Bible Studies/Deut 22:5


QUESTION: Hello Teacher Scott,

I am actually wondering if I am doing something wrong without realizing.
The Bible verse in Deut 22:5 says for women not to wear mens clothing and vice versa.

Ok, I live in Maine and it is COLD! Right now its only 5 degrees out and its after 11 a.m. So anyway, I have on my husbands flannel shirt because 1. It no longer fits him, 2. It does fit me, and 3. its warm on a cold day like this.

Also on occasion I have loaned him some of my long johns because he can't get into his.

so is that wrong? Is that what the Bible is talking about?


ANSWER: Hi Joyce,

First, it is important to understand that this passage is part of the Mosaic Law, the Constitution for the theocratic government of Israel. There are many rules and regulations that were specific to Israel at that time, which have little if anything to do with "moral" issues or issues that would have widespread application. These include laws pertaining to diet, farming, hygiene, and even fabrics used for clothing.

One of the reasons for these laws was to make Israel unique and distinct from other nations, as God's chosen people. There was supposed to be a "difference" that would draw others to God. Another reason is that some of these laws had certain benefits that were not readily apparent. While this may not be true of the "dress" laws, it was true of laws involving hygiene, diet, and farming, etc.

Is there a moral principal underlying this law--a principal that has application beyond the Mosaic Law? Yes, I think there is. God created man and woman different, and it is His desires that those differences be highlighted. There may be a number of reasons for this, but suffice it to say that society functions in a morally healthier manner when there are appropriate distinctions between men and women.

So how does that apply to us in the 21st century United States? Well, that's tricky. Clothing fashions are affected by cultural mores and can be quite subjective. It is culturally acceptable for women to wear pants (more so now than it was a few generations ago) and even certain types of clothing which may be considered masculine, such as your husband's flannel shirt. Even in Scotland, it's acceptable for men to wear skirts (kilts) without that being considered cross-dressing.

I personally don't see any problem with your wearing your husband's shirt. And I think that there is a fair amount of latitude that can be exercised in these matters. If you found your husband wearing one of your dresses, or a man wearing women's high heels, that may be cause for concern. Many would raise their eyebrows. But what you're talking about isn't an issue, nor does it violate the Deuteronomy passage to which you refer.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Whew! I feel so much better now.

Ok, anohter thing I've wondered about is gossip. I know there are many places in the Bible that speaks to it being wrong to gossip. Does that apply to my speaking of celebrities? For example if I were to say "I heard Lindsey Lohan was back in jail" or something similar, is that gossip?

Hello again, Joyce!

The Bible does not forbid one's speaking about someone. What it forbids is malicious talk aimed at denigrating another. For example, I could say that my neighbor drives a Ford pickup. No problem. On the other hand, I could say or imply that my neighbor is annoying because he speeds up and down our street late at night in his loud, obnoxious Ford pickup, and it really irritates me.

Proverbs 6:19 states that God hates it when one spreads discord among the brethren. This is one passage that highlights the negative effect of the tongue through gossip that creates division and tension.

Many sins can be traced to a violation of the two greatest commandments--loving God, and loving others. (See Matthew 22:35-40.) If it's violating one of these two commandments, you can be pretty sure it's the wrong thing to do.


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Scott Talbot


I have studied the Bible and Bible-related topics since the time I was very young. My education includes a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Bible, and a Master of Divinity degree. I enjoy delving into deep theological issues and always enjoy a healthy debate. But more importantly, I like working with people and helping them to find the answers that they are looking for. And I am convinced that these answers are available in the Bible.


By the grace and mercy of God, I have been saved, born again, adopted into the family of God. God has given me a love for the Bible, and for Bible-related subjects. In addition, He has blessed me with ongoing training in the Scriptures, from my youth on up. The more I learn about God through His Word, the more I want to share!

Campus Crusade for Christ, Grace Church at Willow Valley

Pillsbury Baptist Bible College - B.S. Bible & Pastorology; Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary - M.Div.

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