Bible Answer

Women’s dress in church

What does the Bible say about women wearing pants instead of dresses in a church service?

On the issue of women wearing pants in church (as opposed to wearing only dresses), the Bible is silent on this specific point, so our personal liberty in Christ and the commandment to love one another must dictate our choices in this area. We know that the word of God teaches that women (and men) should dress modestly at all times, so we may avoid becoming a cause for others to sin. In some cases, women wearing pants at church might be a poor choice according to these standards, yet in other cases such attire would be harmless and therefore appropriate.

The decision for what constitutes proper attire for women (and men, for that matter) in any church ultimately rests on the guidance of the church leadership, and to a lessor degree on the cultural expectations of the congregation. We are called to obey those appointed over us in the church (Heb 13:17), including in matters of personal liberty, so if the elders believe women shouldn't wear pants in church, then women should obey this restriction.

Secondly, if the congregation has certain cultural expectations for dress standards, then anyone called to fellowship in that congregation should be prepared to observe those cultural requirements out of love for the Body and respect for the concerns of others. To do otherwise would be to cause disagreement and disharmony within the Body of Christ.

On the other hand, anyone who strongly objects to a church's dress standards is free to seek a different fellowship, where dress standards are more compatible with her views on personal liberty in Christ. Finally, keep in mind that personal dress is not an essential issue of faith, so consider that the Bible consistently calls upon Christians to forgo their own personal liberties for the sale of the unity of the Body and for the higher principle of loving one another (Rom 14).

For more articles on the role of women in the church, please click on the following links:

Women evanglizing men
Women remain silent in church?
Can a woman teach a man?
Can a woman hold a teaching authority?

Should a Christian attend a church with a female pastor?