The Pant-Skirt Issue for Dummies

April 3, 2009

Genesis 1:27 says:  ” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  God created two distinct genders or sexes, male and female, with two separate, unique roles.  Throughout Scripture we see that God expects men and women to keep the distinctions that He designed—the man the head, the woman the helpmeet (Genesis 2:18-25; 1 Timothy 2:9-15; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22-33; Titus 2:1-5; 1 Corinthians 14:29-35; 1 Peter 3:1-7; Psalm 127-128; Romans 1:26-27).   Man and woman have different roles, but are the same in essence (Gal 3:28).   God designed men and women different, gave them different roles, and out of respect for Him, wants them to honor His design.  To show agreement with His design, God gave this order in Deuteronomy 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.

The words are specific and easy to be understood.  The Hebrew and the English say the same thing.  There’s no problem with the translation here.  The verse prohibits certain activity.  You’ve got three parts—one for the woman, another for the man, and the consequence for not obeying the order.  The cultures who have cared about the Bible have understood and practiced this verse the same way for centuries.

You see what the verse says.  The verse doesn’t say:

The woman shall not wear the military gear of a warrior man.

The woman shall not put on ornaments that a man wears and use utensils that a man uses.

The woman shall try to look different than a man.

The woman shall not be a transvestite.

The woman shall not be a cross-dresser.

The woman shall not participate in Canaanite worship practices that require wearing a man’s clothes.

None of these have been how Christians have believed and practiced this verse.  The verse is not a euphemism for something else.  It isn’t idiomatic.  It is very straightforward.  And in the end, God says a man or woman who disobeys this prohibition is himself or herself an abomination to Him.

The woman is not to have on a male article.  The man is not to put on a woman’s clothing.  Both sides assume that a certain article or certain articles of clothing in a God-honoring culture have been designated exclusively male and  a certain article or certain articles of clothing in a God-honoring culture have been designated exclusively female.   It is obvious from the verse that God wants men and women distinguished from one another in appearance, but the verse says more than that.

I believe that in principle we are helped in understanding God’s will in this matter by looking at 1 Corinthians 11:3-16.  In 1 Corinthians 11:3, we are reminded of the point of the instruction about dress and appearance:  male headship and female submission.  Arguments are made for Christians to continue differentiating themselves in gender and role with their appearance, and in particular a symbol of submission and then male headship, the head-covering.   Despite women being equal in essence to men, God expected His designed role distinctions to be honored in appearance.  Why?  Creation order (1 Cor 11:7-9).  A testimony to angels (1 Cor 11:10).  To honor God (1 Cor 11:12).  To not be a shame but to be a glory (1 Cor 11:7, 13-15).

There is a reason why the problem today is women wearing a male article, not men wearing a female.  This is clear by seeing the problem in Corinth.  It is a headship and submission issue.  It is the woman wearing the pants, not men wearing the skirt.  Today men may hide behind a woman’s apron, but it started with women wearing the pants.

Obedience to Deuteronomy 22:5 and 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 is more than a testimony or stumbling block issue.  Obedience to these is a statement to God.  It is an act of worship to Him.  It is a deed of deferment to His greatness and goodness.  By obeying the prohibition, we are saying to Him, “You are wise.  You know what you are doing.  You know what’s best for us.”  Angels were there at the creation of male and female, so they were there to see what God had in mind.  I think there is more to it, but that isn’t as important.  For instance, I believe that we learn sexuality and gender and role by appearance.  This is a means by which children grow up and see the differences.  In other words, without the clear delineation in the roles by means of the symbols of male headship and female submission, we have role confusion.  This in part explains the rampant homosexuality.  Sexuality is in part learned and we haven’t taught it as a culture.

Deuteronomy 22:5 doesn’t mention pant-skirt.  It, however, assumes that God’s people would have such articles that were exclusive to each gender.  And it is true that we have had that in our culture and because of Deuteronomy 22:5 and 1 Corinthians 11:3-16.  What is it that in our culture has symbolized male headship, an article that was uniquely designated for the male, to be seen as a testimony to God and others of our agreement with Him in His design?  Let’s think about it.  Is it the hat?  Is it the shirt?  Is it underwear?  Is it shoes? Is it the cape?  Is it socks?  No and no and no and no and no.  Is it pants?  Yes.  Does history show this?  Yes.

So why did women start wearing pants?  It wasn’t out of conviction.  It wasn’t acceptable to Christians and not really accepted by anyone when our culture reflected more Judeo-Christian ethics.  Was it a group of godly people who got together to pray about being obedient to to God’s will?  Of course not.  It was in defiance of the idea of male authority.  It was women’s liberation.  It was convenience.  Today it is just normal.  Women don’t want to stick out, want to fit in.  So now it is worldliness, going along with the spirit of the age, and even in churches.   Here is a church that has that crazy skirts-only-on-women standard and the women wear pants in the other church—which one will I choose?

I’m not going to argue about whether it should be obeyed any longer because it is Old Testament law.  That is a johnny-come-lately argument that goes along with the licentiousness and antinomianism of our day.  Men use grace as an occasion to the flesh.  Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires.   As it applies to Deuteronomy 22:5, this argument wasn’t even around until women started wanting to wear pants.

You’ve got those who use the “they wore robes” argument.   Let’s jump right to their point.  They say that men wear men’s pants and women wear women’s pants.  Christians or this culture have never made that designation.  We have never stated the unique design of the woman’s pant.  What makes “women’s pants” to be “women’s pants?”   There isn’t any distinction.  Again, that’s just an argument after the fact.  The whole point of pants was to take away differences and distinctions.  Everyone knows this.  Every history says this.  The purpose of Deuteronomy 22:5 is distinction and difference.  The purpose of pants was sameness.  The robes argument doesn’t work because even if they were robes, which the passage doesn’t say, there would have been a unique male robe and a unique female robe.  We haven’t done the same thing with pants.

The biggest argument that I hear is that the whole conversation is just stupid, tiresome, or ridiculous.  The people that talk about it “have an infatuation with a different era and want everyone else to have the same.”   Or, “you legalists!”  The whole thing is actually about God and what he said.  Christians should care.  However, believers have decided to go along with the spirit of the age.  Sad, but true.

If it isn’t about how crazy this discussion is, then it is about how that instead of focusing in on such a minor doctrinal point, why don’t we spend our time on the grand, important issues, like justification and grace and the trinity and the love of Christ.  Or, “stop juding people’s external appearances and start looking at their heart and how much they love the Lord.”  Whoever says those things ought to think of this:  “abomination to God.”   The very fact that God put this in the Bible makes it important enough, but we know that there is more to it than only a dress and externals issue.  It does have to do with the heart.

  1. Aric
    April 3, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Standing on his roof top, leaning on his parapet, he contemplates . . .“Hmmm, I wonder if certain tassels on the four corners of my garments would be intrinsically masculine or feminine . . . of if it would show an abrogation of authority???”

    On a slightly more serious note, we have many articles of clothing in our society that are distinctly male or female – including pants, unless your pants also have flowers on them!

    The problem, as I see it, lies in this: “What is it that in our culture has symbolized male headship, an article that was uniquely designated for the male, to be seen as a testimony to God and others of our agreement with Him in His design? “ You say it’s pants that are uniquly designed for the male. What about shoes? boots? coats? suits? Male headship is not defined by pants in our culture; at least not in the culture I am in. A suit, maybe.

    What happens when a culture decides that a different article defines headship? A bikini bottom or veil or kilt? Then do we have to throw out our wardrobe and start again? See, I think that when you say “The robes argument doesn’t work because even if they were robes, which the passage doesn’t say, there would have been a unique male robe and a unique female robe. We haven’t done the same thing with pants,” you are refusing to see that reality is the very opposite. Pants are uniquly male and female: different cuts, style, colors, stiching, trim, sizes, etc. Just as it is conceivable to imagine robes that look and fit differently, pants are the same. Now if I am trying to wear my wife’s pants, we may have to talk!

    I appreciate your desire to be faithful to the text, but am confused as to why other commands, within the same chapter are not pushed? I just see your conclusion missing the mark.

  2. April 3, 2009 at 11:45 am


    What is the male article or garment? Being faithful to the text would require this to be delineated. What is it? What is prohibited for a female to wear?

    What were Christians thinking when they practiced this so-called OT Mosaic regulation for hundreds of years? Had they apostatized in the grace of God? Why did we not know until now, you know, when there is no male article to distinguish the male role that we didn’t actually need to keep Deuteronomy 22:5?

    And you do need to make up your mind. If this is OT, then unisex is fine, right? Aren’t you adding to grace with anything that Mosaic law says that expects women to dress different? You can’t really expect that, can you? You can’t expect men not to wear dresses. This is correct, right? To be consistent?

    And I really need an answer to this, Aric. Is the one violating this verse no longer an abomination to God? Did this person stop being an abomination when the veil of the temple was rent? Or when?

    Thank you.

  3. Mrs. DePriest
    April 3, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Good post, Pastor B! I know you wrote a book about clothing – is it available yet?

  4. Aric
    April 3, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Kent said: “What is the male article or garment? Being faithful to the text would require this to be delineated. What is it? What is prohibited for a female to wear?

    I have searched and cannot find pants listed anywhere as the forbidden garment. In the post, you said, “Deuteronomy 22:5 doesn’t mention pant-skirt. It, however, assumes that God’s people would have such articles that were exclusive to each gender. . So now we are left to discuss who decides on what is an “exclusive” article of clothing?

    It is interesting that pant-skirt/dress is usually the big debate. What about coats. Both men and women wear similar coats. How about shoes? Both sexes wear shoes (or even sandals!) What about shirts? Both sexes wear shirts. So, the question is, why are pants an issue?

    You say “What is it that in our culture has symbolized male headship, an article that was uniquely designated for the male, to be seen as a testimony to God and others of our agreement with Him in His design? Now we have to discuss what authority you have to determine our culture’s symbol of male headship? Do pants define the leader? I always tended to look up to someone wearing a suit/tie combo.

    The real trouble begins when our culture adopts another symbol. So, who decides? That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it. So, I avoid wearing my wife’s shoes, socks, underwear, shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, etc. My wife tends to not wear my clothing (unless she is pregnant and needs a t-shirt, which I would hope is o.k.). Your view tries to make a single article of clothing either male or female, not by its design, but by its classification.

    As for your last question, the one I really need to answer :0) . . . I would say that yes, the person who cross-dresses is an abomination to the Lord. I guess at this point, I need some biblical proof that ‘pants’ are the garment referred to, and not any other article of clothing.(and not pants that are created, designed, and cut for a woman). Your rationale for pants is not compelling. Logical, perhaps, but not compelling enough to equate with a biblical mandate. Show me that pants are what is in mind here, and I will gladly reconsider my beliefs. I just don’t see it from what you have put forth.

    Let me take a bit more space to explain myself. You hit on how both sexes may have worn robe-like garments, but there would have been differences (I’m supposing in design and decoration). Yet, both sexes would have worn the EXACT SAME item of clothing, but for the design/decoration. So, the article of clothing must not have been the issue. To analogize, in the U.S., both sexes wear pants (indulge me, I understand women in your congregation wouldn’t). How do we tell the difference? By design/decoration. Very similar to your thoughts on the robes.

    Let me leave you with this: You said, “It is obvious from the verse that God wants men and women distinguished from one another in appearance, but the verse says more than that. If both sexes are wearing robes, how would one distinguish based solely on appearance? Design or decoration? Accessories? See, your thoughts start with two robe wearing sexes, which is o.k. because they would be done up differently. But, obvioulsy, scripture was meant to forbid pants?

    I’ll try to check back, but the email notification is not working, so I may not reply again. Thank you for provoking my thoughts. I truly appreciate that.

  5. April 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm


    Thanks for the interaction. No disrespect, but your answer stands as some good evidence for my post. I don’t think I need to say anything; just let it stand on its own. But I want to explain why anyway.

    On my first question, you didn’t answer. Just a smart comment to begin—that probably works with the folks in the choir. In the end all I saw was another question: “why pants?” That doesn’t seem to be an answer, but one I’ve already answered and an answer that is very obvious. Surely if coats were the differentiating garment, they would be discussed, Aric, but pants are it, which is why they’re discussed. It also has to do with authority, which makes it hot and controversial.

    You avoid wearing your wife’s clothes. That’s good. I don’t wear my wife’s either. It’s a small world. Actually small clothes.

    Wow, you say the cross-dresser is an abomination, despite that you believe that this OT text doesn’t apply to us any more. That’s confusing.

    The rest of everything you said, I truly didn’t understand.

    I’m happy that you were able to read this and think through it. I hope you obey it in honor to God. Don’t make it so difficult. It isn’t a hard subject except that people don’t want to do it because it is inconvenient and not in the spirit of the age. God is worthy of our honor and obedience. Get dresses and skirts for your wife and daughters. Throw away the pants.

    Mrs. DePriest,

    Thanks for the note. I need to check the guy doing the publishing of the book. He’s had it for almost two years. I think I’m too patient.

  6. April 4, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Pastor Brandenburg,
    I think the part that stuns me the most is that you refuse to give people some respect for believing something different then you! For example: the title. You either are trying to reference the “books for dummies” or calling anyone who doesn’t believe like you “dummies”.
    In the following paragraphs you gave us Bible verses after Bible verses and then explained them based on what you believe. You didn’t give any room for someone to believe those verses mean anything else. For example:
    “The words are specific and easy to be understood. The Hebrew and the English say the same thing. There’s no problem with the translation here. The verse prohibits certain activity. You’ve got three parts—one for the woman, another for the man, and the consequence for not obeying the order. The cultures who have cared about the Bible have understood and practiced this verse the same way for centuries.” Those are your words…

    You say that cultures for centuries have not worn pants… I find this amazingly hard to swallow because pants haven’t even been around for centuries. This is entire post takes the Bible and fills the holes with your philosophy. I know your argument is going to be about women that put on men’s apparel are an abomination to God but I don’t believe that verse is referring to one particular article of clothing. The reason I believe this is because for hundreds and thousands of years clothing has drastically changed. God would have known this and had to have been saying something else… (please refer to my arguments in the last post)
    I want to explain one more thing. You referred to ladies in this generation want to act like men by putting on pants… and that may be true in your thinking but since I have seen both sides of this issue (ie: I have friends that are unsaved and saved), I can say that No women that I know wear pants to be like a man.

    I know we disagree with a few things but my church and your church are going for the same goal in life and that is to glorify God. I believe that these issues being brought up over and over only seem to push churches and Christians farther apart from each other and that is not what we are here on earth for.

  7. April 4, 2009 at 6:08 am


    Your church will only glorify God to the degree that it lives the Scriptures. That is what pleases and glorifies God. When God says something is an abomination, it means that the practice of such a thing seriously puts in jeopardy you ability to glorify God in your life.

  8. April 4, 2009 at 10:05 am


    I have a hard time believing you are “stunned.” It is a picturesque verb though. To get unstunned, see this page:

    Why would anyone buy those books? They should be stunned.

    I don’t have much to say about your comment. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you, but your reading comprehension isn’t good. We can’t argue this if you put words in my mouth that I didn’t say, Daniel, like “You referred to ladies in this generation want to act like men by putting on pants.” Show me where I said that. I would be stunned if you could.

    I thought this statement was tell-tale: “I know your argument is going to be about women that put on men’s apparel are an abomination to God.” That’s actually what the passage says, so how could I be “filling holes with my philosophy?”

    Daniel, you want your women to wear pants. If you require them not to wear them, but wear skirts/dresses, you’re going to have many either angry or disinterested women on your hands. I understand it. To be consistent, you shouldn’t care if men wear skirts or dresses. And I mean that. Don’t tell me you want to obey Deuteronomy 22:5. Just be honest and say that you find it to be a hard passage to obey, probably like a lot of other passages in the Bible. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God,” Daniel.

    I’m not going to agree to disagree. I don’t approve of your position. And it is your position. It isn’t exegetical or historical.

  9. April 5, 2009 at 11:57 am

    For more on this subject, please read:

    Isaiah 47 and the Biblical Length of Apparel

    Deutronomy 22:5 and Gender Distinct Clothing

    Biblical Considerations on the Length of Clothing


  10. Bruce Snead
    April 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    When will get your untapped wisdom on Deut 22:11. I think it is a bigger problem than Deut 22:5. I see more people disobeying this verse without any regard for what God’s word says. I have seen pastors and missionaries stand before people, as hypocrites, preaching the gospel with cotton/poly blends on without any shame. It is clear that their underlying motive is to try to blur the line between male and female by mixing the fabrics and somehow this all has to stop. We have a whole generation of people going to hell in their blended suits and no one is standing up and saying anything about this. These are the same people who do not know how to handle a bird’s nest (22:6) and the Lord only knows if they are plowing with ox and ass at the same time. Thank you for standing up for the truth but please be like the Apostle Paul and give the whole council. We cannot compromise for the sake of wrinkle free clothing.

  11. Joshua
    April 5, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Mr Snead,

    Please inform me how many of the things God called an abomination in the Old Testament are no longer so. Please also detail which ones are still in effect, which ones have stopped, when they stopped and why the ones that continue to be an abomination are so. I am curious as to your method of discerning between those that continue and those that dont.

    Respectfully, without any trace of sarcasm and mockery,


  12. April 5, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I agree Joshua. I’d also like to know how Paul could use Deuteronomy 25:4 on the muzzling of the ox in 1 Corinthians 9, when Deuteronomy is no longer in effect. I wonder how New Testament authors found any use of it when they quoted it 80 times.

    I also ask this question with full sincerity.

  13. Bruce Snead
    April 5, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Then why don’t we put away our blended fabrics? Is that not what it says in English, Greek and Hebrew?

  14. Bruce Snead
    April 5, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Hey Joshua. How about Lev 11:10? Have you ever eaten shrimp?

  15. Bruce Snead
    April 5, 2009 at 8:08 pm


    Gen 43:32 – Do you think that one still applies?

  16. Bruce Snead
    April 5, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Maybe the reason the writers quoted it 80 times was because there principles that they were trying to highlight? I wonder why they never used 22:5 or 22:11?

  17. Joshua
    April 5, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that [is] an abomination unto the Egyptians.

    Yes, that was an abomination unto the Egyptians. It didn’t say it was an abomination to God, nor was it God saying it was an abomination. If I said “Julie hates rice” and wrote it in a book, is it fair to say “Joshua hates rice”?

    Bruce, it just looks like you’re here to scoff. Please answer my question. How many things that God called an abomination are now no longer so?

  18. April 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    A scoffer, walking after his own lust. Like the scoffers in 2 Peter 3:10. When you have no argument, you resort to scoffing.

  19. Bruce Snead
    April 5, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Did you answer the one about the shrimp yet?

  20. Bruce Snead
    April 5, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Mr. Brandenburg

    Please present the argument for blended fabrics as found 6 verses away from 22:5. I have not seen you post on that yet. Maybe you are lusting after your cotton/poly blends? You accuse me of scoffing and walking in my own lusts.

  21. April 5, 2009 at 9:38 pm


    You’re going to need to read these last two comment threads to get my answer. Also click on the links to the relationship of law and grace that I placed under the comment by Donald Heinz on one of the two threads. I’m not going to explain it when you can look it up here. I’d appreciate it if you answered Joshua’s question. Things that are abomination to God, what basis do you have scripturally, theologically for them ceasing to be an abomination to Him? And we’re being specific—an abomination to Him.

  22. April 5, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    This post by Dave is pertinent to the issue also.

  23. Joshua
    April 6, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Bruce, the basis of your cotton thread argument is that you think we are selectively picking out parts of the Old Testament to keep while ignoring the other bits. You are attempting to show via mockery and sarcasm that we have a hypocritical double standard.

    By asking you which of the things God called an abomination are no longer so, I was attempting to point out that we do not have a double standard. Christians for thousands of years have held that anything God called an abomination in the Old Testament is still wrong in the New Testament age.

    Our stand isnt “everything in Deuteronomy still must be done today”. It is “everything that God calls an abomination in the OT isn’t a ceremonial or cultural rule but an absolute evil God has condemned.”

    So, I need you to explain how many things God called an abomination are still that. I’d also appreciate it if you could explain how you came to that position.

  24. Aric
    April 6, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Wow, interesting thread. Well, maybe I can clarify my position for you, Kent. After reading your last reply, I thought I would take a fresh look at the text. Now, I am NOT a professional exegetical wizard, nor do I read any foreign language – and especially not Greek or Hebrew. Having said that, here are my observations. I leave them for your reading pleasure.

    Looking at Deut. 22, it is a passage written to Israel as they are/are about to enter the Promised Land. The rules and regulations are being set forth to distinguish God’s people from all others. The passage is not primarily about defining headship between a man and woman; it is about God’s people as compared to the pagans.

    Then, I thought I would try to see what the Hebrew says. Now from what I found (admittedly, I am no scholar, but am attempting to be faithful to the text), two different words are used for the garments in question. Apparently, the word used for “pertaineth” is one used primarily in reference to an object or implement – not a garment such as a robe. That was very interesting. Then the word for man seems to imply a strong man, or soldier. Again, very interesting.

    So, after I mulled over these words, and the word used for “garment”, it would seem to me that the text isn’t “the pants issue” as much as it is about other things. Yeah, I don’t have an answer at this point, but let me throw these out there. A) the woman isn’t supposed to wear any implement a soldier would – no women in the military, B) the pagan cultures Israel was going to be up against had women disguised as soldiers and/or men disguising themselves in women’s garments either in worship to false god’s, or as a military strategy, C) women and men disguising themselves as such didn’t show the reliance on God as the deliverer.

    Those are just a few thoughts. After seeing the Hebrew words have a different connotation that presented in the blog post, I would have to continue my disagreement with the application to the pans/skirt issue. From the text, I just don’t see your arguments as persuasive. I could be wrong, and if I am, I pray God would reveal His truth to me. Also, if I am not wrong, I pray that God would reveal His truth to you.

    Lastly, the text doesn’t point out a definitive item of clothing that is to not be worn by the opposite sex. The text has a sweeping call: “not wear that which pertaineth to a man” and “not put on a woman’s garment”. There is no distinction between “that article of clothing which indicates headship in the culture in which you live” and “all other articles of clothing that are designed the same, but decorated differently.” To say that “pants” is the only “male article” this verse relates to is perplexing. If you want women to rejoice in their femininity and dress in a way that accords with that desire. I’m all for it. If you want to say that this verse says “a woman who wears pants is an abomination”, then I will have to disagree. Thanks for the dialogue, you made me think, pray, read, and reflect. God bless.

  25. Steve
    April 6, 2009 at 7:44 am


    For the word “pertaineth” according to Strongs Exhaustive it clearly states that “כּלי” or Kliy (kel-ee) – Is in fact referring to an article of clothing for Deut 22.5. E Sword doesn’t have a very exhaustive definition.

    So are you right? Partially.

    It also refers to a number of other things as well in various other passages. But, they are all verse specific.

    For “man” well I think you have found that its pretty obvious man is well….man?!

    I’m sorry Aric, its clear to me that Deuteronomy 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. (Deu 22:5)

    very abundantly makes it clear that God is referring to a person as being an abomination! How else can it be read (I say this in love honestly).

    You stated and I quote:

    “If you want to say that this verse says “a woman who wears pants is an abomination”, then I will have to disagree. ”

    Read the last part of 22:5 …for ALL that do so (do what? MEN wearing womens clothing and WOMEN wearing the mens clothing) are abomination…. Who Aric is the ALL? I’ll go ahead and take this one its the individual wearing the item.

    Heres the killer part lets take it FWIW? Would I really want to risk even being an abomination unto God? A God I love and revere or hold in fearful awe (Heb. 10:31). Would I really want risk that? Look for a second if you will aty that word abomination. Strongs #8441/Vines defines abomination (in reference to Deut. 22.5) as “people with loathsome habits are themselves detestable to Him (Deut. 22.5)” .

    Finally consider detestable

    detestable (

    adj 1: offensive to the mind; “an abhorrent deed”; “the obscene
    massacre at Wounded Knee”; “morally repugnant
    customs”; “repulsive behavior”; “the most repulsive
    character in recent novels” [syn: abhorrent, obscene,
    repugnant, repulsive]
    2: unequivocally detestable; “abominable treatment of
    prisoners”; “detestable vices”; “execrable crimes”;
    “consequences odious to those you govern”- Edmund Burke
    [syn: abominable, execrable, odious]

    Its clear to me that men and women and men should dress differently distinctly according to the Bible.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Bro Steve

    Gal. 2:20

  26. Aric
    April 6, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Thanks for the interaction. I guess when I look at Strongs, I see that keliy most often refers to vessel, instrument, or weapon. Not a single article of clothing. Whereas simla (the word for garment) is normally used to refer to clothing. It is interesting to me that not only are the words totally different, but that the one at the heart of this post (keliy) is usually not used in the way it is trying to be used today: as a single article of clothing.

    I never have questioned who (or what action) is an abomination. I agree that the verse makes it an abomination. So, we are back to square one. You say the verse clearly designates “pants” as the solely male article of clothing. I say, show me from the text where pants is that article. It is not there.

    Kent has tried to link pants with headship, but the problem is he is the one who has decided what constitutes the single article of clothing, in our current culture, that denotes headship. I say, show me from the text where pants is that item.

    See, I am not trying to avoid texts that I don’t like. Quite the contrary. I am also not trying to walk as close to the abomination line as I can. I am also not willing to call something an abomination that is not, which to me is equally as dangerous.

    Let me try to state, as clearly as I can, where I have a disconnect and disagreement with this line of thinking. Both sexes wear underwear, shirts (button-down and t-shirts), shoes, hats, coats, scarves, jackets, vests, socks, watches, etc. This post now says, “Yeah, that’s all good, but pants are clearly a male-only article of clothing, see Deut. 22:5.” So, I look at the text and see nothing about pants. I see nothing about shirts, shoes, socks, or underwear. I see that a woman and man should not wear each other’s clothing. Period.

    Kent says pants are a symbol of headship. Does the text? Nope. Does culture? According to Kent. If I had to attribute headship to a single article of clothing, I wouldn’t say pants. Probably a suit and tie, or a flannel shirt. Seriously, my father is a carpenter and wears flannel daily. For me, that shows his leadership. Not pants.

    I understand what is transpiring here, but must say it is hard to understand. I don’t agree with the rationale that this verse was meant to deliniate between male and female. It doesn’t point to a single article of clothing. If it did, then maybe I would be persuaded. If we really want to be true to the text, shouldn’t we distinguish amongst all the types of clothing which are male and which are female? Then, I would never have to worry about whether a button-down shirt was inherently male or female.

    So, I don’t think we will ever see eye-to-eye on this. If we want to sit down and discuss all articles of clothing, then we may. But to pick a single article of clothing, based upon a thought that it represents headship, is not even hinted at in the text. And, FWIW, I am not risking being an abomination. If I were, I would be wearing “a woman’s garment”, which I am not. Also, my wife and daughters are not at risk either because they do not wear “that which pertaineth to a man.” Thank you for the discussion.

  27. April 6, 2009 at 10:34 am

    I actually was not the one that linked pants with headship. It has been linked with headship long before I was born. You’ll also find it in almost all material written about dress by people who do not care about Deuteronomy 22:5 or 1 Cor 11:3-16. It is where the whole expression “wears the pants in the family” comes from. It’s also why we have the little pictures on the bathroom doors. I googled “wears the pants” and it came up 175,000 times, “wear the pants” 146,000 more times, “wearing the pants” 68,900 further times, and “wore the pants” 20,700 times. Does anyone wonder how that happened? If you look it up as an idiom in the English language, it means, “to be the person in charge in a marriage or family.” Webster’s says concerning “wear the pants”: ” to have the controlling authority in a household.”

    I haven’t said that there is one article that distinguishes. It can be more than one, but it is at least one and we know it is the pants that distinguished the man. Aric, do you have any problem with a man wearing a skirt or dress? Why? or Why not?

    If someone says “suit and tie,” in my opinion, he’s not trying to get this, as blue collar workers do not go to work with a suit and a tie. And flannel shirt?

    I’ve already dealt with keli. It isn’t referring to implements. Look at HALOT, but don’t look at that if you don’t want. Look at the verse and the parallel is about clothing.

  28. Aric
    April 6, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Not sure what HALOT is, but not really that important at this stage of the game. I guess we look at it from different sides. You say pants distinguish man, I say skirt/dress distinguishes woman. Pants are pants. Now, of course you will shake your head and say that I just don’t get it. That’s fine. I have been examining, searching, and praying about this issue (as well as modesty related issues) for some time. I am quite confident that God will guide me. If your blog is the means he uses, great.

    When I read that the “woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man” I don’t immediately think pants. I see where there is little distinction between apparel of men and women in ancient times. So, I guess when we look back at history, if any article of clothing was created distinctly for men, then women should avoid it? I have neither the time nor interest to research each and every article of clothing. I recall hearing that t-shirts were created for men, as I am assuming certain styles of footwear.

    Anyway, thanks for the input. I still disagree with your application of this verse. I would agree that modesty issues related to pants need to be addressed, and are in my home. Oh, and I would find your skirt argument to not hold as much weight in countries such as Scotland, where a kilt has been historically worn by men. Thanks again.

  29. David Warner
    April 6, 2009 at 2:10 pm


    Why does the dress distinguish a woman?

    You said, “Pants are pants.” That doesn’t really explain anything. As I have stated before, clothing has a message. If a dress signifies a woman, then what does pants symbolize?

    Indeed, there are other articles that distinguish a man and a woman. A man does not wear high heels. A man does not wear jewelry. A woman does not wear a suit. However, pants on women is the issue today. It is the problem.

    I know that Deut. 22:5 gives no specific article or articles. So we are to know what they are in order to practice what God said.

    Just give it some thought, and tell me what you think.

  30. Aric
    April 7, 2009 at 6:47 am

    I’ve thought about your comment, and here’s my reply.

    Let me start by saying that when I read Deut. 22:5, I am trying to understand how the original hearers would have been dressed. In my limited understanding, both men and women would have worn similar gowns (for lack of better word). The gowns would have been constructed in the same manner: hole for head, two for arms, material to cover body. Men and women wearing eerily similar gowns.

    With that in mind, I must then try to understand how one of these similarly designed gowns would be male or female garments (even though garment is not used in relation to the woman, but pertaineth is). So, what is the difference? Perhaps it is one gown was designed/decorated for men, and the other for women? I don’t know. I may have to look into it. However, the overall construction of the articles of clothing would have been nearly identical, so the construction of the article would not have been the issue here.

    Bringing that to the pants issue, we have pants constructed the same for men and women: two legs, zipper, pockets, etc. Very similar. So, what is the difference? Now, the argument has been that pants, by its nature are male (or pertainteth to a man). Yet, the original recipients of Deut. would have both been wearing the same type of garments, so is it really a valid jump to now state that even though two garments are of the same construction, one is inherently male? I don’t agree.

    I say this with seriousness, not with a facetious tone, but if the argument for pants is accurate, where do I stop? If pants were designed for a man, and therefore forbidden for women to wear, what other items would be forbidden based on that same logic? Shirts, socks, certain shoes, gloves? The way I see it, pants aren’t for women because they were originally designed for men, and therefore pertaineth to men. So, logically, any other item of clothing that was originally designed for men would have the same characteristics, right? Then we need to think of the actual fabric. Wouldn’t a fabric, designed for a man at the outset, and linked to his role as head/provider be something that pertaineth to a man? Should we then forbid women from wearing certain fabrics? To be consistent, I would say you have to go that far. After all, pertaineth is a broad brush.

    As for your question about the dress distinguishing a woman, I would say you have proven my point. See, there is no dress for men. Now, if we did design one, let’s say with a plaid print, and made it for men, could we wear it? What if we called it a ‘kilt’? I say that, not to offend those who wear kilts, but to draw attention to the similar construction of a dress and kilt. Kilts are not dresses. They are, however, constructed in a similar way. So, if I could wear a kilt, then pants are not really in sight here. Also, if the kilt was developed first, would a woman then be forbidden from wearing a dress? Using the logic of pants, I would say you have to answer yes. Enough of the kilt/dress analogy – someone will forget my reason for the analogy and become upset, which is never good on a Tuesday. :0)

    Those are my thoughts. I think I have thought enough on this for a while. Unless someone has a really important bone to pick with me, I will take my leave of this subject. I do want to stress that I appreciate your convictions, and pray that God will further sanctify me in this area if my view is incorrect.

    By His grace,

  31. Aric
    April 7, 2009 at 7:01 am

    I know I said I was done, but I have one last thing I need to say.

    Kent – I feel that my tone in the first couple of posts may have been out of line. I repent for the aggressive/harsh tone, and would seek your forgiveness. The tone was a bit rough, and this medium only intensified my dry sarcasm. No excuses. I was wrong, and I apologize.

    May we one day stand together as His glorious bride.

    By His grace,

  32. April 7, 2009 at 10:21 am

    You’re forgiven, Aric.

  33. Mrs. DePriest
    April 7, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Has anyone ever read the book “The Fall and Rise of Christian Standards” by David Kidd? It’s a book that’s well worth the reading time.

    Since I am a woman, I hesitate to comment on some things, because I don’t want to be thought of as trying to teach men (although some who have commented are young enough to be my sons…=D). But I do heartily recommend the book!

  34. April 7, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Recommendations are fine. I haven’t read it, but I have heard of it and it sounds interesting. Thanks.

  35. April 8, 2009 at 3:01 am

    hmmm…no doubt go dcreated two sexes man and women but thats a bullk to compare them with a dummy

  36. April 9, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Wow, you’ve given me a lot to think about. Thanks for the straight forward manner of the post.

  37. April 10, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Someone was pointing out who the original audience of Moses’ words were – and that would be the Israelites. Within that same generation, there were male priests (if not more men than that) who wore breeches (as can be seen in Exodus 28:42 and various other passages) – which were trousers/pants. Moses (and God) was not debating male versus female robes or gowns.

    Again, we hear the argument against pants being the male article because some other culture had men wearing kilts (or something other than pants). We can’t use the articles of clothing a pagan culture invented or used as a reason to overturn the Bible. If you can show that these were Godly Christian men who were striving to obey God’s Word and honour the Lord that invented kilts, you might have a point there – but you don’t. The history of Scotland is filled with paganism/druidism. I am certain there are some godly men there now (as God does have a remnant), but can it be shown that men of God created kilts? I think not.

  38. Grace
    April 10, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    genesis 3:7, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. ”

    genesis 3:21, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”


    (i wear dresses, i have all my life…i have no desire to wear pants. but i believe the “pants-for-men-only” argument is wrong) Aaron and the priests wore britches so their private parts would not be exposed like we both sexes wear underwear today. IT’S MODESTY! Women are called to dressed modestly and cover their heads during praying and prophesying in the NT.

    The Old Testament verse about wearing what pertains to other sexes is still in effect, but not the way “pants-on-men-only” folk believe.

  39. April 11, 2009 at 9:54 am


    No one is arguing against modesty here. We’re all for it. I don’t believe your “not the way ‘paints-on-men-only’ folk believe” comment, obviously.

  40. Becky
    April 12, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I went to Egypt last year with Pilgrim Tours. One of things the men often wear down there are those Egyptian robes. They are constructed the same for men or women. I was curious so I asked one of the salesmen what was the difference between the men’s and the women’s. After they rolled their eyes at me, the man answered, “How they are decorated.” (as if in “you dummy!” Yes. Then I noticed that some were more decorated than others.)

    I was taught that this passage meant that a woman shouldn’t go into a man’s department and shop for clothes. Shirts, pants, sweaters, etc.

    Not sure how that relates to things like sweatshirts that can be either, or in my case, tennis shoes when I can’t find women’s tennis shoes to fit me in the size I need. I’ve bought them in the men’s department…unfortunately had to buy plain white since I didn’t want the “manly looking” ones (I wanted some with pink on them but they didn’t sell those in the men’s department.) 🙂

    As to shirts…men’s shirts button opposite of women’s. Men’s pants are made different than women’s. Just ask any seamstress.

  41. Gary
    June 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    What was the reason for this law? Why were people wanting to exchange close back then? Was there a problem with women trying to take authority away from weak men? Please explain.

  42. August 25, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Respectfully, brother, I have a problem with the private interpretation of Duet. 22:5, as you have written: “The woman is not to have on a male article. The man is not to put on a woman’s clothing…It is obvious from the verse that God wants men and women distinguished from one another in appearance, but the verse says more than that.”

    Here is my 2 cents, for what it’s worth: what saith the scriptures, exactly? The 1828 English definition of “pertain” is that of ownership, not a description of gender-specific appropriation (or peculiar use of). God in Duet 22 literally says, women, do not wear that which personally is owned by a man, and men, do not wear something that a woman owns.

    Sorry it has taken me over a year to respond. I read the post when written, but actually thought and hoped someone else would point this out. I believe it casts the verse in an entirely different light concerning exactly what God finds to be an abomination, and it is in context not only with the whole of the chapter, but congruent with the whole of the scriptures.

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