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. God calls women to modesty, which means to not draw attention to themselves: “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God” (1 Timothy 2:9–10). God also calls us to purity: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). The question is whether or not wearing a bikini is consistent with modesty and purity.
The faithfulness of a daughter of God is not ultimately measured by what she wears but by her walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). At the same time, what she wears does send a message and can have an effect on others. A biblical principle concerning controversial issues is that we should love others and avoid doing what we know will cause them to stumble. In that regard, we should consider how our clothing choices affect others of both genders in their walk with God, in their own thought life, and in their perception of our witness about who God is. We can and should limit our freedoms to help others where we can (see 1 Corinthians 10:23–28 and Romans 14:1–13).
A woman’s personal motivation for wearing a bikini is also important. Is a bikini truly the most comfortable and most appropriate outfit for the occasion? Or is wearing a bikini designed to draw attention? To elicit compliments? To fit in with the crowd? To please someone else? Some motivations are better than others.
Another consideration for the woman wearing a bikini is the setting. Is she spending time alone in her own backyard? Is she with her girlfriends or husband? Or is she at a pool party with co-workers of both genders? Some settings are more appropriate for a bikini than others.
Whether clad in a bikini or not, our bodies belong to God and are to be used for His glory, not our own. Romans 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” When we offer our bodies to God as “living sacrifices,” we are saying, in effect, “My body is yours, Lord. Use it for your glory.”