v1-6 - As we've seen so many times this year as we've read the New Testament together, the placement of verse and chapter breaks was added centuries after the text was written as certainly is not considered to be inspired. It's hard to understand why chapter three begins where it does.
Had you not read chapter two yesterday, it might seem Peter is being unfair by just signaling women out for submission,
but when you notice this section really begins in 2:11, we can see that all people, both men and women, need to live submissive lives to glorify God.
v7 - Wives get six verses of instruction from Peter, while husbands only get one.
Maybe this seems out of balance, but look at the weight of the last clause of v7.
The point of wives submitting in all things to their husbands isn't so that he can relax and watch football while she brings beer and sandwiches on demand, but rather so that he can spend all of his energy praying for and leading his family spiritually.
In other words, she submits to him, so that he can submit to Him.
Most of us are not doing well at this as husbands, so is it any wonder our society is in the poor condition it's in?
v8-16 - It's never easy to get caught off guard having to provide a coherent answer to a complex question that comes out of the blue. Most of us stumble over our words and finally think of something brilliant to say an hour later when the conversation is long over. Yet v15 commands you to "always be ready to give the reason for the hope you have." The key to being able to do this comes in the less familiar opening line of this verse:
In your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
If you're not actively revering Christ in your heart, which you do by practicing daily Spiritual Disciplines (Bible reading, Prayer, Worship (personal & public), Evangelism, Serving, times of Silence & Solitude, etc), you'll likely never be ready to sincerely follow the massively important command this verse gives.
v17-22 - The passage contains one of the most mysterious verses of the New Testament, stating that Jesus "went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built (v19-20)." A good study Bible will help give some possibilities as to what Peter meant by this. Try the online Faithlife Study Bible's entry on this passage (you will need to establish an account, but it's free and very worthwhile).
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Which one of these Old Testament characters is not mentioned in this chapter—Abraham, Hagar, Noah, or Sarah? (See verses 6 and 20.)
If Satan wrote down some guidelines and commands to get people to do just the opposite of what this chapter teaches, how do you think his message might be worded?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Your Father and Lord, and "the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer (v12)."
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that in God's strength you will "always be prepared to give an answer... for the hope that you have (v16)."
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: