When it comes to dating, the world tells us that the more skin you show to attract a man, the better. But what does the Bible say about modesty, and is it okay to show off your body in hopes of finding a husband?
Modesty has become quite a controversial topic within the Church. On one extreme, there are Christian women who try and cover up as much as possible, and don’t wear any form-fitting clothing at all.
And then there are women who feel that covering up their beauty was not God’s intent, and that they should have the right to wear whatever they please since fashion styles have changed since biblical times.
But what does the Bible say about showing off your body?
God has a lot to say about women dressing modestly in the Bible, so we will discuss Bible verses about modesty as well as how to use beauty for God’s glory when it comes to dating.
In this blog post, learn what God says about dressing modestly, including:
I’ll also share more about my journey with modesty, and how God showed me that I was showing off my body in a way that was not pleasing to Him when I was single & praying for my future husband.
So what does the Bible say about modesty? The Bible actually has a lot to say about modesty and beauty.
While culture’s expectations for a woman’s attire and appearance have changed over time, we cannot lose sight of God’s definition of beauty, and how he intended for women to use beauty for his glory.
Below are scriptures about beauty and modesty in the Bible.
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30 CSB
In Proverbs 31:30, the Bible tells us that a woman’s fear of God is more valuable than her beauty.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” – Proverbs 31:25 NLT
We see in Proverbs 31 that a woman should be clothed with strength and dignity.
“And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.” - 1 Timothy 2:9-10 NLT
This is one of the more popular verses about modesty in the Bible that points out two key points when it comes to modesty.
First, God calls women to dress modestly in their appearance, and not to draw excessive attention to their beauty or appearance.
And second, a godly woman should focus on making herself attractive by the good things she does, not by what she wears.
We see this same concept illustrated in 1 Peter 3.
“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands.” – 1 Peter 3:3-5 NLT
The CSB translation emphasizes the focus on the heart:
“Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, but rather what is inside the heart—the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4 CSB
As we can see in these bible verses about modesty, the Bible urges women to focus on the beauty from within, not the outward beauty or outer appearance. And when women focus on showing her beauty from her heart, this will be more attractive than any outer appearance.
But are there any examples of beautiful woman in the Bible were there beauty was used for God’s glory?
In Esther 2, we see that Esther was a beautiful woman who gained the favor of the King.
“Mordecai was the legal guardian of his cousin Hadassah (that is, Esther), because she had no father or mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was extremely good-looking.” – Esther 2:7 CSB
“The king loved Esther more than all the other women. She won more favor and approval from him than did any of the other virgins. He placed the royal crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.” – Esther 2:17 CSB
In the book of Esther, we see that God used Esther’s beauty to win the favor of the King, and to eventually save the Jewish people from destruction.
Esther was chosen “for such a time as this” to become queen, and to speak up to save her people.
Her beauty played a significant role in winning over the King’s favor. So in this example, we see that a woman’s beauty can be used for good in a way that honors God.
But should a woman use her beauty to attract a man when dating?
And in a world of perfectly done up Instagram photos with fake eyelashes, curled hair, and flawless makeup, when does beauty become obsessive or too much?
God made women beautiful for a reason, but women should not rely on beauty alone to make them feel beautiful.
Notice how in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 in the NLT version, it says that women should not draw attention to themselves, but rather women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.
God created women to be beautiful, but we should not rely on our beauty alone to attract a man.
A man may think you’re attractive, but what really captures his heart is when he sees YOUR heart.
When we rely and hide behind all the makeup, eyelashes, heels, and outfits, it can be hard for a man to see your true heart.
If you want to learn how to be your true self when it comes to dating, check out these Christian dating books.
And the longer women rely on beauty or outward appearances, the more insecurities women can have about themselves over time.
When we are constantly striving to be a certain weight, have our hair and makeup done, this can only cause us to have more insecurities about ourselves.
Does my hair look good? Does my butt look good in these jeans? Did I gain weight?
If we don’t feel like we are measuring up in these areas, we will feel insecure and we won’t feel beautiful. And when we rely on your beauty to feel loved, we won’t feel loved or worthy enough for a man.
When we focus on our inward beauty, we have less insecurities and more confidence about ourselves because we know who we are in Christ, and our inward beauty stays the same.
When we have a bad hair day, we can be at peace knowing that we are still the amazing person that God created us to be, and that others around us will love us for who we are, not for what we look like.
We need to have a healthy relationship with beauty. If we rely on it or become obsessed with it, we are actually not confident in who God created us to be.
If you rely on external beauty to make you feel beautiful or to get a man to notice you, I want you to realize something.
When you get married, your husband is going to see the real you.
You are not going to wake up with a full head of makeup or your eyelashes on with your hair curled. Have you ever slept in fake eyelashes? I did and it wasn’t pretty.
With beauty we have to ask ourselves, what’s in our heart? Why are we dressing a certain way?
Confidence comes from within by knowing who God created you to be.
There’s nothing wrong with wearing a pair of heels or lipstick to feel more beautiful and to get that pep in your step.
But when your confidence comes from your external appearance alone? It’s not healthy.
Practice showing your friends who you really are. Don’t be afraid to show your true self and tell others, 'this is the real me and I’m beautiful.'
In these scriptures about modesty, we see that beauty can be used for God’s glory, but how do you know if you’re using your beauty or body in a way that was not God’s design?
As we can see in the Bible verses about modesty above, women are called to dress modestly and to focus on showing the beauty in their hearts rather than their bodies.
But what’s a single woman to do when it comes to dating? Is it wrong to show off your body in hopes of attracting a man’s attention?
God has a lot to say about how we are supposed to use our bodies.
Below are more Bible verses about showing off your body that specifically address why God never intended for women to show off their bodies in a lustful or sexual way to attract a man.
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister…” - 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 NIV
The MSG translation says to give dignity to your body, and not to abuse it.
“Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God.” - 1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 MSG
When women use their bodies to stimulate lust, this is not honoring to God. Women are called to control their bodies and give dignity to their bodies, not to abuse their bodies by showing them off or using their bodies for sex.
If you're struggling to resist temptation when you feel tempted to have sex, download my free, 7-day resist temptation devotional for Bible verses to declare when you feel tempted.
"The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” - 1 Corinthians 6:13
God never designed our bodies to be used for sexual immorality.
In Proverbs 7, a father warns his son to stay away from a prostitute, and goes on to describe how a promiscuous woman uses her appearance and speech to seduce a man to sleep with her.
“The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart.” – Proverbs 7:10 NLT
As women of God, we are not supposed to use our bodies or seductive clothing to seduce a man who we aren’t married to to try and get him to sleep with us.
When you read Proverbs 7, it describes a prostitute who is trying to get a man’s attention, but in the real world, Proverbs 7 is describing the typical women in today’s hookup culture.
Culture tells women to dress in seductive clothing and to flirt a certain way to try and get a main’s attention, but we can see in Proverbs 7 that God never designed women to show off their bodies or use their sex appeal in this way.
“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” - 1 Corinthians 6:18 NLT
Once again, we see that our bodies are not to be used for sexual immorality.
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” - 1 Corinthians 6:19 NLT
Since our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are not to show off our bodies in a way that is not pleasing to God.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship." - Romans 12:1 NIV
Using our bodies in a holy and pleasing way to God is a way we show worship and respect for God.
When women show off their bodies or engage in sexual immorality like having sex before marriage, this is not honoring God with our bodies.
As we can see in these Bible verses about showing off your body, women are called to honor God with their bodies, not to use their bodies for sexual immorality or with a lustful intent.
This contradicts what the world tells us about a woman’s body, but we cannot ignore that using our bodies to attract a man was not God’s intent.
For so long I followed the world’s advice when it came to sex and dating, and used my body to try and get men to notice me.
But a few months after I had made the decision to stop having sex before marriage for God, the Holy Spirit got my attention as I attracted the stares of a few young men along the boardwalk by the beach in San Diego.
I felt the familiar feeling of a conviction, and I started to tug my shirt, and my shorts down to cover myself.
I lived in Pacific Beach, so I wore what most other women in their 20s wore at the beach—a pair of high-waisted denim shorts and a tight-fitting crop top.
But in that moment, the Holy Spirit was telling me that yes, I had made the decision to commit to purity by waiting until marriage to have sex, but I didn’t look like it on the outside.
I had made the decision to pursue purity on the inside, but now it was time to reflect that decision on the outside.
For a few weeks, I wrestled with the Holy Spirit and tried to pretend that it was still okay to wear the same outfits that I had worn for so long. But after I continued getting attention from the wrong kind of men, God was making it pretty clear.
The outfits I had been wearing to show off my body were not pleasing to him, and dressing that way would only attract the kind of men that I wanted to stay away from.
This was the start of my modesty journey with God, and the beginning of how God taught me how to present myself as beautiful godly woman as I started praying for my future husband.
If you try to attract a man by our looks alone, you may get a man’s attention, but for the wrong reasons.
If you try and rely on beauty or sex appeal to find a man, this will not attract the type of godly man you are looking for.
A man that only wants to date you for your body or looks is probably experiencing lust, not love. Just because a man wants to sleep with you doesn’t mean he loves you, or that he even wants to date you.
A man falls in love with you for your heart, not your body.
And if you're dating someone who just wants you for your body or for sex, you're probably settling in a relationship for less than you deserve.
If you've been relying on your body to try and attract a guy's attention, learn more about how to find a husband and how to trust God as you step out in faith to meet other single men.
As I continued on my modesty journey with God, I realized I was super focused on my appearance every Sunday when I went to church. Since I would see the guy that I liked every Sunday, I would spend extra time curling my hair and making sure my outfit was spot on with a cute pair of heels.
Now, I think you should look beautiful and put your best self out there when you’re single and waiting on God for a husband, but where do we draw the line?
I’ll never forget the day that God revealed this to me. If I had any doubt about whether an outfit was appropriate or too revealing, I would ask myself, am I trying to get a man to notice me by highlighting a certain body part?
The Holy Spirit convicted me several times when I would put on a form-fitting skirt or tight pair of jeans, ‘Girl, you know you’re only wearing that outfit so that guy will notice your butt.’
And the Holy Spirit was right.
When we are supposed to be focused on Jesus at church, I didn’t want to wear something too revealing that would shift a man’s focus to my body instead of Jesus.
Over time, I started asking God how he felt about a certain outfit, and to chime in when I was dressing a certain way to only get attention from men at church.
How you dress on Sundays when you go to church is one way you show your beauty to men around you.
But I want you to ask yourself, how do you dress every other day of the week? And how do you present yourself on social media?
After God convicted me to dress more modestly in person, he then started convicting me with my social media.
I realized I had been posting some photos with the hope of getting men to notice my body. You know all those poses where you stand a certain way to get your butt to look big? Yeah, all those poses. God wasn’t a fan.
In an Instagram world, as women of God, we have the responsibility to be modest in our appearance both in person and on social media.
Are your social media posts honoring God? Do your Instagram outfits reflect the same kind of outfits you would wear to church?
Do your outfits and poses look like women from the world? Or can someone tell from looking at your feed that you are a woman set apart for God?
Modesty includes honoring God with our in-person appearance and on social media.
If we only dress modestly on Sundays at church, we aren't really honoring God with our bodies.
If you’re wondering whether Christians should wear crop tops, I’ve wondered this question a lot myself.
Like I said before, I lived by the beach in Pacific Beach, San Diego, which is like the crop top capital of the USA.
But can Christians wear crop tops? Or are crop tops too revealing? Is wearing crop tops a sin?
The answer: it depends on the crop top.
If you’re wearing a crop top that shows your chest area and a significant amount of your stomach, it’s probably showing off too much skin and isn’t a good choice.
But if you’re wearing one of those looser fitting crop tops that don’t show a lot of skin, this is a more modest choice and you can still wear a crop top without showing too much of your body.
When in doubt, don’t wear it or only wear it around the house.
Now that I’m married, I’m still convicted not to wear crop tops or a sports bra with my workout leggings in public. I feel too exposed, and I don’t want other people looking at my body in a lustful way.
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