"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)
Time and time again many of us miss a fundamental quality in this specific verse and therefore insist shame and indifference on numerous young women. Demanding that they retreat into an over-spiritualized mold, denying who they truly are, and failing to realize their potential in Christ.
Paul indicates a gentle and quiet “spirit”… not a personality – and there is quite a distinction between the two. Your spirit (your soul) is the core, the center, of who you are: it’s your character, your integrity, the immaterial essence of who you are. Essentially, it’s a direct manifestation of your relationship and intimacy with God.
The observation that a woman likes to converse frequently, loudly, and is strongly opinionated, is no indication that she does not have a gentle and quiet spirit. In the same way, the observation that a woman is less outspoken, comes across as reserved, and mostly keeps her opinions to herself is no indication that she does have a gentle and quiet spirit. She might appear silent, but her spirit could be raging, out of control on the inside. It’s not necessarily the tone of someone’s voice, the amount of words they speak or how they can respectfully perform a debate that ultimately dictates if they possess gentle and quiet spirit. Another misconception is that it occurs overnight, it’s a consistent and ongoing process by which one commits to becoming more and more like Jesus.
You need not be constantly in a corner, afraid to speak up to have a gentle and quiet spirit. You do not need to be a wallflower. In conclusion, the “quiet” that Paul is referring to is not a literal one, but rather, it describes the essence of a soul that is firmly rooted in God’s love, submission, peace, and Holy Scripture - this is the mark of a godly woman, of a “gentle and quiet spirit” whether she is a frequent conversationalist or the shyest of them all.