Women Wearing Pants

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					Argument#1 Women Wearing Pants

The New Testament teaches us to live holy, separated lives. (Of course, this is an
extremely brief summary.) I see the do's and don'ts of daily living as being taught on
about three levels. The first level is that of COMMAND. Though we are not under the
law, we still have commandments to follow. For example, Paul said, "Let him that stole
steal no more" (Ephesians 4:28). There are many such commands in the Bible and
some of these deal with appearance. These commands are not to be questioned; they
are to be obeyed.

The second level is that of CONCLUSION. This is the most difficult level for me to
define. What I mean is that direct teachings of the Bible can be logically put together
and shown to establish a very strong conclusion as to how we should or should not do
something. A good example of this is my teaching against gambling. There is no such
verse as "Thou shalt not gamble." However, gambling by its very nature and practice
goes against numerous commands and teachings of scripture. We can safely conclude
that it is wrong.

The third level is what I will call CONVICTION. This is a word that is used by different
people in different ways today. One definition is that a conviction is something for which
you would die. Let me stress, this is not the way in which I am using the word. I use
conviction to refer to those decisions of holy living or principle that come from God
working specifically in an individual believer's heart. This is what Paul spoke of when he
said, "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind" (Romans 14:5). I think
personal convictions are those opportunities to serve God by giving more of ourselves
to Him than He specifically commands. They are statements of love to our Lord.

Now, you must be wondering, what does this have to do with women wearing pants? It
means that we must begin with the commandments that God gives. Then, we draw the
most reasonable conclusions we can from these commandments. And, finally, we must
apply these conclusions to our own lives according the convictions God gives us. This
gives us an outline by which to approach the subject. And, since it is such a volatile
subject, it is good to have such a plan.
So, what are the commands about dress? A long article or book might spend more time
developing this, but I want to begin with three principles that I think are clearly
commanded in scripture. Though there is some conclusion here, I believe they are rock-
solid conclusions (though I will not take the space to build the case from scripture). Here
are the three principles:

   1. Our appearance (these principles fit both men and women) must be modest.
       Clothing must modestly clothe the body and avoid bring undue attention to the
   2. Our appearance must be moderate. That is, we should avoid extravagant, gaudy,
       or showy outfits.
   3. Our appearance must be gender-specific. By this, I mean that God wants a
       difference in appearance between men and women. A man is to look like a man
       and a woman like a woman. This is seen in the importance put on hair length (1
       Corinthians 11:14-15). It is also seen in the Old Testament stress on different
       clothing for men and women (Deuteronomy 22:5). A lot of people just want to
       throw this verse out. But it is there for our instruction (2 Timothy 3:16). We may
       not be under the law, but we can still learn from it. This verse teaches that God
       does not want men dressing up to look like women or women dressing up to look
       like men. God considers cross-dressing an abomination. Therefore, He wants our
       clothing to be gender-specific.

       In the olden days, pants with zipper in front is specific to men and women
       wearing pants has the zipper either in the back or side.

Now, if these are the commands (at least, generally) concerning clothing, what are the
reasonable conclusions concerning women wearing pants? That is, do any of the
principles apply here? Well, one does not. That is the principle of moderation. There is
nothing particularly extravagant or showy about pants (though anything can be made to
be showy). But it is best to leave it for other questions.

The other two principles do apply however. As I have learned over the years, how much
they apply is a much disputed point. But let us consider them. Are pants on women
modest? And, are they gender-specific? My conclusion: Many pants on women are
definitely immodest. They are made to be so; to draw the eye of men--and often women
now. Are all pants on women immodest? I will say this--some pants (the baggy or
masculine kind) are more modest that a lot of the skirts that are worn today. So,
although I think there is a tendency to immodesty when the clothing of women closely
takes the shape of the body, this is a mixed answer. Some pants are terribly immodest;
some not much at all.

Second, are pants gender specific? That is, do the pants identify women as women?
Again, this is a mixed answer. Certainly, women's pants are cut differently than men's
pants. They often have frills and such that distinguish them. On the other hand, many
women today are wearing pants that make them look like men. Certainly, this goes
against the teaching that our clothing is to be gender specific. In fact, by their historical
connection and by their cultural usage, we still understand pants to be the clothing of
men. Just look at the universal restroom signs. But, still, I see some room for argument

So, you say, it is just a matter of opinion. Well, perhaps it is not that easy either. The
trick is to find a pair of pants that is both modest and feminine. But here is the trouble.
Generally speaking, the more modest a pair of pants is, the more masculine it looks.
There goes gender specific. But, on the other hand, the more feminine a pair of pants
becomes, the more immodest it becomes. The wearing of pants by godly ladies (and I
know some godly ladies who wear pants) becomes a tightrope walk. Go too far one
direction and you look like a man; go too far the other direction and you attract the men.

Some Christian families would decide to forgo pants for the ladies of their family.
However, I recognize that this decision is part conclusion (though I think a good one)
and part conviction. And, since I see the importance of the conviction part of this
decision, I do not beat people up with it all the time. When a lady decides to do away
with the pants, she will often be attacked by friends and family alike. She needs to know
in her own heart that it is the right thing to do. She needs to do it from strong personal
conviction or else submit to the strong personal conviction of her husband.

Many good people will not reach my conclusion. I am reconciled to that. I will not
ostracize them or attack them for this difference. We are losing ground on so many
important fronts. I fear that we too quickly get sidetracked on sub-issues. Of course,
some will be offended that I have called this a sub-issue. However, the issue of holiness
is much more important and we gravely ill in this area of our spiritual lives. Dress is only
one aspect of a much larger arena. We need to keep our perspective.
Argument#2 Is it really a sin for women to wear pants?

We must understand that there is no grey area, this is either a sin or it is not a sin. We
are going to weigh the argument against women wearing pants, and see how it
compares with the Bible.

The basis for this argument rests on this one single verse. In Deu 22:5. The Bible says
" The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put
on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."
There is something called hermeneutics, which are rules of interpretation. These rules
are designed to help insure that we don't twist the meaning of a verse to fit our own
ideals. One of the rules is harmony of the scriptures. This is one of the problems with
basing a doctrine off of one verse. How can we be sure we really understand what was
meant. Another hermeneutic is historical context. Since we cant use the bible to
interpret this verse we are forced to rely on history to find out what was going on at the
time that verse was written. This is the reason why it is bad to base a doctrine on one
verse.     This is how doctrines like baptism for the dead are borne.

The argument to day is made that pants were made for men and not women. So
women who wear pants are an abomination to the Lord. They back up their stands with
statements like how do you tell which bathroom is for the men and women. Others
have even claimed that it was against the law for women to wear pants until world war
2. I have even heard the phrase "I see who wears the pants in this family" as
justification for this stand.

Scriptural evidence

Notice that the Bible does not specifically say what pertains to man or a woman. So lets
find out what this verse means. The word pertain is used to show ownership or
belonging to. Noah Webster says "To belong; to be the property, right or duty of." This is
supported         by        the       Bible       in       the        following       verses
Lev 7:20-21 " But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that
pertain unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off
from his people.Moreover the soul that shall touch any unclean thing, as the
uncleanness of man, or any unclean beast, or any abominable unclean thing, and eat of
the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which pertain unto the LORD, even that soul
shall           be            cut          off         from            his          people."
1Sa 25:22 "So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that
pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall."
Rom 15:17 "I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things
which                         pertain                     to                       God."
1Co 6:3 "Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to
this                                                                                 life?"
2Pe 1:3 "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto
life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:"
So     the    question    is.   Are   pants   the   exclusive     property of      men?

Breeches are the only word in the Bible that describe pants. Here are the only
Exo 28:42 "And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the
loins        even       unto        the       thighs        they        shall     reach:"
Exo 39:28 "And a mitre of fine linen, and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen
breeches                 of               fine                twined               linen,"
Lev 6:10 "And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he
put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt
offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar"
Lev 16:4 "He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon
his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be
attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put
them                                                                                  on."
Eze 44:18 "They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen
breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth
We do not see any reference to people who were not priests wearing breeches. So
breeches pertain to the priesthood, not to men or women. Look closely at how the bible
describes them. they were on his flesh to cover his nakedness, the covered his loins.
Yes we just described underwear.

Historical evidence

Lets take a look at what people wore back at the time this verse was written. The
ancient Greeks wore tunics1[1]. What made a man’s tunic different from a woman’s
tunic was the length. The 6th century B.C. Egyptians wore loincloth and kilts. Again the
women’s clothing was longer then the men’s. Exo 28:42-43. "And thou shalt make them
linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall
reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the
tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the
holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute forever unto him and
his seed after him." Breeches were priestly garb and were not part of the daily clothing
and were used for service inside the temple. As such trousers were worn under the
clothing and would not be visible. Wearing breeches was considered barbaric by most
cultures until the middle of the 1st century, which allowed people to ride horseback
comfortably. When the Jews fled from Egypt they would have left with the clothing of

Deu_22:5 "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a
man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy
God." addresses several issues that were rampant at the time. The Egyptians,
Assyrians, and other nations practiced cross-dressing as part of their worship to their
gods. Transvestitism was rampantly practiced by the world at that time . 1Ti_2:9 "In like
manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness
and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array." Also it would not
have been modest for women to wear the shorter clothing of men. Historically men's
and women's clothing was very similar (For the Jews and the rest of the world) the only
differences being that women's clothing was traditionally longer and more decorative

Other things to consider

Lets see how Noah Webster defines these words
Bonnet: "A covering for the head, in common use before the introduction of hats. The
word, as now used, signifies a cover for the head, worn by females, close at the sides,
and projecting over the forehead."
Coat: "An upper garment, of whatever material it may be made. The word is, in modern
times, generally applied to the garment worn by men next over the vest."
Shirt: "A loose garment of linen, cotton or other material, worn by men and boys next
the body."
Skirt: "A woman's garment like a petticoat."
Vest: "In common speech, a man's under garment; a short garment covering the body,
but without sleeves, worn under the coat; called also waistcoat."
Was God asking the Priests to commit an abomination?
Exo 28:40 "And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them
girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty."
Exo 29:9 "And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the
bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou
shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons."
Exo 39:28 "And a mitre of fine linen, and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen
breeches of fine twined linen,"
Lev 8:13 "And Moses brought Aaron's sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them
with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the LORD commanded Moses."
Isa 3:20 "The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the
tablets, and the earrings,"
Eze 44:18 "They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen
breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth

Or can you explain these men wearing skirts?
Deu 22:30 "A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt."
Rth 3:9 "And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid:
spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman."
1Sa 15:27 "And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his
mantle, and it rent."
1Sa 24:11 "Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in
that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is
neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou
huntest my soul to take it."
So if the people holding to Deu_22:5 "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth
unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are
abomination unto the LORD thy God." were to really take a stand on this doctrine. Our
women would be walking around with out hats, pants, skirts, shirts, vests, or underwear.
Personally I would like to see our ladies dressed more modestly then that. 1Ti 2:9 "In
like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with
shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;"
Cover the thigh, wear loose fit clothing, don't wear clothing or jewelry that draws the
eyes where they don't belong. Why force our ladies to wear dresses and leave them as
prey for voyeurs. consider the case of C'Debaca v. Commonwealth, 1999 Va. App.
LEXIS 72 (Ct. of Appeals of Virginia 1999) Where a man used a spy camera to take
pictures of women up their dresses. The court ruled that the woman wearing a dress in
a public fair grounds had no expectation of privacy.

Changing gender and dress are very ancient behaviors. Early recorded incidents of
cross-dressing include the 7th century BC Assyrian tablet showing King Assurbanipul
getting into drag. Customs and rituals associated with cross-dressing are very much
older. The priests of the ancient earth goddess Ishtar of Babylon dressed as women to
appease the deity.

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