This is the fourth installment on 1 Peter. Specifically verses: 1 Peter 3:1-4. Here Peter explains the relationship of wives and husbands. With great privilege (beauty that is of great worth to God) comes great responsibility (a willingness to serve and submit to our husbands). These verses are ripe with things a woman can do to cultivate inner beauty, but they can also seem daunting. Do not be discouraged, God has a plan for your life.
Here I compare three different translations of the same scripture to help glean it’s meaning. You can do this easily at Bible Gateway.
1 Peter 3:1-4, Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
3 In the same way, you wives should be willing to serve your husbands. Then, even those who have refused to accept God’s teaching will be persuaded to believe because of the way you live. You will not need to say anything. 2 Your husbands will see the pure lives that you live with respect for God. 3 It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful.4 No, your beauty should come from inside you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear. It is worth very much to God.
1 Peter 3:1-4, New International Version (NIV)
3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
1 Peter 3:1-4, The Message (MSG)
1-4 The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.
4-6 Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as “my dear husband.” You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.
I’m a mom now. And as a mom I’m watching other moms parent their children. You know what stood out to me recently? Watching a mom who would not say instructions out loud to her kids, she would walk up to them and whisper her wishes in their ears. There wasn’t even a hint of anger in her whisper, just quiet instruction, so quite in fact I couldn’t hear what she said to them, I only saw them change their behavior. This, to me, is evidence of the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Not just gentle and quiet when she’s doing her quiet time, but gentle and quiet when the pressure is on to keep her kids in line. It is that self-restraint that earned my admiration.
Proverbs 11:16 A kind and gentle woman gains respect, but violent men gain only wealth.
How do we cultivate “inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in”? The same way we tend to a garden. You have to plant healthy seeds, water, fertilize, and tend to them. The sprouts have to get good light, and you will have to continually protect your garden from weeds and insects. In the end you will have a harvest worthy of God’s delight.
It is from the Word of God that we can sow healthy seeds. Seeds of thought that transform our thinking. Seeds that will bloom and blot out unhealthy habits of sin and selfishness. We have to spend time in worship and prayer which will act as fertilizer and light to our newly cultivated growth. And at times, we will have to prune our garden and pull out weeds of worldly influences and vanity and pride.
This does not just make us more appealing to our husbands, which is important, but it reflects God’s beauty, which he delights in. He relishes seeing us in the way He intended us to be. Beautiful like a garden of flowers with the strength of a gentle and quiet spirit.
What else does God want for us as wives? A pure spirit that reveres God. How do we accomplish this? With a cleansing and washing of the word of God. By studying His word and seeking His wisdom we cleanse our innermost thoughts and purify our thought life, our “inner-man”. This takes discipline and commitment. Thankfully, we don’t have to do it alone. The Church offers a myriad of bible studies and life groups for accountability and structure. Enjoy God’s word in fellowship with other women believers and you can work on the purification of your spirit and show reverence to God at the same time.
Actions speak louder than words. This is why Peter says to, “Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs.” We are living proof of God’s goodness. Peter is telling us to be good to our husbands on purpose.
What I have learned as a wife is that when I am studying God’s word and seeking His wisdom, and I am spending time in prayer and worship, I have more patience, I am less moody, and I am better able to act in a spirit of gentleness. When I submit to Jesus Christ in my life it is much easier to be responsive to my husband’s needs, to be attuned to how I can serve him. You know, life can get in the way of a gentle and quiet spirit. There are other mouths to feed, chores to be done, appointments, responsibilities and deadlines to be met. Children get sick, I get tired, there can be family drama, the list goes on; but when I stop to pray, stop to give thanks, stop to look at all that I have, I have peace. And I can better serve my husband.
Stop. Give thanks to God. Revere Him. Praise Him. Make your requests known to Him in prayer. Ask Him to give you the energy and strength you need to serve and submit to your husband and He will.
My husband is a God-loving, God-fearing man. I come from a long line of women who are self-supporting, independent, determined, and highly educated. It does not always come naturally for me to submit to my husband. But what God is teaching me is to take my requests to Him in prayer first. Then make my desires known to my husband in a submissive spirit. You know what, my husband loves me. His truest desire is for what is best for me and our family. When I listen with a heart that acknowledges my husband’s willingness to sacrifice for us, even when I don’t get my way, I get something so much more important – intimacy with my husband. We grow closer when I follow God’s prescription for marriage. I respect my husband and I show it. I admire him and I tell him so.
Love your man. He is God’s gift to you. Tell Him how much you respect and admire him. And if you’re not sure if that will come across as sincere, think of something he’s done or said recently and start there. And then pray and ask God to help you see your husband the way He sees him. Pray and ask God to help you cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit.
God wants us to have marriages that reflect and glorify Him. He wants us to experience joy in our marriages. Peter is providing details to His plan to help us get there.
Praying you enjoy a wonderful marriage with your spouse. For a post to encourage you in Marriage please go to my post Celebrating Marriage. If you are single and would like to read my advice on selecting a spouse please go to my post entitled Wisdom and Discernment. Please leave a comment if you found this helpful or if you would like to add any fresh revelations you’ve had from reading these scriptures. I’d love to hear from you.
In His Grip,
For more on this study of 1 Peter please go to:
1 Peter Study
1 Peter 2
1 Peter 2:9-10
P.S. One of the best studies on marriage my husband and I ever completed was “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs, you can find it on Amazon