A word for husbands and wives-Part 1

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1       1 Peter 3:1, 2, 7 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honour to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”  Extra Reading: 1 Peter 3:1-22.

Husbands are to be the leaders in their homes (Ephesians 5:22-33) and wives are to follow their husbands leadership. If a wife has an unbelieving husband who is disobedient to the gospel, she should not try to pressure him into converting. Instead, her godly conduct will testify without a word to the truth of the gospel. Scripture never says that women in general are to be subject to men in general, but it does affirm male leadership in the home (see Titus 2:5). Scripture also affirms the equality of man and woman as being made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27; 1 Peter 3:7). A non-believing husband may be harsh with his Christian wife. But let the believing wife of such a man not quarrel or complain against her husband. Rather, let her live quietly in purity and reverence, showing respect for both her husband and for God. In this way her unbelieving husband, seeing her good behaviour, may in time be led to repent and believe in the Lord. Behaviour is always more effective than words in winning people to our side. Indeed, the best way to bring people to Christ is through our good behaviour. Verses 3 and 4 address the beauty of a woman. There is absolutely nothing wrong with women cultivating outer beauty. There are two kinds of beauty: outer or physical beauty, and inner or spiritual beauty. True beauty is inner beauty, the beauty of the inner self; this is the beauty that God sees. Inner beauty is the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit (v.4). This kind of beauty is of great worth in God’s sight. Let the beauty or adornment of the Christian wife be like that.

However, to dress attractively is not a sin. A Christian woman doesn’t have to wear tattered, worn-out clothes. Let the believing wife dress suitably and modestly (see 1 Timothy 2:9-10). In New Testament times, ungodly and worldly women customarily braided their hair and wore expensive clothes and jewelry. Therefore, it was unsuitable for Christian wives in Peter’s time to dress and wear their hair in this manner. To do so would give the appearance that they too were ungodly and worldly, and this would bring dishonor to God. But in other countries, it is customary for ordinary godly women to braid their hair and wear gold jewelry. In these countries, then, it would be suitable for Christian wives to do the same. The main rule is this: whatever a woman wears must be pleasing and honouring to God. Let the Christian wife’s main concern be to adorn her inner self. Let her remember God’s words to Samuel: “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). To illustrate his teaching, Peter cites the example of godly Old Testament wives, whose beauty consisted in their submissive and obedient spirits. Peter’s main example is Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

Prayer: God, our Father, help us as husbands and wives, to represent You well. Amen.

Rev. Samuel N. Modise

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