by Edgar J. Dye
1. Men and woman generally, and even some professed Christians, think
of nakedness only in terms of complete nudity, the wearing of no
clothes at all. They cannot conceive of nakedness as anything else.
2. However, the scriptural concept of nakedness is not so limited; for the
Bible uses the term in a much broader sense and in a different way.
3. In this part of our study of immodesty and/or modest apparel, we shall
attempt to understand and develop the scriptural concept of nakedness.
4. The early chapters of Genesis provide an excellent vantage point from
which to survey and understand the biblical concept of nakedness both
before and after sin entered the life of human beings.
A. 1ST NAKEDNESS BEFORE THEY SINNED: “And they were both naked
(wearing no clothes at all, completely bare), the man and his wife, and
were not ashamed,” Gen.2:25.
1. This is the first time the Bible introduces us to an association between
nakedness and shame.
2. At this point in their lives they were still in a state of absolute innocence
before God. This was during the ideal or original created order of things
before their sin and fall from their state of paradise, absolute innocence,
and full and complete fellowship with God, the Creator.
3. There was no consciousness of the possibility of sin or shame in their
lives; thee was no awareness of how their bodies could be used for
4. In his primitive state man was innocent rather than holy; that is, he
existed during this period of time in complete openness and freedom
before God without any actual awareness of the possibility of illicit
knowledge and no actual knowledge of sin as a matter of personal
5. In this state he was, as it were, as the young, innocent child before the
age of accountability – in a state of blessed blindness, the ignorance of
innocence, which knows nothing of nakedness or any shame associated
B. 2ND NAKEDNESS AFTER THEY SINNED: Gen.3:6-11, WITH
EMPHASIS ON Vv.7-10.
1. The unusualness of this setting is that Adam and Eve were naked in
Gen.2:25 and WERE NOT ASHAMED, whereas in Gen.3:7 they
―knew that they were naked‖ and WERE ASHAMED, as indicated by
their attempt to cover themselves and hide themselves from the
presence of God, being afraid because they were naked. Why this
significant difference in their situation?
2. The answer is SIN! As a result of their rebellion, their yielding to
Satan‘s temptation in violation of God‘s command not to eat ―of the
tree of knowledge of good and evil,‖ they, for the first time had their
―eyes open‖ and experienced the sense of shame that accompanies sin.
3. With the entrance of sin in their lives, nakedness took on a totally
4. Henceforth, even partial covering of the body is not sufficient to cover
the human body to God‘s satisfaction as their attempt to do so proves,
as per V.7, where they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves
aprons, or girdles that evidently covered the private parts and little else.
5. Gen.3:21 reveals that ―God made coats of skins, and clothed them,‖ –
completely clothed them to hide their nakedness.
a. ―Coats‖ of Gen.3:21, according to O.T. Word Studies, by Wm.
Wilson, Kregel Publications, p.81, describes a garment:
―generally with sleeves, to the knees, but seldom to the ankles
b. Thereafter in the Bible, except within the intimacy of marriage,
the exhibition and/or flaunting of nakedness, or the act of disrobing,
even partially disrobing, is associated with shame or sinful indulgence.
6. This account establishes a principle from the time of the transgression
of Adam and Eve: NAKEDNESS OF THE HUMAN BODY IS SIN!
a. This principle is illustrated metaphorically in Rev.3:18; 16:15.
(1) In Rev.3:18, Jesus was not speaking of literal nakedness in
the Laodicean church, but of their unacceptable spiritual
condition, and counseled them ―to buy of me…white
raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of
thy nakedness (spiritual nakedness, spiritual indecency) do
(2) The same principle is evident in Rev.1615: ―Blessed is he
that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk
naked, and they see his shame.‖
(3) This is figurative language, but figurative language cannot
be used which does not have, as its background, a reality
from which it is drawn.
(4) Therefore, though speaking in figurative language, Jesus‘
statements here have the same force as that which was
necessarily implied in Gen.3:7-11.
7. Wilson, Ibid, 284, defining naked as it is often used in the Bible says:
―to uncover, what is shameful or weak, what is indecent or improper to
be seen; to be destitute, exposed.‖
a. In other words, it is often used in both a physical or material
sense, as well as a spiritual one, to describe the shamefulness of
sinful conduct in how one may dress or act, especially in immoral
C. FOR EMPHASIS AND FURTHER CLARIFICATION, NOTE THE
BIBLICAL USAGE OF THE WORD “NAKED” WITH REFERENCE
TO CLOTHING THE HUMAN BODY.
1. Naked: Wearing no clothing at all, Gen.2:25; 3:7; Job 1:21; Eccl.5:15.
2. Naked: Wearing only an ―apron,‖ or a ―girdle,‖ or a ―loin covering,‖
Gen.3:7b. (Evidently it covered little more than the private parts.)
a. This is when Adam and Eve had ―made themselves aprons‖ to
cover themselves; yet they were still ―naked,‖ and even realized
b. Men and woman, you are still considered naked in the biblical
sense of the term when you go topless, or even scantly clad. Cf.
3. Naked: showing the buttocks, Isa.20:4; 2Sam.10:4.
a. There is no reason why this would not include partial showing of
that part of the body or parts near it.
4. Naked: Showing waist and thighs, Exo.28:42.
a. The priests wore ―linen breeches‖ which covered their loins and
thighs to ―cover their nakedness.‖
b. This would rule out wearing the ―hip-huggers‖ and tank-tops, etc.
which expose the area in-between, including the belly button, for
all to see! (Which is often decorated with rings, diamonds, etc.)
5. Naked: Throwing off the outer garments and wearing only the under
6. Naked: Exposing the breasts, Ezek.16:6-10.
a. In this word picture, Jerusalem is seen as a girl who matures, her
hair grows, her breasts are formed, but she is naked.
b. Her nakedness is ―covered‖ by God clothing her. And the word is
the same as when God ―clothed‖ Adam and Eve‘s nakedness in
c. Therefore, showing the breasts or parts thereof (top, side,
cleavage) is part of nakedness that God says should be clothed!
7. Note how the word NAKED, translated from the Gr. GUMNOS –
goom-nos‘ – is used by Jesus and his apostles in the N.T.
a. See Ac.19:16; 1Cor.4:11; Jas.2:15, where Vine, III, 99, defines it
as: ―scantly or poorly clad.‖
b. Vine, I, 199, says: ―A person was said to be ‗naked‘ (gumnos),
whether he was without clothing, or had thrown off his outer
garment, e.g., his ependutes, and was clad in a light
undergarment, as was the case with Peter, in Jno.21:7: ―he put on
his outer garment, for he was naked‖ (stripped for work).
c. Jesus used it in the same way in Mt.25:36,38,43,44:
(1) V.36: ―I was naked and you clothed me‖
(2) V.38: ―Or, naked and clothed you?‖
(3) V.43: ―Naked and you did not clothe me‖
(4) V.44: ―Or naked…and did not minister to you?‖
III. CONCLUSION AND SUMMATION OF THOUGHTS
1. Our problem today is unlike Adam and Eve‘s problem:
a. They knew they were naked, Gen.3:7. We don‘t know when we
are considered naked according to the Bible concept of the term!
b. They knew they were naked, were ashamed, and afraid, and made
an effort to clothe themselves. We don‘t know when God
considers us to be naked; and we do just the opposite of Adam
and Eve: We are not ashamed, nor afraid, but often disrobe, and
display our nakedness publicly for both God and man to see!
2. Seen in the light of the Scriptures, the current trend toward nakedness
and sexual ―freedom‖ is but another manifestation of man‘s rebellion
a. While it is shocking, it should no be surprising in view of what
the bible says about wickedness and the wicked, and what it
teaches about the wickedness of man without God, and even
about the spiritually weak among God‘s own people!
3. Are not tendencies in dress toward nakedness in our time, and the actual
practice and defense of the practice of nakedness, further indications of
modern man‘s attempt to reduce himself to the level of the brute beast?
4. Adam and Eve were terribly ashamed because, though they had sinned,
they still understood the holy character of God. That is not so today
among those who preach and practice different forms of nakedness with
5. People today, both young and old, are being told that nudity means
freedom. While perhaps in a sense that was true with Adam and Eve at
one time; it is not true now, nor did it continue to be true with them
after they sinned.
6. The fact is that there is a holy God, though unrecognized by many, and
there is such as thing as sin; whether or not one senses the shame of sin,
it is still there.
7. Nakedness on film, TV, in books and magazines, on the beaches, even
on the streets of any-town U.S.A., is not freedom; it is shame. And by
flaunting our shame we are becoming even more hardened in our sin
and our defiance of God. In the process we are destroying our society
and ourselves. Truly, sin is deceptive!!
8. Obviously, the Nudist who practice nudism do not consider that
nakedness, even total nakedness, is any cause for shame, or should
cause any one any cause for shame.
9. But our problem is rarely, if ever, with Christians who are willing to
affirm that complete nakedness is acceptable. Our problem is that so
many Christians seem to want to get as close to nakedness as possible
without being restricted by a sense of shame, and they would like to
find some solace for their worldliness.
10. So many others of us have so gradually adjusted to the near nakedness
about us that our senses are no longer so shocked by what we see as
they once were. And shamefully, some Christians are looking so much
like the world in their scanty dress—their semi-nakedness.
11. Nudity or nakedness is wrong for both men and women; however, most
of what the Bible says about dress and or modest apparel is directed
toward women. And I have to think that is with good reason!
12. With some, attempts to cover or uncover the body may be viewed as
―How little can I get by with?‖ Or ―How can I get the attention I want
while maintaining an appearance of propriety?‖
13. Or, proper attire may be views as, ―How can I avoid any appearance of
insufficiency and not attract the wrong kind of attention?‖
a. Which do you think is the best attitude?
b. Which do you think will always be the more ―God-fearing‖
attitude and have a godly influence on others?
14. In the April 14,1969 issue, in a cover article, Newsweek commented:
―Rudi Geronreich‘s nude fashions for women have caught on and have
changed people‘s minds and life styles as well as the way they dress.‖
15. A modern picture with an ancient setting:
Gibbon‘s description of the Roman Empire sounds like a page
out of a book on the history of twenty and twenty-first century America.
He said of ancient Rome:
―Fashion was the only law, pleasure the only pursuit…the serious
and manly virtues were the subjects of ridicule, and the contempt for
female modesty…announced the universal corruption of the capital.‖
In his book he revealed that Rome collapsed because of
corruption within. And when you read such descriptive words as these
about her, you cannot help but think of the mini skirts, short shorts,
topless bathing suits, bikini bathing suits, tank-tops, see-through
clothing, feminine looking and acting men, masculine looking and
acting women, and men in ―drag‖ of our day.