Chapter 3:1-7 (ESV) - Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Question to consider: Why does acting honorably among the Gentiles even include instructions for marriage?
Christianity is fundamentally a grassroots movement. The world focuses on religious leaders, mega churches, and revivals, but the hard work of evangelism is usually done by a parent or a spouse or a friend. I’d even go so far as to argue that minus a few exceptions, those in the limelight of Christianity do more harm than good, especially in the last 100 years.
We live in a generation that exists on platitudes and soundbites so even though the Bible is still the best selling book in the world, many people can only handle scripture as verses devoid of context and applied to their personal experiences. This creates a vacuum in their ability to discern truth. So when a ministry garners mass appeal, there is a good chance that it is not preaching a message of repentance and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. This is one of the reasons I decided to write this devotional. I thought by stringing together these small bites of scripture and providing context, people could become more familiar with it and possibly develop a passion for it.
Peter understood the grassroots nature of the faith which is why he reaches out to the individual. Not only should we conduct ourselves honorably in the public forum, but in our own households and communities. If we come to know the Lord before our spouse does, the Holy Spirit will shine more brightly in us if we are kind and humble. Men generally feel love from a spouse who respects them, and women, in general, desire to have a husband who cares enough to listen and understand them. The apostle Paul reinforces this idea multiple times in his epistles. Here is a similar thought from Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
The world rails against this idea because our self esteem is considered to be more important than our submission to others, even to God. A key element to a healthy self esteem according to society is our external appearance, so I’m sure Peter’s statement that a wife should instead project her eternal, inner beauty with a quiet and gentle spirit that submits to her husband would have been just as counter-cultural in his time as is it is today. So to further his point, he makes an appeal to the fact that in acting this way, they would be like their sister Sarah, someone to whom they would have held dear and respected.
The word “likewise” is also pointing husbands back to Peter’s original statement about demonstrating honorable conduct among the Gentiles. Instead of treating their wives as property or inferior beings, Peter is asking men to understand their wives so that they know how best to cherish them as equal heirs of God’s kingdom. When Peter refers to women as weaker vessels, he does not intend to demean their value or strength. This comment emphasizes the responsibility of a man to do everything in his power, including sacrificing his own life if necessary to make sure his wife is protected from all harm and danger. He is accountable before God to do so which is why he shouldn’t expect God to even hear his prayer if he is not willing to fulfill this role.
Lord God, we thank you for caring for individual people as well as your church as a whole. Thank you for giving us our family. Please help us to love you by serving each other well, and may our relationships serve as examples of the faith which point others to the wonderful gift of salvation through Christ. Amen.