Yesterday I saw a friend’s status expressing concern about the obsession of women’s outward beauty. She quoted a verse from 1 Peter 3 that I had just read and am struck by every time I read it.
Later in the day the topic of womanly beauty or character (i.e. inward beauty) came up two more times. It highlighted to me something I’ve known for a long time: most women don’t spend time on that which the Father says is beautiful and even many believers don’t have the first idea what that is.
That’s a saddening and startling revelation! And it’s made me want to ponder it to see if *I* truly know what it is. I’m sure this blog won’t be an exhaustive dissertation on the topic, but it is at least an introductory venture into what Scriptures says about this.
With that said, here are the verses from 1 Peter 3:3-4 (CJB)
Your beauty should not consist in externals such as fancy hairstyles, gold jewelry or what you wear; rather, let it be the inner character of your heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great value.
Since few would describe me as either gentle or quiet, I decided I better look up what those words actually meant! The word for gentle here is praÿs (G4239), which I find ironic in and of itself – beautiful women PRAY! But here’s the definition of this word:
1) mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness
This commentary was shared with the definition and I found it to be extremely helpful:
Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time (Isa 41:17, Luk 18:1-8) [which reminds me of yesterday’s post as well]. Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will (Gal 5:23).
This type of “gentleness” I understand and seek to live by. In essence, this is about submission especially to the Father and His will. This brings to mind Proverbs 31:30 (CJB)
Charm can lie, beauty can vanish, but a woman who fears Adonai should be praised.
Next I researched “quiet” as well, which turns out to be the word hesychios (G2272). This same word is also translated “peaceable”. Immediately this brings to mind two proverbs:
- Proverbs 21:19 – It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
- Proverbs 27:15 – A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
All this then ties in with the verse another friend shared with me yesterday in one of the other conversations I had on this topic. It was 1 Timothy 3:11 (CJB)
Similarly, the wives must be of good character, not gossips, but temperate, faithful in everything.
That word temperate is the word nephalios (G3524) meaning:
1) sober, temperate
a) abstaining from wine, either entirely or at least from its immoderate use
b) of things free from all wine, as vessels, offerings
I wanted a little more insight into this word so I also looked it up in the Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged:
marked by moderation : keeping or existing in the middle ground between extremes: as a : keeping or held within limits : not extreme or excessive
As I pondered this definition, I felt the Spirit bring to mind Proverbs 29:11
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
I don’t know about you guys, but I know *I* am guilty of calling friends to vent! And yet as we read Psalms we can clearly see the Father doesn’t mind venting… as long as we’re talking it through with HIM.
So after saying all that, here’s some of what I have learned about what a beautiful woman/wife looks like:
- Good character, integrity
- Submitted to God
- Completely relying on God
- Trusting and rejoicing in God’s sovereignty
- Focused on others, not on self (Philippians 2:3 – Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.)
- Fears YHVH (the LORD)
- Peaceable, not contentious
- Temperate, not gossiping or venting
Father help us as we seek to live up to YOUR standard of beauty! Take us deeper in our understanding of what that looks like. Help us to spend more time cultivating Godly beauty than outward beauty which fades. May our lives and hearts be pleasing to You.