People's New Testament
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;
3:1 Various Practical Duties
SUMMARY OF I PETER 3:
Duties of Women. Duties of Husbands. Duties of Christians Toward Each Other. Attitude Toward Adversaries. Christian Endurance of Wrong. Christ's Preaching to the Spirits in Prison. Salvation of Those in the Ark. The Antitype Is Baptism.
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands. See notes on Eph 5:21-24. Paul teaches the duty of submission, and shows that it was not the duty of the believing wife to abandon her unbelieving husband (1Co 7:13-15). Peter goes farther here and teaches that the wife show her obedience in order to win her husband.
That, if any obey not the word. That even those who have steeled themselves against the gospel and who refuse to listen to it
they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives. May be quietly won by the sweet, Christian lives of their wives.
While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3:2 While they behold you chaste conduct. Your pure lives.
Coupled with fear. The shrinking from doing anything that is wrong.
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
3:3 Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning. While urging those pure and holy lives which will sweetly preach Christ, Peter cannot pass by a foible often seen in the sex. There is a better adorning than that of the body.
Of plaiting the hair. See notes on 1Ti 2:9,10. Compare Ps 45:13. The allusion is to wearing ornaments of gold or silver over the hair, a common adornment of the time.
Or of wearing of gold. For the extravagant dress of Roman women of the time, see Farrar's Early Years of Christianity, p. 5.
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.
3:4 Let it be the hidden man of the heart. The important part is to see that the heart is right and the spirit adorned with all the graces of holy life.
The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Seek after inward rather than outward adorning.
Which is in the sight of God of great price. God sees us all the time, and such adorning is of great worth in his sight.
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:
3:5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women. The holy women whose names are found in sacred history
adorned themselves with a meek and quiet spirit (1Pe 3:4).
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.
3:6 As Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. See Ge 18:12. See also 1Sa 1:15. This designation showed respect and submission.
Whose daughters ye are. Women should follow the example of Sarah, who might be designated as the mother of those who are Abraham's children by faith.
As long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Are not put in fear by any terror (Revised Version). The fear might result from not doing well. They were to be quiet, submissive, loving wives, but were not to be kept from Christian duty by any fear which might threaten because of their heathen surroundings.
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.
3:7 Ye husbands. Duties of Christian husbands are now briefly stated. They are to
dwell with them. The fact that their wives are unconverted is no ground for separation, but if the wife is converted, still stronger is the bond.
According to knowledge. A knowledge that shows judgment, moderation and gentleness as toward one weaker than himself.
As being heirs together of the grace of life. Joint-heirs (Revised Version). Hence one in Christ Jesus. The home life is to be regulated according to knowledge.
That your prayers be not hindered. Mutual prayer is not possible unless there is mutual love and forbearance. Nor can the husband's prayers be acceptable unless he treats his wife aright.
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
3:8 Be pitiful. Towards all the afflicted.
Be courteous. Humbleminded (Revised Version). Not haughty.
Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
3:9 Not rendering evil for evil... but contrariwise blessing. Peter enjoins good deeds for evil, and blessing for reviling, because any other course would be inconsistent with the Christian calling.
Knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. Called to a heritage of blessing they must live lives of blessing, for as a man soweth so also shall he reap (Ga 6:7).
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:
3:10 Let him refrain his tongue from evil. If you desire to inherit blessing, you must abstain from evil. The conditions are stated by the Psalmist, Ps 34:13-17, from which 1Pe 3:10-13 are quoted.
Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
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.
3:12 The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous. He ceases not to regard his righteous servants.
His ears are open unto their prayers. He not only sees, but hears when they cry to him.
But the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. Is turned in displeasure upon evil doers.
And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
3:13 Who is he that will harm you? If you are zealous for good who can inflict real harm upon you? God is with you.
But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
3:14 If ye suffer for righteousness' sake. Ye may be called to suffer for Christ. That is the lot of Christians, but instead of calling this an evil,
happy are ye. See Mt 5:10. Great is the reward. It is only sowing in tears to reap in joy.
Be not afraid of their terror. Fear not with their fear (Revised Version). With the fear of the wicked when danger comes,
neither be troubled because you are persecuted.
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 with meekness and fear:
3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. But sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord (Revised Version). Let Christ be honored and reverenced. Fear not man but the Lord.
And be ready always to give an answer. To confess Christ as the ground of your hope.
With meekness and fear. The answer to adversaries is to be made, not with arrogance and indignation, but modestly, meekly, reverentially.
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
3:16 Having a good conscience. Before God. This is the element of strength when accused.
They may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. A life holy and pure is the best answer to false accusers.
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
3:17 For it is better, if the will of God is so. If God wills that we should suffer, for the Father sometimes chasteneth children (Heb 12:6,7). It is better to suffer
for well doing, than for evil doing, for righteousness, than for evil. See 2Ti 3:12.
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:
3:18 For Christ also... suffered for sins. Even Christ, the Holy One, our example, once suffered on the cross.
Once. Once only. He suffers no more.
Being put to death in the flesh. He was put to death by the wounds inflicted on his fleshly body. His natural, earthly life was ended.
Quickened in the spirit. Put to death in the body his spirit was quickened. Having life in himself, as soon as the body failed through weakness the power of the indestructible life began to show itself.
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
3:19,20 By which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison. The facts stated are (1) That Christ, put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, went and preached. (2) This preaching of Christ in the spirit was to spirits. (3) Those spirits were in prison. The Greek word, phulake, used for prison, denotes a place of custody, not a place of punishment. These spirits (4) at one time were disobedient. This states why they were held in prison. (5) The time of their disobedience is stated. It was while the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah.
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
3:20 The long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah. They had then refused to obey the call to repentance. It is stated in Ge 6:3 that the long suffering of God waited 120 years. This difficult passage has been given two interpretations. The more common view is that Jesus, after his suffering, during the interval before his resurrection, went without the body in a spirit form, to these antediluvians and preached to them. If this view is correct, it only teaches that an offer of salvation was then made to these disobedient ones who had never before heard of Christ before their final judgment. It furnishes no comfort to those that have an opportunity and reject it in this life. It only shows that one opportunity is given to all. The other view is that Christ went in spirit in the person of Noah and by him preached to those who were afterwards held in prison on account of their disobedience. The first view seems more in harmony with the context; the second furnishes fewer theological difficulties.
Wherein few, that is, eight souls. Only eight souls out of a great multitude were saved; these
were saved by water, since it bore up the ark. The Greek word dia, rendered by, means by means of.
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:
3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us. Literally, the antitype now saves us, Baptism. Says Alford,
Water saved them, bearing up the ark; it saves us, becoming to us baptism.''
As they entered the Ark, we are baptized into Christ, the Savior. See Ga 3:27.
Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh. Not as a Jewish ceremonial washing, which was only a purification of the flesh, but it is
the answer of a good conscience. The interrogation of a good conscience (Revised Version). Inquiry would be still better. The soul seeking the forgiveness of sins inquires What shall I do to remove the sense of unforgiven sins and make my conscience void of offense? The answer is Repent and be baptized, etc. See Ac 2:38. He who obeys the word of the Lord has the inquiry answered in baptism.
By the resurrection. Baptism would be meaningless and vain were it not for the resurrection of Christ. It points directly to the burial and resurrection of the Lord. See Ro 6:1-6
Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God. Christ's exaltation followed his death and resurrection. See Eph 1:20-23.