What does the Bible say about being a model? Is being a model a sin? Is modeling mentioned in the Bible?
What the Bible Has to Say About Being Being a Model or Modeling (sometimes spelled modelling)?
This is a great question because society, careers, technology, and so forth have certainly changed since Biblical times. When speaking of modeling, it is usually in the context of a fashion model, magazine model, television model, etc. for some sort of advertising.
The Bible does not specifically mention the word “model” in terms of a career, and in fact, there were not likely many models in the context we think of today. Since there were no written advertisements (they only had scrolls and clay tablets back then), and no television, magazines, cameras, billboards, the need to display a model would be very rare. The only thing I could imagine that may have been modeled is if there was a person who would perhaps model clothing or jewelry back then in a large merchant area or for a king, but it probably wouldn’t have been a common occurrence.
Because modeling wasn’t a widespread occupation, the Bible is silent on the issue. However, we can take the basic principles of the Bible and apply them to this career to see what God’s word says about the basic concept of being a model.
Is Being a Female or Male Model a Sin According to Bible Principles?
Being a model, in general, is a neutral activity. It is not good or bad by itself. There is nothing wrong or sinful about being a model. It can be a perfectly respectable career. Just like there is nothing wrong with acting, singing, etc.
Beauty is absolutely a God-given gift or talent. God gives us all a talent or inclination to do something better than others or to use it as a career, and beauty is no exception. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was a woman of great beauty. Even in old age some men were chasing her! (Genesis 20:2)
The Bible does say that we are to use the gifts God gave us to represent God in a great way (to glorify God), and to provide for our family in an honest and loving way. The Bible says God gives man (as in mankind) the ability to do work, make a living, earn wealth, etc.
“But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (Deuteronomy 8:18)
The key thing to keep in mind here is that God is the one who blessed women or men with beauty, and we should seek to glorify God with our bodies.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:20
There are many ways people can be a model. There are clothing models, makeup models, hair models, teeth models, hand models, billboard models, television models, magazine models, foot models, and more. Basically, a person can “model” or “represent” almost anything. There is no shame in using a God given talent to earn a living. Again, physical beauty is absolutely a God-given blessing.
It provides value (or utility) for a company, because it allows a person to “see” what the product can do or look like in a 3-dimensional way. Therefore, companies often hire models to help increase their sales, or build a “brand” or “image” around a product.
Can Modeling Ever Be Considered a Sin? Should People Be Cautious & Use Discretion in Choosing Modeling Jobs?
Here comes a tricky part: While modeling itself isn’t a sin, it can be used in a way which makes it become a sin. Anything can be taken and used in a corrupted way. A knife is fine to cut bread or a steak, but when we use it to kill it becomes a sin. Or acting is fine when a person is in a normal movie, but when a person does pornography it becomes a sin. Modelling is fine as a career, but when used inappropriately, it too becomes a sin.
Some brief examples of a sinful use of modeling include the following:
- Posing nude, in revealing clothing, or acting very seductively for pictures or video (this is similar to pornography, which the Bible prohibits)
- Modeling for a cause or product that the Bible does declare as a sin (example: Modeling for a pro-abortion ad, for an alcoholic beverage, etc.)
- Using drugs, body enhancement surgery, becoming anorexic, and other similar activities to boost physical appearance can be sin.
- Neglecting God’s other commands (such as taking care of spouses or children’s needs, attending church regularly, tithing, etc.) because your modeling career interferes with those things.
A big issue with modeling that you may also want to be cautious is the “type” of modeling, and the “clothing” or “product” you will represent. For example, there in nothing at all wrong with modeling an outfit in a retail store flyer, magazine, or billboard. However, modelling in a bra and underwear that is very revealing is inappropriate, as the scriptures declare that we should not “uncover the nakedness” of others who are not our spouses. (Leviticus 18, see below)
A good rule of thumb is, how would you feel about your grandfather looking at the thing you are modeling, or a pastor, or even Jesus Christ?
The Bible warns us about being as modest as possible, and covering up nakedness:
‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, nor shall you take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; they are blood relatives. It is lewdness. (Leviticus 18:17)
So the Bible makes it pretty clear that nudity is a gift reserved for our spouses eyes only. Also, if you are married or have children, you may want to consider your family’s input on the type of modelling, and how they feel about it. If your husband or children feel uncomfortable for you to model a certain product/thing, you may want to do a different job instead to be respectful of your family. If I were a model, I would certainly listen to my wife’s input and wishes.
In today’s digital age, once you put an advertisement of yourself out there, it is there forever. There is no going back once it’s out in the public.
What About Verses Warning Against Jewelry for Women & Vanity?
There are some verses that warn against women being excessively “vain” and adding too much makeup, extravagant jewelry, etc. An example can be illustrated below:
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array…” 1Timonthy 2:9
The verse above is a warning not to be over-indulgent. There is no sin for a woman to occasionally wear jewelry, and in fact, the Bible mentions God blessing people with fine jewelry, wealth, etc. on various occasions. What the Bible is teaching in that verse above is that women should not constantly be focusing on material things too much, and should instead keep their focus on God. But in the context of modeling there is no sin, as the person would be merely displaying a product.
Again, here is a verse illustrating that wearing jewelry or having some material things is not a sin, and God even blesses people with things in several occasions in the Old Testament:
“And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck…” (Genesis41:42)
So as the verse above shows, there is no sin for a women or men to wear or model jewelry, clothing, etc. Women are free to wear jewelry any time, however, they should not put their love or trust in material wealth, and should be fairly modest in their approach (i.e., don’t have “bling bling jewelry” from top to bottom).
Also, it is important to be modest and humble in all that we do. If you became famous, would you still be humble? What is humble? I like a picture the Bible paints of Jesus Christ, who got down & washed his disciples stinky & dirty feet–even though he was the Son of God and Messiah! That is humility! So if you could still clean a toilet at your house, or talk to a poor kid on the street, then you have kept your vanity in check. If you get to a point where you think you are “too good” for people, then that is pride and you must correct that and humble yourself (or else God has great ways of keeping us humble).
Conclusion: To Model or Not to Model: Let God Lead You
To summarize what the Bible says about a career of modeling:
- God gives us many wide ranges of talents to use to make a living (career)
- There is no sin in honestly using a talent God blesses us with to earn a living that is honest and respectable. Any type of physical beauty is definitely a God given talent or blessing.
- While the Bible warns of women and men not focusing on material wealth (such as jewelry) and vanity, there is no sin in owning, wearing, or modeling some jewelry or nice clothing/products.
- Modeling is a great career for many people. While pursuing your career, you may want to be sensitive to your family’s thoughts and advice about the jobs you may take (your husband/boyfriend may not want guys looking at you in a skimpy outfit). Also, seeking the advice of a Godly pastor would be wise if you ever have questions.
- Modeling can be sinful (like any other career), if used in a way that is inappropriate or promotes any sin. Christians should avoid anything that is too revealing, or promotes a message that goes against God’s word (sexual promiscuity, etc).
If you are interested in a modeling career, have you met the most famous model in all of history? Jesus Christ is a model for all Christians, and we should all model ourselves to be like Christ. Have you accepted Christ as your savior? If not, I urge you to place your faith and trust in Christ today.