1 Peter 3 - Live a 'So That' Life
Blessing is promised to those who submit themselves to righteousness.
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1 Peter 3 (ESV)
1 Likewise, wives,
be subject to your own husbands,
even if some do not obey the word,
they may be won
without a word
by the conduct of their wives,
2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
3 Do not let your adorning be external—
the braiding of hair
and the putting on of gold jewelry,
or the clothing you wear—
4 but let your adorning be
the hidden person of the heart
with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which in God’s sight is very precious.
5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves,
by submitting to their own husbands,
6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.
And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
7 Likewise, husbands,
live with your wives in an understanding way,
showing honor to the woman
as the weaker vessel,
since they are heirs with you of the grace of life,
so that your prayers may not be hindered.
8 Finally, all of you,
have unity of mind,
a tender heart,
and a humble mind.
9 Do not repay
evil for evil
or reviling for reviling,
but on the contrary, bless,
for to this you were called,
that you may obtain a blessing.
10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days,
let him keep
his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him
turn away from evil
and do good;
and pursue it.
the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?
14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake,
you will be blessed.
Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
5 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy,
always being prepared
to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;
yet do it
with gentleness and respect,
16 having a good conscience,
so that, when you are slandered,
those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
17 For it is better to suffer
for doing good, if that should be God’s will,
than for doing evil.
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins,
the righteous for the unrighteous,
that he might bring us to God,
being put to death in the flesh
but made alive in the spirit,
→ 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,
20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
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1 Peter 3 Summary
Peter has been writing about the need for submission in the Christian's life at work, to the government, and even at home. Wives are called to be subject to their husbands, not just because that corresponds to the created order as Paul argues, but so that unbelieving husbands might be won without a word by the conduct of their wives (v1).
Women are also commanded to adorn themselves internally, rather than with the external trappings of beauty. Dress and act in a way that impresses God more so than other people. Notice how Peter ties this concept right back to the subject of submission to husbands: doing so is how you demonstrate your hope in God, just as Sarah did so long ago (v5-6).
This chapter concludes with with a list of general imperatives for Christian living. As Peter implores us to unity, a focus on blessing others, turning away from evil and towards peace, gentleness & respect, and a willingness to endure suffering, you can hear echoes of Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, which Peter obviously took to heart.