Summary: Life in Christ

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I Peter 3:1-11

John Shearhart

January 1, 2012

The first two chapters are summarized by 1:15—“As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.”

God commands wives to obey their husbands (:1-6)


This points us to the verse above which says, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps” (2:21). So, Christ left an example, likewise,

ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands;

Here’s a controversial statement. Why would he say this?

that, if any obey not the word,

The Greek means “not to allow one’s self to be persuaded.”

they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

This verse has to be interpreted with Romans 10:14 in mind. I take this to mean that the husbands aren’t really interested in Christ until they see His holiness through their wives’ obedience. They see this big change and they start to investigate it for themselves.

3Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible,

This makes me think of Proverbs 31:30 and Proverbs 11:22. The world put great value on outward appearance, but God commands Christian women to adorn (decorate) the new man. Beauty is vain and this body is perishing, but the new creation is incorruptible.

even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

I know, this sets the women’s liberation movement back 1,000 years, but we have to know our authority. Holiness is evidence of the new life in Christ. He bears His fruit through us, and the mark of holiness for a Christian woman was (and still is) a meek and quiet spirit.

This spirit is “in the sight of God of great price.” Think of a woman showing of a full carat diamond ring. God’s not impressed. Think of a woman in shabby clothes who is meek and quiet and obeys her husband. That has value in God’s eyes.

5For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

The holy women of old didn’t have make-up and diamond rings. They adorned themselves being in “subjection.” This word means “to arrange under, to subordinate, obey, to submit to one’s control, to yield to one’s admonition or advice.”

It’s the same word used of Jesus when it says He was subject to His parents (Lk. 2:51).

6Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord:

This word for lord is “kurios”. It’s the same word used to describe Jesus who is our Kurios and we are His slaves. I know that just kills some people to hear that, but let’s just consider the context. The whole point is that we are holy because the One who called us is holy. He is praised because of His good work in and through our lives (which is the whole point of salvation).

Also, human marriage is a shadow of the church’s relationship with Jesus. Not many would shy away if I said the church calls Christ our Master and we submit to Him.

whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

These Christian women could rest contentedly. Sara demonstrated the righteousness of her Savior through her obedience to her husband and she had no reason to fear. You’re her daughters if you do the same.

God commands husbands to honor their wives (:7)


Christ left an example,

ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge,

I think this speaks of the character of Christian men. We have knowledge and wisdom from God. We’re supposed to be leaders (kurios even) in our homes, but we do it according to the gospel. Look at Matthew 20:25-27.

giving honour unto the wife,

“Honor” means deference. We put her first,

as unto the weaker vessel,

The word for weaker is also translated as “sick” or “feeble” in a lot of other places. Keeping the context of marriage as a shadow of our relationship with Christ, then it’s not hard to see how the woman is dependent on the man. So the man, as a shadow of the Head, is good his wife and puts her first. You give her honor because she’s weaker,

and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

When it comes down to it there’s no difference between the two of you. You’re both heirs of the grace of life, and Matthew 5:24 still applies.

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