WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13
SCRIPTURE: 1 PETER 3
This chapter has too much to be covered on this one page. But it is perhaps possible to summarize this chapter by saying it has much to do with the way we should live in relationship to those around us.
The chapter begins with some important teaching about marriage. Peter addresses the wives first. He speaks of the importance of submission to husbands even if that husband is not a believer. In fact, he says that a wife’s respectful and pure life could be the very thing that could bring her husband to a saving knowledge of the truth.
I know Scriptures that speak of a wife submitting to her husband are troublesome today. But the Bible is clear that God has ordained an authority structure in the family and the husband is the head of that. Although some men may take that as a positional privilege, I think it has much more to do with relational responsibility. In fact, I am quite convinced that the husband will answer for how he led his family.
Verse 3 is not a restriction against wives dressing nicely or making sure they look nice. But it is a reminder that what is going on inside of us is more important than what we look like on the outside. Wives are exhorted to have a gentle and quiet spirit. The Bible says this attitude is of great value in God’s eyes.
As we make our way to verse 7, Peter addresses the husbands. Husbands are to live with their wives in an understanding way. In other words, husbands need to strive to understand their wives better and then to honor those differences. Husbands are to be considerate of their wives and live with them in a way that proves the value of a Godly wife.
Wives, this verse says, are weaker vessels. That simply means that typically the man has greater physical strength than his wife. But the fact that she may be physically weaker does not mean she is of less importance. Indeed when it comes to the grace that God freely gives, the wife is an equal partner with her husband.
Verse 7 ends with an interesting statement: “So that your prayers may not be hindered”. The relationship between a husband and a wife has an impact on each of their relationships with God. When men and women are living together according to Biblical principles that has a very positive impact on their spiritual vitality. The reverse is true as well. When husbands and wives are not doing well in their marriage that can have a negative impact on their spiritual vitality. This is all the more reason for husbands and wives to live together as the Bible directs.
As you think about these exhortations to husbands and wives it is important to note that the Bible doesn’t say if the wife behaves in this particular way, the husband should do these things. He is to live by these principles regardless of how his wife behaves. By the same token, the wife’s submission, respect, and purity are not dependent upon the husband’s behavior. She should live that way regardless of how he lives or behaves.
In verse 8, Peter casts a bigger net. He moves from husbands and wives to the way that we should relate to all other Christ followers. He begins with a short list of things that should characterize our relationships with others. And then moves to a short list of things we should not do. Peter knows that living the Christian life is not always a bed of roses. Indeed there are multiple thorns attached to every rose. In other words, we will encounter difficult people who will not treat us well. But that does not give us liberty to mistreat them. Our responsibility is to do the right thing regardless. Verse 9 ends with a promise that if we choose to live in right relationship with those around us, there is a blessing that comes from that and through that.