3:1-7 The wife must discharge her duty to her own husband, though he obey not the word. We daily see how narrowly evil men watch the ways and lives of professors of religion. Putting on of apparel is not forbidden, but vanity and costliness in ornament. Religious people should take care that all their behaviour answers to their profession. But how few know the right measure and bounds of those two necessaries of life, food and raiment! Unless poverty is our carver, and cuts us short, there is scarcely any one who does not desire something beyond what is good for us. Far more are beholden to the lowliness of their state, than the lowliness of their mind; and many will not be so bounded, but lavish their time and money upon trifles. The apostle directs Christian females to put on something not corruptible, that beautifies the soul, even the graces of God's Holy Spirit. A true Christian's chief care lies in right ordering his own spirit. This will do more to fix the affections, and excite the esteem of a husband, than studied ornaments or fashionable apparel, attended by a froward and quarrelsome temper. Christians ought to do their duty to one another, from a willing mind, and in obedience to the command of God. Wives should be subject to their husbands, not from dread and amazement, but from desire to do well, and please God. The husband's duty to the wife implies giving due respect unto her, and maintaining her authority, protecting her, and placing trust in her. They are heirs together of all the blessings of this life and that which is to come, and should live peaceably one with another. Prayer sweetens their converse. And it is not enough that they pray with the family, but husband and wife together by themselves, and with their children. Those who are acquainted with prayer, find such unspeakable sweetness in it, that they will not be hindered therein. That you may pray much, live holily; and that you may live holily, be much in prayer.
4. But—"Rather." The "outward adornment" of jewelry, &c., is forbidden, in so far as woman loves such things, not in so far as she uses them from a sense of propriety, and does not abuse them. Singularity mostly comes from pride and throws needless hindrances to religion in the way of others. Under costly attire there may be a humble mind. "Great is he who uses his earthenware as if it were plate; not less great is he who uses his silver as if it were earthenware" [Seneca in Alford].
hidden—inner man, which the Christian instinctively hides from public view.
of the heart—consisting in the heart regenerated and adorned by the Spirit. This "inner man of the heart" is the subject of the verb "be," 1Pe 3:3, Greek: "Of whom let the inner man be," namely, the distinction or adornment.
in that—consisting or standing in that as its element.
not corruptible—not transitory, nor tainted with corruption, as all earthly adornments.
meek and quiet—meek, not creating disturbances: quiet, bearing with tranquillity the disturbances caused by others. Meek in affections and feelings; quiet in words, countenance, and actions [Bengel].
in the sight of God—who looks to inward, not merely outward things.
of great price—The results of redemption should correspond to its costly price (1Pe 1:19).