Beauty Is Not in Makeup or Clothing

1 Peter 3:1–6, Part 3

Women have often been deceived into thinking that beauty is about how they look or what they wear — their clothing, jewelry, or hair style. But God defines beauty very differently. In this lab, John Piper introduces a distinct, supernatural, and imperishable beauty, and explains how women can pursue it.

Principle for Bible Reading

When the Bible gives us specific instructions for everyday lives, we need to read over them slowly, making sure we see everything the author is saying, as well as everything they are not saying. Because we’re so inclined toward do’s and don’ts, we also need to look hard at the heart each command or instruction is aiming to produce.

Study Questions

  1. Why would Peter turn to jewelry and clothing (1 Peter 3:3–6) when he’s talking to wives about winning their husbands to faith in Jesus (1 Peter 3:1–2)?
  2. Do these verses mean a woman should never do her hair or wear jewelry? Why or why not? Try and argue from 1 Peter 3:1–6 before going elsewhere.
  3. Again, based on 1 Peter 3:1–6, how does a woman cultivate the kind of beauty Peter is describing?

Introduction/Prayer (00:00–01:38)

The Beauty that Matters Most (01:38–03:54)

  • Peter discourages women from focusing on external beauty. (1 Peter 3:3)
  • He gives three examples: hair, jewelry, and clothing. (1 Peter 3:1)
  • Why does Peter turn to clothing when he’s trying to convince these wives to win their husbands? Because some may have been convinced, probably by the culture, that their influence is found in being pretty.
  • To that, Peter says, “Do not let your adorning be external.” (1 Peter 3:3)

Should Women Ever Wear Jewelry? (03:54–06:55)

  • Does that mean a woman should never do anything with her hair or wear any jewelry or put on clothing?
  • No, we know this is not an absolute because women must wear clothing.
  • The point is to not let your focus be on your hair or jewelry or clothing, but on spiritual adornment. (1 Peter 3:3)
  • Anything the world can do, including hair styles, jewelry, and fashionable clothing, is no clear witness to what only God can do.
  • What is it that only God can do, that is, what can the world not reproduce? “A gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4). That beauty is distinct, supernatural, and imperishable.
  • That kind of beauty is precious to God, who can see the heart inside of you. (1 Peter 3:4)

Where Does that Beauty Come From? (06:55–09:44)

  • How does a women get to this gentle and quiet spirit? (1 Peter 3:4)
  • Peter says the holy women hoped in God and become fearless. (1 Peter 3:1)
  • That fearlessness frees you to be a tranquil and gentle person in the midst of very difficult circumstances, which will stand out to the world.
  • When a husband sees your surprising calmness and gentleness, he will ask about your hope. (1 Peter 3:15–16)