Summary of 1 Peter 3:1-7:
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 treat them with respect as your wives are weaker and heirs to God’s gracious gift of life so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Peter 3:1-7
3) Part personal question. My answer: Here, the Bible tells us for women to submit to husbands so that they can be won over by our behavior if they are not believers. The definition of submission is “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force to the will or authority of another person.” Webster’s says, “the act of submitting to the authority or control of another.” Submit is “to yield oneself to the authority or will of another.” That is my understanding of submitting. You follow, while someone else yields.
4) Be considerate and treat them with respect and as heirs to God’s eternal kingdom and life.
5) Personal Question. My answer: God likes it when we honor each other in marriage. It doesn’t influence my view. My view has always been the biblical view of wives submitting to husbands.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Peter 3:1-7
In BSF’s 2012 study of this passage, the questions were much different. They focused on what this passage meant with regards to historical times (see End Notes for full explanation), as well as the “weaker partner.” Clearly, BSF is trying to water down submission here.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Peter 3:1-7
This passage was aimed at the first century wive who had come to Jesus before her husband. At that time, women never had a different religion than the religion of their husband. Peter is thus instructing wives on what to do if they were Christians and their husbands were not.
This passage follows directly from (1 Peter 2:21-25), which was about submitting to your government and employers like you would God or Jesus. We are to submit not just by word and deed but also in the heart.
The ancient Greek word translated submission was used outside the New Testament to describe the submission and obedience of soldiers in an army to those of superior rank. It literally means, “to order under.”
Yet submission to authority can be totally consistent with equality in importance, dignity, and honor. Jesus was subject to both His parents and to God the Father but was not lower than either of them. “Thus the command to wives to be subject to their husbands should never be taken to imply inferior personhood or spirituality, or lesser importance.” (Grudem)
Thus, submission in marriage follows the same principles as submission in other spheres. We submit to God appointed authority as our obligation before God, unless that authority directs us to sin. In that case it is right to obey God rather than men (Acts 4:19-20).
Peter carefully observed that wives are called to submit to their husbands and not to all men in general. Male headship is God’s commanded principle for the home and the church, not for society in general.
Submission in the Bible
- Jesus submitted to His parents (Luke 2:51).
- Demons submitted to the disciples (Luke 10:17).
- Citizens should submit to government authority (Romans 13:1 and 5, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13).
- The universe will submit to Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:27 and Ephesians 1:22).
- Unseen spiritual beings submit to Jesus (1 Peter 3:22).
- Christians should submit to their church leaders (1 Corinthians 16:15-16 and 1 Peter 5:5).
- Wives should submit to husbands (Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:5, 1 Peter 3:5, and Ephesians 5:22-24).
- The church should submit to Jesus (Ephesians 5:24).
- Servants should submit to masters (Titus 2:9, 1 Peter 2:18).
- Christians should submit to God (Hebrews 12:9, James 4:7).
A Wife’s Submission to Her Husband
A wife’s submission is a powerful expression of her trust in God. This kind of faith and obedience can accomplish great things, even without a word.
Wives may want to shape their husbands, either guiding them to Jesus or guiding them in Jesus through their words or efforts. Peter reminds them that God’s plan is that wives impact their husbands not through persuasive lectures, but through godly submission, chaste conduct, and the fear of God. God will then act upon the husband’s heart.
According to William Barclay, in the world Peter lived women often arranged and dyed their hair. They also wore wigs, especially blonde wigs made with hair imported from Germany.
Peter described the character of true beauty – a gentle and quiet spirit. These character traits are not promoted for women by our culture; yet they are very precious in the sight of God.
Sarah’s Submission to Abraham:
- Sarah obeyed Abraham even when it was difficult and even when he was wrong (as in Genesis 12:10-20).
- Sarah honored Abraham by calling him lord. It is possible to obey someone without showing them the honor that is part of submission. True submission knows the place of both obedience and honor.
Husbands Are Called To Do:
- A godly husband doesn’t merely share a house, but he truly lives with her. He recognizes the great point of Paul’s teaching on marriage in Ephesians 5: that “husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28). The godly husband understands the essential unity or oneness God has established between husband and wife.
- A godly husband undertakes the important job of understanding his wife. By knowing her well, he is able to demonstrate his love for her far more effectively.
- A godly husband makes his wife feel honored. Though she submits to him, he takes care that she does not feel like she is an employee or under a tyrant.
- A godly husband realizes that his spouse is not only his wife, but also his sister in Jesus. Part of their inheritance in the Lord is only realized in their oneness as husband and wife.
In giving honor to the wife, the word in the ancient Greek language for the wife is a rare word, meaning more literally “the feminine one.” It suggests that the woman’s feminine nature should prompt the husband to honor her.
This was a radical teaching in the world Peter lived in. In that ancient culture a husband had absolute rights over his wife and the wife had virtually no rights in the marriage. In the Roman world, if a man caught his wife in an act of adultery he could kill her on the spot. But if a wife caught her husband, she could do nothing against him. All the duties and obligations in marriage were put on the wife. Peter’s radical teaching is that the husband has God-ordained duties and obligations toward his wife.
Weaker Women Means:
In this context weaker speaks of the woman’s physical weakness in comparison to men. Men aren’t necessarily stronger spiritually than women, but they are generally stronger physically.
Therefore, a godly husband recognizes whatever limitations his wife has physically and he does not expect more from her than is appropriate and kind.
Wives are still equal to husbands in spiritual privilege and eternal importance.
The failure to live as a godly husband has spiritual consequences. It can — and it will — hinder prayer.