Today’s passage is 1 Peter 3:1-12. There are so many powerful lessons we can learn from this passage. Let’s go!
1 Peter 3:1-2 (NIV) 1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
On verses 1-2: Continuing his theme of being submissive to your leaders, a theme which Peter introduced in chapter 2, Peter addresses married women and tells them to be submissive to their husbands. What is the reason Peter gives for why married women should submit to their husbands? For Peter it’s about evangelism, or as we say at THRIVE, living out loud: it’s about leading the husband to Jesus – “so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives when they see the purity and reverence of your lives”. Here again we see Peter’s ongoing emphasis on how a Christian’s actions should speak well of Jesus. It reminds me of what happened with Rebecca Hickenbottom, wife of internationally acclaimed but drug addicted and emotionally troubled pro wrestler Shawn Michaels. When their marriage was falling apart, Rebecca prayed and sensed God say, “If you want Me to change your marriage, you need to change first.” Rebecca started taking her relationship with Jesus much more seriously, protected her time in church and did her best to exemplify a gentle and quiet spirit at home. Eventually her troubled husband took notice, started going to church with her, and received Jesus into his life. They would go on to have a much happier and healthier marriage while following and serving Jesus together.
1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV) 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
On verses 3-4: Godly character and a gentle, quiet spirit are far more beautiful, valuable and enduring than any make up, clothes or outer adornment a woman could put on. So women at Thrive, may you focus on pursuing godly character and a gentle, quiet spirit more than focusing on your outward appearance. It’s godliness, not Gucci, that makes a girl truly beautiful. It’s Christ-likeness, not Chanel, that makes a woman truly stunning. As Peter says, godly character and a gentle quiet spirit are “of great worth in God’s sight” (v4), which means godly, good quality men will value godly character and a gentle, quiet spirit too.
1 Peter 3:5-6 (NIV)
5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
On verse 5-6: Peter cites Sarah as an example of a wife who was submissive to her husband. If you are familiar with the story of Sarah, you might question how submissive Sarah to her husband Abraham. Isn’t Sarah the one who doubted God’s promise to give her a child of her own? Wasn’t Sarah so scared that she took matters into her own hands and, to her regret, pressured her husband Abraham to impregnate their maidservant Hagar? This may be true, but at the same time do not underestimate the submissiveness of Sarah. When God called Abraham to leave his country and go to the land that God would later show him, Abraham went and Sarah followed in faith, even though it must not have been comfortable or easy for her to do so (Genesis 12:4-5). Submissiveness is not weakness. It takes great strength, courage and faith in God to submit to your husband, believing that though your husband isn’t perfect, the God who commands your submission is perfect, will take the best care of you and won’t short change you when you obey His command to submit.
We’re so fortunate that we can read Sarah’s story in Genesis and learn both from her victories and her mistakes. The fact is, there were times when Sarah gave into fear and did the wrong thing, but there were also times when Sarah moved in faith and did right. Women at Thrive, when you choose to live by faith and not fear (as verse 6 says, “if you do what is right and do not give way to fear”), you show yourselves to be made of the same spiritual DNA that made Sarah a beautiful woman of God, showing yourselves to be “her daughters” (v6),.
1 Peter 3:7 (NIV) 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
On verse 7: Let’s unpack this verse together by looking at some key phrases in it: “as the weaker partner”: “weaker” does not mean inferior intellectually, emotionally or spiritually, but refers to the simple fact that women are more vulnerable physically than men. So for a husband to treat his wife with respect as the weaker partner means to recognize that he needs to give her special protection and handle her with care.
“as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life”: Husbands, remember that your wife is as much an heir of God’s gracious gift of life as you are. Your wife does not exist simply to serve you and to please you. She exists for the glory of God and to enjoy with you together the fullness of life that Jesus makes possible.
“so that nothing will hinder your prayers”: Men, according to this verse, how considerately and respectfully we treat our wives affects our relationship with God. Do you treat your wife considerately and with respect? If you treat your wife inconsiderately or disrespectfully, something will surely hinder your relationship with God. You may find it difficult to hear from God or to sense His presence or pleasure, for you can’t love God well without loving your wife and family well. 1 Peter 3:8 (NIV) 8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
On verse 8: This verse is worth memorizing and worth making a theme verse for your home or team.
1 Peter 3:9 (NIV) 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
On verse 9: Instead of doing as the world does and pursuing revenge and retaliation against those who hurt you, God has called you to a life where you bless others and in turn inherit a greater blessing.
1 Peter 3:10-12 (NIV) 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
On verses 10-12: To show why it is important to “live in harmony with one another”, “love as brothers”, “be compassionate and humble” (v8), and repay evil with blessing (v9), Peter quotes a famous passage from Psalm 34:12-16. From this I learn three lessons:
The fact that Peter quotes the Old Testament repeatedly in his letters goes to show that the Old Testament and the New Testament are not at odds with one another; rather they complement one another.
Your relationships with people and your relationship with God are intertwined. The quality of one affects the quality of the other.
How many of us can say that we have kept our tongue from evil and our lips from speaking lies (v10)? How many of us can say that we have never said yes to evil or always pursued peace (v11)? Only one: Jesus Christ. Only Jesus has perfectly fulfilled verses 10-11 and only He deserves to be called righteous. Yet in His mercy God has allowed those who trust in His Son Jesus to share in Jesus’ status as righteous, so that the Lord’s eyes are on them and His ears are attentive to their prayer too. Do you love life and desire to see good days? The best thing you can do is to trust in Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You for all the practical and powerful lessons we can learn from Your Word. Thank You for showing me that the quality of my relationships with others affects the quality of my relationship with You. By Christ’s power working in me, may I love You well and love those around me well too. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!