Tuesday: Wives and Husbands
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Read 1 Peter 3:1-7. What special circumstance is Peter addressing in this passage? How is what is said relevant to marriage in today’s society?

There is one significant clue in the text that enables the careful reader to work out the issue that Peter deals with in 1 Peter 3:1-7. In 1 Peter 3:1, Peter says he is talking about husbands who “obey not the word.”

A Comforting Hand

Image © Bjorn Thorkelson from GoodSalt.com

In other words, Peter is talking about what should happen when a wife who is a Christian is married to a husband who is not (even if the number who don’t believe are few).

A Christian wife would find many difficulties being married to a husband who does not share her faith. What should happen in these circumstances? Should she separate from her husband? Peter, like Paul elsewhere, does not suggest that Christian wives leave their nonbelieving husbands (see 1 Cor. 7:12-16). Instead, says Peter, wives with a husband who is not a believer must live exemplary lives.

The roles available to women in the first-century Roman Empire were determined largely by the individual society. Roman wives, for example, had more rights under the law regarding property and legal redress than would most of the women to whom Peter is writing. But in some first-century societies, women were excluded from involvement in politics, government, and leadership in most religions. Peter urges Christian women to take on a set of standards that would be admirable in the context in which they found themselves. He urges them to purity and reverence (1 Pet. 3:2, NRSV). He suggests that a Christian woman should be more interested in her inward beauty than in the adornment of fashionable hairstyles, jewelry, and expensive clothing (1 Pet. 3:3-5). A Christian woman will conduct herself in a manner that will recommend Christianity to the one who lives with her in a most intimate manner-her husband.

Peter’s words should not be taken by husbands as a license to mistreat their wives in any way. As he points out, husbands should show consideration to their wives (1 Pet. 3:7).

While Peter is addressing a specific issue-Christian wives married to nonbelievers-we can see a little of the ideal of Christian marriage: Christian partners should live in mutual support, living their lives with transparent integrity as they worship God through their everyday activities.

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Amen!(28)

Comments

Tuesday: Wives and Husbands — 25 Comments

  1. I believe Husbands and wives that are Christians should live by God's principles, according to the bible declares. Jesus is the Head of the family, not the wife or the husband. Usually when there is a boss in a relationship, that relationship could be vanish gradually for many reasons. Both are God's children, for this reason both should submit to God. If they are abiding to God's rules, they will have a wonderfu Spirutual life together.

    Married couple, when one them is not Christians, the situation becomes distress. One is following God's principles, and the other is not. Now there is a separate life adding to this matter. I don't really have anything to suggest, this is really a complex situation. Unless that husband has a comprehensive wife or the wife has a thougtful husband. The good news is, if they really have love for each other deeply with tolerence, I think they will survive the new life Christianity. Love conquers all.

    Amen!(35)
    • Yes Nancy both should submit to God as Christians,but more so follow after the order in which God outlayed where the husbands takes his guidance directly from Christ as his head, and leads his wife in righteousness. The wife which is a Christian will have no problem submitting to her husband as unto God, because he is to be in submission unto Christ and therefore should be leading in righteousness. Also the bible teaches that husband and wife must submit one unto the other which rules out the developmemt of a boss syndrome yet takes nothing away from the man being the head of the woman and the woman needing to ensure that she respects or reverence her husband as her lord through whom the Lord Almighty is using to give direction to the family as He unfolds His will in families as He has it in Heaven. So the call goes out especially to women who profess godliness, to make a more determined effort to respect God's calling and leading in your hudband's life, and to be a strong praying, patient,non nagging, supportive wife allowing God Almighty to work out His purpose for the family.

      Amen!(20)
      • Ok Edwin, I got your point and I undersdand your whole comment.

        What I'm trying to let people see is that the woman is not a child and she is entitled to make her own decisions. Remember God created us with our ability to make choices and He has great respect for us, so the husband and the wife should too. The woman is the man's companion and he represents his wife and she is not his child and he is not to make all decisions for her . Even with a child, you can't make all decisions for him/her. The child can say, "No Mommy or no Daddy, I do not like that toy or clothes. And you have to respect your child's decision.

        The most important thing is, if the husband and wife are abiding with God's ordinance, with love, both should not be worried who is the boss. Really, all
        they have to do is work together with God's Love and consult with one another before a decision is made. If disagreement happens, just take it together to the Lord with humbleness until God gives an answer. I believe He will. During the time making decision, continue to be friends for God's sake and for your marriage.

        Jesus calls us friends, not servants anymore. He says a servant does not know what his master is doing, but a friend knows what his/her friend is doing.
        Therefore husband and wife should be friends in the Lord's name. I beleive they will have the most beautiful relationship in God's eyes and the world.

        Amen!(14)
        • Ephesians 5:22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
          23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
          24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
          25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

          We are created in the image of God. In heaven there is also administration with God the Father being the head of Christ. It does not make Christ any less than God.

          Same here on earth. If the husband leads the house like Christ leads the Church in righteousness. Like Edwin said then the wife will have no problem with it. When God introduced mankind to the earth for the first and second time(Noah) he did not speak to the women but spoke to Adam and to Noah and they gave it to their wives and children. God never changes. But the world out there asks men to respect women but never asks women to respect men anymore. Why?

          Amen!(4)
          • I myself support the idea that while the man is the head of the family, the woman is his neck - the support of the head. Many women (I can't honestly assume all) within the Christian community also understand and accept this dynamic, so asking women to respect men within the Christian community is like preaching to the choir. However, history - both past and current - is rife with examples of how women have been abused and demeaned (physically, mentally and sexually) which was not how God originally designed the male-female relationship to be (Eve was to be treated and cherished as Adam's equal and helpmate). I think this lopsidedness, this deficit of respect, is why the world focuses more on asking men to respect women.

            Amen!(4)
  2. "The work of making home happy does not rest upon the mother alone.
    Father have an important role to play. The husband is the house-band of the treasures, binding by his strong , earnest, devoted affection the members of the household. Father has to have a pure, holy atmosphere that will surround your souls. Never, never are you to show a tyrannical spirit in the home.The man who does this is working with in partnership with satanic agencies. Bring your will into submission to the will of God. Take the word of God as the man of your counsel. Angels of God will cooperate with you, helping you to reveal Christ to the world. "
    Quotes from Ellen G. White, Adventist Home, Pages 211, 213

    Amen!(11)
  3. How does this specific issue relate to couples in a courtship relationship?
    Are they part of the category of husband and wife before a consecration ceremony has been presented to the Lord in a form of wedding vows and in front of a crowd of witnesses?

    Amen!(1)
  4. Much as Peter addresses wives married to non christian husbands, I do not see it as default that those married to Christians do behave as rightly so as it should be. Especially on matters of inner beauty vis a vis external adornment and the affordability of respect to their husbands. And thus, these lessons would still apply to all wives. But importantly also, that a husband who does not honor his wife will not be heard of God. It is an important lesson here and far much more requiring of husbands. In other words, if you do not honor your wife, do not bother to pray, I will not hear you!!

    Amen!(5)
  5. I just have a quick question, how do we compare today's lesson with the scripture that refers to not being equally yoked with unbelievers?
    From I child I thought one should marry with someone of your same faith, unless of course Peter is giving us instructions that just in case that doesn't happen this is the approach that husbands and wives should take.
    I await feedback. Have a blessed week.

    Amen!(3)
    • Natalie, there have been millions of cases when one of the married couple members became a believer AFTER they got married. The greater percentage is the wife becomes a believer first.

      Amen!(9)
  6. Satan does not let up on couples that are not in harmony. The position of the Christian is quite sensitive and demanding. It is like Jesus coming to a planet that thinks and acts completely contrary to him. Going forward in a wise and steady pace with lots of prayer is the only way to survive such a condition. Yet God's grace is sufficient for the ordeal, as it was for Jesus.

    Amen!(5)
  7. Marriage fails because people do not know how to love. To love yourself in the right and balanced way is the key for a successfull relationship.

    Amen!(4)
  8. The Biblical lessons of democracy from Genesis, Exodus, Timothy and Peter apply to marriage in that there will be no unity without a proper response to leadership. Let us not disregard what God says.

    Amen!(5)
    • Eugene, I so agree with you. The fact of the matter is that the bible says the husband is the head of the family. Call it boss or leader or whatever else, he is the HEAD. He is leader, protector , provider, companion, and so many other features that encompass the role of leader. He is lover, first of God then of his family and will at the last day give an account for them to God. His role as leader in no way diminishes the wife's role as friend, carer, nurturer confidant and all the other nice things that she is or can be. I think the problem comes when husbands do not function in the capacity God told them to and also when women try to take that role.
      Come on husbands, listen the Lord your God and do not shy away from your God-given responsibilities. Blessings.

      Amen!(5)
  9. Hi Natalie,

    I think Peter is referring to wives who have joined the church after marriage. This often happens as in the case of my mother. She and my father were married before she joined the Adventist church.

    Amen!(3)
  10. Consider the Virtuous Woman- Proverbs 31:10-31. She runs the household, makes important decisions for the family, is honored, loved and respected. However she does not contend for the role of spiritual leader. Husbands and wives truly submitting to Christ as he did to his Father for the Church will not create boss/servant or parent/child relationships in marriage.

    Amen!(5)
  11. I am an Adventist for 4 yrs, but my husband is Catholic. With too many problems, he asked me to leave the house and he want to get divorce. But what ever happens I will continue to pray and ask God peace.

    Amen!(7)
  12. All the advice/comments above sound good, but in real life it don't always work like that. I married a man whom makes NO decision's after we were married. He made plenty while courting, and soon as we said I do, he was done. So I had no choice but to make 'em. So after 15 years of marriage, it was just to heavy, so we divorced. Wonder what the Bible & the folks who like to give advice to others, have to offer here.

    Amen!(0)
  13. [This comment has been moved from Wednesday: Social Relationships to Tuesday's lesson, Wives and Husbands]

    What does the sudden shift in 1Peter 3:3 about the "outward adornment" of wives have to do with "social relationships" as if somehow these principles only apply to "women" and not to "men?" or as if jewelry is not to be worn by "Christians" men or women at all?

    And then in verse 3:5 Peter goes on to apparently support his idea from the "outward adornment" of "old time women" and mentions Sarah, Abrahams wife by name? Yet when one looks at Old Testament Scripture in Genesis the entire chapter 24 of that book gives the account of Abraham sending his servant to get a wife for Isaac and how that servant puts earings, and bracelets on Rebekah Isaacs' Bride To Be and how Rebekah did not refuse to wear any of these jewels? Was not Rebekah also one of those "Holy Women" of "Old Time?"

    These 2 verses in 1Peter 3:3,5 is only one of two places in the New Testament, the other one being from the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:9,10 where Paul counsels the "adornment" of women to be that of "women professing Godliness with good works." Well, was not Rebekah, Isaacs' wife a "Holy Women" of "Good works?" And she wore earrings and bracelets etc.!?

    Amen!(3)
  14. This passage (1 Peter 3:1 - 7) is addressed to all wives especially those of non-believers. Peter was writing at a time when certain women had converted to Christianity while their husbands had not. He wrote to give counsel on how a Christian wife should behave in that situation. In 1 Peter 1:15 he advised that a Christian wife must live a holy life,trusting God as well as respecting and obeying her husband. In this way wives would become the primary means of winning over unbelieving husbands.

    He further instructs wives that their beauty should not just be external but be the inner person of the heart. Such beauty is lasting, is of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight. The “inner person of the heart” (v. 4) is meant to denote a person’s thoughts, dispositions,and intentions, acting in accordance to the will of God. Further, he reminds us that Sarah called Abraham "master" because she respected him as her husband.

    Peter stresses the point that reciprocity is the key to true Christian relationships. It is the husband's duty to his wife to give due honour, respect to her because she is precious. He should protect and place trust in her. If a husband behaves badly towards his wife, he does not obey God.

    Amen!(4)
  15. I find this discussion quite interesting.

    Whether Peter is referring to a nonbeliever/believer husband and wife relationship which existed prior to or developed after marriage, the bottom line is that this is a reality which exists in our church today and which I am quite happy to see a lesson finally address.

    As a wife in a loving relationship with such a non-believer (in my case I married my husband - both of us fully aware there would be areas where tolerance and respect needed to dominate) I do not always appreciate when the dominant message I get from unequally yoked sermons is to leave my husband.

    He is a wonderful husband who simply has not yet been converted fully by the Holy Spirit. Converting him as this lesson highlights, is not my task by nagging him about being weak here (it is the Holy Spirit who does convicting and converting not me), but rather it is God's will that I continue to exhibit Christian virtues and be a loving supportive and praying wife such that he continues to see the reality of Christianity lived out in me and hopefully be led to Christ one day.

    But...even if he isn't, I will continue to live the christian life I have led before, and guide our children similarly. At the end of the day despite being joined as one on this earth, we will be judged and saved as individuals on that final day.

    My plea to us as christian brothers and sisters is this -to please stop preaching only the negative and be more supportive of families facing these situations. Be welcoming to non-believing spouses as a church and not simply judgmental. These spouses already know they are not where they should be spiritually, how about loving them into the church more? Letting them see the beauty of the fellowship they are missing?

    I see this lesson as instigating a call for greater focus on ministry in this area because I believe as we move towards the last days and the Devil intensifies his attack on our families we may be seeing more of this family type developing and the answer cannot always be leave or divorce him or her.

    From a wife who loves God, loves her church and loves her husband who is currently not a beleiver.

    Amen!(18)
  16. This is usually the problem! Always jumping to the question of equality, who is the head and who should respect who. The lesson for today is about how a Christian woman should relate to a non believing spouse.

    Amen!(3)
    • Dear "Equal," You made my day when I read your comment this morning before heading off to church to teach the lesson. Your honesty is refreshing, and more of that on this blog would make it much more interesting. 🙂

      So I began the lesson by sharing your comment and how refreshingly honest I found it. But then I asked, "What would you say to this woman in light of the lesson we have studied this week?"

      The answer I got from Amy was that, "Submission is the way to heaven." You see, that's what Jesus taught. He taught that the values of His Kingdom are directly upside-down from the values of this world - that whoever wanted to be great in His Kingdom would become great by being the servant of all. (Matt 20:26) In fact, that's exactly how Christ demonstrated His greatness, and the Apostle Paul calls us to have His mind in us. (Phil 2:3-11)

      Now do you suppose those values are only for women? Does God not want men to be saved too?

      And how does this play out in husband - wife relationships? Paul gives us a clue in Ephesians 5. Unfortunately too many people begin reading with verse 22. That distorts Paul's message. Now please read the whole passage: Eph. 5:21-30 NLT)

      Notice two things:
      1) Eph 5:21 NLT calls for all members of the body of Christ to submit to one another.
      2) Paul appears to ask more of husbands than of wives in Eph. 5:25 NLT. He asks husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself (i.e. died) for her (the church). Is there any greater service to another person than to die for that person?

      So then, it seems to me that wives are to serve their husbands and husbands are to serve their wives. No inequality there.

      So, dear "Equal" it's quite possible to practice for heaven within marriage. In fact, marriage seems to be a good school for heaven. (But then Paul says it's better to be unmarried like him, but that's another story. ;))

      Thank you for inspiring a great discussion in our Sabbath School class today by your honest comment. Please stick around to participate in our discussions on this blog.

      Amen!(1)

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