November 12 - Husbands & Wives

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November 12 - Husbands & Wives - 1 Peter 3:1-7

If I could drop these 7 verses out of this book, I would consider it nearly perfect. I'm betting that Peter's wife didn't have much to say about this part of the letter. Either that or they had just had a nasty fight and he was still angry with her. GoodNESS!

Somehow I have this image of Peter dealing with an unruly teenaged daughter who wanted to go out with her friends - she was all dressed up and making a scene about worrying whether or not she was beautiful. Her mother was stressing out because there were going to be boys at the party and things in the Cephas' household were not fun. Peter was desperately trying to write a missive on holiness and he was wondering if he would be able to maintain a sense of stability in the household while this was happening.

There was every probability that he was dictating this letter to Silas (1 Peter 5:12) and he was probably embarrassed by the women in his household. So ... in a fit of fury, he spouted off these words and Silas took them down.

Of COURSE men want their wives to be submissive and gentle with quiet spirits. Why would any man out there want a wife that stirs up trouble in the home?

Anyway ... let's look at what this is really saying.

First of all, being in submission does not bring about inequality. Remember. Jesus is in submission to the Father and yet He is equal. In 1 Peter 3:3, Peter is saying that inner beauty is much more important than outward trappings. I doubt that any of us would disagree with that and all of us know women that spend extensive time and effort on their outward beauty and they are difficult to be around because of their attitudes.

Do you notice that in 1 Peter 3:4, Peter speaks again of the contrast between the imperishable (unfading beauty) and the perishable. The phrase 'you can't take it with you' can easily apply to jewelry, plastic surgery and makeup.

By the time he turns to the husbands, notice that he uses the same phrase "in the same way." (1 Peter 3:7). This implies a sense of equality. Again, just as he did with slaves, women, who were not given any respect in the secular world of the day, received not only respect from Peter, they were given expectations and privileges.

There is plenty of debate regarding what is meant by the 'weaker' partner. I'm not going to argue the point here - I figure that's Peter's to deal with when we all face him down in heaven. However, any husband who doesn't understand the importance of treating his wife well has missed the point of this passage. Not only is he expected to see her as a co-heir with him, but his mis-treatment of her will hinder his prayer life.

While he spends more time describing exactly what a woman is to do, he is quite blunt with husbands. For a man in that day and age, holiness was something part of the social aspect of their lives. They were called to pray at the temple and to pray in public. Being disrespectful of their wives closes off that part of their lives - Peter hit them where it hurt the most.

Holiness in the home - what a concept!