Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
February 28, 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. The potential.
- a. Peter's scenario is that of a "disobedient husband".
- 1) His term for "disobedient" is couched in terms of "because there is no 'persuasion', there is no 'belief', so there cannot be any 'obedience' to the Word".
- 2) The outcome of such a state of being for a "man" is total fleshliness. This spells some serious difficulties for any "wife".
- b. Peter holds out only "possibility": that the "wife" might "win" the husband.
- 1) Peter's term is used in the New Testament to refer to "outcomes"; not necessarily good ones (Acts 27:21). The word is used in several cases to refer to getting someone to come to the faith. It is also used several times to refer to obtaining material wealth. And, Paul used it in Philippians 3:8 to refer to obtaining a relationship with Christ. Invariably, the term is used in contexts where certain specific "actions" are undertaken in order to "obtain" certain specified "results". This is deliberately utilizing the cause/effect reality of creation.
- 2) The "problem" with deliberate utilization of the cause/effect reality is that it does not always "work" because most "effects" require a coalescing of multiple "cause-streams" and a diverting of any of those "cause-streams" could frustrate the intended result. In the Bible, a person is considered to be "wise" if he/she is able to instigate the required "cause-streams" and keep them from being sabotaged, and is considered to be "foolish" if he/she instigates a "cause-stream" that will sabotage the desired result. Therefore, Peter's term indicates that we should be looking for the necessary "cause-streams".
- 2. The required "cause-streams".
- a. The first given is "without-a-word-behavior".
- 1) The word translated "conversation/behavior" is a word that does not mean what we mean when we use the word "conversation". We mean "talk"; Peter meant "action". The New Testament presents a sharp understanding that "words are cheap", but "deeds are impressive" (1 John 3:18). Even God resorted to "behavior" instead of words when He wished to bring home the truth of His Love (1 John 4:9).
- 2) This does not mean that a "wife" cannot speak to her husband, but it does mean that there are some things that she cannot say to him.
- a) Among those things that she cannot say are those that are found in the imperative voice.
- b) Among those things that she cannot say are those that are contradictory to his words.
- c) Among those things that she cannot say are those that are intended to create feelings of guilt.
- d) Among those things that she cannot say are those that have their roots in "the Word" as an expression of the Gospel's summons to repentance.
- 3) Any "wife" who does not abide by this "cause-stream" is foolishly introducing a "cause-stream" that has all the potential of destroying her objective rather than achieving it.
- b. The second given is "behavior" that is "driven by fear" and "characterized as guiltless".
- 1) The phrase is literally, "the by-fear guiltless behavior".
- 2) The issue here is not the wife's behavior toward her husband. The term is primarily used of "guiltlessness" before God. Therefore, the "fear" is not of her husband, but of God and has to do, not with consequences in her relationship with her husband, but with consequences in her relationship with her God. Peter is writing of a life lived under the compelling love of/for God that "fears" doing things that disrupt the free-flow of Life from Him to her. She is not afraid of what the will of God might mean for her; she is afraid of what being out of the will of God might mean.
- 3) Any "wife" who does not abide in this "cause-stream" is foolishly introducing a "cause-stream" that has all the potential of destroying her husband rather than gaining him.