1 Peter 3 - Outlines of 1 & 2 Peter (MENU page)
III. Suffering and the Suffering of Christ (ch.2-4)
(B.) Produces Christian Conduct (ch.3)
  1. Christian Conduct in the Home (v.1-7)
  2. Christian Conduct in the Church (v.8-12)
  3. Christian Conduct in the World (v.12-17)
  4. Christ's Suffering, as it applies to us, and as preached by the Spirit in Noah's day (v.18-22)
1. Christian Conduct in the Home (v.1-7)
3:1 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
{ie., manner of life} of the wives;
3:2 While they behold your chaste
{GK=hagnos, holy, pure} conversation [coupled] with fear.
3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting
{braiding} the hair,
and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
3:4 But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible,
{cp. Psa 45:13; 51:6; Eph 4:22-24; 1Pet 1:23}
[even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
3:5 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:
3:6 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
{GK=ptoesis, terror}.
3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge,
giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel,
and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Likewise...(v.1) - ie., in keeping with the example of Christ (2:21-23),
and in submission to the order of society, established by God, who has assigned authority to governors (2:13,14), to masters (2:18), and to husbands (v.1-6)...
ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands... (v.1,5,6)-
'subjection' is GK=hupotasso, a military term meaning 'to be arranged in order under a leader' [eg., troops under a captain], 'to be placed according to rank.' This word is translated 'submit' and 'be subject' in 2:13,18.
Sarah called Abraham 'lord' {HB=adon, master, head of the house, husband. Gen 18:12} because ''she recognised and submitted to his Divinely-given authority.'' [GWms] 1Cor 11:3; cp. 1Tim 2:9-14
that if any obey not the word...- ie., if any husband is an unbeliever (cp. Rom 10:16; 1Pet 1:22; 4:17).
    The believing wife is to honor her unbelieving husband by submitting to his position as head of the house. Compare Eph 5:21-25 which speaks of submission to a believing spouse. In the one case, the relationship is governed by the fear of God, in the other it may be burdened by the fear of man.
    The last line of v.6, provides an exception: "as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement {ie., terror}." A godly wife is not expected to remain in a dangerously abusive situation, where she is in fear for her life, or for the safety of herself or the children.
    The contrast underlines the practical importance of 2Cor 6:14. Yet, sometimes, two unbelievers marry, and later the wife becomes a believer.
...they may without the word be won by the conversation {ie., manner of life, or behavior of the wife};
While they behold your chaste {GK=hagnos, holy, pure} conversation [coupled] with fear. -
  • The testimony of the believing wife is to be proclaimed by her life, which reflects her fear of God (1Pet 1:17; 2:17).
    She is to attend to the 'adorning' {GK=kosmos, order, arrangement} of her inner person -
    1. chaste conduct (according to the fear {GK=phobos, fear, reverence} of the Lord)
    2. a meek and quiet spirit (attention to inward, rather than external, beauty)-
      • 'Meekness' implies complete submission to God's will, and total dependence upon Him for enabling, to obey Him and to endure difficult circumstances.
      • A 'quiet' spirit is 'peaceable' (cp. word in 1Tim 2:2), not demanding its self-interests, but resting its case with God. (cp. Mat 5:5; 11:28-30; 1Pet 2:23)
    3. trust in God, which inspite of the potential terrors involved (cp. v.6; 14; Php 1:28)-
      • enables her to submit, even to a 'froward' husband, cp. 2:18-20
      • enables her to persist in godly living, though threatened by an ungodly husband. cp. v.16,17
  • 'The Faith' of the believing wife is to be explained by 'the Word,' when the unbeliever, prepared through observation of truth lived out in his wife's godly life (v.1), is ready to hear. A hearing is won by the wife's behavior (v.15). But belief unto Salvation comes only through obedience to 'the Word' (1:23).
{Likewise}, ye husbands...- In keeping with the example of Christ (2:21-25; cp. Eph 5:25-33),
a believing husband is to fulfill his position of responsibility for his wife and family.
  • dwell with them...- (physically) cp. Gen 2:23,24; Prov 5:15-19; Mal 2:14-16; Mat 19:9; 1Cor 7:1-5
    ...according to knowledge- (intellectually) GK=gnosis, understanding.
    He is to be sensitive to her needs (Eph 5:14-15,25-26,28,31), as Christ knows and cares for the needs of His Bride (cp. Joh 10:27). In all seven letters to the churches, the Lord expresses His intimate knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of each assembly (eg., Rev 2:2, etc.).
  • giving honor... - GK='time', value, weight.
    He is to consider her concerns seriously, weighing her input before making decisions.
    1. ...as unto the weaker vessel- (emotionally)
      He is to be her protector and provider. 1Tim 5:8
      He is to be her leader, seeking God's will above his own, and above hers.
      cp. 1Tim 2:13,14; Gen 3:6
    2. ...as being heirs together...- (spiritually) cp. 1Pet 1:3-5
    3. ...that your prayers be not hindered- cp. Mat 5:23,24; 18:19; Eph 4:30; 6:18
2. Christian Conduct in the Church (v.8-12)
3:8 Finally,
{ie., In applying Christ's example, we have considered wives, husbands, and now the whole church.}
[be ye] all of one mind, {as to our common Lord and purpose, though we differ in our roles}
having compassion
{GK=sumpathes, sympathetic feeling for and with} one of another,
{Rom 12:15,16; 15:5-7; 1Cor 1:10; Eph 4:1-7; Php 2:1-11}
love as brethren,
[be] pitiful
{ie., tender hearted toward one another},
[be] courteous
{ie., friendly, kind}:
{Eph 4:31 - 5:2; Php 4:8,9; 1The 4:9; 1Pet 1:22; 2:17; 4:8; 5:14}
3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing {ie., reviling}: but contrariwise blessing;
knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
These admonitions are addressed to believers, lest they behave toward one another in the manner that the world deals with them (1Pet 2:1,20-23; Rom 12:14,17-21).
3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days,
let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
{cp. Psa 141:3; Jam 3:5-18}
3:11 Let him eschew
{ie., avoid, shun} evil, and do good;
let him seek peace, and ensue it.
{ie., pursue it. cp. Rom 14:19}
3:12 For the eyes of the Lord [are] over the righteous, and his ears [are open] unto their prayers:
but the face of the Lord [is] against them that do evil.
'good days' (v.10)- are not days without trouble, but days surrendered to, and filled by, the Lord.
This is brought out by vs.10-12 which quote Psalm 34:12-16.
This is the theme of the entire Psalm 34, in which the psalmist...
  • 'magnifies the Lord,' though afflicted by 'fears' (Psa 34:1-4),
  • testifies that the Lord hears and answers prayer, and delivers from all 'troubles' (Psa 34:4-7),
  • tastes the Lord's goodness and provision, in anticipation of the 'lack' and 'hunger' of enemies (Psa 34:8-10),
  • lives in fear of the Lord, to please Him, knowing that He sees and hears (Psa 34:11-16),
  • awaits deliverence, while his broken heart is comforted by the Lord's presence (Psa 34:17-21).
the righteous... His ears are open to their prayers.-
Misbehavior between brethren often hinders the effectiveness of the prayers of the church (v.7; Jam 5:16).
3. Christian Conduct in the World (v.12-17)
3:13 And who [is] he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? {cp. 2:13-15}
3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy [are ye]:
{cp. Mat 5:10-12; 1Pet 4:13-16}
and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
{cp. Mat 10:28; Php 1:27-29}
3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and [be] ready always to [give] an answer
to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you
{1:3-5},
with meekness
{cp. 2Tim 2:24-26} and fear {cp. 2Cor 5:11}:
3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers,
they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation
{ie., manner of life} in Christ.
3:17 For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
sanctify the Lord God in your hearts...(v.15)- (or, ''In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.'' [NIV])
(a partial quote from Isa 8:13,14)... ie., 'Make your heart a sanctuary for the Lord.'
  • In the context of Isaiah 8, Israel had made a military alliance with Syria, in a time of crisis.
    God warned Israel that their allies would turn against them, and that He alone was their true refuge. If they placed their trust in Him alone, they would be secure. If they placed their trust elsewhere, they would stumble over Him and be broken.
    So, the persecuted believer is to take refuge in the Lord, who will not disappoint him. cp. Isa 8:9,10
  • In the face of the world's murderous hatred for the Lord and His righteousness,
    the believer holds Him dear, and knows Him to be near.
    The world will notice the believer's hope, in his hopeless situation, and ask for an explanation.
be ready {ie., fit, prepared} always to give an answer {GK=apologia, defense, a reasoned argument}-
- - Be useable by the Holy Spirit. cp. Mat 10:18-20; 2Tim 2:19-21
- - Be knowledgeable of the Word. cp. Col 4:5,6; 2Tim 2:15
having a good conscience...-
''In other words, make sure that those who speak evil of you are in error.'' [McGee]
The world ''applauds good conduct (v.13), but bitterly hates good conduct 'in Christ' (v.16).'' [GWms]
if the will of God be... that ye suffer...-
That God should allow His own to suffer, especially for well-doing, is a mystery.
But we are comforted in that ''Christ also... suffered... the just for the unjust...''
''The Divine comfort, of v.18-22, is conveyed in the statements
that Christ Himself suffered; that His preaching had so poor a response;
and that, hated and rejected by earth, He was enthroned in heaven.'' [GWms] cp. Joh 15:18-21
4. Christ's Suffering, as it applies to us, and as preached by the Spirit in Noah's day (v.18-22)
3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God,
being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
{ie., 'By the Spirit, He also went and preached (through Noah) unto the spirits who are (now) in prison,'}
3:20 Which sometime {GK=pote, once, in time past} were disobedient,
when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah,
{cp. Gen 6:3; 2Pet 3:9,10}
while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
{Gen 7:1,7}
3:21 The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us
(not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God;
angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
Christ... preached unto the spirits in prison...-
This passage: (A) does not teach that Christ preached to sinners in hell after His death,
(B) does not teach the possibility of salvation after death,
(C) does not support the idea of purgatory.
Note when this preaching took place (v.20)-
  • ''when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah,
  • while the ark was preparing.''
At that time, Christ preached -
  • by the Spirit- The same Holy Spirit who raised Him from the dead (v.18).
  • through Noah- a prophet of God who preached righteousness and judgment for 120 years before the flood came. (cp. 1Pet 1:10-12; Rev 19:10)
  • to Noah's contemporaries- But Noah's hearers rejected the message,
    perished in the Flood, and are now 'in prison' awaiting the final judgment (cp. 2Pet 2:4-9).
    Only Noah's family was saved (8 souls: Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives).
Likewise today, men disregard and mock the Gospel of Christ (cp. v.14,16; 2Pet 3:3-6).
But the judgment will come. Few will be saved. (cp. v.20; Mat 7:13,14; Luk 13:23-30)
the like figure {GK=antitupos, anti-type} whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us...-
The waters of judgment and Noah's ark provided a 'type' or picture of salvation through Christ.
Baptism into Christ is the 'anti-type' (the answer or fulfillment) of that picture.
  1. This passage does not teach that water baptism is a requirement for salvation.
    It has nothing to do with the external washing of our bodies (v.21).
    Notice that, in Noah's day, those few who ''were saved by water'' did not get wet.
    Noah and his family went into the ark and were carried safely through the waters of judgment.
  2. Baptism into Christ involves identification with Him. cp. Gal 3:26,27; 1Cor 12:12,13
    Noah believed God, and went into the ark. The ark was immersed in the angry waves.
    So, Christ took our punishment (death) upon Himself (v.18; cp. Psa 42:7).
    All who are in Christ, have passed safely through the judgment and have entered into new life (resurrection, v.21) with Him.
a good conscience toward God (v.16,21)-
  • is not obtained by external religious ritual. cp. Heb 9:9; 10:1-3
  • belongs to those who are identified with Christ-
    in death to sin, in new life toward God, and in acceptance before Him. Cp. Rom 5:1; 6:1-6; Heb 9:14; 10:19-22
who is gone into heaven...-
Christ 'once suffered,' but His temporary sufferings gave way to eternal glory.
Those who are identified with Him in suffering, will soon join Him in glory! 1Pet 1:3-9

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