"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that
even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the
conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by
fear." 1 Peter3:1-2
- Wives are to, "likewise" be submissive to their own husbands.
- Like the rest of God's beloved (1 Peter 2:11).
- Like a sojourner and a pilgrim (1 Peter 2:11)
- Like when one is among the Gentiles (unbelievers) having honorable conduct (1 Peter 2:11-12)
- Like all these as they submit (willfully as a free man and willing slave of God 1 Peter 2:16) to "every ordinance of man" (man's laws/government 1 Peter 2:13-17)
- And like all these as they submit to bosses (masters 1 Peter 2:18-20)).
- Most of all, like Christ submitted to earthly government, though He didn't sin and suffered willingly to bear our sins that we might know God's forgiveness.
- Being a wife doesn't negate the "normal" Christian life (not so normal it seems these days but it is to be the norm of the Christian life) and character of being a sojourner and pilgrim on this earth, as one who is free, but a willing slave of God, submitting to earthly authority.
- Wifehood doesn't cancel out sojourning and pilgriming as a citizen of a kingdom of God living on this earth.
- Our husbands aren't less than government and bosses. (Because of love they really should be honored even more.)
It's not about being a wife (as though she
is less than her husband), it's about being a Christian who
is not greater than Christ who submitted willfully to human
It's not about being a woman (as though
she is less than a man), it's about being a sojourner and
pilgrim who is not greater than the KING of the kingdom she is now a citizen
For Part 2 I want to look at why. Why does God's word say a wife is to submit to her own husband just as any other member of His kingdom submits to governmental rulers and bosses, and as the KING of His kingdom submitted to earthly authorities? Why? I believe because God wants to win husbands and the person He may use to do that is a wife!
The examples in 1 Peter 2:11-12 (sojourners/pilgrims before unbelievers), and 1 Peter 2:13-17 (towards government), and 1 Peter 2:21-25 (as Christ before government and earthly authorities) all show a pattern, not just of doing whatever the government or boss says (though there is that pattern saving only what violates one's conscience before God or stops the spreading/speaking/teaching of the Gospel), but also living a life of doing good to, and among, those entities that God might be glorified.
It is no different for a wife- it is what she does, not just what she doesn't do or what she says...it's the way she lives, the "conversation" (KJV) of her life which glorifies God before her husband and may win him, whether he obeys God or not.
I want to say something about "winning" a husband too. A wife may "win" her believing husband just as much as she "wins" an unbelieving one by her conduct.
The "even if some do not" statement in 1 Peter 3:1 implies this is something a wife is to do whether her husband obeys or disobeys God's word. A wife of an unbelieving husband may win him to placing his faith in Christ (salvation) by her conduct as a sojourner and pilgrim on this earth as she obstains from fleshly lusts and submits to her husband willingly as a free woman yet God's willing slave. And a wife of a believing husband may win him to give all diligence to add to his saving faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverence, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7).
It's just as the Spirit says in James 5:19-20 (I like the way the KJV puts it here):
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from
death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
I always think of "convert" as meaning "get saved." But James here is talking to the brethren... Christians. He's saying, if any Christian becomes one who does not obey God's Word, another Christian may convert him...win him back to obedience to God and save that Christian from suffering death in their soul (this is not damnation to hell but rather experiencing death in their mind and emotions), and that kind of converting (or winning) covers a multitude of sins.
The word won in this passage in 1 Peter 3 is the Greek word kerdaino and it means to gain.
Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault
between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your
brother." (Matthew 18:15)
A wife may win or gain not only her unbelieving husband over to faith in Christ but she may also win or gain her believing husband to walking more and more by faith in Christ.
In both cases she does it not just by what she says but by what her LIFE says! Does her life say, "Sojourner. Pilgrim. Not here to fulfill my own desires. Not here to make myself happy. Not here to make you like me. Here to glorify God on the earth. Here to do you good. Here to show you the same grace and unearned respect Christ showed me."?
For those of you who enjoy digging a little deeper, here are the Greek meanings of some of the key words from this study:
- won; Greek (2770) kerdaino- to gain
- sojourner; Greek (3941) paroikos- a stranger, a foreigner, one who lives in a place without the right of citizenship
(THINK ABOUT THAT IN LIGHT OF BEING A WIFE IN THIS PASSAGE- a wife who lives in her home without right of citizenship, like a stranger.)
- pilgrim; Greek (3927) parepidemos- one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there by the side of the natives, a stranger.
- submissive; Greek (5293) hupotasso- to arrange under, to subject one's self, to yield to one's admonition or advice... non-military use: a voluntary attitude of giving in or cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.
- conduct; Greek, anastrophe- manner of life, conduct, behavior, deportment. (interesting word origin: anastrepho- to turn upside down, overturn, to turn back, to turn hither and tither, to turn one's self about, sojourn dwell in a place.
(It's as though the LORD is saying, "have a 'turned around' sojourner conduct." Scriptures that use this root word for conduct are 2 Cor. 1:12, Eph. 2:3, 1 Tim. 3:15, Heb 13:18)
- chaste; Greek (53) hagnos- exciting reverence, venerable, sacred, pure from carnality, modest, pure from every fault, immaculate, clean. Same word as (40) hagios which means: most holy thing, a saint.
Just for further understanding I also looked up venerable and exciting in the dictionary online (Dictionary.com):
- venerable- commanding respect because of great age or impressive dignity...noble character
- exciting- producing excitement, stirring.
- reverence- attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.
Our conduct as wives is to be no less than a sojourner and pilgrim- a bondservant of God. It is to be as though we were before an unbeliever, an earthly ruler or a boss. It, as with other bondservants of God, is to be a conduct which excites reverence, fearing God not man.
Christ is our example of what it means to excite reverence. It doesn't mean be a snob or "holier than thou." It means know you're a child of God. Know He's given you all things in Christ and willingly lay all that aside to show grace and mercy to others even if they treat you harshly for it. It also means doing what's right and showing mercy to those who don't while not doing what they do. It means speaking the truth in love. It means not acting in the sinful ways you see others act but reaching out to them with the Gospel while doing good towards them.
I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts!
Do I live out my wifehood like a sojourner and a
Do I give my husband as much (or more) honor and willing
submission as I would a governmental leader or boss?
Does my life around my husband excite