Lord, teach me to submit to all authority.
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)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard” (Psa. 133:1,2, The Message). Do you welcome metaphorical oil flowing in your relationships?
As a woman, I often wonder why, when all of us are called to submit, it is women who are singled out most often for the reminders in our churches. Wives are to submit (1) out of reverence for the one who created us and is our Master, but so likewise are the husbands (7, KJV). Peter points particularly to the importance of the wife’s inner attitude when the husband is not a Christian.
Paul similarly presents his advice for marriage in this same reciprocal balance under the initial command, “Submit to one another” (Eph. 5:21–25). Wives, submit; and husbands, be prepared like Christ to die for it! Respect is also a key word. Some commentators make too big a distinction based on the Ephesians passage between loving and respecting your marriage partner: husbands are to love, women are to respect. Both respect and self- sacriﬁcing considerate love may not be easy at times, but for both we can pray to receive a change in attitude as a grace gift from God. Fortunately, Christ is not only our model but our source of power—to love and to respect.
God’s plan is not for people to live in tyranny or injustice. For slaves, the advice is to take freedom if it is offered. For wives and husbands, the advice is to “live as free people” (1 Pet. 2:16, NRSV) in God’s plan for marriage. This does not include using that freedom to undermine or exploit one’s partner or to hide one’s evil behind closed doors. Nor does it mean accepting abuse without seeking remedy. That is not God’s plan for his people. He wants to provide a way through to peace.
This chapter includes advice about a speciﬁc relationship— marriage. What can it teach us, however, about how men and women are to relate to one another in general?
Lord, Your people seek harmony in the marriage relationship. Help us to closely follow Your guidelines so that we can accomplish just that.