1 Peter 3
1 Peter 1:13-5:11-The Practice of Salvation, cont’d.
Live in a Submissive Manner (2:18-3:7), cont’d.
- Wives be Submissive to Your Husbands (3:1-6)
Peter speaks to wives and tells them to be submissive, “In the same way”…speaking of the way that he had just shown that Christ was submissive (He was the example). Submission on the part of the wife, for the glory of God, is a witness to the husband that can lead him to the Lord. This submission is the result not just of forced, hypocritical behavior (doing so because the Bible says to, but not really wanting to)...but, the true quality of the heart. This passage does not forbid the wearing of makeup, or jewelry, or nice dresses. But, it does say that there is a beauty that goes beyond the external appearance to the internal attitude. This beauty resides in the heart and ultimately is more powerful than anything a woman may ever put on. It is exhibited in the “imperishable quality” (it never goes out of style) of a “chaste and respectful behavior” (:2) and “a gentle and quiet spirit” (:4). The word “chaste” comes from the Greek word “holy” and means that a person is pure in their behavior, sincere, having no element of evil intent. The word “respectful” actually means “fear”…but used in context speaks of respect for a person’s assigned role, or position. A wife recognizes and respects her husband in the role God has assigned him as the head of the home. The word “gentle” is sometimes translated “meek” and means…
Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time (Isa 41:17, Luk 18:1-8). Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God's goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will (Gal 5:23).
has much the same meaning as No. 1, but indicates "tranquillity arising from within," causing no distrubance to others. It is translated "quiet" in 1Ti 2:2, RV (AV, "peaceable"); "quiet" in 1Pe 3:4, where it is associated with "meek," and is to characterize the spirit or disposition.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,
A home that is characterized by gentleness and meekness is a place of calm and peace. This wife deliberately brings these elements into her home where her family can find comfort amidst the stresses and pressures of daily life.
- Husbands be Understanding of Your Wives (3:7-8)
Husbands are to "likewise" (this is the same word used of wives in v. 1) treat their wives. If they don't do so their prayers will be "hindered" ("to cut into", en, "in," kopto, "to cut"). This word was used of "impeding" persons by breaking up the road, or by placing an obstacle sharply in the path; hence, metaphorically, of "detaining" a person unnecessarily, Act 24:4; of "hindrances" in the way of reaching others, Rom 15:22; or returning to them, 1Th 2:18; of "hindering" progress in the Christian life, Gal 5:7 (anakopto in some mss.), where the significance virtually is "who broke up the road along which you were travelling so well?"
Live in a Blessed Manner (3:8-12)
Peter now lists several general practices for living as a believer in Christ regardless of the situation. We should be…
- harmonious…this word literally means “same mind” and suggests that on matters that are of a personal opinion we are to try to see things from the perspective of the other person…we don’t have to always have things our way…be considerate of them and prioritize them above yourself
- sympathetic…this means that we don’t just see things logically (the cold, hard facts), but that we understand the emotional involvement, as well
- brotherly…treat people like they are a part of the family (blood is thick)
- kindhearted…this word literally means “good hearted”…we are to have the other person’s best in mind
- humble in spirit…this word literally means “humble minded” and suggests that our starting point should be that we are to be submissive to the other person…they don’t have to earn, or deserve this attitude from us
- not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing…we should not let another person dictate how we treat them. If they treat us in a bad manner, do not respond to them in a like manner. Instead, give a “blessing”…this word means “to speak well of”. Take the initiative and try to change the conversation. And, remember, even if they don’t respond back in a positive manner…ultimately, God will bless us for our action.
Peter tells us that this type of behavior is soundly based on the Old Testament and quotes Psalm 34:12-16.
Live in a Confident Manner (3:13-22)
Here is a summary of how to respond to those who seek to harm you, or treat you wrong. If we confidently keep these things in mind we will be blessed (:14). We are to be…
- Confident in our relationship with Christ (:15)
To “sanctify Christ as Lord” means to settle the issue. No matter what we are being persecuted for…it in no way changes this fact.
- Confident in our witness to others (:15)
When we respond in this manner it might cause the other person to wonder how and why we would do so…and give us an opportunity to tell them about Jesus. We should be prepared to do so with “gentleness and reverence”…meaning that we don’t respond harshly or judgmentally to them, but in such a way that they will be drawn to the love of God through us.
- Confident in a clear conscience (:16-17)
We should always keep our life holy and committed to God…so that when a time arises that we can share the Gospel with other people there is nothing that we have said or done (some inappropriate behavior) that they might use against us as an excuse to not listen.
- Confidence in the work of Christ (:18-22)
If we have accepted Christ as our Savior we can be confident that we have been made “alive in the spirit”…we have been born again. Nothing can ever change that fact.
Verses 19-20 speak of Christ, Who is eternal and existed before His incarnation. Before becoming flesh and blood at His human birth…He existed as spirit. During that time, He spoke through the prophets to mankind (1:11). Noah and the people of his day are representative of all mankind that existed prior to His incarnation. They represent the two different responses to the message of God given to the prophets by Christ. On one hand, Noah and his family were saved from the flood by faith in God’s message…and because of this faith they entered into the ark and were saved. On the other hand, the rest of mankind did not believe the message of Christ given through His prophets (such as Noah) and they perished.
In verse 21, Peter says, “And corresponding to that…”. The word “corresponding” means…
an adjective, used as a noun, denotes, lit., "a striking back;" metaphorically, "resisting, adverse;" then, in a Passive sense, "struck back;" in the NT metaphorically, "corresponding to,"
(a) a copy of an archetype (anti, "corresponding to, and No. 1), i.e., the event or person or circumstance corresponding to the type, Hbr 9:24, RV, "like in pattern" (AV, "the figure of"), of the tabernacle, which, with its structure and appurtenances, was a pattern of that "holy place," "Heaven itself," "the true," into which Christ entered, "to appear before the face of God for us." The earthly tabernacle anticipatively represented what is now made good in Christ; it was a "figure" or "parable" (Hbr 9:9), "for the time now present," RV, i.e., pointing to the present time, not "then present," AV (see below);
(b) "a corresponding type," 1Pe 3:21, said of baptism; the circumstances of the flood, the ark and its occupants, formed a type, and baptism forms "a corresponding type" (not an antitype), each setting forth the spiritual realities of the death, burial, and resurrection of believers in their identification with Christ. It is not a case of type and antitype, but of two types, that in Genesis, the type, and baptism, the corresponding type.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words,
Peter is saying that the circumstances of Noah and his response of faith to the message of God are a picture (a type) of our circumstances. Even as God provided a means for Noah to be saved from the flood, the ark…God has provided a means for people to be saved from sin, Jesus. Jesus is the ark of salvation from sin. And, even as people in the days of Noah had to make a decision about whether, or not, to have faith in God’s provision for salvation…so we too must make a decision.
In this passage, Peter makes it perfectly clear that he is not speaking of the physical act of baptism…but, of the spiritual act of baptism (that being the union that takes place when a person accepts Jesus as Savior). He writes, “baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—”. When he speaks of “the removal of dirt…,” he is speaking of the physical act of baptism…and he says that this is not what he is talking about, here. He then clarifies what he is speaking about when he continues, “but an appeal to God for a good conscience”. In other words, having heard the message, we appeal to God (call upon Him in faith) in order to have a good conscience (to know that we have done the right thing in response). Here, Peter is speaking of the spiritual act of baptism. The spiritual act of baptism is our union, our immersion in Christ when we accept Him as our Savior.
Romans 6:3 (NASV)
- Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
Galatians 3:27 (NASV)
- For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
The physical act of baptism by immersion is a picture, a visual portrayal of the spiritual act of baptism. When the person being baptized is standing in the water it is a picture of crucifixion, death. When he is immersed it is a picture of burial. When he is raised up out of the water and is standing again it is a picture of resurrection. Baptism is a visual portrayal of our union with Christ. That is why the correct Biblical method of baptism by immersion is important. Baptism is a visual statement of the theological truth concerning salvation. It visually presents death, burial, and resurrection. If you change the method, you change the meaning.
These verses do not mean that Jesus descended into Hades/Hell after He died and preached the gospel to the people there, and that some were saved. But, that as spirit He had proclaimed through the prophets the essence of the gospel message during the days of Noah...and those who refused it are now in prison (Hell).
Prayer: Lord, please give me the strength I need to bless other people, even those whose intention is to harm me. I know that I am just one person and sometimes I wonder how I could make any difference. But, if all Christians truly began to respond to others in Your love, it could change the entire world.