1 Peter 3:2
While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) While they behold . . .—The same curious word as in 1Peter 2:12, and the tense, which is ill-represented by “while they behold,” sets us at the moment of the triumph of the wife’s conduct, literally; having kept, or when they have kept an eye on your chaste conversation. The husband is jealously on the watch to see what his wife does who has embraced these foolish notions; at last he breaks down. Jesus must be the Messiah, or his wife could not have been so chaste! The adjective “chaste” is here to be taken in a large sense; it is the same which enters into the verb translated “purify” in 1Peter 1:22, and it is implied that the “fear” (i.e., of the husband; comp. Note on 1Peter 2:18) has been an incentive to this sweet virtue; “your life so immaculate in fear,” or even almost “so timidly pure.” Leighton says, “It is a delicate, timorous grace, afraid of the least air, or shadow of anything that hath but a resemblance of wronging it, in carriage or speech, or apparel, as follows in the third and fourth verses.”

3:1-7 The wife must discharge her duty to her own husband, though he obey not the word. We daily see how narrowly evil men watch the ways and lives of professors of religion. Putting on of apparel is not forbidden, but vanity and costliness in ornament. Religious people should take care that all their behaviour answers to their profession. But how few know the right measure and bounds of those two necessaries of life, food and raiment! Unless poverty is our carver, and cuts us short, there is scarcely any one who does not desire something beyond what is good for us. Far more are beholden to the lowliness of their state, than the lowliness of their mind; and many will not be so bounded, but lavish their time and money upon trifles. The apostle directs Christian females to put on something not corruptible, that beautifies the soul, even the graces of God's Holy Spirit. A true Christian's chief care lies in right ordering his own spirit. This will do more to fix the affections, and excite the esteem of a husband, than studied ornaments or fashionable apparel, attended by a froward and quarrelsome temper. Christians ought to do their duty to one another, from a willing mind, and in obedience to the command of God. Wives should be subject to their husbands, not from dread and amazement, but from desire to do well, and please God. The husband's duty to the wife implies giving due respect unto her, and maintaining her authority, protecting her, and placing trust in her. They are heirs together of all the blessings of this life and that which is to come, and should live peaceably one with another. Prayer sweetens their converse. And it is not enough that they pray with the family, but husband and wife together by themselves, and with their children. Those who are acquainted with prayer, find such unspeakable sweetness in it, that they will not be hindered therein. That you may pray much, live holily; and that you may live holily, be much in prayer.While they behold your chaste conversation - Your pure conduct. The word chaste here (ἁγνὴν hagnēn) refer's to purity of conduct in all respects, and not merely to chastity properly so called. It includes that, but it also embraces much more. The conduct of the wife is to be in all respects pure; and this is to be the grand instrumentality in the conversion of her husband. A wife may be strictly chaste, and yet there may be many other things in her conduct and temper which would mar the beauty of her piety, and prevent any happy influence on the mind of her husband,

Coupled with fear - The word fear, in this place, may refer either to the fear of God, or to a proper respect and reverence for their husbands, Ephesians 5:33. The trait of character which is referred to is that of proper respect and reverence in all the relations which she sustained, as opposed to a trifling and frivolous mind. Leighton suggests that the word fear here relates particularly to the other duty enjoined - that of chaste conversation - "fearing the least stain of chastity, or the very appearance of anything not suiting with it. It is a delicate, timorous grace, afraid of the least air, or shadow of anything that hath but a resemblance of wronging it, in carriage, or speech, or apparel."

2. behold—on narrowly looking into it, literally, "having closely observed."

chaste—pure, spotless, free from all impurity.

fear—reverential, towards your husbands. Scrupulously pure, as opposed to the noisy, ambitious character of worldly women.

Chaste conversation; free from all manner of impurities, and any thing contrary to the marriage covenant.

Coupled with fear; such a fear or reverence of your husbands, whereby out of the fear of God, and conscience of his command, you give them all due respect, and do not willingly displease them. See Ephesians 5:1-33; subjection is required, Ephesians 5:22, and fear, Ephesians 5:33. While they behold your chaste conversation,.... Cheerful subjection, strong affection, and inviolable attachment to them, and strict regard to the honour of the marriage state, and to the preserving of the bed undefiled with lusts and adulteries:

coupled with fear; with reverence of their husbands, giving them due honour, and showing all proper respect; or with the fear of God, which being before their eyes, and upon their hearts, engages them to such an agreeable conversation.

While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 3:2. ἐποπτεύσαντες τὴν ἐν φόβῳ ἁγνὴν ἀναστροφὴν ὑμῶν] for ἐποπτ., cf. chap. 1 Peter 2:12. The participial clause here serves as a further explanation of the preceding διὰ κ.τ.λ.

ἁγνός: “chaste,” in the full extent of the word, not only in contradistinction to πορνεία proper, but to whatsoever violates the moral relation of the subjection of the wife to her husband. This ἁγνεία is determined by ἐν φόβῳ (not equal to, in timore Dei conservato: Glossa interl.; Grotius too, Bengel, Jachmann, Weiss, Fronmüller, etc., understand by φόβος here the “fear of God”), as connected in the closest possible way with the shrinking from every violation of duty towards the husband;[168] cf. chap. 1 Peter 2:18.

[168] Schott unwarrantably maintains that in this interpretation it is not ἀναστροφή which is more precisely defined by the homogeneous adjectival expression ἐν φόβῳ ἁγνή, but ἁγνὴ ἀναστρ. by ἐν φόβῳ.1 Peter 3:2. ἐποπτεύσαντες, having contemplated; see on 1 Peter 2:12. τὴνὑμῶν. ἐν φόβῳ, cf. 1 Peter 1:17 and Ephesians 5:21. ὑποτασσόμενοι ἀλλήλοις ἐν φόβῳ Χριστοῦ· αἱ γυναῖκες: as no object is expressed, τοῦ θεοῦ must be supplied.—ἁγνήν not merely chaste but pure, cf. 1 Peter 1:22 and 1 Peter 3:4.2. while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear] On the verb “behold” see note on chap. 1 Peter 2:12. The word “coupled” is not in the Greek, and the true meaning of the word is that the “chaste conduct” of the women who are addressed must have its ground and sphere of action in the reverential awe which is the right feeling of a wife towards her husband.1 Peter 3:2. Ἐν φόβῳ, in fear) This is to be referred to ἁγνήν, chaste; not to ἀναστροφὴν, conversation. Fear is something general, commended by the apostle to all Christians, but especially commended to women, that their conversation be chaste.Verse 2. - While they behold (see note on 1 Peter 2:12, where the same verb occurs) your chaste conversation coupled with fear; literally, your chaste behavior, in fear. Bengel and others understand the fear of God. Certainly the holy fear of God is the sphere in which true Christians must always live. But the close connection with the word "chaste (τὴν ἐν φόβῳ ἁγνὴν ἀναστροφὴν ὑμῶν), and the parallel passage, Ephesians 5:33 (in the Greek), make it probable that the fear here inculcated is reverence for the husband - an anxious avoidance of anything that might even seem to interfere with his conjugal rights and authority. While they behold (ἐποπτεύσαντες)

See on 1 Peter 2:12.

Conversation

See on 1 Peter 1:15. Rev., behavior.

Coupled with fear (ἐν φόβῳ)

Lit., in fear.

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