Lecture Notes by Martha Peace on “Helping Women to Have a Gentle and Quiet Spirit” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Lecture Notes by Martha Peace on “Helping Women to Have a Gentle and Quiet Spirit” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Hello Ladies!
At the end of the chapter on “Sarah” in our book study of “Twelve Extraordinary Women” by Pastor John MacArthur, it says “Sarah is pictured as the spiritual matriarch and the ancient epitome of all faithful women (1 Peter 3:6).  Far from isolating those memorable instances where Sarah behaved badly, it commemorates her as the very epitome of a woman adorned with “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (! Peter 3:4 NKJV).  This is a fitting epitaph for this truly extraordinary woman.”
Our last ladies Bible Study on Tuesday, November 8th we wrapped up our study on “Sarah” by watching Martha Peace’s DVD lecture on “Helping Women To Have A Gentle and Quiet Spirit.”  I am convinced that there was not one of us that came away from Martha’s biblical admonition without being challenged, convicted and comforted!  Martha has given us permission to put her lecture notes on our website.  So thankful to God for Martha’s faithful service in helping women all around the world to become more like our precious Lord Jesus Christ!
May we all continue to learn and live a life of “true beauty” by God’s grace which is becoming women who reflect a “gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God.” ( 1 Peter 3:3-4)

Lesson 5 (from Martha Peace’s DVD Lectures on “Counselling Women”)
Helping Women To Have A Gentle And Quiet Spirit

Counseling ladies to have a “gentle and quiet spirit” is a common problem. In fact, most of the ladies you talk with probably struggle somewhat in this regard. All Christians are to be gentle with others and not contend against God, but the ladies have a special mandate in I Peter 3:3-4.

In this workshop we will (Lord willing) cover the following:

  1. Define what it means to have a “gentle and quiet spirit.”
  2. Give Biblical principles regarding a gentle spirit.
  3. See practical tips to help ladies (by God’s grace) develop a “gentle and quiet spirit.”
  4. Go over the “Gentle and Quiet Spirit” Assessment/Homework too.
    I. Definition of “gentle and quiet spirit.”

    A. Gentle (or meek) – describes a condition of mind and heart. It is seen in outward behavior and is an inwrought grace of the soul. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing, resisting, struggling, or contending with Him. This meekness is also seen when facing evil men and realizing that even evil acts against us are permitted and employed by God for the chastening and purifying of His elect.[1]
    B. Quiet Spirit – tranquility arising within, causing no disturbance to others.[2]
    C. Gentle and Quiet Spirit. This kind of gentleness is meekness. It is accepting God’s dealings with her as good. She does not resist nor dispute with God. In addition to a gentle heart, she has a quiet spirit, one that is peaceable and tranquil. She is not given to anger or fear.[3]

    [1] W.E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,(McLean, Virginia:MacDonald Publishing Company), page737-738.
    [2] Ibid, page 924
    [3] Martha Peace, Becoming a Titus 2 Woman (Bemidji, Minnesota: Focus Publishing, 1997), p.33-34.

    II. Biblical Principles and Practical Counseling Tips concerning a Meek and Quiet Spirit
    (Adapted from Matthew Henry’s book, The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit.)

    A. Principle Number One – a Christian woman is to have a gentle spirit. I Peter 3:3-5

    1. Counseling Tip – Read I Peter 3:3-4 and explain it as you read.

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel…” (It is ok to have outward beauty and to enjoy the freedom the Lord has given you in this area, but outward beauty should not be your only beauty).

rather let it be the hidden person of the heart…” (The work of grace is secret and encompasses holy thoughts, words, and actions – the “new man” (Ephesians 4:24), the “inward man” (Romans 7:22).

“…with the incorruptible…” (Not depraved or affected by the corruption in the world, unfading, of eternal worth).

“…beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…” (Tranquil and peaceable inside and out, accepting God’s dealings with her as good).

“…which is very precious in the sight of God (This is what is important to God, not external beauty).”

  1. Counseling Tip

Warn her to take the sin of not being gentle/meek seriously. She should not create an arbitrary line of what she believes to be the bad sins (adultery, rob a bank, tell a lie) and those sins that are not so bad (harshness, slander, gossip, worry, not trusting God, contending with God).

Draw a circle illustrating the artificial arbitrary line we sometimes create to justify our sin.

B. Principle Number Two – Meekness is shown towards God through silent submission of the soul to the Word of God without murmuring or disputing.

  1. Counseling Tip: Explain that gentleness (meekness) is closely related to humility. It is a grace gift from God to the believer, a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5). It is manifest in attitudes such as being teachable, having a desire to learn, agreeing that God’s precepts are right and good even if what God requires is not what you want or what you previously believed to be true.
  2. Counseling Tip – Read the following quote:

“Meekness opens the ear to discipline, silences objections, and suppresses the rising of the carnal mind against the Word, consenting to the law that it is good and esteeming all [God’s] precepts to be “right” even when they give the greatest check to flesh and blood.”[4] Matthew Henry

C. Principle Number Three – Meekness is shown towards God through silent submission of the soul to the providence of God concerning us.

  1. Counseling Tip – Define providence for her: “the continuing action of God by which He preserves in existence the creation which He has brought into being, and guides it to His intended purposes for it.”[5] God’s intended purpose for His creation is to bring Himself glory and honor.
  2. Counseling Tip – Exhort her to live by faith when circumstances are grievous and difficult. God uses many means including tests and trials that are difficult but used for our good to prune us, mold us to His image, and test our faith. Even evil done to us by others can be turned to good through God’s providence. Everything has purpose. God’s ways are higher than ours are. We are to trust Him and walk in obedient grateful faith. Romans 8:28-29; Genesis 50:20; Hebrews 11:1, 2, 8
  3. Counseling Tip – Always be mindful that you want to turn your counselee’s thinking and actions to a God-focused direction instead of self-focused. Many Christians have been influenced to embrace a man-centered gospel (Christ died to make you worthy or significant) or a man-centered view of sanctification (Just realize who you are in Christ.) Instead, we want them to think in terms of “loving God and loving others.” Matthew 22:37-39For example think: God use me for your glory however you choose. Lord, how can I show love to that person who has hurt me? God knows better than I do how I can best glorify Him. I can’t see the end of this trial but God promises He won’t let me be tempted beyond what I am able to bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13) It is a privilege to suffer for His sake (Philippians 1:29; 1 Peter 3:17; Acts 4:41)[4] Matthew Henry, The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit (Morgan, Pennsylvania:Soli Deo Gloria Publications, c.1700), page 19.
    [5] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1985), p.387.

    D. Principle Number Four –
    Meekness is shown toward others through prudently governing our own anger whenever anything occurs that is provoking.

    1. Counseling Tip – Matthew Henry explained what he called the “three great dictates of meekness.” Teach her the three dictates:
      1. Hear reason. This means carefully hear the matter fully before reacting. Genesis 11:5; Proverbs 17:14; Proverbs 16: 32; Proverbs 18:2; Proverbs 18:13
      2. Keep passion silent. Take time for a sober thought upon the case. Example, Nehemiah’s reaction to oppression. “And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers …” Nehemiah 5:6-7; Proverbs 15:28
      3. Then God will give you the grace to bear up under the provocation. 1 Corinthians 10:13
    2. Counseling Tip – Instruct her to complete a Self-Talk log in which she writes down what she is thinking and the circumstances each time she becomes irritated or frustrated or provoked. Go over each entry in detail training her to think and respond in a God-honoring, gentle manner instead of a self-focused, angry manner. Ephesians 4:22-24

Anger/ Natural Passions (PUT OFF) 
“The irritates me!”
Meekness – a grace from God and an obligation of man to respond after serious deliberation (PUT ON)
“I am being providentially hindered and must stop and thank God for the interruption. God is good and He has a purpose in this.” Romans 8:28-29

Anger/ Natural Passions (PUT OFF)
Yelled at the children in anger because they are bickering.
Meekness – a grace from God and an obligation of man to respond after serious deliberation (PUT ON)
Reminds self  “The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19) “I need to help each child take the beam out of their own eye.” Sit them down and ask each one individually “What have you done wrong in this incident?” (Matthew 7:1-5) Then appropriately correct each child individually.

Anger/ Natural Passions (PUT OFF) 
Became too intense and harsh in tone of voice with friend who does not agree doctrinally with me.
Meekness – a grace from God and an obligation of man to respond after serious deliberation (PUT ON)
Remind myself how far the Lord has brought me and I am to be patient and gents with others as seeds of truth are planted. Then speak in calm, gentle tone of voice. (2 Timothy 2:23-26; 4:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 5:14)

Anger/ Natural Passions (PUT OFF) 
Felt very frustrated and aggravated with lady driving very slowly and I was in a hurry. Thought, “Hurry up, get out of the way!” Slammed hand on steering wheel.
Meekness – a grace from God and an obligation of man to respond after serious deliberation (PUT ON)
Say to self, “Lord thank you for testing me this morning and reminding me that you are in control.”
E. Principle Number Five – Meekness teaches and enables us patiently to bear the anger of others.

1. Counseling Tip – Exhort them to have the attitude of David in Psalm 39:1-4
2. Counseling Tip – Encourage them to think about and prepare a “soft answer” (Proverbs 25:15).

F. Principle Number Six – A Christian woman is to have a quiet spirit. I Peter 3:3-4

  1. Counseling Tip − Have her consider the following contrast: The wicked are compared to the “troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast forth mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20). Meekness is like the grace of the Spirit of God which “moves upon the face of the waters” and quiets them.
  2. Counseling Tip – Explain that a quiet spirit does not mean she whispers when she talks. It does mean she is not given to anger or fear. She trusts God and there is a corresponding tranquility in her soul. She has a calming effect on others and especially on her family. She is looking forward to what God is going to do. She makes her requests known to God (Philippians 4:6-7) and “casts her cares upon Him because [she knows and remembers] that He cares for her (1 Peter 5:7).
  3. Counseling Tip – Exhort her to pray and entreat God for the grace to be a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit. Pray that God will mature her and help her be discerning and convicted when she is not gentle and quiet.
    III.  Meekness Assessment and Homework Assignment

Instructions: Read carefully each of the following questions or statements. Circle the numbers of those on which you need to work. Go back to those you circled, look up and memorize the Scriptures, spend time in prayer and thinking about how, by God’s grace, you need to change. Show the list to your family and close friends and ask them to hold you accountable when they observe you not having a gentle and quiet spirit.

  1. Am I more likely to think “This makes me mad!” or “What might God be doing in this situation?” (Proverbs 19:11)
  2. What would more likely come to your mind – “Love is patient. I can respond in a kind way and give glory to God.” Or “This irritates me!”? (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
  3. Which describes how you would likely react? – sighing and withdrawing in anger or in gentleness trying to help the other person to understand (Colossians 3:12-13).
  4. Do you ever stop and ask yourself… (see Philippians 2:3-5 and I Timothy 6:11)

Why am I angry?
Why so very angry?
Why angry at all?
What reason is there for all this emotion?
Should I be so strongly reacting because of such a sudden and transient provocation?

  1. While angry do you ever reveal secrets, slander, make rash vows, make railing accusations, use reviling language, call names, or take God’s name in vain? (Titus 3:1-2).
  2. Are you more likely to play angry thoughts over and over in your mind or to give the other person a blessing by praying for them? (Ephesians 4:31-32
  3. Are you clearing yourself when unjustly accused? Or are you really proud and quarreling? (1 Peter 2:19-23)
  4. Is it easy for you to acknowledge your error or do you insist upon your own vindication? (1 Peter 5:5)
  5. Will you listen to and consider someone else’s reproof of you even if they are your inferiors (such as your child) or do you bully them and blame them? (Psalm 37:5-6, 7-8)
  6. Do you struggle greatly with difficult emotions such as anxiety or frustration during the days before your menstrual period? Is it likely your entire family will know your hormones are acting up? (Colossians 3:8-17)
  7. Do you think calm thoughts or are you disturbed within? (James 3:13)
  8. Do you deal gently with others showing patience and compassion or are you hard and unforgiving? (Colossians 3:13; Philippians 4:5)
  9. Do you enjoy life and love life or do you dread each day and fret and worry? (Philippians 4:6-7)
  10. Are you easily provoked or slow to anger? (Proverbs 31:26)
  11. Are your thoughts calm and rational or do you sometimes overreact to circumstances? (Ephesians 5:2; I Peter 2:11-12)
  12. Are you more like the high priest in Hebrews 5:1-2 who has compassion on the ignorant and those going astray (since he is also subject to weakness) or more like the wicked servant in Matthew 18:21-35 who would not have compassion and pity on his fellow servant?
  13. Do you forbear (put up with others) or are you easily provoked for small cause? (Psalm 78:38-39; Philippians 4:5)
  14. Are you fiery and hasty with what you say or do you take great care to think about how to respond? (Ephesians 4:29-30; James 4:1)
  15. Do you use anger and threats to manipulate those under your authority or do you give instruction in love? (Psalm 106:32-33)
  16. Do you err on the side of mercy when correcting those under your authority or are you harsh? (Psalm 103:8, 14)
  17. Do you treat others as you wish to be treated or do you treat them with contempt? (Matthew 7:12)
  18. Do you grumble and complain at your present circumstances that disappoint you or are you grateful to God for what He is doing? (1 Thessalonians 4:11; Philippians 4:12)
  19. Are you quick to imagine injuries or do you assume the best about others unless proven otherwise? (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)
  20. Are you envious of the wicked or are you placing your trust in God? Psalm (73:21-28)
  21. Are you becoming more aware of times when you are not gentle with others and you are disputing with God or do you see no need to change in this area of your life? (1 Corinthians 10:12)
  22. When it is necessary to reprove (tell them what they are doing wrong) another person, are you more likely to lash out impulsively or more likely to gently try to help them to turn from their sin with good will, soft words, and objective arguments? (Galatians 6:1)
  23. Do you pray and ask the Lord to make you a gentle woman or does it not cross your mind? (Zephaniah 2:3)
  24. Do you brood and become angry when you are persecuted for your faith or do you rejoice that the Lord counted you worthy to suffer for His sake? (Matthew 5:11-12; Acts 5:41; Psalm 39:1)
  25. Do you become aggravated, hurt, or frustrated with God over your circumstances or do you have great joy in serving Him on His terms? (Isaiah 45:9; Proverbs 19:3)
    IV. Conclusion

    A. A gentle and quiet spirit does not happen naturally. It is a gift from God. As a woman matures as a Christian, she will dispute less and less with God and be more and more content and grateful for her life and circumstances. We need to help guide and exhort her to true beauty that of a “gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

    B. “May we not all say, as Joseph’s brethren did (and perhaps some are, as they were, in a special manner called to say it, by humbling providence’s), ‘We are verily guilty concerning our brother’ (Genesis 42:21). “‘Such a time, in such a company, upon such an occasion, I wanted meekness and was unquiet; my spirit was provoked, and I spake unadvisedly with my lips, and now I remember it against myself. Nay, have not I lived a life of unquietness in the family, in the neighborhood, always in the fire of contention, as in my element, and breathing threatenings? And by so doing have not I dishonored my God, discredited my profession, disturbed my soul, grieved the blessed Spirit, and been to many an occasion of sin? And for all this ought not I to be greatly humbled and ashamed?’ Before we can put on the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit we must first wash in the laver of true repentance, not only for our gross and open extravagances of passion, but for all our neglects and omissions of the duties of meekness.”[6]

[6] Matthew Henry, page 88