1 Peter 3

This devotional is written by Andy Haith.

1 Peter 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 behaviour 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 jewellery 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.

Suffering for doing good
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,

‘Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
11 They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’ 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits – 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolises baptism that now saves you also – not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand – with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.


The opening of this chapter requires a little context for a modern reader. In isolation it reads like a misogynist agenda that subordinates and looks down on women. However, this posture of submission is one that both Paul (Ephesians 5:21) and Peter advocate for all believers. In the previous chapter ‘Peter’ commissions every reader to “13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority”. It is a directive to all people, not just women. It celebrates a posture of humility that leads through service, kindness and respect for others. This is not primarily a posture for one gender but for all Christians, no matter their circumstances. As the community was dispersed in this season they were reestablishing themselves in new areas and as the burgeoning church. This was not the time for scandal, rebellion or revolt. Just as the notably naturally beautiful Sarah had graciously protected her husband’s life before Pharaoh, so the displaced Christian women should be gentle and demure in every sense for a greater purpose. Thus, the church leaders at the time were pragmatists so that the gospel would spread and nothing would be a ‘stumbling block’ (chapter 2) for new believers.

This is not a call for wives to suffer physical, mental or emotional abuse! Husbands are actually told not to use their physical strength (against their weaker counterparts) and to regard their wives as co-heirs, a potentially radical nod to equality. If you are experiencing abuse the church would only ever advocate for your safety, freedom and well being. Please ask for help if you need it.

This passage is highlighting the importance of gentleness, sacrifice and humility because that posture emulates Christ. Peter is calling us to be like Christ who suffered without retaliating, being defensive or aggressive. It calls for all people to set aside any dominating or controlling, selfish agenda and love sacrificially by the power of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is explained at the end of this chapter, and we are reminded of the power and love demonstrated by the death and resurrection of Christ. An humble act so filled with grace and power that it is retroactively able to save people who have already died (like Noah’s friends).

We can never love as sacrificially as Christ, but by the power of the Holy Spirit that ‘made [Christ] alive’ we can ‘give a reason for the hope we have’ (vs 15) through acts of love and words as well.    

No Comments