1 Peter 3
Peter begins this chapter talking to wives and husbands. I do believe that the husband is supposed to be the head of the household, the authority in the home. I also believe that it comes with a responsibility of the husbands to treat their wives with respect and honor and that is what Peter is addressing here.
“Likewise, wives be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” 1 Peter 3:1-2
When I read commentary on this chapter it also pointed out that when Peter was writing this, there may have been women who were becoming Christians before their husbands were. Many of these women were looking for direction. They may have been trying to figure out how to navigate being a Christian and their husbands not being so. Peter is teaching them how to win over their husbands, by the way they conduct themselves.
“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
Now I am a girls girl. I like to put on makeup and fix my hair and I like cute clothes and shoes and I don’t like being told not to do those things. Peter is not saying here not to take care of yourself. In fact other versions use the words “merely external”. Peter is saying do not let that be your main focus. We, as Christian women, should always take care of what is in our heart before the outward beauty. If you had a southern mama, no doubt you have heard the words before “pretty is as pretty does”! That’s basically what Peter was saying to these women.
But let’s not forget the husbands.
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7
Peter may have only given the husbands one verse here but he did say a lot. He tells them first of all to live in an “understanding way”. While Peter recognizes the husband as the head of the household, he is not giving them permission to rule over the wife. When Peter uses the term “weaker vessel” he is speaking of physical strength. If the husband looks closely he will realize that what is being said is it is a partnership when Peter uses the phrase “heirs with you” and that mistreatment of his wife will hinder his prayers.
Peter’s instructions move on to all of us, all Christians, male or female should follow his next directives. Peter is calling the Christians to have “unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” (v. 8) This is the way we should live with each other as Christians. But he also says we should not “repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling” but that we were to bless just like we have been blessed and will obtain more blessing. (8) We could all write the next verses on a plaque or at least in our journals and be reminded of this daily.
“For ‘whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good’ let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.’” 1 Peter 3:10-12
Who doesn’t want the eyes and ears of the Lord, Peter is simply telling them, you do these things, keep your tongue from evil, do good seek and pursue peace and you will have the eyes and ears of the Lord. Peter is saying if we are living our lives, pursuing peace and doing good, that chances are we will not have many enemies. BUT he goes on to say that if we are doing good and we do end up suffering, if we are suffering for “righteousness’ sake” that will be blessed in the end.
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:14-16
Our lives should be preaching for Jesus every day, and if necessary we use words. We should have the words prepared to defend our hope in Christ, especially if someone wants to know more about Jesus. However we should be able to speak to others with gentleness and respect. We should let our lives speak for themselves and live in such a way that when others do try to persecute you they really do not have anything bad to say.
Christ suffered for our sins. He has already done the real suffering. The suffering that we may endure, does not hold a candle to the suffering he endured for us on the cross so that we could be forgiven of sins and be brought to God.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” 1 Peter 3:18