1 Peter – Chapter Three I

by Ed Urzi

Earlier in chapter two, the Apostle Peter discussed the importance of pursuing a God-honoring life in four specific areas. Those areas related to…

  • Our personal lives (2:11-12, 2:16).
  • Our relationship to the state (2:13-14).
  • Our relationships with others (2:17).
  • Our attitudes and behaviors in the workplace (2:18-20).

Our author will now continue his exploration of that theme as we transition into chapter three.

This chapter will introduce two additional areas of emphasis: home and family life, and the qualities that should characterize our interaction with the people of God. Finally, Peter will conclude this portion of his letter with a reference to a historical event that poses a significant interpretive challenge. But first, our divinely inspired author will offer some marital counsel to the wives among the members of his audience…

“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, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear” (1 Peter 3:1-2).

There are some aspects of these verses that are certain to irritate contemporary audiences. First among those irritants is likely to be, “Wives… be submissive to your own husbands.” But before we impose our personal ideologies and opinions upon this reference to “submission,” let’s consider a more advantageous approach. To better understand and apply this portion of Scripture, let’s focus on the word “submissive” in the original language of 1 Peter 3:1.

For instance, one source defines this word in the following manner: “to obey, [or] be subject [to].” It then continues with some additional insight…

“[This word derives from] A Greek military term meaning to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader. In non-military use, it was a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.” (1)

Thus, we can start by acknowledging that this reference to “submission” does not imply inferiority of any kind. Furthermore, this passage does not oblige a wife to adopt a servile position within the marriage relationship. Instead, this passage highlights a willingness to embrace a subordinate role. Ideally, that willingness should reflect an attitude of voluntary cooperation that harmonizes with God’s stated intent from Genesis 2:18…

“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'”

We’ll continue our review of this passage with a look at some applications from this verse next.

G5293 Hupotasso https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g5293/kjv/tr/0-1/