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1 Peter Recap, Chapter III

Updated: May 7

Chapter 3 of 1 Peter emphasizes the principles of submission to God above all, inner beauty, mutual respect in marriage, unity among believers, righteous living, and the victory of Christ over sin and death. Here's a recap:



Chapter 3 begins with Peter addressing wives, urging them to accept the authority of their husbands, emphasizing the importance of their godly conduct as a means of potentially winning over their husbands to the faith. He contrasts external adornment with inner beauty, highlighting the value of a gentle and quiet spirit in the sight of God. In here two things to consider:


  1. The teaching about submission was especially relevant to a first-century married woman who had begun to follow Jesus. She would ask questions such as “Should I leave my husband?” or “Should I change my behavior towards him?” or “Should I assume a superior position to him because now I am in Jesus?”

  2. In the culture of the ancient world it was almost unthinkable for a wife to adopt a different religion than her husband. Christian women who came to Jesus before their husbands needed instruction.


Referencing examples from Scripture, Peter highlights the faith and obedience of holy women like Sarah, encouraging believers to learn from their example and apply it to their lives. He emphasizes mutual respect and understanding within marriage, urging husbands to honor their wives as fellow heirs of God's grace.


However, we must also say that submission in marriage follows the same principles as submission in other spheres. We are call to submit authority as our obligation before God, unless that authority directs us to sin, or against loving God, loving neighbor and loving self. In that case it is right to obey God rather than men (Acts 4:19-21)


Also, pay attention to the example of Sara, but also remember all of the other examples beyond Sara. Peter references the example of holy women of the past who trusted in God and adorned themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him lord. However there were other examples who took the initiative, were primary recipients of revelations, and women who went against authority.

 

Several holy women took the initiative in significant situations without the apparent permission, protection, or cooperation from men. These women include Moses’ mother (Exod. 2:1–3), Rahab (Josh. 2:1–6), Deborah (Judg. 4–5), Ruth (Ruth 2:2–3; 3:1–6), Hannah (1 Sam. ch. 1–2), and a well-to-do Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:8–37), etc.

 

Several holy women were the primary or first recipients of divine, angelic, or prophetic visitations without the intervention or presence of a husband or male guardian. The following are just a few examples where God, an angel, or a prophet spoke directly to a woman: Rebekah (Gen. 25:22–23); Samson’s mother (Judg. 13); the “Wailing Women” (Jer. 9:17); Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26–38); Mary Magdalene (Matt. 28:9–10; Mark 16:9–11; John 20:17–18), etc. Moreover, Huldah, Miriam, Deborah, Anna, and Philip’s daughters are acknowledged as respected prophetesses in the Bible.

 

Several holy women went against authority figures, disobeyed laws, and disregarded the wishes of their own husbands. Shiphrah and Puah disobeyed Pharaoh’s command, and God blessed them for their disobedience (Exod. 1:15–21). Rebekah, Abigail, and Jael went against their husband’s wishes. There is no hint of censure against Rebekah in the Bible (Gen. 27:1–28:2), Abigail was commended for her wise and brave actions (1 Sam. 25), and Jael is praised in Judges 4 and 5. Queen Esther, in order to save the Jewish people, disobeyed a law and risked her life by coming into her husband’s presence without being summoned (Esth. 4:11; 5:1).


Anyhow, beyond submission, Peter calls for unity and love among believers, instructing them to bless those who persecute them and to live in harmony with one another. He quotes Psalm 34, emphasizing the importance of turning from evil and doing good, with the assurance that God watches over the righteous.


Even in the face of persecution, Peter encourages believers to be prepared to defend their faith with gentleness and respect, maintaining a clear conscience and continuing to do good. He reminds them of Christ's suffering and ultimate sacrifice for their salvation, highlighting His victory over sin and death.


The chapter concludes with a reference to Christ's proclamation to the spirits in prison, underscoring His authority over all powers and authorities. This victory over sin and death underscores the sovereignty of Christ and His role as the ultimate authority.


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