1 Peter 3:1-6

1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

1 Peter 3:1-6

Peter continues his discussion of the need for submission by addressing the relationship between husbands and wives. While a cursory reading of the passage may seem to reveal an archaic system of patriarchal authority, in reality there are still lessons to be learned from this admonition to wives to submit to their own husbands. The rationale for this commandment is not necessarily to ensure women obey social conventions of patriarchal first century society. Instead, this is a rationale similar to that of the master/servant relationship, to represent Christ well in an effort to witness Christ to a lost world. He poses the probability that a non-believing husband can be won by the conduct of his believing wife. Chaste (proper, holy) conduct accompanied by fear and a Godly (not forced) submission may be the method whereby a husband can be saved.

He then suggests a modest look for women, where adornment is not the main thing someone notices when thinking of you. Instead of ostentatious and loud apparel and jewelry, let your person be remembered by your incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. This is precious in the sight of God, and reminiscent of Sarah, who obeyed her husband Abraham, even calling him lord. This does not suppose that Sarah did not have opinions, which she obviously did. However, she operated in a manner that ultimately showed her deference to her husband, and God blessed their family immensely. Peter calls the readers who are wives to behave as daughters of Abraham, doing good without fear of any terror. Although there is most definitely a different system of social order in today’s society, principles of mutual respect and submission still bring about positive results, even in a much more gender-egalitarian society. Submit your own will to that of others when indicated for the greater good. Insisting on one’s own will can stand in the way of a Godly witness. Just as we were healed by His stripes, another can be saved by our submission. Put the greater good above your own wishes when it could win a soul to Christ.

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