Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives. — 1 Peter 3:1
Our daily lives have an impact on those around us, especially on our families. The Apostle Peter gave instructions to Christian women whose husbands were not saved. If these women lived holy lives according to the principles of God’s Word, their husbands might come to know Christ also.
A lady in our congregation illustrated this point. When she was a teenager, she drifted away from God. At eighteen years of age, she married a nice young man, and they had four daughters. For years she tried to keep busy so she would not have to think about eternity. When she was twenty-nine years old, however, God called her again, and she sought salvation. The Lord answered her prayer and changed her heart.
Then the Lord began to teach her about life with an unsaved husband. One time, soon after she was saved, she and her husband had a disagreement. When he became angry, she quoted from the Bible, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” He stopped and did not say another word. A long time after that, she said something sharply to him, and he responded, “Ah, ah, ah — a soft answer.” She said it was quite a lesson.
This woman’s husband came to church from time to time, but he did not turn his life over to God. He had good health, loved his business, loved to travel, and looked forward to retirement and more travel. For thirty years she prayed for him.
One summer he had a heart attack, and then a couple of months later, a stroke. When he was better, he began to attend church and to pray. One night he was truly saved, and he knew it. His speech was limited because of the stroke, but he would say, “The wonderful day I had,” and then, “Now my wife will tell you.” He lived about a year after he was saved and then went peacefully to be with the Lord. He had been won by his faithful wife’s conduct.
Maybe you are a woman who is living with an unsaved spouse. Today’s text contains God’s instructions to you. Take heart! Even though your situation may be disheartening and painful at times, keep on praying. God hears your prayers and sees your determination to follow Him, and He will reward you.
For those who are not married to an unsaved spouse, there is also a challenge. Each of us interacts with other people regularly. How we live will make a difference to those around us and will affect the credibility of our testimonies. We want our lives to encourage others to serve the Lord. Let us ask God to help us exemplify holy behavior that will draw people to Him.
In previous chapters of 1 Peter, the Apostle had advised believers about their conduct toward governmental authority, and between servants and their masters. In this text, he addressed husbands and wives (verses 1-7), and then relationships among Christians in general (verses 8-12). In the remaining portion of this chapter, he again wrote about suffering.
As Peter had exhorted citizens to be submissive to civil authorities, and servants to be subject to their masters, he also instructed wives to be in subjection to their husbands. God established that the husband is to be the loving head of the house, and the wife is to submit to his God-given authority even if he is not saved. Peter’s admonition does not mean the wife is inferior, or that she must comply with her husband’s commands if those commands violate God’s law. The purpose for these instructions is clear — the salvation of an unsaved husband.
In Peter’s time, when a man was converted to Christianity, often he caused all his household to come to the church. However, when a woman accepted Christianity, she often came alone. According to Roman law, the husband held complete authority over his wife. Therefore, if a wife insisted on her way because she was a Christian and her husband did not approve, the marriage could be in jeopardy. Peter wanted these women to exemplify Christ’s love, rather than preaching at their husbands. Through this love, they might be able to win their husbands for the Lord.
The behavior (conversation) of the women was to show respect. Their beauty was to come from their inner attitudes rather than outward adornment. Peter was not suggesting that personal appearance be totally disregarded, but that the women focus on having holy and humble attitudes.
Peter also instructed the husbands to “dwell” with their wives and honor them, particularly in view of their more delicate nature (“the weaker vessel”).
Peter encouraged Christian husbands to respect their wives and to show them proper honor, so their prayers would not be hindered. When a wife showed submission and a husband consideration, their marriage would be blessed.
In verse 8, Peter’s exhortation encompassed all believers, as he gave five specific instructions which will bring unity.
The Apostle quoted Psalm 34:12-16 in verses 10-12. The Christians were to be careful of what they said, and to pursue peace. Peter reminded these people that the Lord was watching out for them.
In verse 14, Peter again took up the subject of suffering. If believers suffer “for righteousness’ sake,” they will be happy because they know they are pleasing God. Furthermore, suffering combined with holy living may result in opportunities to witness. Christ was the example in suffering.
There are differing views as to the meaning of verses 19-20, but they should not be interpreted as offering any hope for those who do not repent while here on earth. It is a divine principle that in time the righteous will be delivered and the wicked punished. Noah and his family believed and obeyed God, and they were saved from the Flood. Those who did not believe and heed God’s warning were destroyed.
Water baptism identifies believers with Jesus Christ. It is a portrayal of dying to sin and rising to live for Christ, a transformation which was made possible by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Those who continue living for God are assured of eternal glory.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The conduct of the believer
B. In submission
3. Wives to husbands (3:1-7)
a. The wife’s relationship (3:1-6)
b. The husband’s relationship (3:7)
4. Saint to saint (3:8-12)
C. In suffering
1. Maintain a good conscience (3:13-22)
a. The fact of suffering (3:13-14)
b. The conduct in suffering (3:15-16)
c. The example of suffering (3:17-22)
Whatever our life circumstances, God can give us the power to live so other people will be drawn to serve Him.