Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

This picture – the black and white, not the red – is a screenshot from “A return to Biblical Modesty”, a pdf book by Mrs. Daphne Kirkland:


According to Mrs. Kirkland, “God’s Word Says The Uncovered Thigh Is Shameful.” She quotes:

“…uncover the thigh…Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen…” (Isaiah 47:2,3)

Webster’s Dictionary – THIGH –

“The part of the leg extending from the knee to the hip.”

According to the Word of God when the thigh is uncovered, “…thy shame shall be seen.”

She then defines the thigh as the leg up to and including the knee. As such, the parts colored in red on the picture on the left is immodest, while the girl on the right is modestly dressed:

Mrs. Kirkland is joined in this teaching by Michelle Duggar, who also say that God say exposed thighs mean nakedness and shame. This is allegedly* the only swimwear the Duggars approves of:

But is this a respectful use of scripture? I will quote both whole verses:

Isa 47:2  Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

Isa 47:3  Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.

Several ideas are mentioned in one context here: Grinding flour, uncovering hair, bare legs, uncovered thighs, and passing over rivers.

If an uncovered thigh is shameful and godly people should avoid it, then several other things should also be avoided by the same reasoning, like uncovered hair, and uncovering any part of the leg. If the thigh is the leg from knee to hip, and all of it should be covered, then the leg is the part from ankle to hip, and all of it should be covered. The passage does not specify that this apply only to female thighs, hair or legs either, so the same standards – if applicable at all – should probably apply to male clothing. So the immodest parts, if this reasoning is right, will look more like the red parts here:

That will also make the Duggar-approved swimwear scandalously immodest. (Legs! And hair!) The photo of Mrs. Daphne Kirkland on the front page of “A return to Biblical Modesty” will, likewise, be shameful – it shows her hair. And any Quiverfull woman who not only bakes her own bread, but grinds the flour is doing something shameful.

But this is not what God is speaking about in this passage. If you read it with verse 1, you will see this is about  Babylon and the Chaldeans. They are symbolized as an ex-queen (or ex-princess) who now has to work hard and no longer has the floor-length gowns and pretty veils she was used to.

Anyone who gets covering the leg up to the knee, but no need to cover the rest, from this passage, is proof texting to a degree that simply cannot be an accident.  Some deliberate disrespect for scripture is, methinks, involved in this kind of “modesty.”

Mrs. Duggar is most likely not the one who is proof texting here. She probably just believe and repeat things she was taught. It is even possible that Mrs. Kirkland is just repeating what she learned.

But whoever the guilty party is, this kind of Scripture abuse is unacceptable. Whoever made up this teaching would know he is twisting the Word for his own ends. And this is by far not the only such disrespect for the Bible in fundamentalist modesty teachings. In fact, it took me months to write something on “A return to Biblical modesty” because every time I start, I get distracted by other topics in the booklet that could also be used to point out Scripture misuse and/ or illogic. “Biblical” modesty? More like Bible-twisting modesty, if you ask me.

What I think of this? Unless the teacher is God Himself, keep away from teachings which make the Bible a servant to the teacher’s ends, instead of the other way round.


*According to blogger Calulu, in Defrauding: The NLQ buzzword project

(The screenshot was replaced on 10 Feb 2014 with one with red words over it, because Pinterest bloggers were using it to promote the exact ideas this article attempts to refute.


Added October 2016:

Hi, New Reader of this blog! I notice this article is the most read on my blog. Can you leave a comment and tell me what you were looking for when you read this? Perhaps I can produce more on the topic(s) you are interested in.


Comments on: "Modesty and respect for Scripture – do they fit together in your world view?" (27)

  1. Wow. And they say that it is egalitarians who “twist the scriptures to accomplish their own ends”!


  2. Man and woman of God need to dress modest, covered completely and act holy if we serve a Holy God. People should be able to tell that you are a Christian by just looking at the way you dress. We need to pray and ask The Lord if He is happy with the way we are dressing and presenting ourselves to a lost world. It is better to cover too much than to lack coverage. Remember you are the light of the world.


    • “Man and woman of God need to dress modest, covered completely ”
      We should dress modestly, but the Bible may not mean by that what you think it does. Modest, as in a modest income, is an income that barely covers the most important things. In Timothy modest is used in the context of not flaunting expensive things like hair full of pearls that needs you to be slave owner with slaves to plait your hair, and perhaps dresses so long and with so much sleeve that it flaunts you don’t have to be dressed practically for work.

      ” and act holy if we serve a Holy God.”

      “People should be able to tell that you are a Christian by just looking at the way you dress.”
      Where does the Bible say that? And what clothing will do that, short of a T-shirt with the words “I am a Christian”, or a nun’s habit or something else that is characteristic of one particular denomination/ sect?

      “We need to pray and ask The Lord if He is happy with the way we are dressing and presenting ourselves to a lost world. ”

      “It is better to cover too much than to lack coverage.”
      Says who? And even if that is true, it will still be sinful to misuse the Bible the way the passage with “thigh” and “shame” in is misused. Modesty is not so important that we could misuse the Bible to defend the level of modesty we like.

      “Remember you are the light of the world.”


    • Geraldo, could you explain to me what “covered completely” means? Even on the coldest winter days my hands are seldom covered, and even women in burqas leave their eyes uncovered. Jesus, to the best of our knowledge, uncovered his toes in sandals. What should be covered completely?


  3. A shame so many complementarians put so much emphasis on outward appearances and not the inner beauty to match. Most comp emphasis on the letter of the advice to women 1 Timothy 2 is actually a violation of its spirit…


  4. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: (Exodus 28:42 KJV). This one stops at thighs.


    • Pastor Kenneth Binion said:

      That is for men to wear, priests were men not women. Breeches are apparel for men only. In this case ti was to prevent the nakedness of the priest from being exposed as he ascended the altar.


  5. Wow, Thank you so much for this great article. Just a confirmation from Abba!


  6. Uncovered hair is cut or trimmed hair. It’s all in there.(the bible)


  7. I appreciate people who aren’t afraid to speak up about what is really true. The Bible is definitely a book that requires many of times more analization and careful study than any other books.


  8. Dude the thigh is between your knee and hip.

    thigh – definition of thigh by The Free Dictionary
    a. The portion of the human leg between the hip and the knee. b. The corresponding part of the hind leg of a quadruped or other vertebrate animal. 2.

    Thigh | Definition of thigh by Merriam-Webster
    the part of your leg that is above the knee. : the side part of the leg of a bird. Yes, irregardless” is a word. No, that doesn’t mean you should use it. » …


  9. People will believe what they want to believe, hear what they want to hear and do what they want to do. If you want to know the real truth, search the scriptures for yourself.

    2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (KJV)


  10. I neither disagree nor agree with all you have said. However, to shoot down their definition of modesty and provide no biblical basis for your own in the article is, in my opinion, cowardly and critical.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. And while this passage may not speak to the thigh as nakedness in particular, Exodus 28:42 certainly does: “And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs shall they reach.” Other modern translations say from “the hip to the thighs.”


  12. Ah, Nick, thanks for that verse. It proves that Mrs. Kirkland cannot be right on this.

    If the breeches reach “to the thighs”, it does not cover the whole of the thighs. The same way that a skirt that goes “to the knees” do not cover the whole knees, otherwise it would have been called a skirt “past the knees”. So, to have part of the thigh uncovered would not stop an item of clothing from covering nakedness.


  13. Joshua Golembiewski said:

    A better verse for thighs being nakedness would be Exodus 28:42 “And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:”


    • Hi, Joshua! The good news is, you (and your wife, and daughters, and all around you) can be free of such legalism!

      Read my answer to Nick – it is right above your comment.


  14. […] Modesty and Respect for Women- Do they fit together in your worldview?– The “modesty movement” has taken hold of some forms of Christianity today. The debate over the meaning of modesty has led some to look to the Bible for answers, but they often provide over-simplified readings of the Bible that don’t actually match what it says. […]


  15. Interested said:

    So then, where IS the line? What should be considered “immodest”?


    • Short answer: Elaborate hair, expensive jewellery and expensive clothes are immodest. (1 Tim 2:9-10). Two texts in the Bible contain the word translated “modest” (and 0 the word “immodest”). The other one, referring to elders (1 Tim 3:2) translate it as “of good behaviour.”

      If you prefer English meanings of modest, it refers to “moderate, limited or small”. Modest clothing would be small and limited rather than too big/ conspicuous/ elaborate. It also refers to not thinking too much of yourself – to be modestly clothed, you would need to not think you are better than one who is not dressed like you. Expensive clothes pretends to be better than the poor, who cannot afford such frivolous luxuries.

      From the texts that say “gird your loins” (for example 1Pe 1:13, I assume God did not have a problem with showing skin – it is even used as an example for being willing to do what is needed. (Look up a picture for what “gird the loins” mean – it involves tying your skirt out of the way to work more easily.)


  16. Just looking for the passage that talks about the thigh. Trying to see if it was used in proper context to guide modesty standards.


  17. So when Proverbs talks about the dress of harlots, it talks about the long slit of the leg extending beyond the knee or Exodus extending nakedness to the thighs. Just because one verse may be “twisted” if there were no other verses on the topic, doesn’t mean there are no verses on the topic. That’s like saying John 3:16 stands by itself that God loves the whole world without reference. The failure of this article is limiting it to just Timothy and Isaiah, when to be more Biblically, all verses should be taken as a whole for the topic.


    • Hi, Samuel.
      I admit that one article on the blog, or one sermon, or even one Bible book, never say everything that could be said about a topic.

      What texts in Proverbs and Exodus do you refer to? I handled at least one Exodus text in the comments. I find one text mentioning “attire of a harlot” in Proverbs, but it does not mention skirt length or what flesh is exposed.

      It is important to get the Bible messages which God gives, but is equally important not to lie man-made yokes of the “don’t touch this” “don’t taste that” type on people. If Jesus is against a certain skirt length/ pants length, I don’t want to be caught in it, and would want every Christian man or woman around me to know God’s will on exposing their skin. But if people want to tell others what to do, while God did not command it, the spirit of control over others is a sin to call out.


  18. Chloe Anne said:

    The main arguments against Exodus 28:42 are that the thigh begins at the top of the knee and that the “dress code” was specifically for Aaron and his sons. During that time, saints of the church gave their sacrifices to Aaron, the priest, who had to be holy to stand in the presence of God and rightfully give the sacrifice to God. Now, by grace, we are able to repent through words directly to God, so shouldn’t we abide by that standard of holiness to stand in the presence of God? NOW… the fun part. The Bible verse clearly states thigh, which by what we see on the outside seems to be above the knee to the hip. BUT in physiological terms..🤓 The majority of the femur (the thigh bone) stops right at the top of the knee.. but wait. There’s more. Literally. The femur doesn’t stop until until it connects to the tibia which is directly under the knee cap. So it ends directly at the bottom of the knee. PLUS, (this is just my personal opinion) when you sit down wearing a skirt, wouldn’t you want it to cover your knees? Sitting down in a skirt means you have to make sure your legs are completely together at all times so you won’t flash anyone.. why not wear it an inch or 2 longer while you’re sitting?🤔


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