly respect how much you are trying to figure out the truth without distorting it with bias and peer pressure from those around you. However I feel I must point out some flaws your line of reasoning.
            If God paints something in a positive light then that is truly a good thing. However often those things rely on specific circumstances. God paints in a positive light the way the Israelites went and burned down pagan cities and killed all the men, women, AND children, leaving no survivors.
            Understanding Greek terms can be useful. However you must understand that God did not forget that the Bible would be translated into English and He did not allow it to become distorted to the point where the message becomes altered severely. If God cannot protect the foundation of faith in Him from being distorted by translation then what kind of God is that?
            God DOES forbid polygamy.
            But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. —1 Corinthians 7:2
            Jeremiah 3:6-10 is a metaphor. Surely Israel as a whole did not go to the hilltops and commit literal adultery. Since this situation cannot be literal it is most likely metaphorical. This is in reference to the altars made to other gods on hilltops across Israel.
            Even if you take Jeremiah 31:31-32 literally (which you cannot since it is a metaphor like Jeremiah 3:6-10) you cannot claim with this verse that God married two ‘people’. It states that Israel broke his covenant which would be the equivalent of sexual immorality in a literal marriage. God gives permission for divorce in such situations. Therefore He never had two ‘wives’ even if you take that verse literally. Which you shouldn’t.
            True, the OT and NT are not contradictory. That means that in the NT if someone says that marriage is to be kept between one man and one woman and that sex should not occur anywhere else then this must be in line with the OT or else the bible is contradictory (which we know it is not).

            P.S. I really respect that you have taken a stance more or less against the current. I agree with you that if a man has decided he wants to lust he will lust and a burkha could not stop him. However, if a man struggles with greed and you leave a $100 bill on your front step can you really blame him for stealing it? Or do you have to share some amount of the blame? Thank you for your time. :D

          • Silas says:

            Jamie, Matthew 5:28 states that you should not have lust in your heart for any woman. Lust is not something that should exist, even in marriage. The feeling two spouses have for each other is not lust. It is love. Lust is a more barbaric sensation. Rape, kidnappings, porn, and prostitution are the product of lust. fulfillment, joy, selflessness, self sacrifice, and protectiveness are the products of love (although I’m sure I’ve missed a few). A marriage built on lust (physical, chemical, and mental desire for sex) is sure to fail as soon as difficulties occur. A marriage built on love will last until death.

          • Jamie says:

            Melissa,

            It’s disappointing, thought not surprising, when someone with a different understanding of scripture is accused of selfishly trying to justify what they want to do. That’s not fair to say (or true).

            Neither of us answered the other’s questions. It wasn’t just me. Though I expect my perspective would be obvious from the scriptures I referenced. But I agree that you and me continuing to discuss this probably would not be productive. Take care.

          • Melissa says:

            I believe you are correct Silas. I love the way you put it:D and jamie im sorry if you believe that im trying to attack you but im going with what you put in the first message “If i am young why not show off what I have worked hard at by eating well and working out?” I dont feel like i was trying to judge or attack and i feel that your first message made it clear. Thank you Silas :) I believe that is what the bible said May God bless you always♥

          • Jamie says:

            Silas,

            Thank you for your reply. And THANK YOU for being respectful and recognizing that I seek the truth. I greatly appreciate that.

            I see what you’re saying about God preserving His message. I would’ve thought that to be correct as well, but scripture itself testifies that its message can become distorted and altered severely. Jeremiah 8:8 says “How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie.”

            You say lust should not exist, even in marriage, but you refer to lust as physical, chemical, and mental desire for sex. Are you saying we shouldn’t strongly desire sex or thoroughly enjoy it, even in marriage?

            I agree that the Jeremiah verses are a metaphor, but do you believe God made a sinful metaphor about himself?

            1 Cor. 7:2 – “because of the whoredom let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her proper husband” – Allowing monogamy does not mean polygamy is sinful. Retroactively applying a NT verse to the OT in a way that contradicts what the OT already said or paints the greatest saints as perverts is not a good way to interpret scripture IMO. If 1 Cor. 7:2 means polygamy is a sin, that contradicts 1 Kings 15:5: “David did that which is right in the eyes of Jehovah, and turned not aside from all that He commanded him all days of his life — only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” David had a lot of wives. If that meant he was very sinful sexually, scripture would not say He followed God all the days of his life. It also wouldn’t single-out David’s one-time sin of adultery, ignoring the long-term “sin” of polygamy. Also, God wouldn’t claim to be the source of David’s multiple wives in 2 Sam. 12:8 if polygamy was a sin. (That chapter also contrasts David’s sin of adultery with God’s gift of multiple wives, showing that polygamy is not equivalent to adultery.)

          • Jamie says:

            Hi Melissa,

            Thank you. I see the mixup. Jaime and I are not the same person. I was originally responding to what she wrote.

          • Silas says:

            Jamie, Jeremiah 8:8 is referring to people who distort the Bible. Not people who write the Bible and put lies in it. If we are to believe the Bible has any lies in it then how do we know that Jeremiah 8:8 is not a lie? how can we trust anything in the Bible? It is either ALL true or ALL questionable.
            I am not saying sex should not be enjoyed or desired. However lust is not the only cause for wanting sex. Lust is selfish desire for sex, wanting sex only to fulfill one’s own needs for sexual fulfillment. Love is selfless. Love does not always result in sex. It does not require sex. Love is a much greater thing. Love means doing anything for someone else. Jesus’ death on the cross was the ultimate form of love. If two people love each other and are married they will likely want to have sex with each other. Thus it is a mutual means by which to show love. However some people might not care for sex. Their partner might and they might have sex regardless of their own wants. That is love. And it is also not impossible for two people to be married and have little or no desire for sex other than to reproduce. That doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
            I explored the metaphor and showed that even IF it were to be taken literally it still does not disobey any of God’s rules on marriage as we understand them. At no single time did he have 2 wives in those metaphors. He WAS in a covenant with Israel but Israel broke the covenant thus releasing God from any promises he made in that covenant. So He made a new covenant with Judah. Kind of like re-marrying after divorcing a spouse for adultery.
            Uriah the Hittite died because David had lust in his heart for Bethsheba. Even if you replace the word lust with covet, David was still committing sin by coveting another man’s wife. It is likely that 1 Kings 15:5 is exaggerating a little since we know other times during which David displeased God. In deuteronomy it states that the King of Israel is not to have many wives.
            Samuel 12:8 uses an expression “delivered your master’s wives into your arms.” A wife was considered a man’s most valued possession. This expression practically means that those who considered themselves David’s masters were forced to surrender everything they had to him.

            I don’t claim to have all the answers to all the questions. Most of the answers I have given here I was able to come up with a in a few minutes using an online Bible and reading the context of each verse considered. You also have to consider the writing style of the time and culture and what point they are trying to get across. Now, I mean no offense but, it seems that you are either looking into some bias or erroneous sources or commentaries on the Bible, or you are trying to make the verses say something they don’t. It is good sometimes to try and make a verse say something people don’t often think it says and then see if it fits into the rest of scripture. However just at a glance the verses you’ve given me say things very differently when put into context.

            This has all been a little off-topic. The question we should be considering is, is it ok to wear a bikini. I tend to agree with the general consensus and Carla. It depends a little on the culture you live in but in western/north american cultures I would say that bikinis are not modest by the Bible’s standards. If your goal in wearing them is to “show off” then your motivation is certainly in the wrong place. 1 Timothy 2:9 and 1 Peter 3:3 both talk about outward beauty. Outward beauty is not something you should seek. At least, not as a priority. And if there is any chance that wearing a bikini will cause christian men around you to stumble (even those who are trying hard not to) then it should probably take priority over any concerns you have about your outward beauty.

          • Jamie says:

            Silas,

            I do not believe that God gave lies in the original scripture texts. What I’m talking about are the scribes who were copyists of scripture. It seems God is accusing them of changing things from the original when they copied the text so that what people heard as “the word of God” is not what God said. That practice continues today as translators render text interpretively instead of literally, frequently inserting theological bias instead of just presenting what the scriptures literally say. It may not always be intentional, but it happens.

            There are many, many examples. Take scriptures you and I have discussed: For 1 Cor. 7:2, you quoted a version that says each man “should” have his own wife. In contrast, I quoted one that says “let” each man have his own wife. “Should” sounds like an obligation (maybe a sin issue, depending on perspective), while “let” sounds like an allowance (definitely not a sin issue, simply God being kind to us). The implications are different, but Paul didn’t write two versions of the same letter, so which is correct?

            Or take 2 Sam. 12:8. You quote a version that says the wives were delivered into David’s “arms.” Other versions say “bosom” or “care.” The three words don’t mean the same thing, so which is the literal translation, if any are? I tend to see it as “bosom” because 1.) that seems to be how the word is translated in most of the verses where it is used (see http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/2436.htm) and 2.) the whole analogy of v1-9 is about sex. Nathan says that David had a lot of sheep he could’ve “fixed for dinner” but he took Uriah’s only lamb and “fixed it for dinner.” (I’m using quotes for a figure of speech, not quoting a verse.) WHAT did David DO when he “fixed Bathsheba for dinner?” Obviously, he had sex with her. One of the main points of the story is that David already had a lot of sex partners because God gave them to him. He didn’t need to take someone else’s wife. If he had wanted more, he should’ve simply asked God. Polygamy does not violate any of God’s laws, so David could have had sex with many wives and still been an upright man of God.

            The scriptures I quoted about God being married to Israel and Judah look to me like he was married to both at the same time (not a conflict with His Law) and divorced Israel for unfaithfulness while lamenting that Judah didn’t heed the warning that Israel’s divorce should’ve provided. What scriptures demonstrate the timing of the marriages / divorce, leading you to believe that the marriages were sequential and not simultaneous?

            You say the Bible is either all true or all questionable, but you also say it’s likely 1 Kings 15:5 is exaggerating. (?) Again, if God felt the need to address short-term sexual sin (adultery) in that verse, surely he would’ve mentioned bigger, long-term sexual sin if polygamy was indeed sin. It would be like scripture saying a guy was great except for the one time he slandered his wife in public… while neglecting to mention that he beats her regularly. Not only would scripture be strangely focusing on the smaller offense, it would be mistaken because this man would not be a great guy at all.

            Folks in almost any theological discussion could say the opposing viewpoint is taking scripture out of context. No need to suggest I’m doing that. Please allow your points to speak for themselves.

            Agreed, we haven’t been talking about lust directly, but I believe it’s all related. Many people’s understanding of lust is that Jesus said it was wrong to merely think about doing things that God’s Law didn’t forbid people from actually doing… just a few verses after Jesus said he supported God’s Law (Matt. 5:17-19, 27-28). One of my main points is that we can trust God to have adequately defined sexual sin for His people long before Jesus. If we see that God’s Law didn’t forbid certain sex acts, and we see the people God praised doing those things with no word of correction from God, I believe we can be confident that those things are not inherently sinful. If that’s not true, if we canNOT trust the testimony of such a big part of the Bible, I see that as a fundamental roadblock to accurately understanding scripture. In the area of sex and lust, many people can’t accept that God’s Law didn’t forbid as much as they thought. They don’t find OT laws against many things they believe are sin, but they still believe those things are sin. In that case, it’s very tempting to look for NT verses to fill in the gaps where the OT seemed to let even the most righteous saints get away with sin. That approach quickly becomes an unintentional accusation against God that He really didn’t define sin very well in the first place.

          • Silas says:

            If translators were allowed to add remove and render the writings of the Bible then how can we be certain of the validity of anything we have in our bibles today? Surely God, who created the Heavens and Earth, made the sun stand still, and struck such fear into his enemies that they obey him without question, can make certain that his word to us is left unaltered.

            God said let there be light when he created light. He was not saying light should be allowed, he was commanding light to come forth. Thus both translations have the same meaning. Should, and let in the case of this context mean the same thing.

            The versions that say bosom are often older-english versions. In these translations the word bosom has no sexual meaning unless in a sexual context. Since the other two translations mentioned suggest a meaning closer to the surrendering of wives (the meaning I had proposed) and the translation with bosom is capable of having the same meaning it is only logical to assume they are all correct. Also note that the analogy was not about sex. It was about greed. There are many things listed that God gave David other than wives. They list his gold, his power, and his house. This means it was clearly not just about sex. It was about greed.

            Having sex with many wives is not what an upright person does. 1 Timothy 3:2 says that a bishop must be sober, righteous, a man with ONE wife. Having multiple wives is as much a sin as being drunk.

            The verses referring to God being married to Israel and Judah are entirely metaphorical anyways. I am tired of going back to these verses. The word marriage in Hebrew literally refers to a life-long promise. Usually it is in reference to an alliance between two nations or, most commonly, the uniting of two families. And both Israel and Judah were God’s chosen people. When God made the original covenant they were the same nation. It would be like marrying someone and then they develop multiple personality disorder.

            God’s metaphor would not have even been a “sinful” metaphor even if you would assume that he was “married’ to both nations at the same time since he originally made the covenant when they were one country.

            Daniel 4:16 “LET his mind be changed from that of a man and LET him be given the mind of an animal, till seven times pass by for him.” Does that sound like God is telling them to allow a man to be like an animal? Or is it a command? This use of the word “let” is consistent throughout the Bible. From Genesis to Revelations.

            When I say a verse in the bible is exaggerating I’m not saying the words are false. If a mother’s son comes in the house after school and says “I COULD EAT A HORSE” does the mother have trouble understanding the truth behind these words? Surely her son is not that hungry. But at the same time his words are not false. It’s an expression. A literary device. The Bible is full of literary devices. Metaphors, parables, exaggerations, expressions, stories, narrations, etc. All the Bible is true but that doesn’t mean everything is strictly literal.

            Saying a man is righteous except that one time he slandered his wife while neglecting to mention that he beats hist wife is not the same as saying a man is righteous except for the time he had a man killed and neglecting to say he took two wives. Killing is the among the most abominable sins.

            I prefer to let the Bible speak for itself rather than grab a piece of it and make it speak for me. When you use a verse you have to figure out what the context was. Not just what was being said, but why was it being said, what was the situation, what was the culture like, how does it apply today. So far (and I’ve looked, believe me) I’m yet to find a single verse in the bible that suggest God was ok with polygamy and yet I’ve found several that suggest polygamy was sinful.

            Matthew 5:27 clearly states that looking at a woman lustfully is committing adultery. He said in verse 17 that he came not to abolish but fulfill the law. He came to remove misconceptions in the law. Things like the extreme legalism on the sabbath. This is why he gives a lecture right after verse 20 about all kinds of things people used to think about the laws and how they are actually supposed to think of them. For example, you have heard that it was said “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” but I tell you, do not resist an evil person. Did Jesus just change the law? Or did he make clear the truth that had been misconceived.

            The laws that appear to be new in the NT are actually clarification of laws from the OT. The NT isn’t wrong anywhere it appears to disagree with the OT and the OT isn’t obsolete anywhere it appears to disagree with the NT. Besides. If Jesus says looking at a woman with lust is adultery then who are we to argue with Him. He is the Son of God and He will judge all who disobeyed Him.

          • Jamie says:

            Silas,

            If 1 Timothy 3:2 applies to every person, despite the fact that Paul wrote it as requirements specifically for overseers (NOT the whole church), and if Paul was talking about sin issues in his list of requirements, then we must conclude it is a sin for any Christian to be unable to teach (assuming we are consistent in how we treat the different items in Paul’s list).

            If 1 Corinthians 7:2 is a command for each man to have his own wife, then not only does it forbid polygamy, it also forbids remaining single. That’s the same exegetical problem that occurs when Genesis 2:24 is cited as a prohibition of polygamy. As we know from other scriptures, remaining single is not a sin.

            “If translators were allowed to add remove and render the writings of the Bible then how can we be certain of the validity of anything we have in our bibles today?” – YES. That is EXACTLY my point. The Bible was not written in English. It is translated into English and other languages by human beings. No human is perfect or unbiased. To be certain one’s understanding of scripture is sound, one must consult the original Greek and Hebrew texts.

            “Surely God, who created the Heavens and Earth, made the sun stand still, and struck such fear into his enemies that they obey him without question, can make certain that his word to us is left unaltered.” — I showed you the scripture where God Himself accuses scribes of altering His words. If God didn’t stop it from happening then, we can’t be certain he stops it from happening now.

            Here’s a detailed study on biased translation practices as they relate to verses that concern nudity:
            http://thebiblicalnaturist.com/articles/Squeamish_Translating_-_Compiled_-_Matthew_Neal.pdf

            For a comprehensive look at the Bible on the topic of sexuality, including extensive consideration on the issue of polygamy, please read the book Divine Sex by Philo Thelos.

          • Silas says:

            In 1 Timothy 3 there are a list of qualifications. Some are obviously job related. If you are going to hire a teacher you must make the sure the teacher can teach. However I do not see how the person’s marriage has anything to do with the job. Therefore it must be part of the qualification for righteousness. Besides the verse I referred to was 1 Timothy 3:12 “A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and household well”. Notice it says “wife” not “wives”.

            You are correct. It is not a command. However notice that it does not say “wives” in either passage. It also says that each woman should have her own husband. It does not say that each woman should share a husband with other women. This implies strongly that each woman is to have her own husband that has no other wives.

            Humans wrote the original bible as well. So how do we know they didn’t mess up somewhere? Simple, God had a hand in it. So when the Bible was written did God just say “well it’s your thing now, if you wreck it or translate it you’ll just have to figure out another whole language to read it properly. I only really wanted greek speakers to know what I was talking about anyway.”? I think God is perfectly capable of communicating with us in every single language. The Bible, I think, was written for ALL people, not just the ones who could speak ancient greek or the ones who lived during the time it was written. God didn’t forget that it would be translated into English which would become one of the most common languages in the would while the greek and hebrew languages practically disappear in comparison. To be certain of one’s own understanding of the text you only need the holy spirit and perhaps some people more learned and wise than yourself to consult for confirmation. You don’t need to learn Greek or Hebrew.

            You read the words “lying pen of scribes” but what you hear is “altered scriptures”. You are putting words in there that do not exist. Jeremiah 8 is referring to the way scribes (and later it mentions prophets and priests) are taking advantage of their ability to actually read the scriptures by deceiving people. It does not suggest they actually altered it. Even if they did, do you think God could not find some way to destroy the false passages or restore the ones that had been thought destroyed?

            I’m sorry but that “detailed study” doesn’t look very reliable. It seems like one person went and did a few google searches and found a website that helps find greek words int he bible and now they think they’re an expert who has uncovered some big conspiracy to make nudity seem sinful. The fact of the matter is, there have been many tests and studies done by non-bias organizations (even atheist organizations) to see how accurate the Bible is compared to the oldest copy we have. They have found a few grammatical errors, however these errors were written off as necessary in order for the translation to make any sense in English. The message remains the same.

            I looked up Philo Thelos and the book you recommended. I couldn’t find any biography or anything on the author. The book itself sounds like something made to sell in western culture. It says “you can be a christian and still do all the stuff christians say is wrong.” It’s becoming a more common message all the time. Please don’t let yourself get fooled by false teachers.

          • Silas says:

            And I just found Philo’s other book “God is not a homophobe”. This book claims that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. You should really look for some more credible sources.

          • Jamie says:

            Silas,

            When someone says something like, “I do not see how ____. Therefore it must be ____” (first paragraph of your previous reply), I think: wait a second, truth is not dependent on whether someone sees it. Everyone has blind spots.

            I recommended resources that would provide solid, biblical insight into these issues. You dismissed them without considering the evidence they offer, even using quotes to belittle my description of one of them. If you’re not willing to seriously consider scriptural evidence that doesn’t support what you already believe, I don’t think there’s anything else for me to say in our discussion.

          • Silas says:

            Jamie,

            When you want to argue with sound reasoning you must look at likely options. Find out which ones are impossible, which ones make the least amount of sense, and finally choose which one makes the most sense in order to decide what is safe to assume. I don’t see how a man’s marriage is related directly to his ability to teach others. Therefore it makes more sense that this was not a qualification based on his ability to do the job but rather on his moral lifestyle, which would be equally important since he would be working within the church.

            Everyone has blind spots. Some people, however, simply refuse to see the truth. There are many wise people who have commented on this article, the auther herself I would consider wise. However you refuse to heed any of their rebukes and instead you prefer to follow books not inspired by the Lord by rather by man. These books you consider “solid, biblical insight”. These books were written by one man. The bible was translated by many, and was inspired by God, yet you think there are lies in the bible? And not in these books written by a single man who you don’t even know?

            Ecclesiastes 7:5 “It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.”

            I did not “dismiss them without considering the evidence they offer”. I read the introduction, prologue, and most of the first chapter before getting sick of the blatant lies and manipulation of scriptures. So I decides, maybe this author is right and I am wrong. Maybe he is a very wise, learned man who had to simplify his research to make a book out of it. So I looked for a biography on the man to get a better idea of who he is. I found no biographies. I did find his other book, which teaches an absolute lie about the Bible. I recommend you burn the books you have that are written by this man. He may very well want to write the truth, but from what I’ve seen (and I did a fair amount of reading up on him and both his books) his books are full of fallacies and lies.

            I have considered EVERY SINGLE PIECE of “scriptural evidence” you have given me. This last piece of “evidence” you are referring to is obviously the book “divine sex”. That is not scripture and it is not evidence. If YOU are not willing to attempt supporting your doctrine with ACTUAL scripture that actually supports your stance then I will continue to consider the scriptures you give me.

            I feel at this point I might have been wrong before. Either you don’t truly seek truth, or you are so blinded by your own desires and ideas of right and wrong that you can not help but project it onto the scriptures you read. Either way I strongly recommend you talk about this with a respectable and wise pastor church leader of some kind. Someone who can confirm the legitimacy of the books you have read, or who can show you the flaws in a way you understand.

            I apologize if any of this offends you. I refuse to stand by and allow a brother or sister in Christ to be lead astray by false teachings.

      • Melissa says:

        I believe that Carla Anne is right…u shouldnt look at people for guidance but look for Christ to guide you instead. What does Romans 12:1-2 say, do not be conformed to this world. Be the best you can be…dont look at people and take the bad but look at the good and take only that.:) praying for you:)

        • Melissa says:

          Then I am terribly sorry and I do repect your opinion…its kinda hard when your not facing the person then when your typing. I love that your trying to find the truth and I hope you do. May God bless you♥ and may you always have Him in your heart and doing what pleases Him♥

  24. MITCH says:

    A man can not simply turn off his internal wiring to procreate because of the fear of “God”. It is a physiolocal response to a stimulus and there is nothing wrong with that nor should ge have to apologize or feel guilt. It does more for a women’s confidence to feel desired by the opposite sex then feel shameful for wearing a socially acceptable piece of attire in an otherwise conservative country such as the US. I think your perspective is a unquie one. I am sitting at the public poor with my 12 year old daughter and dozens of happy people wearing a bathing suit that fits there confidence levels, out of the 20 women who are 40 years old…. 5 of them have binkinis on…. My guess is the other 20 it has nothing to do with religious views rather then image issues from reading trash magazines…. Or maybe the bible? Both do more harm then good.

    • Melissa says:

      I feel that yes…God made men like that but it does not men can just look and think sexually…all men and women can contol themselves and whether u believe this is right or wrong…that is all up to u in how u read the bible…I do believe wearing bikinis, short dresses, and shorts shorts is wrong. I guess as a woman and this is only me…I feel offended as a woman seeing women degrade themselves and their bodies. Yes maybe it depends on a cultural thing but people do put excuses to do certain things and to think about certain things just because “o im a man or woman and its natural”. Many people in this world dont want to be a part of religious way cuz they dont want to change or they dont agree with what the bible says. I saw this video and this video really changed my mindset when I dressed immodestly..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhtjS7UIcUw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

      And I leave you with this modesty in the dictionary says that
      1. Having or showing a moderate estimation of one’s own talents, abilities, and value.
      2. Having or proceeding from a disinclination to call attention to oneself; retiring or diffident.
      .3. Observing conventional proprieties in speech, behavior, or dress.
      And the last and most important one in my opinion is

      4.modest - not offensive to sexual mores in conduct or appearance decent - conforming to conventions of sexual behavior; “speech in this circle, if not always decent, never became lewd”

      I think people are beginning to judge and are trying so hard to be right and I was guilty of it as well but what matters here is what God commands and I strongly believe that in Timothy it says God wants a woman to dress in respectful apparel and to dress modest:)♥

    • Melissa says:

      Mitch, you are saying that what God would allow this?? and many people make the same excuse. We live in a world with horrible people that do horrible things but i don’t think you should blame God for all the bad things of this world. God gave everyone freedom when he gave His one and only Son for this world so since everyone has freedom then its only logical that its humans fault not God. I feel like since this world is full of bad things then we should look forward to eternal life but what eternal life do you want, heaven or hell? Everyone judges, Mitch but we must try to control the urge to fight and judge others. no one is perfect but i also hate it when people point fingers at others. remember when you point one finger, 4 are pointing right at you. God bless and I’m sorry that if you knew a judgmental christian or a bad one but don’t let that influence the good person you should be and everyone needs God’s love. I recommend you do go to church because what matters is your well being, not others that your pointing at. :D

      • MITCH says:

        Melissa, do you think you could be a good person without God’s love? I don’t go to church because there I find the most hypocritical judgmental people I have ever met. I was raised Catholic and went to 12 years of Catholic school. I am no stranger to the church. I don’t need the church to be a good person. This is my experience with people from church.

        http://imgur.com/H1JzCNo

        I was always one to find a way to help, not somehow feel vindicated because I would say I would pray for someone? We should help others because it feels good to help others.

        • Melissa says:

          No i believe that everyone has good in them and I’m not saying that all of those people are Christians or catholic…whatever it is. but i believe that people need to grow and yes since i believe strongly in God i know people need His love and this is my point, don’t look at others just so you can say “I don’t want to know God cause of THEM” instead say that you will be the best person you can be and with God you can do anything. I just want you to find absolute joy, real JOY. When I didn’t know God, i thought i was happy but i wasn’t, i was never as happy as i have been now that i know God. Science and facts never made me happy, the opposite, it made me angry inside and it caused me to fight with people for no reason and i was a good person. i didn’t steal, cheat, kill, or anything but i was still nice and helped people that didn’t have much.I am praying for you and i hope you do find that love. be the best person you can be. God bless.

        • Silas says:

          Before you ask whether someone can be a good person without God’s love you must define what a good person is. According to the Bible no human beings are good. This is not because everyone is murderous, deceptive, and greedy. It’s because the Bible holds people to extremely high (in fact, unreachable) standards. It would be like being told by an olympic runner that you are relatively slow. You cannot seriously take offense from that unless you too are an olympic runner. So when God, a perfect being with no flaws (by definition), declares man evil at heart then you cannot seriously think that all humans are like Hitler and Stalin.

          I agree with you. The most hypocritical and judgmental people go to church and declare themselves christians. However, you need to ask yourself. Do THEY decide if they are christians or does GOD decide? It’s like an exclusive club. Unlike most clubs though, God does not judge by outwardly appearance. He judges the heart (according to the Bible). So rest assured that those who claim to be christians but refuse to lend their brothers in Christ a helping hand are not likely true christians. They go through rituals (church on sunday and prayer at meals) but their heart is dead inside.

          I don’t think anyone needs the church to be a relatively “good person”. However, if you want to reach the standards spoken of in the Bible then you need forgiveness for sins (no matter how small or large). This forgiveness can only be given by Jesus. I don’t personally recommend Catholic churches as a good example of Christianity. Catholics have in the past produced some true Christians (mother Teresa is a prime example), and some horrible false Christians (Adolf Hitler is commonly recognized as one of these).

          I can’t agree with you more. Prayer without actions is like saying “I’ll help you… I’ll help you by doing nothing and crossing my fingers”. I practice both prayer and practical help. This is what the Bible teaches. People who say they are praying and don’t lift a finger to help are hypocrites, and Jesus didn’t have many kind words for hypocrites.

    • Silas says:

      Mitch. I can see you are not arguing from a religious background but a logical one. So I will attempt to make an argument with the same logical base. You say a man can not simply turn off his internal wiring to procreate. So you are arguing that natural instincts dictate what should be considered tolerable? If we take this reasoning to the extreme then we could say that a rapist who has a stronger urge to procreate than other men cannot control this urge and thus is not responsible for his actions. You also say that lust is a physiological response to a stimulus. This is true. However many physiological responses can be controlled to some extent. This is called self control and this is why it is considered impolite to fart at the dinner table. It exhibits a lack of self control. You’re right, however, when you say that it is in response to stimulus and this means that if there is enough stimulus you will always get the same reaction. This article Carla has written is not referring to the physiological response as the primary subject but rather she speaks on the stimulus and keeping it controlled. If we can minimize the stimulus then the undesirable reaction can be completely avoided if not at least minimized.

      I’m sure it does help a woman’s confidence to feel desired by the opposite sex. That’s why women enjoy compliments on their breasts and cleavage right? That was a bit of sarcasm. Women want to be desired because of more than appearances. It does much more for a woman’s confidence to be desired by the opposite sex when they don’t show off their bodies than when she is desired only for her body.

      This perspective may not be held by the majority but it is in no way unique. Many of the past comments on this article are testament to that.

      Your example of being at the pool and having 20 women 40 years old and 5 wear bikinis is completely irrelevant. At best it is an isolated incident that you extrapolated evidence from with the assumption that there is a connection between a woman’s confidence and how much skin she covers at the pool.

      I agree trash magazines do more harm than good, but this attack on the bible is typical and childish. If you are going to try and argue from a logical non-religious standpoint on a article with a religious background it would help if you would try to be a bit more mature about different opinions on religion. I for one am not even going to open the can of worms that is a debate on whether the bible does more harm than good or not.

      • MITCH says:

        Silias, comparing an urge to procreate and rape is kind of extreme. I don’t think any normal man justifies rape and we would agree that that person who rapes is mentally ill. Kind of like…. I don’t know…. I priest molesting a little boy…. it’s more than an urge…. it’s a sickness that is obviously stronger than Religion.

        Physiological responses has nothing to do with self control Would you yell at your child for being scared on a roller coaster because the physiological response he or she is having has them out of their mind? You would not say “control yourself”. It is not an option. ie….turrets syndrome

        Who gets to decide what type of compliment feels best for a women? I’ll defer that one to logic.

        I am not trying to be “childish”, but I am going to guess that the women that are “anti-bikini” would not be getting any compliments if they were wearing one. Strictly from a social vantage point, not necessary shared by me.

        You are correct that I should not have used the term “bible” as much as I should have generalized to all Religions, because I was not pointing out shortcomings of a Christian per-say.

        • Silas says:

          People who are mentally ill have chemical imbalances in their brain. How imbalanced does the chemical combination have to be in order to become mentally ill? Obviously no two people have the exact same chemical combination. Where does unique end and mentally ill begin. Are those who are so mentally ill they resort to raping children burdened with a heightened urge to procreate or a lack of self control? I agree that there are some sicknesses stronger than “religion”. However I would point out that there are many stories of people who could not control their addiction to drugs, alcohol, and sex but, when they turned to religion (Christianity in particular) they found it easier to leave those addictions behind. There are psychological reasons for this as well as theological ones. The religion may replace the drug as an addiction. The point to this article however is that men can only control their urges so much before the sickness takes over. This is where male responsibility ends and female responsibility begins. Clearly it is easier for men to control their urges when there is less stimulus. That is the point.

          Children lack self control, this is why they are constantly moving and interrupting adults with trivial questions. They have an urge and they act on it faster than they can process their current situation and the possible results of what they are going to say.

          A valid point. However I firmly believe (personally) that women would appreciate compliments on their personality more than compliments on their breasts. This clearly is not strictly a logical argument but it’s an assumption I’m going to make.

          I know many women who are anti-bikini. To be honest, I believe most of them would look quite good in a bikini. This argument has been made before in the comments and it became clear quite clearly that it is entirely invalid, if not lacking much evidence.

          I can agree with you that religions in general have not necessarily had a good net-influence on the world. but that is another topic for another article.

  25. MITCH says:

    Maybe I am looking at this from the wrong angle…. I am assuming someone knows right from wrong because they know right from wrong…. not how they interpret the bible. You are judging women who wear bikinis and say they degrade themselves? Where does it say in the bible that you can pass judgement on others? Isn’t that “God’s” job? The difference between an observation and a judgment is whether you have an opinion on the matter or a stance. I guess as long as you get to determine what the bible states then your judgments of others is completely validated.

    https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/969358_178910378936041_1335682677_n.jpg

    This is the God you speak of?

    • Melissa says:

      I’m sorry also if you think I or Carla are judging but we are not…we are stating what we believe but I’m not saying “look at her, shes wearing a bikini, how dare she”. Everyone judges but some are actually trying to change that and with God’s help we can:)

    • Silas says:

      What is right and wrong? In America it is wrong to tell a woman what to do. In the Middle East it is wrong to tell a woman she can do as she pleases. Is morality relative? If not, then why can’t people agree on subjects like when it is morally good to go to war, is it ok to abort unborn fetuses, and is it ok to steal if you are starving? These are questions that are often answered differently by people, even if both people questioned have similar backgrounds. Atheists and Agnostics tend to believe that it is up to every person to decide right and wrong for themselves. Religious people believe in following a set of rules that is supposed to be perfect. I suggest a combination of the two. Look at the different religions. If one of them is true it will have a perfect set of rules. I have found few faults in the ten commandments. So I have personally chosen Christianity. You saw people who did not obey the words they professed to follow with faith. They did not follow the second commandment “love your neighbor as yourself”, or the golden rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This article was written by a true Christian who observes all the laws of the Bible and it was written for those who believe the Bible and wish to follow the laws in it as well as they can. It was not written for non-believers, although non-believers are more than welcome to read and ask why we believe this and what our reasoning is. And I for one am happy to answer those questions.

  26. MITCH says:

    I am always seeking answers and unique perspectives. I myself lean more towards the Buddhist thought process of “help everyone you can, and if you can not help them, do not harm them”. Seems pretty simple to me? I don’t understand why Christians would want to live in fear? Why do they say I’m a “God Fearing” person? Why would you think you had to be afraid of who you believed created you? Did a thought like this ever pop into your head? http://i.imgur.com/vgjNobA.jpg

    • Silas says:

      I too am always seeking answers. I love learning new perspectives. When I learn a new perspective two questions pop into my head, “what about this perspective is true?” and “what about this perspective is false”. I’ve looked into Buddhism (admittedly only very minimally). Buddhism as I understand it, seems like The second commandment of the Bible all by itself. It’s a great commandment (the greatest according to Jesus), and it sums up the rest of the commandments. However, you need to ask yourself. If a Buddhist sees a child being beaten by a man much weaker than the Buddhist, should the Buddhist fight off the attacker? Or leave the child to his beatings? Questions like this is the reason why Christianity has 10 commandments instead of 2. It’s just details. You can’t make the only traffic law “drive safe”. No one will know what that means. So you end up with lots of little rules. I agree with you that we should absolutely help everyone we can. Even if they try to hurt you. For a Christian that means dressing modestly, and sharing their faith.

      I’ve had doubts about the validity of my theological beliefs when I was around 10 to 13 years old. A combination of the internet and endless hours of research helped me build a foundation for my faith. I do not believe we must “fear” God in the literal sense. It’s more of a respect. If you respect someone to an extreme extent you will fear them. If you’ve ever met your favourite musician or athlete you’ve probably experienced what this feels like.

      As a side note, I’d like to thank you for being very respectful about this whole thing. A few things I’ve said would have made some people very upset.

  27. Irfan says:

    This is one of the best issue rise on the internet. Women in face of mother, Sister and Duaghter have lot dignity. We respect womens in all faces. By wearing bikni they loose their diginity and respect. I think this is the responsibility of Father, Brother and then Husband to teach these things to Girls. This is not the purpose for creation of you. Sex is not the purpose behind creation of mankinds. Actually, there are some Bad business persons in the world who Target Sex need of mankind to fill their Pockets and destroy the morals of society. As you can see what media is doing.

    I am a muslim and i am happy to see the discussion done on that issue by christian. Why there are porns websites.?

  28. Nick C says:

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  29. Jamie says:

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  30. Nick C says:

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  31. Haley says:

    If ur comfortable wear it. And I’m sorry but some of those swimsuits on those websites look like ugly dresses gone wrong. NOT something for swimming.

    • Melissa says:

      Ive worn a bikini and ive seen lots of women wear it and I doubt its comfortable at least to me but u dont need to be mean about it. I have a beautiful swim dress I love it and honestly ive had many men complement me more wearing a swim dress then wearing a bikini and they do it cause its modest and different. Im not tempting them. All men think lustfully but I know im not causing it:)

  32. Rebecca says:

    The one huge glaring fallacy of this argument is that it makes men into dumb, lustful, sex-crazed beasts who are only capable of seeing a woman as an object and not as a complete person. The idea that a man “can’t help himself” when he gazes upon a female body is RIDICULOUS! The Taliban uses this SAME argument to force women to wear burkas. They say that a man cannot help but gaze upon a woman’s beauty and become sexually aroused, which is a sin, so therefore all women must completely cover their bodies to prevent this from happening. As Americans, we obviously scoff at this notion, but where do you draw the line? You say that a woman in a bikini is “too much” for a man to handle, the Muslim world says seeing a woman’s uncovered hair is “too much” for a man to handle.

    • Carla Anne says:

      Rebecca, welcome to the blog!!

      First of all, I have never said a man can’t help himself. However, just because they can control themselves doesn’t mean it’s not difficult to. So here’s a question for you: If you see someone really struggling to carry a load of groceries to their car, do you just leave them because they can help themselves, or do you offer to help by taking some of the load for them?

      I really hope you would be kind and loving enough to help them carry the load.

      It’s the same with men. They for sure CAN help themselves. But are we really such horrible people as women that we refuse to help them when we have the freedom and capabiity to? Especially when it is our bodies that are the thing they struggle with looking at?

      This scientific study makes it quite clear that what happens in a man’s brain when he sees a woman in a bikini is outside of his voluntary reaction. This makes the question even more poignant. Because it’s no longer about what the man’s struggle is but about how a woman wants to be viewed.

      Do you want every man that sees you in a bikini think of you with the part of his brain that uses tools? Do you want him to consider you as powerless? No? I didn’t think so. The way to fix it? Stop dressing immodestly.

      Your argument basically says there are only two options: bikini and a Mulsim veil or burka. So as extreme as a bikini is, that’s how extreme muslim dress codes are. I think “As Americans” (like you say) surely we can see there are more options than just that.

      As Ms. Rey from Rey Swimwear recently said, “Modesty is not about covering up beauty but revealing dignity.” And dignity, i might add, is not revealed by belly buttons, cleavage and skimpy bathing suits.

    • Silas says:

      I completely agree with you. Men are not dumb, lustful, sex-crazed beasts who are only capable of seeing a woman as an object. So why not run around nude like on so many european beaches? Why are women being suppressed by the law? They should be allowed to swim topless just like men. Why wear a top? To cover your breasts? That’s the same argument the Taliban use to force women to wear burkas.

      In case you didn’t notice, some of the above was sarcasm. I tell you truly, in some cultures and situations a bikini might not be immodest. However, in American culture the bikini isn’t just a skimpy piece of swimwear, it’s one of the most popular sex icons of the modern age. I’m not saying it’s time to wear a burka to the beach and maybe add sunglasses with a dark tint so men don’t get tempted by your eyes, but surely a bikini should be considered a step too far in the other direction. At least by the standards set in the Bible.

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