Summary: A short lesson on the importance of a Christian woman to have the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
Today, I want us to consider something “precious in the sight of God.” God created the Universe. All things belong to Him. He sees all things before Him. Interesting to me is that as God sees all things, the Bible reveals that there is something that is “precious in the sight of God.”
The meaning of “precious” is ‘having surpassing value.’ With that in mind, do you have any guesses as to what is “precious in the sight of God?”
Gold or silver? No! Diamonds, emeralds or rubies? Nope! It is any rare metal or gemstone. In fact, it isn’t anything material that we might treasure.
Is it the Human Race? Or, a person’s soul? Or, maybe, the Church as it is comprised of God’s children? All of these things do have great value to God but they are not specifically stated in the Scriptures as being “precious in the sight of God.”
The answer is found in 1 Peter 3:4. It is a woman who possesses and demonstrates “the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit.” God regards this temperament or disposition in a woman as having surpassing value. It is highly esteemed by God.
We need a little bit of clarification to understand what is meant by “a gentle and quiet spirit.” So, let’s define these terms.
Gentle or Meek Spirit
The word “gentle” is the Greek praus and originally it was used to describe a wild animal that has become a domesticated, trained animal which has learned to obey the voice of its master. It came to mean, when describing people, the quality of self-control which can accept the guidance and direction of another. It speaks of a submissive spirit rather than being self-assertive and showing resistance.
The Bible tells us that Jesus had a gentle spirit. Paul alluded to Jesus’ gentle spirit, in 2 Corinthians 10:1, when he said, “Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” Jesus used the term in reference to Himself, in Matthew 11:29, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” Even though He was the eternal, all-powerful Son of God, He emptied Himself and was willing to be a servant in complete submission to the Father. Philippians 2:5-8, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Please note from this passage that Jesus was ‘equal’ with God the Father but He willingly humbled Himself and placed Himself in submission to the Father’s will. John 6:38, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
Peter says that the godly woman is to be like Jesus, emptying herself of fleshly pride and humbly submitting her will and life to the direction and guidance of the Lord.
Now if the woman is married, she is to submit herself to the guidance and direction of her husband. This is the primary context of our 1 Peter 3 passage. 1 Peter 3:1,5, “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands…For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.” To the extent that a woman willingly submits to the Lord, she ought to submit to her husband. Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”
The husband should be able to trust that his wife will support and affirm his leadership in the family. Proverbs 31:10-12, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
The word “quiet” is the Greek hesuchios and had the literal meaning of ‘keeping one’s seat.’ It came to describe someone who is ‘at peace’ or content with their position and role. The opposite of a “quiet spirit” is one that is inwardly and outwardly defiant.
In the context of our passage, a woman with a “quiet spirit” is content with the position she has in the home which is under the guidance and direction of her husband. Rather than defy and challenge her husband’s leadership, she happily desires to submit to his leadership knowing that she is fulfilling God’s will.