Dear Laju, is it a sin for women to wear trousers?
Deuteronomy Chapter 22 has an interesting set of laws given to the Israelites by Moses. Note that these laws are not among the ten commandments given by God. Let’s take a look at some of these laws: ‘Don’t eat a bird and then eat its eggs as well’-verses 6&7. ‘Don’t roof your house with parapet’-verse 8. ‘Don’t sow different seeds in your vineyard’-verse 9. ‘Don’t wear a garment of different materials together-verse 9; in today’s context that would mean a suit made of wool and a cotton shirt would be against the law. So would a lace dress and damask head tie.’ ‘If after being married to your wife for years, you are unhappy and you accuse her of not being a virgin before marriage, her parents should bring the evidence. If they can’t provide it, she should be divorced and stoned.’ ‘If a married woman commits adultery, she and the man should be stoned.’ (Remember Jesus response to this in the New Testament). Verses 13-22
Can you imagine Gentiles like you and I, whom this laws were not given to in the first place trying to keep them today? What does a this have to do with wearing trousers? Well, I’ll show you, verse 5 of this same chapter we are talking about is usually the bone of contention. It says:
“A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord.”
Bear in mind that this was a law given by Moses to the Israelites, not to you and I.
Another thing to consider is the historical context in which this law was given. The Israelites lived in clusters of camps. There were tendencies for gays and lesbians to dress up like people of the opposite sex so that they could be mistaken as such and thus perpetuate sinful sexual acts. The mode of dressing at that time was robes. There were no trousers and skirts at this time. Men had their style of robes and so did women.
That is why the historical context is important. Can you imagine a man in Nigeria wearing the kinds of robes that Israelite men wore at that time? You cannot take dressing away from culture. And culture changes constantly. Our ancestors here In Africa must have tied wrappers whether they were male or female. It was when the European cultures mixed with ours that we began to wear English clothes. In fact, in many African cultures men still tie wrappers when dressing traditionally. But there is almost always a difference between the way men wear theirs and the way women wear theirs. In Scotland, men wear skirts. It’s their culture.
If we must go by the traditional African culture, we must all tie wrappers across our chests and waists. But as you know culture changes. Even in Israel the mode of dressing is completely different from Moses’ time hundreds of years ago.
In the same vein, trousers for men and women are different. Trousers designed for women would definitely not fit men how much more mask a homosexual who wants to hide in them. Let’s say for example, that a woman has a job that entails her climbing electrical poles, she must wear trousers if she is a good Christian. Same goes for if she is fighting in combat. If you live in Antarctica, the coldest continent in the world, you will need to weartrousers to survive! What do we then say? That some times, it is a sin to wear trousers and some times it isn’t ? No, sin is sin, and wearing trousers is not a sin. It could be a sin if it is indecent and causes men to stumble, just like some skirts also can. But it is not about it being trousers or skirt, it is about decency.These are just by the way.What a Christian must do when trying to establish a doctrine is to focus on the words of Christ and the apostles. Today, a lot of people go out to evangelize and instead of talking about the finished work of Christ, they focus on what people should and should not wear. Something Jesus himself never even mentioned.
However, the Apostles give us guidelines regarding dressing. Peter says in 1Peter 3:3-4 “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
We must always focus on the main point. Some people use this scripture forinstance, to argue that women should not wear earrings. But the scripture also talks about ‘wearing apparel’. Do we also assume women should not wear clothes? This text is not so much about what you wear as it is about making sure there is more to you than what you wear, and that you are meek inSpirit, emitting inner beauty, and not just outward beauty!
The bible doesn’t particularly say wear this and don’t wear that. But thebible does teach decency, and that we place more emphasis on our walk with Christ and not on how we look.
That said, I must not fail to mention some important details. If you are still under the care of your parents and they are not comfortable with you wearing trousers, I think you can afford to submit to them in that regard. Also, when I go out on evangelism, I intentionally decide to wear skirts, so that the discussions don’t turn out to simply arguments about clothes. There are some groups of people however, that might find it easier to relate to someone wearing trousers. If I visit a church where trousers aren’t permitted, I wouldn’t wear trousers there for the sake of peace and the conscience of those around.
But let me say this clearly. The scriptures do not say that wearing trousers is a sin.