1 Peter 3:1-7: Wives and Husbands
October 19, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The complementary view of marriage relationships as taught in the Bible is much misunderstood these days; at its best it creates a relationship of a beautiful gospel dance that proclaims Christ through servant leadership and loving respect. But what about when things are less than ideal? What if you are married to a man who does not follow Christ? How then are you meant to act? Peter now addresses that situation, before turning his attention to give instruction to husbands.
Wives, Peter says, are to “submit” to their husbands. In contemporary philosophy today, submission is never possible between equals. But that is not how the Bible looks at it. The Lord Jesus follows his Father God. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. We are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. In any organization, someone must lead. And in God’s order, the wife is to follow the leadership of her husband. This does not mean that the man is always right! Nor does it mean that the wife cannot have her own opinion, or that she cannot take initiative. It certainly does not mean that any abusive or neglectful or even unkind power dynamics are legitimate or acceptable within the gospel dance of a loving marriage. But what it does mean is that if you are married to a man who does not believe, you can win him to Christ by being a better wife than you were before you were a Christian! At church recently, we heard one such true story: a man who came to faith in Christ because he saw that the faith of his wife had made her a better wife than before when she was not a Christian. It is the character that in the end depicts beauty more powerfully than mere physical adornment. Even when you age, the beauty of an inner spirit that is like Christ still shines forth and is still attractive. Hone that beauty; invest in the inner beauty of a godly woman.
But husbands too have a calling. Yes, Paul emphasizes in Ephesians, they are to serve and love and sacrifice themselves for their wives. But husbands are also to respect them. A husband should not demean or diminish or “patronize” or take advantage of his wife. He should respect her. Honor her. Let her work bring her praise at the city gate; publicly respect her. And the motivation that Peter adds for this way of treating your wife is that if you do, nothing will hinder your prayers. There is an effect that takes place on your spiritual relationship if your marital relationship is not right. If you want to pray well, you must live well, and if you are a husband, that includes being considerate and respectful of your wife.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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