(Thoughts I had while doing my own personal Bible reading)
1 Peter 3:4
A verse that has always bothered me because I thought it meant I needed to change my personality. I think of all the times I get excited and bubbly while having fun, or during Bible study I discover something new and exciting or read something that causes deep thoughts to come to the forefront of my mind, and I have to let them out. I don’t like the thought that I, as a Christian woman, have to be “quiet.” Gentle, I don’t mind because I’m not as gentle as I should be, and I want to work on it. But quiet? Isn’t that a little old fashioned? But I missed a very key word here. Spirit. “Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” How often are things in the Bible called very precious in Gods sight? Not often! And yet this is something that God considers precious. If you look at verse 5, it says that in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves. Let take a look at some holy women of the Bible.
We’ll start with Deborah in Judges. Not only was she the one God’s people came to for Judgement and advice, but she prophesied, led the Israelites into battle against the Canaanites (along with Barak), and sang a victorious song of praise to God afterwards. Was she quiet in the verbal sense of the word? Not at all.
Next Ruth. Her mother in law told her to pursue Boaz for their redemption from their pitiful state. Did she argue? No. But did she pursue Boaz’s favor by following him and boldly talking to him? Yes! This is not what I would consider “quiet.”
Next we’ll jump into 1 Samuel 25 to Abigail. In perhaps one of the boldest moves made by a woman in the Old Testament, she confronted a wildly bloodthirsty pre-King David and 400 of his wildly bloodthirsty men. In order to bring peace and to keep David from forfeiting his crown, she brought food at the risk of losing her own life. She prophesied to what God’s plans were for David’s life and urged him to keep from bloodshed and stay true to God, and God would make for him an “enduring house.” Wow. Would you consider this quiet? Not me!
Now in the book of Esther. She goes before the Babylonian king uninvited, at the risk of losing her life, and pleads for the lives of her people. In the meantime accusing his right hand man, Haman, of deceiving him. Bold in every sense of the word! Her courage and unabashed need to be heard kept an entire people, the people of God, from going extinct.
I could go on, but I think my point has been made. Have we girls of the post feminist movement started to misinterpret parts of the New Testament, the very Word of God, as misogynistic (I hate typing that word out by the way 😂)? Maybe even without realizing it? If God doesn’t mean “women should be seen and not heard” in 1 Peter 3:4, what does He mean? Why is this thing that is commanded to only women (which I think is very special) so precious in His sight? To quote Elizabeth George, “Quiet has to do with a tranquility arising from within, causing no disturbance to others. Quiet means bearing with tranquility the disturbances caused by others. Quiet applies to words, countenances, and actions.” (Putting on a Gentle and Quiet Spirit, pg 13, 14)
I think here God means a quietness that comes from within. A quietness that maybe only women are able to convey, and all these bold, peacemaking Biblical heroines do convey. It comes from our God-given spirits, an ability to bring peace to a situation or people in general. Maybe this is a characteristic of God that is given to us, but we have foolishly discounted it because a (roughly) 6,000 year history of men abusing their God given, for-a-purpose, ultimate dominion over the earth. But because legalistic men and women have misinterpreted this verse as a tool to keep women, in the verbal sense of the word, quiet, does this mean that we women should cover it with a black pen so we don’t feel convicted or commanded by this verse? Absolutely not. It’s important. Christian women are commanded and have the power to be peacemakers. Starting in their own homes and spreading to their friendships, churches, workplaces, and the entire world. And it’s PRECIOUS in God’s sight! How amazing is that?