If God wanted us naked after the fall wouldn’t He have given us examples in Scripture of people being naked and it being okay? I have been asked this question and believe it or not He did, but I didn’t always know that. When we first started to compile the Bible’s perspective on what I’ll call family friendly non-sexual nudity I had been taught all of my life that if a person was naked in front of another person who they weren’t married to they were in sin. Yet at the same time, it was okay to get a shower and get changed in the locker room at the Christian school I attended, it was okay to go skinny dipping in the family swimming pool with the family and that it was okay to get naked at the doctor’s office or the hospital. So, I had conflicting information about the subject and it didn’t appear that anyone had an actual standard to live by, it was sort of one of those things that I’m going to tell you this, don’t question it, just do it and oh by the way God said so even though I can’t really tell you where. It’s what I now refer to as subjective truth…also known as opinion! Since then I have learned that the Bible is to be the objective standard that I judge right and wrong by. That It is the absolute and final authority in my life and that if God is against it then I am against it and if God is for it then I am for it…period.
A friend of mine once taught that the Bible teaches in three ways, through direct command, through example and through principle. Sometimes God comes right out and says “thou shalt not” and sometimes He gives us a principle to live by such as “your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost” so maybe you shouldn’t smoke since that is harmful to your body, His temple and then sometimes he teaches by example where this is what David did and so maybe you should do it too. This is what Samuel did so maybe you should do it too. Well, the Bible does not give us a direct command regarding the naked body, It does give us principle and example regarding the naked body and that is what we are going to concentrate on in this chapter.
Now let me take a two-minute pit stop and first address Leviticus chapter 18 where some will try to tell you that God gave direct command regarding nudity. This again is another example of taking Scripture and making It mean what you want It to rather than at face value. In Leviticus 18 repeatedly you will find the phrase “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness” and then it is followed by “of thy father’s brother or son’s wife”, etc. What you will not find are the words thou shalt not see their nakedness. Scripture uses the phrase “uncover the nakedness” when it is dealing with sexual sin. If you are uncovering the nakedness of your father’s brother you are having sex with your father’s brother. If it says thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of your son’s wife, it means specifically don’t have sex with them. Not one time in Scripture is there a command to not see your father’s brother naked, but there is a command to not uncover your father’s brother’s nakedness. And if you’re looking for verification of this you need look no further than verses 20-23 of the same chapter where Scripture explains undeniably that what Christ is referring to here is sex.
20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her. 21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord. 22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. 23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
Notice also that in God’s eyes sex outside of marriage with anyone in this long list is just as bad as sex with another man if you’re a man or sex with an animal. Sex with anyone outside of the person that you are married to is wrong and in verse 21 He also says that abortion is wrong. You see, killing your baby after having sex with someone you shouldn’t have isn’t something new, it has been going on for thousands of years. These references allow us to know that Christ was not talking about simple nudity He was clearly referring to sex. So, if you’re trying to use this Scripture to say anything other than “sex outside of marriage is bad” then you are adding to Scripture and the Bible is very clear that adding to Scripture is also wrong.
Now, back on point…does the Bible give us any examples of public family friendly non-sexual nudity in a positive light? Well, I’m glad you ask, because we are going to give you several Bible examples. I was taught early on to never base a doctrine on a single verse…so we are going to show you several examples and let you decide for yourself if family friendly non-sexual nudity (naturism) is still okay in the sight of God. Does God still tell us that naked and unashamed is still His view of His creation?
1Samuel 19:24 And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?
Apparently, the prophets were naked regularly as no one thought it odd for a prophet to be nude and when Saul joined them and became naked the people then assumed that he was a prophet as well.
So, it’s okay for prophets and kings to be naked in sight of all the people.
Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Job had decided to take his clothes off while in mourning with no scriptural condemnation.
So, it’s okay for someone in mourning to be naked in the sight of all the people.
Isaiah 20:2 At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot, my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years.
Isaiah the prophet spent 3 years completely naked at the Lord’s command.
Another prophet in the will of God and even at His command was okay to be naked in the sight of all the people.
John 13:1 ¶ Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
So, Jesus Himself disrobed in order to wash the disciple’s feet (vs4) and if disrobing in front of others was a sin then Christ, who knew no sin would not have been allowed to disrobe.
Christ is our example…you hear the question asked all the time…what would Jesus do? Well, here we know exactly what He did and still some will say that it’s okay for Him because He’s God, but it’s not okay for us. He is our example!
So, we have prophets & kings and those in mourning and another prophet and now Christ Himself.
Mark 10:50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
Here we have Jesus traveling through Jericho teaching and ministering and as He is leaving Jericho, blind Bartimaeus sitting beside the highway hears that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by and he’s heard the accounts of Jesus healing the sick and infirm and so he begins to cry out “Jesus, thou son of David have mercy on me.” The people who were around begin to tell Bartimaeus to be quiet, to keep the noise down and so Bartimaeus begins to cry out louder and more often. Jesus heard him and called for him and so when Jesus called Bartimaeus, Bartimaeus according to the Word of God “cast away his garment, rose and came to Jesus.” Now, Jesus was just about to heal the man who was obviously trusting Jesus, who obviously believed who Jesus was and is. If being naked were a sin, wouldn’t casting aside one’s garment been a stumbling block to Bartimaeus’ healing, at the very least wouldn’t it have gotten him reprimanded by Jesus? You know, something like…hey, I’m going to heal you and all, but dude put your clothes on, but no we don’t see that at all do we? In fact, we see no condemnation at all of the man’s nudity. What we see instead is Jesus telling Bartimaeus that his faith had made him whole and then we see Bartimeaus in verse 52 that he “followed Jesus in the way.” Notice also that it doesn’t say that he went back and grabbed his garments and then followed Jesus in the way, I believe the assumption could be made that he followed Jesus just as he was…in the naked and unashamed manner he had been healed in.
So…we have prophets & kings and those in mourning and another prophet and Christ Himself and blind Bartimaeus.
John 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
Peter was out working on his boat…he had been out fishing. I have read historical documents where it was common place in this day and age for people who were in particularly dirty jobs to disrobe for work. They didn’t have a wardrobe full of a dozen outfits, two for every day of the week. They didn’t have a computer-controlled washer and dryer in the mud room so that after work they could come inside and close the door and pull the blinds so they could disrobe and put their stinky fishy smelling clothes in the washer. There wasn’t a shower in the master bedroom in fact there was no shower at all, people washed in the river together. The toilet was a wall on the outskirts of the city where everyone went to use the facilities. I Samuel 25:22 says “So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.” Only the super-rich of the day had hot water and that was on the roof where the sun could heat it up. They worked without their clothes on and when they finished working, they would clean off their bodies and redress so their clothes stayed fairly clean longer.
Notice here that there was no condemnation at all from Christ about Peter’s nudity. Now why not? Well, this event occurs after Jesus Himself had disrobed to wash Peter’s feet, would it not have seemed a little silly then for Christ to turn around and criticize Peter for disrobing, especially when it was probably commonplace. If I were to guess I’d say that Peter usually worked naked so as not to make his clothes dirty as did most of the fisherman and carpenters and farmers of the day. So, when he saw Christ…he simply grabbed his robe and made his way to shore where he’d put his robe on probably even keeping it dry until he got to shore by wrapping it over his head. Peter has been working naked so as to keep his clothing as clean as possible, what sense then would it make if he grabbed his clothes and put them on just to jump into the dirty water? Does that make any sense to any one?
If being naked in the public view was wrong this was the perfect opportunity for Christ (God in human form after the resurrection) to explain to Peter and to all of us in affect that this was bad behavior and not to be done, but He didn’t do that. Why? In my opinion, because He created the body in His own image…why should He be ashamed of it, why should He want you to hide it? That seems to be Satan’s idea not God’s! I believe firmly that if there was more naked in a Christian’s life there’d be a lot less naked on a Christian’s computer. It’s almost as if this idea of clothing is Satan’s lie to hurt the Christian and his home.
So, we have prophets, kings, mourners, Jesus, Bartimaeus and an Apostle-fishermen.
Luke 17:7-8 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
Here we have another example of someone working and this account also matches the historical record of people working in the naked and unashamed condition they were created in. This man in Jesus’ illustration had been working the field and Jesus’ question was do you expect him to come in from the field and just plop himself down immediately and start eating or do you expect him to go clean up, get the master’s meal ready, get himself dressed and serve the master first and then afterward go eat himself. Once again, no condemnation for the naked condition he was working in from Christ, just an example of how a servant serves a master, giving us clear direction that we are to place serving Christ above our own wants, needs or desires.
So, we have prophets, kings, mourners, Jesus, Bartimaeus, an Apostle fishermen and workers in the field.
Acts 7:58 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
Most people are familiar with the account of Stephen's stoning, what most people aren't familiar with is the state of their attire at the event of Stephen's stoning. When you think about the last couple of events mentioned...fishing, working in the field and the desire to keep one's clothing from getting dirty or stained...well, other than grape juice what stains worse than blood? The crowd was in the process of stoning Stephen to death. This was going to be a bloody event so it makes sense when you look at verse 58 and it says they "laid down their clothes" at Saul's feet. They removed their clothing, stoned Stephen, cleaned up and put their clothing back on. This speaks once again to the commonplace of nudity in society, not to the righteousness of the people committing the act.
Matthew 21:6-8 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
Here we have a very familiar passage, the event of the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem...once again though, I wonder how familiar we actually are with the event. How many artist renditions of this event have we seen where the worshippers that day lined up along the path from the Mount of Olives to the Eastern Gate and the Temple Mount in some state of undress? I dare say none, but according to The Word of God that is exactly how they should be portrayed. Matthew tells us that they put their clothes of the donkey and that a "very great multitude" spread their garments in the way. Whenever you see the word multitude in the Bible the smallest number it typically refers to is 3,000. Here we see the multitude described as "a very great multitude", so can we safely assume a minimum of 3,000 people in some state of undress worshipping Christ as He makes His entrance into Jerusalem. Again, we must ask...if simple nakedness were such evil as it is referred to today by most of Christendom, then why didn't Jesus stop the crowd and order them to re-robe and then they could continue their worship and celebration? Maybe because He created them to be naked and unashamed and in His very image.
Exodus 22:26-27 26 If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down:
27 For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.
Now here we have Old Testament law where a man is needing a loan and needs to leave a pledge of some sort to guarantee the loan. The law was that if you took his clothing as security for the loan you had to get his clothes back to him by nightfall so that he had something for warmth as the nights get cool. The presumption that is easily made here then is that during the day the man had no clothes. That was okay, meaning then that the clothes were not a necessity other than for warmth and protection as the night grew colder.
Adam, Eve, King Saul, King David, All of the Prophets, Isaiah, Lot, Jesus, Peter, Bartimaeus, Fisherman, Worshippers, Farmers, Servants, Borrowers, etc. We certainly have a multitude of examples in The Word of God where simple non-sexual family friendly nudity was commonplace. Is non-sexual family friendly nudity commonplace for you and your home? Should it be? I believe the case can be made that maybe it should be. We’ve already seen that it is God’s preferred way for us to be as He is the One who created us to be naked and unashamed. Now we see plainly Bible example after Bible example, the question is what should you do about it? Should you decide that God prefers me and my family this way so this is the way we will be?