Summary of passage: Peter tells wives to submit to husbands in the same manner Christ submitted to God’s will so that the husband may be converted by her behavior and how she leads her life. Women’s beauty should not come from outward adornment but from within, which never fades and is of greater worth in God’s eyes. Sarah submitted and was beautiful as she put her hope in God. Do what is right and never fear.
Husbands be considerate and respect your wives who are weaker and heirs to God’s gracious gift of life so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
3a) In the same way Christ was submissive as Peter talked about in 1 Peter 2:21-25: submissive to authority (God and government).
b) So that if their husbands do not believe, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives. At this time in history, many women were being converted to Christianity before their husbands and the women wanted to know if they should leave their husband and how they should behave now that Christ was their head.
c) No. It means if you rely on outward beauty (such as braiding hair and wearing jewelry) for your beauty instead of allowing your beauty to come from the inside. The source of beauty is from the heart.
Again, in these times, many women dyed their hair (much like today) and wigs were popular. Women would spend hours having slaves do their hair as certain hair styles were very popular back then (much like today). It was important to be “cool” even in Ancient Times, meaning to be fashionable and trendy.
Other translations of this verse use the word merely. If you read it this way, it makes perfect sense.
4) Physically women are weaker. God made us that way. Husbands needed to be stronger to toil long hours in the field doing manual labor. Women, on the other hand, stayed in the home where she needed much less brute strength generally. Husbands should respect their wives because they are heirs with them of the gracious gift of life or part of God’s chosen people as well, equal spiritually.
Conclusions: This echoes Paul’s words to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:22-33) with the same message of submitting because God is our head. I liked how Peter brings out not to fall into the trap of relying on physical beauty as so many women of today (and then) did. Great reminder and teaching (especially to our younger generation) of God’s truth and not the world’s lie that the heart is what matters to God, not the latest fashion trends.