What Does 1 Peter 3:1 Mean?

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,

1 Peter 3:1(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

There are a number of passages in the Bible that give clear instructions about the attitude and behaviour of wives in the home, and their role in the wider fellowship of believers.

Paul reminds women to submit themselves to their own husbands in the same way that we should willingly yield to the Lord Jesus, Himself. Wives are to submit to their husbands in everything, because it is appropriate for those who belong to the Lord, to do so.

Other verses demand that wives keep silent in their church assemblies and compare the close relationship between a husband and his wife with the intimate communion that Christ has with His Church.

Elsewhere, the wives of elders are commanded to be dignified in their language and behaviour. They are reminded not to be malicious gossips but temperate, self-restrained, and faithful in all things. The relationship between a husband and his wife should be one of mutual love and respect, where gender roles and responsibilities complement one another – in line with God’s perfect plan for mankind.

James compares the fleshly carnality of a worldly Christian, with the attitude and action of an unfaithful wife who is having an illicit love affair with the world and breaking her sacred marriage vow. Every additional illustration of the godly wife, affirms the importance of being a woman after God’s own heart who follows His instructions.

Here in the book of Peter, an additional dimension is added to other godly admonishments, where wives are to graciously submit to their own husbands – and particularly unsaved husbands so that, even if their husband is unsaved and disobey the Christian message, they may be won over to a saving faith by the godly and gracious way their wives conduct themselves, both in private and in public.

The responsibility for wives to live in accordance with biblical instruction, has its roots in the way that God ordained that we should live – from the beginning. Good governance in the home results where the man is responsible for loving and caring for his wife with the same self-sacrificial, godly love that Christ loves the Church – and gave Himself for her.

Similarly, when the wife responds to her husband's leadership as the Bible teaches, and becomes his most responsive and devoted helper, then the relationship between husband and wife reflects God’s initial plan and purpose for the whole of humanity.

Sadly, the blurring of the sexes and the demands of the supposedly 'liberated' women of the 21 century, is diametrically opposite from God's plan and purpose for the human race. Like it or not... the greatest freedom in marriage, as well as in other relationships, is in carrying out God's will and purpose for our lives, in His way, and for His glory.

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son for the redemption of all mankind, and Christian women who are married to unbelieving men, are supplied with the greatest opportunity to draw them to faith in Christ. They are afforded the privilege of helping to save a soul from hell by their godly lives and respectful behaviour. This is why the apostle Peter reminds us: "Wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without words, by the behaviour of their wives."

There should be no greater incentive for the woman of God to adhere to the instructions on marriage, than the incentive in this verse. However, marriage and the family is one of the greatest targets of the enemy. Women who are submissive to their own husbands, as the Bible teaches, stand in direct opposition to the nefarious purposes of the evil one. One of Satan's greatest attacks against the Lord is on godly marriages.

May we individually and collectively seek to maintain the God-appointed roles and responsibilities, as laid out in Scripture – for marriage was instituted by God, and a submissive wife is one who counteracts the enemy's wiles and becomes a beautiful reflection of the Church’s relationship with Jesus.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonderful way that You ordained marriage and implemented the governance of the individual home with a pattern of loving order. May Christian husbands and wives be ready and willing to follow Scripture's clear instructions on marriage which is a picture of the beautiful relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church. I pray for the many Christian women who are married to unsaved men. Give them Your grace to live holy unto You and may their conduct attract their husbands into a saving faith in the Lord Jesus. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.

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