1 Peter Inductive Bible Study Lesson 9
1 Peter 3:1-7
1 Peter 3:1, 2
- What is “in the same way” in v. la?
- Are the husbands referred to in 3:1, all Christians obedient to the word, all non-Christians disobedient to the word, or is the submission that is set forth, required of a wife, whether or not the husband is obedient to the word?
- What is “to be submissive” in v. 1? Compare 3:5 and 2:18.
- Why are wives to “be submissive to your own husbands” in 3:1?
- What significance does the word “own” have in the phrase, “be submissive to your own husbands”?
- What is the significance of “without a word” in v. Id?
- Who is the one fearing in v. 2? Toward whom is that fear directed?
1 Peter 3:3-5
- Who is “your” in v. 3a?
- What, in your own words, is the message of verses 3-5?
- Is the function of the message of verses 3-5 the Christian’s wedding ring?
1 Peter 3:6
- What is the implied message of v. 6a?
1 Peter 3:7
- What is the significance of the word “likewise” in v. 7a?
- What is meant by the words “understanding way” in the phrase “you husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, . . .”?
- What is the significance of Peter following the instruction of v. 7a with the phrase, “as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman” in v. 7c? Include in your answer the significance of her being “a fellow-heir of the grace of life,” verse 7d, and the phrase in v. 7e, “so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
- What is “the grace of life” in v. 7d?
1 Peter 3:1, 2
- The way of life set forth in 1 Peter 2:9, and 11-25.
- The submission set forth is required of a wife, whether or not the husband is a Bible-obeying husband.
Note: The Greek phrase translates, “Likewise wives, submitting yourselves to the own husbands in order that even if any disobey the word, they will be gained” (fig.: for the Kingdom of God. Cf. A.&G. 430).
- The Greek word translated “be submissive” in 3:1 & 5 and in 2:18 is a participle form coming from hupotasso.
Tasso means to place or station a person or thing in a fixed spot—to appoint or establish in an office (A&G 813).
Hupo designates an agent and translates “by,” or it designates a place to answer a “where” question (see A&G 851), and is translated “under” or “below.”
This sounds like a great concept to every man! The woman, his wife, is commanded by Scripture to be placed in a fixed position beneath the position which her husband holds! Great doctrine! except that it does not sound like the rest of scripture’s teaching. Perhaps we should finish examining this Greek word.
The word, hupotassomenai. which appears in 3:1 and 5, is a nomitive, plural, feminine, present, middle, participle! (This same form in masculine appears in 2:18.)
That word middle is bad news for us men. If the form were active, it would translate like “I wash the car”; if it were passive it would translate like, “The car is being washed”; but being middle it has a meaning like, “The car is washing itself.” The middle voice signifies the action is being done by one to oneself. Too bad for us men. We are not to make our wives be submissive.
The Bible passage here being examined teaches women they are to place themselves in a fixed position of submission to their husband. The husband is not involved in this activity—the voice is middle. This is a work the wife is commanded by cod to be doing on herself—the significance of the middle voice. The wife here has a work assigned to her by God which she can’t neglect without being in rebellion against God: rather than against her husband.
This same concept appears in 2:13 in the imperative (command) mode in passive voice to “all”, for the reason that God may be seen as good (2:15).
Note; In Eph 6:1 and in Col 3:20 children are, in English, commanded to obey their parents; making the position of the wife to the husband the same as the obedience required of a child—however immature—to its parents! Another great text for men! Only the Greek work translated “obey” in these verses is different than the word instructing wives to “obey” their husbands. The wife is not treated as a child in Scripture.
(“Children obey your parents,” is translated from hupakouete. meaning, “listen to.” This word appears in the New Testament in this form five times and never is addressed to wives; it is rather addressed to slaves twice (Eph 6:5; Col 3:22), and to children twice (Eph 6:1: Col 3:20). Wives in scripture are never classed with slaves or children;1 their work is not to listen, their work is to win people (their husbands) to Christ. But I’m running ahead! (Sarah, however, is said to have listened carefully to Abraham (hupekousen), (1 Peter 3:6).
- The wives submission to the husband is for the purpose of winning the husband to Christ, even if some of the husbands are disobedient to the word, by the wive’s behavior—not by her words.
Note; The implied of what is stated in v. 1 is very interesting to this writer: If the wive’s submission …
* In 1 Peter 2:18 houseservants are told to be “submitting yourselves” to their masters—the same concept as in 3:1 linguistically. But the reason is different. The wife in 3:1 is to be submitting to win her husband to Christ, while the servant in 2:18 is to be submitting because God will respond by blessing the servant (cf. w. 19-2la) .
That which the wife and the servant have in common is that they are, if obedient to their instruction, both following the will of God for them.
… to the husband is of such a nature as to result in causing him to do evil and thereby be separated from the Lord, that submission is a violation of her commission—to be in submission in order to win him to Christ.
The assignment of such accountability is, in the eyes of this researcher, the result of great trust. It is much more difficult to live the Christian life than to talk it. Such a role is never in Scripture assigned, to my knowledge, to children, slaves, or friends— nor to husbands. God had great trust in woman when He said to her, your job is to save your husband, not with a rod or words, but with gentle service.
(For an excellent development of this concept read Adventist Home, pp. 349-351.)
“Let your husband see the Holy Spirit working in you. Be careful and considerate, patient and forbearing. Do not urge the truth upon him. Do your duty as a wife should, and then see if his heart is not touched. Your affections must not be weaned from your husband. Please him in every way possible. Let not your religious faith draw you apart. Conscientiously obey God, and please your husband wherever you can. . . .’
- It makes the counsel given to a wife applicable only to her relationship to her husband. This verse is not capable of being broadened into a description of the job assignment of women to men or even of married women to married men.
- The phrase “without a word” is connected to “pure conduct” (v. 2), the English translation of the Greek anastrophe—which means “way of life” (A&G 61). The husband of a wife is to be won to Christ …
* In material addressed to “Every child of God,” not just to wives, we read that “The lesson they are to learn is the lesson of submission. Self is not to be made prominent. If due attention is given to the divine instruction, if self is surrendered to the divine will, the hand of the Potter will produce a shapely vessel. . . .” (45DABC ii54). Here submission or no submission affects your salvation.
… by the wife’s way of life—not by her words. A.H. 349—quoted above under “d.”)
- Verse 2 translates, “observing the pure conduct of you in fear.”
The one fearing in v. 2 is the wife. The fear she has is directed toward God. Note 1 Peter 2:18 & 3:6.
If we examine 2:18-23 the theme Peter is presenting becomes quite clear; the fear that is desirable is the fear to be punished for one’s errors, because when one is punished for something un-justlv and bears it well “this is favor with God” (2:20c); because to live like Christ is to experience what He experienced and to respond as He responded, while to be punished for one’s errors brings no favor with God (cf. v. 20).
To live such a lifestyle shows the unjustly-punished one “has delivered (himself) to the one judging righteously” (2:23).
In one sentence, the proper fear in these verses is a fear to offend someone needlessly. 3:6 only adds the thought that to be like Sarah one can’t let oneself be intimidated by any terror.
Therefore we conclude that the Christian wife’s first fear is to offend needlessly her husband, or that she will be intimidated by some terror, and thus fail of obtaining the grace promised in chapter one to someone who, if they suffer, suffers unjustly (chapter 2).
The fear of the Christian wife is also to miss out on pleasing God (favor with God) (2:20), which through faith brings the salvation of your soul (1:9); the favor with God, the result of pleasing God, of 2:19, 20. Here obedience determines one’s eternal destiny.
1 Peter 3:3-5
- The wives of verses 1 and 2.
- The first phrase of verse 3 is translated by the NASB so as to read, “And let not your adornment be external only—. . .” The word “only” is supplied by the translator. Peter did not say it. The addition of this word distorts the prohibition Peter is describing.
This verse says that a woman’s wedding ring is her spirit and deportment.
This concept is not only one that appears in the Old Testament and 1 Peter 3:5,6, but it is also one that appears in the Spirit of Prophecy.
Notice the following where Mrs. White writes that
“Some have had a burden in regard to the wearing of a marriage ring, feeling that the wives of our ministers should conform to this custom. All this is unnecessary. Let the ministers’ wives have the golden link which binds their souls to Jesus Christ, a pure and holy character, the true love and meekness and godliness that are the fruit borne upon the Christian tree, and their influence will be secure anywhere. The fact that a disregard of the custom occasions remark is no good reason for adopting it. Americans can make their position understood by plainly stating that the custom is not regarded as obligatory in our country. We need not wear the sign, for we are not untrue to our marriage vow, and the wearing of the ring would be no evidence that we were true. I feel deeply over this leavening process which seems to be going on among us, in the conformity to custom and fashion. Not one penny should be spent for a circlet of gold to testify that we are married. In countries where the custom is imperative, we have no burden to condemn those who have their marriage ring; let them wear it if they can do so conscientiously; but let not our missionaries feel that the wearing of the ring will increase their influence one jot or tittle. If they are Christians, it will be manifest in their Christlikeness of character, in their words, in their works, in the home, in association with others; it will be evinced by their patience and long-suffering and kindliness. They will manifest the spirit of the Master, they will possess His beauty of character, His loveliness of disposition, His sympathetic heart” (Testimonies to Ministers. pp. 180, 181).
1 Peter 3:6
- The implied message of v. 6a is that Peter’s instructions to wives are not new principles, but rather they direct the wives among Peter’s readers to act as the holy women of Old Testament times acted. Peter’s gospel is again presented as in harmony with the Old Testament. God’s people are to have harmony throughout their history, because God’s law never changes.
1 Peter 3:7
- “Likewise” means that the principles set forth in 1 Pet 2:9, 11-25 to which wives were directed in 3:1, and the principles of conduct presented to wives in 3:1-6, are to be practiced by husbands.
- The whole phrase making up 3:7a translates, “The husbands likewise, dwelling together according to knowledge, …” “In an understanding way” is therefore according to knowledge. To use a phrase, “be reasonable with your wife.” c. [Note; The weaker vessel is here said to be the wife.
Weak (asthenes) can mean economically weak, without influence, weak in faith, feeble, or physically weak, etc. (a&g ll5).]
Whereas Peter designates wives as fellow-heirs of grace, who must be properly treated by the husband if the husband’s prayers are not to be being interrupted (pres. pass, infin.), the phrase “as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman” means that the fact a woman is physically weaker than a man is not to be understood by the husband as implying she is less valuable than a man in God’s sight, and therefore it is okay to treat her as if she were of less value than a man.
The fact that she is called a co-heir of the grace of life by Peter signifies that whatever man’s position in regard to the grace of life is understood to be, her position in regard to the grace of life is the same.
It is now very clear that the significance of the phrase “so that your prayers may not be hindered” means that husbands who don’t treat their wives as equal heirs of the grace of life are people whose prayers God won’t listen to.
Here the one who is weaker than the man physically has the power with God that blocks his prayers—if he mistreats her.
- The phrase “the grace of life” in verse 7d sounds like it was written by Mrs. White!! Note: “It is the grace of God that gives life to the soul” (The Desire of Ages, p. 181). It is grace that is as the air we breathe (Steps to Christ, p. 68), and it is grace that, used, is the robe of Christ’s righteousness (2RH374; Mar. 4,1890). See again the quotations numbered 17-20 in the introduction to this study guide. But the view of grace that sees it as a reality is not restricted to the Spirit of Prophecy and this writer.
In the Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology (Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, Inc., 1974, p. 117), an approved Roman Catholic work, the following statement appears: “grace, habitual. A divine gift infused by God into the soul, . . .”
While this concept, as expressed in this source is not acceptable to this writer it does serve to show that grace is seen by many as a reality; it has existence.
Notice also the following as examples of materials appearing in Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1963, p. 886), re charis (grace).
“b. On the part of God and Christ; the context will show whether the emphasis is upon the possession of divine grace as a source of blessings for the believer, or upon a store of grace that is dispensed, or a state of grace (i.e., standing in God’s favor) that is brought about, or a deed of grace wrought by God in Christ, or a work of grace that grows fr. more to more.”
Arndt and Gingrich also point out that God is called the God of all grace in 1 Peter 5:10; that the preaching of salvation is the gospel (good news) of the grace of God, Acts 20:24, while the grace of God manifests itself in various results of grace (charismata), depending on which grace is given (Rom 12:6).
Finally, they also note that grace produces results that are seen as works in people’s lives (1 Cor. 15:10), possibly because one grows in grace (2 Peter 3:18).