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The Scriptorium

Proper Adornment

1 Peter 3.3-6

3Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing of gold, or putting on fine apparel – 4rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beautyof a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight. 5For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their husbands, 6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

The Story: I don’t think Peter is here offering a blanket proscription on cosmetics or jewelry – any more than he is doing so with clothes. Women should be clothed, of course, but modestly and decently. The same is true of all other external adornments. What really matters is not outward appearance but inner transformation. Women must work hard to be beautiful in their souls as the highest priority in life. If they adorn their souls with a gentle and quiet spirit they will be true children of Sarah. Let them focus on good works and not fear what unsaved husbands might do to them. Women have great power to influence others, especially men. They should make sure that the influence they wield is that which is precious to God.

The Structure: These are important words for contemporary Christian women. In our day, when men fixate on the female form inordinately, they need Christian women to remind them of what really matters in life. The Christian woman who cares more about what she looks like to a man than how she may influence him for Christ has her priorities way out of whack. She may make herself attractive to the men at church, but her neglect of her soul in favor of outward appearances cannot be pleasing to the Lord.

How can women encourage one another to work harder at the inner person than they do on outward appearances?


Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “First, Be: 1 Peter 3,” simply click here.

T. M. Moore

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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