Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
February 21, 2010
1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
1901 ASV Translation:
1 In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives;
2 beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel;
4 but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner aforetime the holy women also, who hoped in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands:
6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose children ye now are, if ye do well, and are not put in fear by any terror.
- I. Peter's Third Step Into the Particulars.
- A. The issue: maintaining a legitimate demonstration of the true character of God (2:9, 12).
- B. The most fundamental "attitude": submission (2:13, 18; 3:1, 5).
- C. The most fundamental "difficulty": fear (3:6, 14).
- D. The most fundamental "relationships": believers/God and husbands/wives.
- 1. Since this "instruction" comes from a bonafide "apostle", the real issue is that this is a declaration of the "will of God". This means that the most fundamental relationship is that one in which a "believer" relates to "God". And it also means that the major "difficulty" (fear) immediately springs the issue of "attitude" into being. The fact is this: human beings are loathe to surrender what they consider to be their most fundamental "right" -- self-determination. And following on its heels is this also true fact: conversion to Christ does not automatically lead to any kind of across-the-board "submission". It should. The logic of such a submission is unassailable. But, the sad fact remains: as long as humankind's "love" is unperfected and its "faith" is flighty, rebellion lurks just beneath the surface all the time.
- 2. Since this "instruction" addresses "the wives" with a "likewise being subjected", the secondary relationship is that of wives to husbands. This "relationship" is the original battleground wherein all of the wickedness that is in the world was given an open door. The issue in that original conquest was not Eve's love for Adam. Nor was it Adam's love for Eve. It was humankind's love for God. The weakness of that love was exploited by the serpent because he believed that Adam's love for God was too undeveloped to stand the onslaught. Turns out, he was right. Eve, clearly, did not love Adam sufficiently. Adam, clearly, did not love Eve sufficiently. But neither of them loved God sufficiently. But the serpent attacked the "wife" because he knew that she was the most susceptible. Paul claimed that her susceptibility was, at least in part, ignorance (1 Timothy 2:14), but, in the final analysis, "ignorance" is only a real problem when "love" is deficient.
- 3. It is interesting that Peter's thought in this paragraph is focused upon a reversal of the serpent's methodology. It was through the wife that Adam was destroyed and Peter says that it may well be that it will be through the wife that the husband is recovered. And, just as the initial "secondary level" of difficulty was "submission", so also in Peter's thought, the current "secondary level" of difficulty is the same. At some point, someone has to love God sufficiently to yield to Him. Peter puts the load on the daughters of Eve who initially failed.
- a. These facts stand.
- 1) Adam's sin is visited upon all of the sons of Adam.
- 2) Eve's sin is visited upon all of the daughters of Eve.
- b. In view of them, at some point someone has to "undo" Adam's sin so that those affected by it can be redeemed.
- 1) Theologically, it was Jesus who "undid" Adam's sin by taking His place as both male and female (female in submission to the Father; male in headship over the Church).
- 2) Textually, Peter puts the possibility of a particular "undoing" before the wife; not the husband. I am unaware of any text of Scripture that makes the same claim of possibility for the husband. The reason? Possibly this: "dominion" (headship) does not "convert"; "submission" does. That God is God does not convert; that God is Love does. But "God is Love" is primarily known by the submission of Jesus to the Father in view of the cross.