“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—“
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—
Peter does not argue against wearing jewelry. His issue is what truly wins an obstinate husband. Inner beauty as over against extrinsic beauty is his answer. Outward beauty and inward beauty are two different values.
The word “adornment” comes from the Greek word kosmos. Kosmos means order. Sometimes the New Testament translates this word “world.” Kosmos is a system where order prevails. We get our English word cosmetics from kosmos. What do cosmetics do? They bring order to the female face!! The opposite of cosmos is chaos!! When a woman first gets up in the morning, things are out of order! Until a woman puts on her makeup, her face is out of order. She has a disheveled face! She does not have symmetry in her face. When she puts on her makeup, she once again has order to her face.
Peter’s point here is that a woman does not win her husband by outward order. Outward cosmetics do not win her husband. It is inward cosmetics that wins the husband. This is inner beauty, a wonderful, feminine woman. The idea is that symmetry of the woman does not come from outer beauty. If a woman orders herself on the inside, she will not fall apart or get upset. She will not throw a tantrum at every crisis.
arranging the hair,
Now Peter turns to a list of items that will not make a happy husband. The first is the hairdo. A large part of female beauty is hair.
The word “arranging” means braiding. Braiding is an elaborate gathering of the hair woven into many tiers of knots. Women of the Roman Empire became addicted to ridiculous extravagance with their hair. They would fear even to touch their hair because it took so long to make-up. Many had wigs, often blond. Archeologists found some of these wigs in the catacombs. They made their hairstyles of ivory and gold studded with gems.
Women in the Roman world would spend many hours braiding her hair. Sometime they would pile their hair three feet high. Hair that high is hard to carry around all day! They had to keep themselves in balance constantly. At night they had to prop themselves up so as not to disturb their hair. They could not put their head on a pillow. They put fantastic emphasis on outer beauty.
Some women feel that the shabbier they look, the more spiritual they are. No, this does not mean that she is spiritual. It means she is a slob! Peter is not arguing for disheveled hair! Vance Havner said, “To be all out for God, you don’t have to look all in!!” Obviously women should make themselves as attractive as possible. Some women have more to work with than others, but no woman should let herself go.
God wants godly women to develop inner cosmetics of the soul.
A woman who is ugly on the inside will never win her husband. She may be Miss American on the outside, but she may be Miss Garbage Can on the inside. A biblically beautiful woman is beautiful on the inside. She orders herself on the inside. She does not fall apart. She does not get upset. She does not throw a tantrum every time some little thing happens.