My adventures in 1 Peter are yielding some incredible insights and some interesting questions. In particular, I have been perplexed and intrigued by a passage in chapter three that hitherto, I had heard so much teaching on I pretty much figured I would speed read it. I used to think of it as “The Anti-Vanity Scripture Passage For Women”. Not anymore.
 Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear–  but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV)
My fascination with this verse first began with the word precious. Peter, like myself and many others that I know, uses certain words repeatedly, and precious is one of them. He uses it to describe the tested genuineness of our faith (1:7), the blood of Christ (1:19), a living stone rejected by men [Jesus Christ] (2:4), a cornerstone [Jesus Christ](2:6), and finally, the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit (3:4). I was a little wowed by that. So it prompted me to dig a little deeper into the first part of the verse. In particular, the word adorning.
It is the greek word κόσμος (kosmos) and what is interesting at first glance, is that it is not a verb, as the English translation would suggest, it is actually a masculine noun. That is significant. Second, and more mind blowing, this word is used 186 times in the New Testament and it is only translated once as adorning/adornment. And the break down of the other ways in which it is translated is incredible, world (184) and world’s (1). Yep, it’s the word from which we get our English word cosmos.
Why? There is a world of difference between the words adornment and world. It’s huge. And I am pretty sure that Peter didn’t make a slip of the pen, really meaning to write frou-frou.
What are the implications of this? At this point I am still studying the source text and haven’t delved the riches of any commentaries, but viewing the different translations and seeing the implications that they draw and, really, how those same implications can’t possibly fit with the word kosmos, I am fascinated, to say the least.
(ASV) Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel;
(CEV) Don’t depend on things like fancy hairdos or gold jewelry or expensive clothes to make you look beautiful.
(Darby) whose adorning let it not be that outward one of tressing of hair, and wearing gold, or putting on apparel;
(ESV) Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear–
(GNB) You should not use outward aids to make yourselves beautiful, such as the way you fix your hair, or the jewelry you put on, or the dresses you wear.
(KJV) Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
(MKJV) Of whom let not be the adorning of garments, or outward braiding of hair and wearing of gold, or of putting on clothing,
(NAS77) And let not your adornment be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;
(NASB) Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;
(YLT) whose adorning–let it not be that which is outward, of plaiting of hair, and of putting around of things of gold, or of putting on of garments,