The Expository Files


 The Most Beautiful Woman In The Bible

 1 Peter 3:1-7

Who is the most beautiful woman described in the Bible?

Young men, what if I could take you to a passage in the Bible that describes the most beautiful woman in the Bible, and therefore, provides you with a model to guide you in finding a wife?

Young women, what if I could take you to a passage in the Bible that describes just the kind of person you ought to be, to attract a godly man, but most important, to please your Creator?

Parents, what if I could take you to a passage that describes the internal values you must nourish in your little girls?

Here it is:

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—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. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered

The apostle Peter wrote this letter to Christians who were suffering. These people were doing right, but suffering because of it.

Now marriage, under the best of circumstances, requires work: mutual intentional commitment to each other, communication and patience. It is a relationship based on promises made to God and to each other ideally. And in order for marriage to work, survive and thrive, mutual commitment is essential. Under any circumstances – the work must be done.

But in the case of Christian women who received Peter’s epistle, consider two pressure points: (1) She was living in very difficult times for all Christians, and (1) Her husband is not obedient to the Word of God.

What does she do? Walk away? Act with malice and aggression against the unbelieving husband?

No. Peter’s direction to these Christian women was: Good Behavior! “…be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.”

Just as Peter taught Christians to submit to every ordinance of man (2:13), and submit to superiors in work context (2:18), wives are to submit to their husbands, even though those men may not living according to the Word of God. Submission continues through difficult times, because of conscience toward God.

And there may be an additional good result, as the unbelieving husband is influenced by the “chaste conduct accompanied by fear” that he observes in his wife.

What is “chaste conduct accompanied by fear?” What does the internal side of that look like?

(1) There is an emphasis on inner beauty. The passages does not absolutely forbid any and all external beauty (so long as it is modest, see 1 Tim. 2:9,10). The point is one of emphasis. What takes priority over everything? The internal attitudes of heart. Women must use the Word of God to look inside, where beauty begins. “These verses do not ban grooming or beauty aids, but they do put these adornments in proper perspective. If a woman relies only on these kinds of things to make her beautiful, she will miss the greater value of inner beauty. She must not go overboard patching up the externals while ignoring the internal character. Seneca, the Roman philosopher, referred to women in this time period who wore two or three fortunes in their ears. Peter encourages Christian women not to lose their sense of value. They are to recognize the beauty of character that is far more vital and important than external beauty,” (David Wallis and Max Anders, Holman New Testament Commentary, I & II Peter, p.49).

(2) A “gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” The word “gentle” does not mean letting men use you, abuse you, never defending yourself or becoming the property of a domineering male. It has to do with control, patience, and not being given to panic or impulsive outburst. It is kindness that is not turned off by belligerence. She is to exhibit a calming influence. This, of course, comes from the internal strength of faith, reverence for God and love for her husband.

(3) This manner of life was illustrated by holy women in previous times, like Sarah. All of this taught and written by the apostle Peter is not peculiar to the New Covenant. God has always expected women to live as described here: Chaste, respectful, meek, holy, living by hope in God, doing what is right out of conscience. Sarah is offered as a specific illustration of this righteous conduct. She is put before the reader as a model of what is being described. She showed proper respect to Abraham, “calling him lord,” and that was not just something she said; it was how she lived before God and toward Abraham. Christian women today can become “children” or “daughters of Sarah,” when they live as God intends, with the kind of inner character so well described in this passage.

To young unmarried men, this is what you should be looking for. Your goal should not be to win an external beauty, but rather find one devoted to inner beauty. Having a “trophy” wife to show off to the world for her figure and her worldly appeal is (1) alarming, and (2) contrary to the Biblical description of good women. (3) It will never become the basis for good parenting and a strong and lasting marriage. (4) God wants young men to find daughters of Sarah.

To young women, does this passage express your purpose, your goal and interests “which is very precious in the sight of God?” Do not let men or the world determine how you carry yourself and present yourself. If you want to know God, serve Him and reflect His glory, take passages like this (in First Peter 3), and let the discipline of this truth mold you and make you into a daughter of Sarah.
To parents, do you foresee that your little girl will grow up to meet this description. If not, what do you need to be doing now?

Christians will find young Christian men and develop them as Paul developed Timothy, the results will be visible, valuable and pleasing to God.

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 17.12; December 2010