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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

March 13, 2013

1 Peter 3:1-7

  1. In today’s study we must understand the context. The context, as we discussed in our previous lessons, is demonstrating a good righteous life in front of those who don’t believe. Remember from our last lesson, that the rumor was that believers were not good citizens or good workers. Peter seeks to encourage the believers to not let anyone find anything about them that would give them reason to find fault. This would mean that believers must really seek to live an honorable and righteous life. The goal was to win non-believers by our godly actions and deeds (see 1Peter 2:12, 15-16).

  2. Verses 1-2. Chapter 3 is the continuation of that which was discussed in chapter 2. The apostle highlighted several relationships that involved submission and consideration. lt should be noted that verse l and verse 7 both say it in the same way. Peter is giving a command to both husbands and wives. Notice that this is not a general command for men and women, but a specific command for husbands and wives. If you are single this is not a word for you now, but it should be if you are planning to get married. Peter deals with the wives first in this passage. His word for them is to submit to their husbands. This would mean to follow, support, help, listen and align with. It would seem that Peter was especially speaking to women who were married to non-believers. There was probably an assumption that believing couples already knew how to love and support one another. It seems that the apostle knows that a believing wife married to a non-believing husband might be tempted to rebel against her non-believing husband in certain circumstances. Peter seems to have an understanding that there might be a temptation for a believing wife to think she could preach to her husband and somehow get him to follow Christ. Peter has a revelation that the way to win the husband was not by preaching, but by living a good godly life in front of her spouse by submitting to him and not rebelling against him. Peter knew that if the wife rebelled it would cause friction and the husband would rebel as well against the wife. Submission is the formula for winning her husband not rebelling.

  3. Verses 3-4. Peter teaches the wives that the way to win their husbands is to put on the attitude of Christ to lead their husbands to the Lord. Peter reminds the wives that they should demonstrate their inner spiritual beauty which never fades. The apostle shares with the wives that their inner spiritual beauty should far outshine their outer physical adornment. Their beauty should come from the inside. Nothing wrong with looking good on the outside, but those looks will fade. The goal of the believing wife is to excel in the beauty that never fades. Peter uses the words that are the opposite of rebelling when describing this inner beauty. He uses the words quiet and gentle as opposed to loud and harsh. The women could never win their husbands by being loud (preachy) or harsh and tough (bossy and demeaning).

  4. Verses 5-6. Peter uses an Old Testament example of Sarah to demonstrate his point. Now Sarah wasn’t perfect, as a matter of fact she erred significantly at times. Her biggest error was when she acted in fear instead of faith and told her husband to sleep with her servant girl. Despite her mistakes she was a woman who lovingly submitted to her husband. Peter uses the fact that Sarah called her husband with a title of respect to demonstrate that she honored her husband even with words and respect. Peter encourages the wives to treat their husbands with honor and respect. They will not get anywhere with their husbands by being rebellious, rude, and loud.

  5. Verse 7. The apostle turns his attention to the husbands. The verse says "Husbands, in the same way.” This refers back to the last few verses of chapter 2, when the apostle talked about the attitude and mind of Christ who was patient and kind in the midst of suffering. The apostle tells the husbands to be considerate. This was a big deal because men in that culture did not have to be considerate. The men of that day did not have to consider their wives at all. The apostle shares that the husbands are to think and consider their wives feelings, emotions, and concerns as they seek to live peacefully with each other. Wives are to be treated with respect even though the culture said you did not have to respect them at all. Wives could be disrespected and they had very little recourse in that day. Peter tells the husbands to treat them as joint heirs with the husbands to the grace that God has given us through Jesus Christ. Basically the husbands were supposed to remember that Jesus saved them with the same love he saved the men. In the eyes of God, the men were of no greater importance then the women. So the husbands must respect and be considerate of the wives knowing that God sees them both as heirs. The husbands are reminded that in God’s sight the men are no greater than the women. Peter also shares with the husbands that a failure to treat his wife with respect and consideration could hinder his prayers. This would mean that the apostle was equating harsh treatment to sin because sin is what hinders prayers.

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