Greetings! Peter addresses husband / wife relationships in this chapter, among other things, so it is important to put things in proper context. Women were basically considered to be property in that culture. When Paul said in Galatians 3:28 that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” it was a radical statement. Some people think Peter and Paul were chauvinists, but they – along with Jesus and others – were actually more like feminists (in the good sense of the word). They pointed out that women have equal intrinsic worth to men, though men and women are different (duh) and have different roles.
1 Peter 3 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
I heard a preacher point out once that nagging will not change men (and may make them worse) but treating them with respect and living out your life in an authentic Christian fashion may win them over. It worked for us. My wife was a committed Christian when we married. I had great Christian parents and had gone to church my whole life (except college) but let’s just say I wasn’t paying very close attention. We started going to church, and even though I faked it for a few years the Word broke through and I became an authentic believer. If my wife had pushed and nagged it would have been detrimental to my spiritual growth.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, 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. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Husbands, did you catch that? Not treating our wives properly can hinder our prayers. I realize that at first glance some women are concerned with husband/wife passages, because some people have abused the scriptures over the years. But if you also focus on what the Bible says to men you’ll find a remarkable balance and a great formula for joyful marriages.
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
The previous paragraph is a popular passage used when talking about evangelism and is a good one to memorize. First, we need to put Christ first as Lord of our lives. Then, we need to be prepared to tell people about Jesus and the hope that He gives us. We don’t have to push the message on people in an obnoxious way. We should do it gently and respectfully, but we should be ready to share it and we should look for opportunities to share it. Again, note that if we live authentic Christian lives we’ll look different to the world.
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
Please feel free to share your comments and questions. Next up: 1 Peter 4.