After studying 1 Peter 3:1-7 for several days, I decided to paraphrase them in the MRSV (the Mark Robinson Standard Version). Hopefully this adds insight to the big ideas God wanted to communicate to us through Peter’s letter.
Wives, I know that in most moral writings/teachings of our day (the first century), you are not addressed specifically because you are not seen as a morally responsible person . . . merely the property of your husband. I (Peter) am writing you today to let you know that in Christianity, this cultural norm is not recognized. I believe you are a morally responsible individual that God loves, redeems, and plans to use in this life, so there are some specific teachings that I want you to hear. Here they are: First of all, I want you to remember that you are to take Jesus Christ as your example in marriage. (NOTE: When I talk to husbands in a few minutes, I will tell them the same thing . . . Christ is the model for how you are to relate to your spouse.) Just as Jesus gave honor to all the authority roles God placed in the world, I want you to give honor to your husbands who God has placed as the leader of your family. I know that many of you have placed your faith in Christ while your husbands have persisted in unbelief. Even though it is difficult to live in this environment, I want you to continue to honor them as your husband following Christ’s example. The reason I want you to do this is so that God might use your righteous lifestyle to impact your husbands so that they might also come into a relationship with Christ. This is possible through the testimony of Christ shining forth from your inner beauty.
I know that the world you live in has told you that your greatest opportunities will come from physical beauty, but know that in Christ, your greatest beauty will come from inside, as your character is developed by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Though outward beauty fades with age, inner beauty grows more attractive with time.
Women throughout history have been used by God in significant ways, and it was not just because they had outward beauty. It was because God was renewing their hearts day by day. People like Sarah from the book of Genesis, are great examples of this. Sarah’s most beautiful moments in life that we still talk about came when she was very old and probably not as outwardly beautiful as she used to be. Her beauty shown forth in many ways through her righteous actions, including how she continued to honor her husband Abraham by treating him with respect late in life, even after Abraham had made some serious mistakes.
Now, I want to speak to you husbands. Husbands, you should also follow the example of Jesus Christ in how you relate to your wife. Jesus did not only focus on his own needs, but put the needs of others above His own. In the same way, husbands, put the needs of your wife above your own. Get to know your wives. Know what makes them tick. Know what their fears are. Know what their hopes are. Know what makes them happy. Know what their spiritual gifts are. Once you know these things, relate to your wives based on this knowledge. Encourage them. Care for them. Love them. Help them soar. You should do this with great care, because God has created women different than men. From the start men and women were created differently. It was never good for man to be alone, but woman was needed in order for creation to be “good” in God’s eyes. Though women are different than men (generally), both men and women are equal recipients of divine blessings, gifts, and salvation. Therefore, men, you should never treat your wives as someone inferior to you. She is to be treasured and treated as your equal in life. Though you are given the responsibility of leading your family, your wife is equally valued by God, so you should listen to her, and greatly value her opinion and insight. Men, this is serious stuff. God takes your relationship with your spouse very seriously. If you fail to love your wife in this way, it will lead to an interruption in the level of your fellowship with God. This does not mean that your relationship with God is terminated, but it does mean that men who treat their wives poorly will experience a “chilling” of their relationship with the Father and a stunting of their spiritual growth.”
This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, Pastor John Abernethy will be preaching on 1 Peter 3:1-7. Join us at either 9:30 or 10:50!
To access the entire “True Grace” study of 1 Peter, click here.