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Whether or not to wear a bikini is a question many women struggle with, but for a Christian woman, the issue takes on additional implications. The Bible tells us that God calls women to modesty, wh...
I assume this question is asking whether or not a bikini should be worn IN FRONT OF OTHERS. When by yourself, there is no reason to wear or not wear any article of clothing, so long as you have peace with God about doing so. From my observations, there are four main reasons women choose to wear a bikini in front of others: 1) To flaunt one's body (or most of it, anyway). 2) To be somewhat "modest" by covering "naughty parts" of the body, so that the breasts, buttocks, and loin area are covered. (And a one-piece suit is supposedly even more modest.) 3) It's the culturally accepted type of swimsuit to wear--in certain circles, at least--and flaunting/modesty honestly isn't part of the thought process. 4) Health/comfort reasons--support for the breasts that comes from the top piece, hygiene reasons for the bottom piece, and the greater amount of exposed skin allows for greater absorption of vitamin D from the sun. After studying Scripture, I am convinced that only reason #4 is a good reason to wear a bikini. Reason #3 isn't a completely awful reason, but Christians should look deeper than cultural norms to decide their behaviors. As for the modesty/flaunting issue, the problem with a bikini is not so much that it doesn't cover enough, but that it draws attention to certain areas to the exclusion of others. By hiding just a small amount of the body, it actually creates more curiosity about it. It's not inherently a sexual curiosity, but our cultures--both secular and religious--tell us that it should be, and it's difficult to excise this view from our minds. For an illustration of this, try having an hour-long conversation with someone sometime and cover one eye with your hand. Long before the hour has ended, others will become very curious about your eye and want to see it. This isn't a sexual curiosity, but a natural curiosity to see what can't be seen. I believe this is, in part, why God is a God who hides Himself (Isa. 45:15); this hiding creates a curiosity about Him and makes us desire to seek Him. However, when we hide what God did not intend to be hidden, it creates an abnormal situation. The Bible never says that certain body parts should or shouldn't be covered. In fact, He commanded Isaiah to prophesy nude for three years (Isa. 20), Peter fished nude (John 21:7), and God gave the apostle John a vision of a woman clothed with nothing but the sun (Rev. 12:1). (Some translations and commentaries try to "soften" these passages by suggesting that it was only an outer garment that was removed or something to that effect, but they are forcing their own interpretation upon the clear language of the original text.) In short, God does not have a problem with the human body--He created it!--or with others seeing it, but it's the context that makes all the difference. Scripture affirms again and again the goodness of the human body. Both men and women were created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27; 5:1-2; 9:6), and God called this creation very good (Gen. 1:31). We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psa. 139:14). In fact, the body is made for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body (1 Cor. 6:13). But what about modesty? Paul writes: "I desire... that women adorn themselves in proper clothing, with modesty and sobriety, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, what befits women professing godly reverence, by good works" (1 Tim. 2:8a, 9-10). Peter also writes to wives: "Let your adorning not be the outward plaiting of hair and putting on of gold or clothing with garments, but the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptible adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very costly in the sight of God" (1 Pet. 3:3-4). These are the only two passages that speak to this matter, but they are very interesting. Clearly, the Biblical definition of modesty goes far beyond a mere checklist of what should be covered or left uncovered. The was Scripture defines modesty is very different from the way the modern church defines it. Actually, Scripture never defines modesty as covering certain parts of the body, but as NOT covering it with expensive, flashy clothing and jewelry. (This is a test many "modest" Christians would fail today.) We have distorted the meaning of modesty. The proper "clothing" is a meek and quiet spirit manifested by good works, and it does not refer to a certain percentage of skin covered. As far as causing your brother to stumble, an argument often used in opposition to wearing a bikini, much could be said about this. (And more can be read at the link provided below.) In short, the underlying belief behind this argument is that the sight of a woman's body (or certain parts of it) will instantly cause a man to stumble--i.e. cause him to lust. But this is simply not true. Lust is not something external, but it comes from the heart (Matt. 15:19). God did not create women as an automatic temptation to men. Satan is the one who uses God's creation to tempt us. The pornography industry says, "Women are an object of lust--indulge!" But the religious culture says, "Women are an object of lust--suppress!" Unfortunately, both are promoting the same Satanic lie--women are objects of lust; seeing their bodies will cause you to commit adultery in your heart. Extremist Muslims take this view to its logical conclusion and force women to cover up completely, even their faces. Most Christians rightfully reject this extreme, but they don't do much better in the overall heart attitude. None of these views--religious or secular--affirm the dignity of women as being fearfully and wonderfully made. The truth is they are made in the image of God, and they deserve respect and appreciation. Women should be able to view themselves in this same way. Psalm 139:14 says, "I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well." How many men or women can say the last statement, "my soul knows it very well," with any degree of sincerity? Most people do NOT know in their soul that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. It's time that we reclaim the Biblical truth about the dignity of the human body and respect others' bodies and our own bodies. So when considering whether or not to wear a bikini, ask yourself, "Am I doing so with a meek and quiet spirit?" And when considering whether or not to wear a one-piece (or slacks or a dress or anything else), ask yourself the same question. If you are wearing something to flaunt your body, either by dressing it up with trendy clothing or dressing it down to make yourself more sexually alluring, then you are being immodest. Likewise, if you are covering your body because you feel certain parts are "dirty" or ungodly or if you would be embarrassed for others to see your body, then you are dishonoring your body as God's good creation. If you are believing the Satanic lie that parts of your body are unwholesome or less than honorable, then you need to have your mind transformed (Rom. 12:2). We need to reject the pornographic and religious teachings that dishonor the body. Only when we have the right mindset about our bodies can we begin to have a proper way to examine what we should and shouldn't wear. For a much better explanation of all these points--and many others--the best website I have found on this topic is http://www.mychainsaregone.org/ Read the articles on this page and allow the Scripture references to transform your mind, and see if you don't have a much healthier view of your body and others'. I believe your relationship with the Lord will also become free of many hindrances. May the Lord bring His children into the reality of these truths.
I have never felt comfortable in a bikini because in my opinion it's no different than walking around in your underwear! I would feel very uncomfortable on the beach knowing that men are watching me having thoughts that I'd rather they didn't have. Now that I have given my life to Christ I know that I'll never wear a bikini. The bible states that we shouldn't do anything to cause another to stumble. I'm careful about what I wear everywhere that I go. Surely no woman wants to go to the beach fully clothed but there are swimwear options that are less revealing.
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