Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Inner and Outward Adorning Part 3

"Next Peter mentions the “wearing of gold.” This was another common practice that was considered very fashionable. The word “wearing” is from the Greek word perithesis and it describes placing an object such as a piece of jewelry around oneself. Greek and Roman women loved to drape many chains of gold around their necks, affix multiple solid gold bands around their upper arms, and wear many gold rings on each finger. They considered their appearance to be more impressive and beautiful when they were elaborately decked out in layers of gold.

Peter then discusses the “putting on of apparel.” The word apparel is the Greek word himation. It pictures the brightly colored, richly beaded, posh clothing that was popular with the Greek and Roman women of the first century. Women were so fashion conscious that they frequently changed their clothes during the course of a day. This means that they were constantly running in and out of their closet and looking at themselves in the mirror as they fine-tuned their outward appearance for the day’s different events.

Consider the many hours that women spent applying their cosmetics, fixing their hair, and draping themselves in gold. Now add the multiple times they changed their clothes in a day and all the time spent in front of a mirror adjusting their clothes after each change. When you take all this into account, you realize that these women spent a significant amount of their time—not to mention a large amount of their money—into maintaining their outward appearance."

Peter’s words are not a prohibition against trying to look the best you can in outward appearance, as some have interpreted them. He is simply stating that we need to spend as much time on our hearts as on outward appearance. The “ornament of a meek and quiet spirit” is not talking about a personality type but rather it means having an inner spirit that is responsive to spiritual promptings.

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