I’ve been studying the book of 1 Peter for the past couple of weeks. A major theme of the book is suffering and the letter also has several things to say about submission. Submission is about as popular a topic as suffering to our fleshly nature. Yet, my study has yielded some delightful findings.
While suffering and trials are a big theme here, the descriptions of God and His work throughout Peter’s epistle instill hope and joy, words like: living, imperishable, undefiled, unfading, precious, holy, pure, abiding, chosen, good, gracious.
A couple of adjectives in particular caught my eye this week– “imperishable” and “precious”. These words and their synonyms run through Peter’s letter. I’d made notes about how the words were used to describe things like “our inheritance” (1 Peter 1:4), the “word of God” (1 Peter 1:23), “faith” (1 Peter 1:7), and the “blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19). What I hadn’t noticed before is that the same (or similar) words are used to describe the “beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” with which women are called to adorn themselves. Not only does God tell us that the beauty of that gentle and quiet spirit is “very precious”, but He describes it with the same term (“imperishable”) used to describe such lofty and wonderful things as the Word of God and our eternal inheritance.
Being a wife, the verses beginning in chapter three always stand out to me. In the first verse here, we read the command to wives to “be subject to your own husbands”. (1 Peter 3:1). I’ve seen both the world and professing Christians get tripped up on that verse. If you do any web searches on the meaning of the verse, you will find folks falling all over themselves to explain what the verse doesn’t mean (“It’s not about subservience! It’s not about women being inferior!”). You may, as I have, heard it taught with what seems like reluctance from a pulpit. It’s as though Christians feel they need to excuse commands that clash with worldly, fleshly philosophy. But, looking closely at these verses about the godly behavior of wives, we see how much God values the beauty of a gentle and submissive heart.
The beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is said to be very precious “in God’s sight”. In this epistle, “a living stone” (which is Christ) is also said to be precious “in the sight of God” (1 Peter 2:4). So, that beautiful spirit of believing wives is brought into likeness with no trifling thing, but rather to things glorious and eternal and to the Person of King Jesus.
However, cultivating this adornment is no light matter. Usually, when I read the verse about being subject to my husband, I’m reminded of how I fall short of this command. I pray for God to change my heart and to help me submit to my husband. When I read 1 Peter 3:4, I long to have that abiding “gentle and quiet spirit”. Even in writing this post I have been tempted to reply harshly when I felt that my husband was interrupting me! How slow I am to learn!
As difficult as submission may seem though, we believing wives have a great privilege in making ourselves beautiful with this precious ornament and outfitting ourselves with this unfading, imperishable robe. In Christ we have victory and can count on His faithful process of sanctification. We are His workmanship and if we are trusting in Him then we cannot fail. (see also Phil 1:6, Eph 2:10, Lamentations 3:22-23).
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious [timios, G5093] and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 peter 1:3-4 ESV, emphasis added.)
There is no mistaking the value to God of this adornment of women who belong to Him. We certainly don’t need to apologize to the world for such things.
Images by Couleur from Pixabay
I thought I should add that the word “precious” found in the ESV is not always from the same Greek word in the original manuscripts. I attached a pdf table below to further your own research. You can find an interlinear Bible at blb.org (Blue Letter Bible).