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Submission, God's way

In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives. 1 Peter 3:1-2 CSB

Peter knows how important the family is in building a strong society. This is why instructions for marriage and family are needed. But despite the available information we have in our time, marriages are crumbling than ever before. Obviously, something is wrong. From the text, Peter begins with the phrase, “in the same way.” The phrase refers back to the discussion of submission by following Christ’s example (see 1 Peter 2:21-25). The Lord Jesus Christ was submissive to the Father’s will and such example should be followed by every husband and wife. Much of our learning comes from following the example of others. Peter in general terms, enumerates the duties of wives and husbands and teaches the equality of the husband and wife. Nowhere does he imply that wives are inferior to their spouses. Peter stresses the roles which each gender ought to fulfill. From the text, Peter has more to say to the woman than to the man because he addresses her in her own circumstances. In the middle of the first century, a wife was expected to profess the religion of her husband. If the husband adopted the Christian faith, his spouse would have to do so, too. But if the wife became a Christian and her husband is not, he would consider her unfaithful to him and his pagan religion. This caused tension in the home. Peter fully realizes the difficulty of Christian women whose husbands refuse to listen to the gospel. Thus, he provides the advice for believing wives to submit to their own husbands so that by their exemplary conduct they may lead their spouses to Christ. Peter says, “to your own husbands” to emphasize the bond of marriage. He confines his discussion to the family unit and does not apply it to society. Peter teaches that within the bond of marriage, the husband has authority to which his wife is expected to submit. He gives no indication that one partner is superior to the other; he intimates only that by submitting to her husband, the wife shows her submission based on God’s admonition. That is, neither Peter nor Paul formulates rules for husband and wife; God himself has established marital standards (see Genesis 3:16; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18). It is not just by our words that we provide a witness of our faith to others. Often by our behavior we are able to influence others and point them to Christ. Peter says, “When [your husbands] see the purity and reverence of your lives” (1 Peter 3:2), then “they may be won over.” God calls the Christian wife to show obedient love to her unbelieving husband so that he is able to see in her a picture of Christ’s love for the church. Not only that, as she is guided by the Word of God, she will demonstrate to her husband moral purity that is admirable thus, fulfilling His plan in order for marriage to work as God desired.


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