What does it mean to have a “quiet and gentle spirit?”
This is a phrase from 1 Peter 3. As someone who is an extrovert and who can be very outgoing to the point of being a little overwhelming (even scary – so I’ve been told) it is an idea, a way of being, I’ve been thinking about for a few years.
Even if you don’t accept the foundational premise, that this is an idea founded in a belief in the creation of man and woman by God, bear with me – some of the ideas I discuss are going to sound radical to a post-feminist audience.
1 Peter 3:3-4 says 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, 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.” This is really about my relationship with God – which will be reflected in my demeanor, my speech, my relationships with others, a peace and a contentment in my soul.
Some writing by author Carolyn Mahaney, quoted in Joy's Blog assures me about what a gentle and quiet spirit isn't –
"it isn’t a certain personality type, or the tone of your voice (loud or quiet). You can have a quiet personality and not have a gentle and quiet spirit. Or, you can have an “effervescent” personality and still have a gentle and quiet spirit (yes!). Here's the definition of a gentle and quiet spirit Carolyn Mahaney gives as meant in the Greek:
A gentle and quiet spirit is an inner disposition of humble contentment and quiet tranquility rooted in an unwavering trust in God and His purpose.
She further breaks it down into a simple definition:
A gentle and quiet spirit is a steadfast peace because of a steadfast trust in God."
Anna M Blanch is the founder of Goannatree, a website examining faith, the Bible, and theology, in the context of literature, popular culture and current affairs. She is also writing a PhD dissertation in Theology and Literature at the University of St Andrews.
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