Garments and the Bible

Special garments and religious clothing have a basis in the bible. Genesis 3:21, Exodus 28, and Numbers 15:37-41 all describe special clothing, or garments, that God commands some of His covenant people to wear. There are also early Christian, extra-biblical records that show Christians making covenants and wearing special white clothing as a part of this covenant-making process. 

In Genesis 3, the devil tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. Eve eats the fruits and gives some of the fruit to Adam. When they eat the fruit, they realize that they are naked. Before God has Adam and Eve leave the garden, he gives them clothing to wear, which Genesis 3:21 calls “coats of skins.”

After the ancient Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, the Lord gave instructions to Moses for how to set up the civilization and religion of the Israelites. As part of the organization Aaron and his sons were called as priests. In Exodus 28, God instructed the Israelites to make holy or sacred garments for the priests. The holy garments are listed in this chapter: a breastplate, an ephod (a specialized apron), a robe, a woven coat, a mitre (turban or hat), and a girdle (or sash).

In Numbers 15:37-41 the Lord instructs the Children of Israel to put fringes or tassels on the corners of their garments, along with a blue border. These specifications were supposed to serve as a reminder to keep the commandments and not to forsake God. Jews today still wear these fringes on a prayer shawl or an undershirt.