Lord, I give to You all my hopes and dreams and ask for Your guidance in every aspect of my life.
Read 1 Peter 3:1–7
3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhat are some of the cultural issues that Peter was seeking to address?
For the first readers of Peter’s letter it was the social norm for wives to submit to their husbands in everything. Most likely the father of the groom had paid the father of the bride in the arrangement of the marriage and so the wife was regarded as the husband’s property. It would be customary for the wife to take on the husband’s religion. Imagine the reaction to Peter suggesting that yes, Christian wives should submit to their husbands, but so that their husbands would become Christians.
Radical! Wives are encouraged to live from the inside out, with beauty and strength of character that is rooted in hope in God (5) and is fearless (6). Submission is not to stem from fear of an over-powering husband. Radical! Verse 7 affirms the absolute equality of women and men—heirs together of all that Christ has ushered in with the coming of his kingdom. Radical!
It is estimated that just over a third of women worldwide have experienced intimate partner violence (WHO Violence Against Women Factsheet, 2017). In a number of countries churches are using the Bible to address this serious problem. In what ways do you think wives and husbands would be encouraged and challenged by this part of the letter when it was first read? Does it challenge stereotypes in your context?
Consider the acceptable norms of marriage adopted by most people in your culture.
Lord, I pray that Christian marriages will be marked by the radicalism that Jesus brings.