Women can’t wear trousers?

Straight Talk

The Question:

I believe that culture should be respected but any culture that is anti-bible should be discarded. Deuteronomy 22:5 says that women may not put on trousers. Why is it then that almost every Christian claims the promises of the Old Testament but fails to accept the above scripture which makes it evident that God is against females wearing trousers?

– Elisha from the United Kingdom

The Answer
Part 1: Are we still under the law?
Part 2: Claiming promises

Still under the law? (Part 1)

Let me start off by answering your question with one of my own. What was the purpose of the “law” set down in the Old Testament? My follow up question is this: by the time New Testament times came along, was there ever one person who had faithfully obeyed it all? James 2:10 tells us this: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”So if you really want to be bound to Deuteronomy 22:5, then you must accept every other rule too.

With that said, let’s look at the scripture you mention from Deuteronomy 22:5. “A women shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” In truth, the passage never mentions the word “trousers” but we’ll let that go.

You do not believe women are free to wear them. Okay. But have you ever worn clothes with a blend of fibers? Verse 11 says you may not: “You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.” How about the rule in Verse 12: “You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.”Do all your garments have those tassels?

Let me answer my own question from above. The chief value of the law given under Moses in the Old Testament was to demonstrate to mankind that they were utterly powerless to keep it. That way, when Christ came to free us from the law – and fulfill it for us – we would be only too grateful to exchange what was not possible anyhow for the beauty of God’s grace. (See the entire book of Romans)

If you do not want to be under the law of grace, listen to this: “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight.” (Romans 3:20) As you bind people to Old Testament rules, remember that we are not saved by keeping any of them but we are saved by faith.

Claiming promises (Part 2)

By now you see that I do not follow your thinking and that I cannot agree with you in holding women to this rule in Deuteronomy. I still want to comment on one other part of your argument however. You wonder why Christians claim the promises of the Old Testament but don’t accept the rules.

Here’s why: the promises of God don’t change but the rules sometimes do. (Note that I said “the rules” – not God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.) I will give you a couple of examples. Circumcision was required under the Old Testament law but non Jewish new believers were not required to be circumcised in the New Testament.

Also, food rules changed. In Acts, Peter had a vision in which he was commanded to kill and eat animals forbidden by Jewish law. He was so astonished he actually argued with God about it. He said; “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” (Acts 10:14) But the answer came back; “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” (Verse 15)

Am I saying that the Old Testament is no longer valid or that it is irrelevant? Absolutely not! “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) We must be particularly careful however when we are trying to impose specific dietary, or sundry rules in our current dispensation of grace.

Let’s not return to the slavery of the law. If the law was good enough, then why did Christ need to come? Remember above all: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”(Galatians 5:1)