1 Peter 3
by Philip Layton
Some teaching for living holy lives
- What do you think Peter meant when talking about ‘giving way to fear’ (vv 1-6)?
- How is it possible to be like-minded (v 8)? Are you prepared (v 15)?
- What is baptism (v 21)?
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Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
‘You are not to adorn yourselves on the outside . . . but inside, in the heart, with the immortal beauty of a gentle, modest spirit, which in the sight of God is of rare value’ (vv. 3-4, JMT)
These verses, concerned with the relationship between husband and wife, have a much wider application; for here is guidance about the attitude of the Christian to the unconverted, particularly unconverted relatives.
In the ancient world, a man owned his wife in much the same way as he possessed his cattle and plough. If he changed his religion, then automatically his family changed theirs. But for a wife independently to change her religion was unheard of, hence the plight of the converted housewife whose husband did not share her faith.
Peter advises that such a woman’s first responsibility is to be a good wife. She should e characterised by submissiveness (‘voluntary selflessness’), purity and ‘reverent behaviour’, resulting in what Dr William Barclay finely calls the ‘silent preaching of a lovely life’.
Likewise, the husband has obligations. He should be understanding, gentle and look upon his partner as a spiritual fellow-heir. Anything less will mean that his prayers are hindered (v. 7), for nothing stands between a man and his prayers more than broken or strained relationships. It is impossible, for instance, for a man to be a good Christian and a bad or difficult husband.
‘The secret of a happy marriage lies first in loving one another a lot, but even more in loving many things together’
Frances WilkinsonTags: 1 Peter