Articles from the Blog
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life…. — 1 Peter 3:7
One of the meanest tricks in the world occurs when a man romances his future bride and treats her like a princess as they are courting — but then once they get married, everything suddenly changes! Before the marriage, the man held her hand, walked with her, opened the door for her, called her on the telephone, wrote her romantic notes, sent her flowers, and took her to dinner. He treated her so royally that she viewed him as her “Prince Charming” and felt like she was his queen!
Unfortunately, upon returning from the honeymoon, many new husbands suspend all those romantic gestures that made their future brides feel so special. These men begin to act as if they have forgotten how to show their brides the tenderness to which they had grown accustomed. As a result of this change in behavior in their new husbands, young brides often feel disappointed, let down, and deceived. They inwardly ask themselves:
- Where is the Prince Charming I fell in love with before I got married?
- Was that all an act?
- Who is this man I have married?
- Who is this man who rarely calls me, who rarely treats me to a date, who seems to have time for everyone except me, and who shows very little tenderness in our relationship?
- Where did the man go who once treated me so nicely?
Men are often unaware that they are becoming insensitive and neglectful of their wives. Perhaps they get busy at work, or their minds are heavy with details, or they are mentally and physically exhausted. These may be some of the contributing factors that explain why men do the things they do. But regardless of what a husband is feeling or going through at work or in his financial affairs, his wife needs his attention and affection. She married him because she wants to be a part of his life. She has a need to feel cherished by him and to know that he wants to include her in his life.
This is precisely why Peter in First Peter 3:7 told husbands that they are to “dwell” with their wives. The word “dwell” is the Greek word sunoikeo, a compound of the word sun and oikos. The word sun always carries the idea of partnership and cooperation. When the word sun is used in the New Testament, it always connects two or more people into a very vital union. The second part of the word, oikos, is the Greek word for a house. When these words are linked together as they are in First Peter 3:7, it means to share a house together or to dwell together in one residence.
But there’s more to this than simply sharing a house together. The fact is, there are many husbands and wives who live in the same house, who eat at the same table, and who share the same bed, yet who don’t really “dwell” together. They are like two ships that occasionally pass each other. Although they share the same residence, they live separate lives, never really connecting with each other.
Because the first part of the word sunoikos (“dwell”) is the word sun, which always conveys the idea of partnership and cooperation, this lets us know that Peter is urging husbands to share their lives with their wives. This is a great challenge to men, who often want to be quiet when they come home after a busy day at work. Many men would rather sit down in front of the television and flip the channels all evening rather than communicate with their wives.
Husband, learning to share your life with your wife is a skill that must be developed. This is why Peter goes on to say that husbands are to “dwell with them according to knowledge.” The phrase “according to knowledge” implies that you must gain understanding of what blesses and distresses your wife. First, you must seek to obtain that knowledge by reading the Word, by reading a good book on marriage, by attending a seminar on how to be a better husband, by listening to a teaching tape on the subject, and so on. Then you must apply what you learn to your marriage if you want to have a happy wife.
For instance, what do you do, husband, when you come home from work in the evening? Perhaps you’re one of those husbands who walks in the door, plops down on the couch, turns on the television, and begins to flip mindlessly through so many channels that it is impossible to focus on any single program. Meanwhile, your wife has been waiting to talk to you all day long, so she sits next to you as you flip from one channel to the next and wonders, Why doesn’t he turn off the television and talk to me instead?
The truth is, you’ve talked to people all day long, and you probably don’t want to talk anymore. But you have a precious wife who needs you at that moment. She has cleaned the house, taken care of the children, cooked your evening meal, and faced her own challenges throughout the day. After an entire day of caring for the children, she needs some adult fellowship. Even more importantly, she wants fellowship with you because you are the one she loves and needs the most.
Why not turn off the television, take your wife by the hand, and ask her to take a walk with you? Or why don’t you sit at the kitchen table with your wife and let her tell you all about her day over a cup of coffee or tea? And after she is finished telling you every nitty-gritty detail of her day, take the time to tell her about your day! She wants to know what you did, whom you talked to, what they said, what happened next, and so on. She wants to know all about you and your day.
Also, instead of spending most evenings and Saturday with the guys or with other people, send a powerful signal to your wife that she is important by scheduling time to be only with her. That’s right, husband — spend quality time with your wife! Take her out to dinner or a movie. Do things together that you both enjoy so you can keep your relationship fresh and alive.
You need to treat your wife like she is the most central, significant, and important partner in your life. This doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with the guys. Certainly you need fellowship with Christian brothers. However, if you spend every free minute with them and never schedule any time with your wife, you are communicating that your male friends are much more important than she is. Is this the message you want to send to your wife?
As you learn to treat your wife with tender care, it will pay off big dividends in your life. If she is assured that she is a top priority in your life and feels secure in her relationship with you, she will gladly follow you and help you wherever God leads. But if she doesn’t feel valued or secure in her position as your wife, she will find it much harder to follow you with a sweet and submissive heart. She may be afraid that if she follows you, she will ultimately find herself abandoned and uncared for. Thus, how you care for your wife greatly determines how easy or difficult it is for her to follow you.
In my own life, my wife and I actually schedule our times to be together. We plan those moments when we will go for a walk together, go shopping, go to a café to have a cup of coffee or tea, or share a special meal with each other. Like most people, our schedules are very busy. We have found that if we don’t plan these times together, all the other responsibilities of our lives and ministry consume us, and in the end, we don’t spend enough quality time together. But because we both consider our marriage relationship to be the most important relationship in our lives, we treat it like it is important and make certain that we spend quality time together on a regular basis.
Husband, I urge you to make the decision that you are going to do more than just share the couch, share the table, and share the bed with your wife. Share your life with her. Open your heart to her; talk to her like she is your best friend and most important confidant. “Dwell” with her and do everything you can to let her know that no one else is as important to you as she is.
If you’re wondering what your marriage will be like if you fail to treat your wife with this kind of tender care, just ask those husbands who have made the mistake of ignoring their wives. They will testify how they hurt their wives, and many husbands will have to admit that they were a big factor in their wives becoming bitter and hardhearted.
When you invest in your wife, you are investing into your own life. You see, if you have a happy wife, you can be sure that you’ll have a partner who is with you all the way. So I urge you today to learn how to dwell with your wife according to knowledge. Make sure that from this day forward, you treat your wife like she is a top priority in your life!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I ask You to forgive me for not spending enough time with my wife. I know that she needs me and that I haven’t done what I should do to show her the love and attention she deserves. She does so much for me. She loves me and our children and serves us with her whole heart. I am so sorry I’ve been so selfish and haven’t been the husband I need to be for my wife. I repent for my self-centeredness, and I make the decision today to reverse my actions. I want to love her as I should and to do everything I can to communicate that love. Please help me, Lord, to become all I need to be for my wife!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I boldly confess that I am a loving, caring, attentive husband. As God’s Spirit works in me and transforms me more and more into the image of Jesus Christ, I am becoming a better husband to my wife. Because I love her deeply and regularly show my love to her, she feels secure and confident in our relationship. As a result, she is willing to follow me wherever God leads and is supportive of my decisions. Investing in my life partner is the best investment I can make in my own life. Therefore, I choose this day to invest love and attentive care into my wife — the most important person in my life!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Husband, how much time in a week do you think you spend using your remote control to mindlessly flip through the television channels?
2. How much time do you spend talking to your wife and letting her talk to you? Do you have scheduled times when the two of you sit down together to discuss what is happening in your lives so you can stay vitally connected to each other?
3. Husband, what can you eliminate from your schedule so you can spend more time with your wife? Are you sending her the right message when you never have time for her, but you somehow have time for everyone else? Don’t you think it’s time for you to reevaluate your list of activities and make schedule changes to reflect the fact that your wife is more precious to you than anyone else?
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. — 1 Peter 3:3,4
One day I was invited to speak at a church in the city of Kiev in the country of Ukraine. Ministers had gathered from all over to meet me that day and to attend our morning teaching session. After that morning meeting, a large table was set outside on the driveway where all the special guests were seated so they could be served Ukrainian borsch for lunch.
I noticed that an elderly woman, approximately seventy-five years old, was the primary person serving lunch to us that day. As she passed by me, I looked into her face and saw the deep wrinkles that testified to a very hard life. This was a woman who had faced many intense challenges in the course of her life.
Yet when I looked into her eyes, I could see that this was a woman who was very strong in spirit. Although it was evident that she had lived a hard and difficult life, it was also evident that she had never been broken by hardship. The look in her faded blue eyes gripped me, for those eyes seemed to literally radiate life from within her.
I watched with amazement at the way this elderly woman carried bowls of borsch to this person, then to that person, and then to the next. It was obvious that she was delighted to serve the pastors who sat around the table. The tender smile that graced her face and the sweet spirit with which she served captivated my attention. As I kept watching her, I thought to myself, This woman must be one of the most beautiful and graceful women I’ve ever met in my life.
Finally, I turned to the elderly pastor sitting next to me, and I asked, “Who is that woman?”
He looked at me with a sparkle in his eyes and glowingly answered, “That’s my wife.”
During the Soviet years, this pastor had been arrested and sentenced to fifteen years of prison because of his faith. While he was in prison, his wife had been completely responsible for rearing and providing for their fifteen children. As he told me their story, I began to understand why she had such deep wrinkles — a sign of the many hardships she had faced while her husband had been in prison.
Despite her wrinkles and gray hair, this woman’s indomitable spirit shone through and was evident for all to see. This was a woman who had lived a godly life. This was no weak woman, but a very strong and very capable woman.
I continued to watch the pastor’s wife as she kept serving the men around the table, smiling graciously as she refilled empty bowls with more borsch. As I observed her strong but gentle spirit, I thought of Peter’s words to women in First Peter 3:3,4. In those verses, Peter wrote, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
Today I want to speak to you about the phrase “meek and quiet spirit.” Contrary to what most people think, these words do not picture a woman who is weak, timid, or soft-spoken. The word “meek” is the Greek word praus, a word that describes the attitude of one who is friendly, warm, forbearing, patient, kind, and gentle. This would picture someone who is just the opposite of a person who is angry, temperamental, or given to outbursts of anger. Although a meek person faces opportunities to react in anger or to get upset, he or she has chosen to be controlled, forgiving, and gentle. Thus, “meek” people are individuals who have become skilled at controlling themselves and their temperament. You might say that meekness is power under control.
When Peter goes on to use the word “quiet” in this verse, he employs the use of the Greek word hisuchios, which depicts a person who knows how to calm himself and to maintain a state of peace and tranquility. Rather than speak up and utter words that are later regretted, this individual stays quiet and refrains from angry responses. He or she deliberately decides not to be a contributor to conflicts, but to be a peacemaker instead.
So when Peter writes about a “meek and quiet spirit,” he is paying the highest compliment to wives who fit this description. These wives are so strong in spirit that they are able to refrain from outbursts of anger and thus are able to become a calming force in a variety of difficult situations. Considering the many opportunities wives have to get shaken or upset by the affairs of life, it is very commendable when a wife is so strong, so consistent, and so stable in the home that she consistently “steadies the ship” and helps keep peace in every situation.
Once again let me stress that Peter is not referring to women who are timid, shy, or weak. It takes great strength to be the kind of woman he is describing. A woman who continually controls herself — holding her temper, keeping a lid on her emotions, and remaining a stable, tranquil force in every situation — is demonstrating evidence of great maturity.
This quality of a meek and quiet spirit is quite a treasure — so much so that God says a woman who has achieved this state of maturity possesses something of “great price.” The words “great price” are from the Greek word poluteles, which conveys the idea of something that is very valuable; something of great cost or great worth; or something that is precious and dear.
God highly values a woman who becomes this kind of strong, steady force in the home. He knows how many times a wife has an opportunity to get upset about something that has happened. So when she chooses to control herself and be a contributor to peace instead of strife, God sees this kind of woman as rare, precious, dear, and to be valued. He appreciates it when she puts aside her own anger or emotions and instead helps peace reign in the situation. God thinks very highly of such a woman!
When I looked into the face of that elderly Ukrainian woman, I could see the strength she possessed, for it was a strength that literally emanated from her. Seeing those deep wrinkles in her face, I could tell she had faced many hardships in life that could have upset her, hurt her, or made her want to take matters into her own hands.
But this was a woman who had allowed God to teach her how to look to Him rather than be swayed by the circumstances of life. Far from being weak and wimpy, she was a tower of strength. Her spirit was both gracious and indomitable. It was obvious that she was godly, pure, and powerful — someone who had made an eternal impact on many lives because of the life she had led.
How about you, my friend?
- Can you say that you are a contributor to peace in your home?
- Can you testify that you are a steady force in rough and upsetting situations?
- Can you really say that you have learned to control your emotions and to be a peacemaker?
- Would you have to admit that you contribute to strife and often make matters worse by giving in to your emotions and speaking things that you later regret?
- Does God see you as a rare and special treasure who brings a sense of peace and stability to your family, or does He see you as a frequent cause of conflict, strife, and a lack of peace in your home?
You may not have experienced the same kind of hardships as the elderly woman in my story today, but you still face many potential conflicts in your own life every day. You have a choice to react either in anger or in meekness. Every time you have an opportunity to react in the flesh or be angry and upset, you can choose instead to be controlled, forgiving, and gentle. Rather than speak up and utter words that will later be regretted, you can choose to be a peacemaker.
In view of what you have read today, can you say that you demonstrate a “meek and quiet spirit,” or do you give evidence of a different kind of attitude? What is God saying to you about your heart and actions, and what are you going to do in light of what you have learned from today’s Sparkling Gem?
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I am so thankful for what I read today. Please help me learn how to keep a rein on my tongue and how to submit my attitude to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Help me also to perceive how I can become a contributor to peace and tranquility instead of strife and conflict. I want to be one of those rare and special women You consider of such great value and worth. Holy Spirit, it’s going to take a deep work of Your grace in my life for me to become this kind of person. So today I ask You to initiate this vital work deep inside my soul. Please transform me and make me into the person You want me to be.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I am a source of stability and peace in my home. I don’t give in to anger or fly into a rage and say things I later regret. My husband and my children can depend on me to be a tower of strength even in the midst of turmoil and difficult situations. Because I am so stable, I help bring stability to my husband, to my children, and to the general atmosphere in my home. Instead of being a contributor to strife, conflict, and turmoil, God uses me to bring peace and tranquility to all those who are near me.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Are you a source of stability in your home? Or are you a constant contributor to strife, turmoil, and a lack of peace?
2. If your husband felt the freedom to say what he really thought, would he say you are a help or a hindrance to the peace and tranquility of the home? What do you think your children would say if they were asked this question?
3. In light of what you have read today, what do you sense God is telling you about needed changes in your life, attitude, and actions?
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. — 1 Peter 3:3,4When a young bride prepares for her wedding, she wants to be beautiful for the man she is about to marry. She goes to the salon to have her hair fixed and her nails manicured. Everything has to look as perfect as possible for that moment when she says “I do” to her husband at the church altar. It is right and normal for a woman to desire to look gorgeous for this long-awaited moment in her life. But when I am the one performing the wedding ceremony, there always comes a point in the ceremony when I peer into the eyes of the beautiful young bride and tell her: “Today you look so beautiful in your white wedding gown. You are the perfect picture of a gorgeous bride. But a day will come when your body will begin to change, when wrinkles will start to appear, and gravity will begin to move things from where they used to be! When that day comes — and it will come — the most beautiful thing you’ll have to offer your husband will not be your body but a godly, beautiful, unfading spirit. Never forget that your spirit is what will make your husband think you are beautiful to the very last day of your life!” People in the audience always giggle when I say these words. Most of these giggles come from people who are middle-aged and who see wrinkles when they look in the mirror. They are beginning to experience the middle-aged effects of gravity! Parts of their bodies that used to be strong and firm are starting to droop, and they feel tempted to lament when they look in the mirror. That’s why it’s important to remember that the most beautiful thing a wife has to offer her husband is not her body but her spirit. The good news is that when the body begins to show signs of age, the human spirit remains remarkably free from its effects. This is why Paul said, “…Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Perhaps you can think of a time when you met an elderly man or woman who was so young at heart that it simply amazed you. Now you know why! The process of aging affects the human body, but it has no effect on the spirit. When Peter wrote to wives in First Peter 3, he instructed them to give attention to the “hidden man of the heart.” These words are very significant, for they refer here to the spirit of a godly woman. The word “hidden” is the word kruptos, which describes something that is hidden or veiled from the eyes. The word “heart” is the Greek word kardia, which is the Greek word for the physical organ of the heart. Just as the physical organ of the heart is hidden from human sight, so the inner man is not visible to the natural eye. By using the word kardia (the Greek word for the “heart”), Peter is giving us a powerful insight regarding the human spirit. The heart is the central vital organ of the body. Although the heart is invisible to natural sight, the human body cannot live without it. The heart has a direct impact on every single part of the body as it pumps blood through arteries and many miles of blood vessels. Paul uses the word kardia (“heart”) to let us know that the human spirit is very similar to the natural heart. For instance, although the human spirit is invisible to the eyes, it is vital to life. According to James 2:26, where there is no spirit, the physical body dies. Thus, the spirit is the life-giving force within a human being. The natural heart pumps blood into every part of the body and thereby influences a person’s ability to live and function. Similarly, whatever is produced in the human spirit determines the ultimate outcome of a person’s life. If a person’s spirit is filled with darkness, it will pump darkness into every part of that person’s life. On the other hand, if a person’s spirit is filled with the life of God, it will pump life into every part of that person’s being. Whatever is in the spirit is exactly what will be reproduced in a person’s life and conduct. This is precisely why Peter urges wives to take time and care to develop their spirits, which he calls “the hidden man of the heart.” A woman who wants to be truly beautiful, even after her body begins to age, must put time and effort into the development of her spirit. You see, there are many outwardly beautiful people who are inwardly wicked; therefore, their beauty is only skin deep — neither long-lasting nor impressive. Although these people spend hours adorning and grooming themselves, what is inside them is projected clear through their outer adornment. Since they are actually unkind and inwardly ugly people, their inner ugliness ruins the effect of their physical beauty and causes them to be perceived as unattractive people. The truth is, some of the meanest and most wicked, vile people in the world are physically beautiful, yet their inner attitudes cause them to be very repulsive to those around them. Peter is addressing this exact issue in First Peter 3:3,4. Because the human spirit is the life-force of an individual, he encourages women to not only fix their faces and their hair, but to also beautify their spirits, even though the spirit man is invisible to the natural eye. Peter also declares that the hidden man of the heart is that part of the human being that is “incorruptible.” The word “incorruptible” is the Greek word aphthartos, which refers to something that is incapable of decay or something that is incapable of suffering the effects of wear, tear, and age. This word clearly describes the hidden part of the human being that never grows old or experiences the effects of aging. As my wife grows older, I look upon her with greater respect than ever before. Honestly, I think she is physically beautiful and I am honored to be married to such an attractive woman. But what makes her most beautiful to me is not her hair, her face, her figure, or her clothing. The most beautiful part of my wife is her heart. The sweet fragrance of Jesus Christ emanates from her heart, through her attitudes, and into her words and actions, making her one of the loveliest people I’ve ever known. Of course, I appreciate the fact that Denise works hard to stay in shape, to eat right, and to look so striking every day. The way she dresses reveals her character and desire to be excellent in everything she does. I am very aware that another reason she diligently works to look beautiful is that she wants to honor me by looking nice. As a husband, I have a responsibility, as every husband does, to acknowledge when my wife looks beautiful. She needs that acknowledgement from me. But the part of Denise that first captured my heart and continues to do so today is not her body; it is her heart. Her heart is so beautiful that it makes me stand back and watch her with great admiration! I regularly observe and take note of what Denise does to keep her heart in this godly shape. She rises early to read her Bible and to seek the face of God. When the rest of us are still sleeping, she kneels on the floor in her prayer room to pray and to worship. She weeps before the Lord as He deals with her about the attitudes He wants to change in her. She spends hours asking Him to change her and to make her more like Him. Because my wife has made the development and maturity of her spirit such a central focus in her life, I can tell you that she continually captures my heart. Although we are getting older and our bodies are beginning to change, she is more gorgeous to me today than ever before. I know that as we grow older and older, she will only become more beautiful, because as the flesh wanes, it will only make it more possible for her dynamic heart to shine brighter! As noted in yesterday’s Sparkling Gem, God is not against women using cosmetics, wearing jewelry, or arraying themselves in fine clothing. But all the world’s finest jewelry and most expensive makeup and clothing cannot make a person with an ugly heart look beautiful. Whatever is in the spirit is exactly what will be reproduced in a person’s life. Wife, I urge you to take heed to Peter’s plea in these verses. For the sake of both your marriage and your personal walk with God, make the decision to not only adorn your outward appearance, but also to turn your attention to the hidden man of the heart.
My Prayer for TodayLord, help me give adequate attention to my heart so I can develop my spirit and become more godly in how I live my life. I pray that the strength and godliness that resides in my spirit will manifest in my life, emanating from within me and making me more gracious and more beautiful the older I get. I look to You, Lord, for help in growing old gracefully and emanating power in my older years.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that my spirit is getting stronger and stronger as I get older. My inner man is adorned with godliness and grace. The older I get, the more visible my inward man becomes — and what is seen coming from within me makes me attractive, even though I am getting a little wrinkled and gravity is having its effects on my physical form. I am inwardly strong and beautiful, and this inner beauty is what attracts people to me.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. What are you doing on a daily basis to develop the inner beauty within you? 2. Can you name some individuals who grew more powerful and more beautiful the older they became? What is it that strikes you most about these individuals? 3. Why don’t you take the time to ask a few of these individuals to tell you the secret of their beauty in their latter years?
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. — 1 Peter 3:3,4Many years ago, my wife and I were invited to minister in a church that believed it was a sin for women to wear jewelry or cosmetics. We only discovered it was this kind of church when we arrived that evening. As is our custom in our ministry before I preach the Word, Denise stood to sing. Her song was exceptionally beautiful and anointed that night. However, I noticed that while she sang, the people kept pointing to her lips and to her earrings. They were obviously distraught about Denise’s jewelry and cosmetics — and as a result, they missed the entire song! It is on the basis of First Peter 3:3,4 that some religious groups believe the use of jewelry and cosmetics is a sin. Those verses say, “Whose adorning let is not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Was Peter really saying that it was a sin for a wife or a woman to wear jewelry or cosmetics? Let’s look at these verses to see exactly what Peter was communicating when he wrote them. You will see that Peter was not bothered by wives or women wearing jewelry or cosmetics. Instead, he was telling them not to invest all their time in their faces and their outward appearance while forgetting to invest time in developing their hearts. You see, women in the first century, especially upper-class Greek and Roman women, were obsessed with their outward appearance. They were flamboyant in their hairstyles, spent vast amounts of money on cosmetics, arrayed themselves in luxurious jewelry, and prided themselves in the lavish clothing they wore. Nothing was wrong with their desire to look nice — except they were so consumed with adorning their bodies that they forgot to adorn their hearts! The word “adorning” in First Peter 3:3 is the Greek word kosmos, which is used 187 times in the New Testament. As noted earlier, the word kosmos carries the idea of something that is ordered or something that is set in a certain arrangement. This word kosmos is where we get the word cosmetics. This tells us that when a woman applies makeup to her face, she is trying to add order to her face. The King James Version translates it adorning because the application of cosmetics not only beautifies a woman’s appearance, but also gives it a greater sense of order. I assure you that husbands appreciate this “adorning” very much! Contrary to what some religious groups assert, there is no implication in this verse that cosmetics are a sin. Peter simply never says that! As noted above, Peter’s point is that women shouldn’t put all their efforts into adorning their faces; they need to remember to adorn their hearts as well. Then Peter goes on to mention the “plaiting of hair.” By using this phrase, he is referring to a practice that was very common among Greek and Roman women in the first century. These women didn’t just pull out the blow dryer and spend twenty minutes preparing their hair for the day. Rather, they literally spent multiplied hours toiling with their hair! I say women “toiled” with their hair because it took a great deal of work and time to produce the fashionable hairstyles of that time. In fact, the word “plaiting” used by Peter is the Greek word emploke, which describes the intricate, complex, and outrageously elaborate braiding of a woman’s hair. You see, the Greek and Roman women were obsessed with turning their hair into towers of intricate curls and braids. If you visit a museum of antiquities and look at the statues of first-century women, it will amaze you to see the thousands of little curls that were woven into women’s hair. This hairstyle was considered beautiful, elegant, and fashionable in the first century. Husbands must have thought this style was beautiful on their wives because the fashion trend was imitated all over the Roman Empire. As a result of this popular rage, women invested huge amounts of time and great sums of money to produce the desired effect. As you will see, Peter was not against woman making their hair more beautiful. He simply didn’t want believing women to focus all their attention on their hair and forget to improve the condition of their hearts. Next, Peter mentions the “wearing of gold.” This was another common practice that was considered very fashionable. The word “wearing” is from the Greek word perithesis, and it describes placing an object, such as a piece of jewelry, around oneself. You see, the Greek and Roman women loved to drape many chains of gold around their necks, affix multiple solid gold bands around their upper arms, and wear many golden rings on each finger. They considered their appearance to be more impressive and beautiful when they were elaborately decked out in layers of gold. Peter then discusses the “putting on of apparel.” The word “apparel” is the Greek word himation. It pictures the brightly colored, richly beaded, posh clothing that was popular among Greek and Roman women in the first century. Women were so fashion-conscious that they frequently changed their clothes during the course of the day. This means they were constantly running in and out of the closet and looking at themselves in the mirror as they fine-tuned their outward appearance for the day’s different events. Consider the many hours women spent applying their cosmetics, fixing their hair, and draping themselves in gold. Now add the multiple times they changed clothes in a day and all the time spent adjusting their clothes in front of a mirror after each change. When you take all this into account, you realize that these women used a very significant portion of their time — not to mention investing a large amount of their money — in maintaining their outward appearance. When Peter wrote about all these things, he began by saying, “Whose adorning let it not be.…” Many have understood this statement to be a prohibition against wearing cosmetics, gold, or expensive clothing and against fixing one’s hair. But in reality, Peter was simply urging wives not to make the mistake of putting so much time and attention into improving their outward appearance that they failed to invest time in the maintenance and beautifying of their inner man. This is why Peter goes on to say, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” In essence, he was saying, “Ladies, it’s all right to do what you can to look outwardly beautiful. However, don’t forget that the most important emphasis and the place to invest most of your time should be in the beautifying of the hidden man of the heart.” Dear wife, it is all right for you to look beautiful. In fact, your husband appreciates it when you make yourself look beautiful for him. Demonstrating to your husband that you want to look pretty for him is one way you can show honor to him. Therefore, Peter’s words are not a prohibition against trying to look the best you can in your outward appearance! Then what is Peter saying to wives and women? He is simply stating that it is a mistake for women to put so much time and effort into their outward appearance that they ignore their inner man — the true source of their beauty. Peter knew it was the custom of first-century wives and women in general to spend countless hours working on their face and hair, so he wanted to encourage them to work on their hearts as much as they worked on their outward appearance! So do all you can to look beautiful, wife, and don’t feel guilty because you wear beautiful jewelry or nice clothes. But at the same time, don’t forget that your spirit is the real you and the most beautiful part of you. God isn’t against your desire to work on your outward appearance; however, He wants you to spend at least an equal amount of time developing and beautifying your spirit. Are you spending enough time “adorning” your spirit the way God wants you to? The answer to that question will largely determine the quality not only of your marriage, but of your life!
My Prayer for TodayLord, thank You for wanting me to look beautiful, both inside and outside, both for myself and for my spouse. I take this word to my heart today, and I make the decision that from this day forward, I will spend at least the same amount of time beautifying my spirit as I spend looking nice in my outward appearance. Forgive me, Lord, for those days when I have found time to dress properly and look outwardly attractive, but I didn’t take the time to pray or read my Bible. Help me get my priorities in order as I make the development of my spirit a higher priority than fixing my hair or putting on makeup.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that the beautifying of my spirit is a high priority in my life. I don’t make the mistake of putting all my time and effort into improving my outward appearance while forgetting to invest time in the development of my spirit. I read my Bible; I pray; and I let God deal with my heart. Because I have made the choice to make my spirit beautiful, I am becoming more godly and beautiful all the time. I have an inward beauty that far outshines anything I could ever do to improve the appearance of my outward man!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. How much time do you spend on your outward appearance every day? How does that compare to the amount of time you daily spend with God? 2. How much time do you think you should be spending alone with God every day in order to develop and beautify your spirit the way God wants you to? 3. What is one area in your inner thoughts and attitudes that you know needs to be changed? What steps are you taking to remove the ugliness that keeps springing from that part of your life and to replace it with the godly fragrance of Jesus Christ?
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. — 1 Peter 3:1,2Many years ago we had a young couple in our church who were madly in love with each other. Every time I saw them, they were holding hands and looking blissfully into each other’s eyes. We all got such a kick out of watching them and were excited about their upcoming wedding. Several months after they were married, I noticed that this young husband looked downcast and depressed. I went to him privately and asked, “How is marriage?” He replied, “Why didn’t someone warn me about how terrible this was going to be?” I was shocked by his response, so I asked him, “Please tell me what is happening to give you such a bad impression of marriage.” The husband proceeded to tell me about all the rules his wife had made for him and their household. For instance, if he didn’t read his Bible when he woke up in the morning, she refused to make his breakfast. Her rule was “No Bible, no breakfast!” He told me that many mornings he would go to the kitchen to get his sack lunch for the day, and his new bride would tell him, “Today the Lord has told me that you need to fast, so there won’t be any lunch for you today. You need to spend time in prayer.” The young man continued to tell me that many evenings when he came home from work exhausted, his wife would order him, “Tonight we are going to sit on the couch and read the Bible together for two hours —you, me, and my mother. Then we’re going to spend an hour in prayer.” When I heard what was happening, I chuckled inside. I knew this sweet little new bride was trying to encourage her husband to be the spiritual leader of their new home, but her approach wasn’t effective. In fact, it was having just the opposite effect she desired. Instead of causing her husband to feel closer to her, this young wife was pushing him far away by constantly preaching at him and demanding that he become the spiritual leader she expected him to be. But after the couple attended a few counseling sessions with me, the wife backed off and let her husband assume his leadership role on his own terms. When she relaxed and let him lead in a way that was more natural to him, the tension left their marriage and they reentered marital bliss! A wife who takes on the role of preaching at her husband will never find this method very effective. It is usually a huge turn-off for a husband because it makes him feel like his wife, who is supposed to be his greatest supporter, has instead become his corrector and boss. Men resent this behavior. This is why Peter told the wives, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives” (1 Peter 3:1). In the first century, women came to Christ more readily than men — a situation that has always seemed to exist in the Church. This meant that a huge portion of the Early Church was comprised of women who had come to Jesus Christ but whose husbands remained unsaved. Of course, these women wanted their husbands to be saved, so after a church service, they would often run home and begin to preach to their husbands. They saw themselves as God’s anointed evangelists to bring their husbands into the fold. But those unsaved husbands didn’t perceive this to be a blessing! From the husbands’ perspective, their wives’ preaching sounded like nagging and complaining. This approach produced such negative results that Peter told wives to stop preaching to their husbands and to instead live godly lives before them as their method of evangelizing. Peter wrote, “…If any [husbands] obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives” (1 Peter 3:1). The phrase “…if any obey not the word…” alludes to unsaved husbands, but it could also refer to saved husbands who are not living in obedience to God’s Word. The words “obey not” are from the Greek word apeitho, which emphatically refers to someone who refuses to be persuaded. This person isn’t just ignorant of the truth; he is defiant and rejecting of it. Therefore, besides referring to unsaved husbands who hear the message and reject it, as Peter was most likely writing about, this phrase could also refer to saved husbands who refuse to do what they know God wants them to do. I can think of so many Christian wives who want their husbands to change. These wives beg, plead, nag, and pester their husbands all the time to do this different or to do that different. But no matter how hard a wife pressures her husband, he will remain stubborn, obstinate, and unmoved. If God doesn’t touch his heart and cause him to respond on his own, all the begging and nagging in the world won’t change his heart. Wife, whether your husband is saved or unsaved, the method of impacting him is the same. Peter says you can win your husband without ever uttering a single word! Now look at the phrase “…they also may without the word be won….” The word “won” is the Greek word kerdeo, an old Greek word which means to act cleverly. It was often used in secular literature to depict someone who won a game, such as the game of casting lots. In today’s world, it could depict a person who plays his cards right and therefore walks off with the booty! Therefore, the word kerdeo (“won”) means to wise up; to act cleverly; to play the game correctly; or in today’s vernacular, to play your cards right. Peter is telling wives how to win the game of positively influencing their husbands without ever saying a word! He tells them that the most influential thing wives can do is to let their husbands see their “conversation.” The word “conversation” is the Greek word anastrophe, a Greek word that refers to how a person rises up and sits down; goes in and goes out; and turns this way or that way. In other words, the word anastrophe gives a picture of how a person conducts his life and how he or she behaves in every situation. By using this word, we are told that there is no message more powerful than a godly life — and that a wife who lives a godly life before her husband greatly impacts his decisions and the way he lives.
The Greek words used in this text present the following idea:
“…If any refuse to comply with the Word and do what it says, you can still win the game without ever uttering a single word by simply letting your husband take note of and observe the way you live your life before him.”I am married to a very godly woman. Denise has great influence in my life, not because of what she says but because of how she lives. I see her pray every morning. I watch as she sacrifices to follow me and how she has always done it with a willing and joyful heart. I have watched her forgive those who wronged us and our ministry. I see how attentively she takes care of our sons and how she loves our son’s wife. She stands by me, supports me, helps me, encourages me, and is indeed my closest friend. Denise’s godly life is her greatest pulpit. I see her rising up, her sitting down, her going in, her going out, her turning this way and that way. Because I know her life and her outstanding attitude, I have great respect for her, and I listen when she speaks to me about things that concern her. In fact, of all the people in my life, my wife has the single greatest impact on me and my decisions. Her godly life has empowered her to have this authority with me. You could say that she won me and my respect because she showed me her life instead of just preaching sermons at me. This is a good example of Peter’s statement to wives in verse 2 that husbands will “…behold your chaste conversation.…” The word “behold” is the Greek word epopteuo, which in Greek means to observe, to watch, to monitor, to scrutinize, or to keep under observation. The tense used in the Greek indicates a continual observation. This means a husband doesn’t just notice his wife’s behavior once; rather, he keeps a watch on her behavior and attitude all the time. Wife, let me tell you a secret. Your husband may not tell you, but he is watching you. He sees and is amazed when you remain happy and content in very unhappy circumstances. He notices when you have an opportunity to be angry but choose instead to be silent and to take that anger to the Lord. Your husband observes your uncomplaining attitude when financial sacrifice is required. On the other hand, he also takes note when you blow your top and say ugly things. You can be sure that even though your husband may not tell you, he is constantly monitoring your attitude and responses to the situations of life. This is why Peter says that you should let your husband “…behold your chaste conversation….” The word “chaste” is the word agnos. It refers to holiness, purity, or irreproachable conduct. In other words, men notice it when their wives are awesome! A wife’s godly conduct is the most influential, powerful sermon she could ever preach to her husband. Peter goes on to say, “While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” This word “fear” does not refer to the kind of fear that makes a person shake and tremble because he is terrified. In this context, it carries the idea of respect. Knowing that a husband feels valued when he senses his wife’s respect, Peter urges women to live holy lives before their husbands and to do everything they can to demonstrate respect to them.
The words in First Peter 3:2 could be paraphrased to carry this meaning:
“Wives, your husbands are watching you constantly. They see you rising up; they see you sitting down; they see you going in; and they see you going out. They are constantly observing you, so make sure they are seeing you live a pure and holy life, and give them honor and respect as you do it.”If you’ve been preaching at your husband to no effect, perhaps it’s time for you to change your method. Make the quality decision to stop talking to him about the things you’ve been wanting him to change in his life. Instead, take your concerns to God in prayer. Leave your husband alone, and let God deal with him. When you suddenly fall silent and cease to preach at your husband, I guarantee you that he will notice a change has taken place in your approach toward him. He will “behold” this change in your attitude. He will “behold” that you aren’t correcting him anymore. He will “behold” that you are leaving him alone and that you have chosen to take a different route. As you learn to stay silent rather than preach at your husband, he will probably begin to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to his heart. And when your husband sees you maintain an excellent attitude in the midst of circumstances that aren’t going your way, his heart will be drawn to you. He’ll begin to get convicted, and his desire to do more to please you will start to grow. You see, wife, Peter knew exactly what he was talking about when he wrote that you could win your husband without a word. Therefore, it’s time for you to get before God and ask Him to change your heart and your attitude about your husband. Learn to be clever by keeping your mouth closed and letting your godly life and good attitude do the preaching for you!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I ask You to help me learn when to speak and when to be silent. I don’t want my husband to perceive me as a nagging wife. Please forgive me for preaching at him when I should have been praying for him. Help me to stop focusing on all the things I don’t like about him and to start working on all the things that need to change inside me. I want to be a blessing to my husband. Please help me live a life so godly and powerful that it becomes my pulpit in our marriage.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I live a powerful, godly, and chaste life before my husband and am therefore a constant encouragement to him. He seeks my advice; he wants my help; and he desires to know what I believe is right regarding decisions that affect our family and relationship. God’s Spirit is changing me and making me to be the kind of wife He wants me to be!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!