Relative Duties of Husbands and Wives:
Exhortations to Love and Forbearance:
Right Conduct under Persecutions for
Righteousness' Sake, after Christ's Example, Whose Death Resulted in Quickening to Us through His Being
Quickened Again, of Which Baptism Is the Sacramental Seal.
1. Likewise—Greek, "In like
manner," as "servants" in their sphere; compare the reason of the
woman's subjection, 1Co 11:8-10; 1Ti 2:11-14.
your own—enforcing the obligation: it
is not strangers ye are required to be subject to. Every time
that obedience is enjoined upon women to their husbands, the
Greek, "idios," "one's own peculiarly," is used, while
the wives of men are designated only by heauton, "of
themselves." Feeling the need of leaning on one stronger than herself,
the wife (especially if joined to an unbeliever) might be
tempted, though only spiritually, to enter into that relation with
another in which she ought to stand to "her own spouse (1Co 14:34,
35, "Let them ask their
own [idious] husbands at home"); an attachment to the person
of the teacher might thus spring up, which, without being in the common
sense spiritual adultery, would still weaken in its spiritual basis the
married relation [Steiger].
that, if—Greek, "that even if."
Even if you have a husband that obeys not the word (that is, is
without the word—independently of
hearing the word preached, the usual way of faith coming.
But Bengel, "without word," that is,
without direct Gospel discourse of the wives, "they
may (literally, in oldest manuscripts, 'shall,' which marks the
almost objective certainty of the result) be won" indirectly.
"Unspoken acting is more powerful than unperformed speaking"
[ŒCUMENIUS]. "A soul converted is
gained to itself, to the pastor, wife, or husband, who sought
it, and to Jesus Christ; added to His treasury who thought not His own
precious blood too dear to lay out for this gain" [Leighton]. "The discreet wife would choose first of
all to persuade her husband to share with her in the things which lead
to blessedness; but if this be impossible, let her then alone
diligently press after virtue, in all things obeying him so as to do
nothing at any time against his will, except in such things as are
essential to virtue and salvation" [Clement of
2. behold—on narrowly looking into it,
literally, "having closely observed."
chaste—pure, spotless, free from all
fear—reverential, towards your
husbands. Scrupulously pure, as opposed to the noisy, ambitious
character of worldly women.
3. Literally, "To whom let there belong
(namely, as their peculiar ornament) not the outward adornment (usual
in the sex which first, by the fall, brought in the need of covering,
Note, see on 1Pe 5:5) of," &c.
plaiting—artificial braiding, in order
to attract admiration.
wearing—literally, "putting round,"
namely, the head, as a diadem—the arm, as a bracelet—the
finger, as rings.
apparel—showy and costly. "Have the
blush of modesty on thy face instead of paint, and moral worth and
discretion instead of gold and emeralds" [Melissa].
4. But—"Rather." The "outward adornment"
of jewelry, &c., is forbidden, in so far as woman loves such
things, not in so far as she uses them from a sense of propriety, and
does not abuse them. Singularity mostly comes from pride and
throws needless hindrances to religion in the way of others. Under
costly attire there may be a humble mind. "Great is he who uses his
earthenware as if it were plate; not less great is he who uses his
silver as if it were earthenware" [Seneca in Alford].
hidden—inner man, which the
Christian instinctively hides from public view.
of the heart—consisting in the
heart regenerated and adorned by the Spirit. This "inner man of the
heart" is the subject of the verb "be," 1Pe 3:3, Greek: "Of whom let the inner
man be," namely, the distinction or adornment.
in that—consisting or standing in
that as its element.
not corruptible—not transitory, nor
tainted with corruption, as all earthly adornments.
meek and quiet—meek, not
creating disturbances: quiet, bearing with tranquillity the
disturbances caused by others. Meek in affections and feelings;
quiet in words, countenance, and actions [Bengel].
in the sight of God—who looks to
inward, not merely outward things.
of great price—The results of
redemption should correspond to its costly price (1Pe 1:19).
5. after this manner—with the
ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (compare the portrait of the
godly wife, Pr 31:10-31).
trusted—Greek, "hoped." "Holy"
is explained by "hoped in (so as to be 'united to,'
Greek) God." Hope in God is the spring of true holiness [Bengel].
in subjection—Their ornament consisted
in their subordination. Vanity was forbidden (1Pe 3:3) as being contrary to female
6. Sara—an example of faith.
calling him lord—(Ge 18:12).
ye are—Greek, "ye have become":
"children" of Abraham and Sara by faith, whereas ye were Gentile
aliens from the covenant.
afraid with any
amazement—Greek, "fluttering alarm," "consternation."
Act well, and be not thrown into sudden panic, as weak females
are apt to be, by any opposition from without. Bengel translates, "Not afraid OF any fluttering terror coming from without"
3:13-16). So the
Septuagint, Pr 3:25 uses
the same Greek word, which Peter probably refers to. Anger
assails men; fear, women. You need fear no man in doing what is
right: not thrown into fluttering agitation by any sudden outbreak of
temper on the part of your unbelieving husbands, while you do
7. dwell—Greek, "dwelling":
connected with the verb, 1Pe 2:17,
appreciating the due relation of the sexes in the design of God, and
acting with tenderness and forbearance accordingly: wisely: with
them … giving honour to the
wife—translate and punctuate the Greek rather,
"dwelling according to knowledge with the female (Greek
adjective, qualifying 'vessel'; not as English Version, a
noun) as with the weaker vessel (see on 1Th 4:4.
Both husband and wife are vessels in God's hand, and of God's making,
to fulfil His gracious purposes. Both weak, the woman the
weaker. The sense of his own weakness, and that she, like
himself, is God's vessel and fabric, ought to lead him to act
with tender and wise consideration towards her who is the weaker
fabric), giving (literally, 'assigning,'
'apportioning') honor as being also (besides being man and wife)
heirs together," &c.; or, as the Vatican manuscript reads, as to
those who are also (besides being your wives) fellow heirs." (The
reason why the man should give honor to the woman is, because
God gives honor to both as fellow heirs; compare the same
argument, 1Pe 3:9). He
does not take into account the case of an unbelieving wife, as
she might yet believe.
grace of life—God's gracious
gift of life (1Pe 1:4, 13).
that your prayers be not hindered—by
dissensions, which prevent united prayer, on which depends the
8. General summary of relative duty,
after having detailed particular duties from 1Pe 2:18.
of one mind—as to the faith.
having compassion one of
another—Greek, "sympathizing" in the joy and sorrow of
love as brethren—Greek, "loving
pitiful—towards the afflicted.
politeness; not the tinsel of the world's politeness; stamped with
unfeigned love on one side, and humility on the other.
But the oldest manuscripts read, "humble-minded." It is slightly
different from "humble," in that it marks a conscious effort to
be truly humble.
9. evil—in deed.
blessing—your revilers; participle,
not a noun after "rendering."
knowing that—The oldest manuscripts
read merely, "because."
inherit a blessing—not only passive,
but also active; receiving spiritual blessing from God by faith, and in
your turn blessing others from love [Gerhard in Alford].
"It is not in order to inherit a blessing that we must bless, but
because our portion is blessing." No railing can injure you
3:13). Imitate God who
"blesses" you. The first fruits of His blessing for eternity are
enjoyed by the righteous even now (1Pe 3:10) [Bengel].
10. will love—Greek, "wishes to
love." He who loves life (present and eternal), and desires
to continue to do so, not involving himself in troubles which will
make this life a burden, and cause him to forfeit eternal life. Peter
confirms his exhortation, 1Pe 3:9, by
refrain—curb, literally, "cause to
cease"; implying that our natural inclination and custom is to speak
evil. "Men commonly think that they would be exposed to the wantonness
of their enemies if they did not strenuously vindicate their rights.
But the Spirit promises a life of blessedness to none but those who are
gentle and patient of evils" [Calvin].
evil … guile—First he warns
against sins of the tongue, evil-speaking, and deceitful,
double-tongued speaking; next, against acts of injury to one's
11. In oldest manuscripts, Greek,
"Moreover (besides his words, in acts), let
ensue—pursue as a thing hard to
attain, and that flees from one in this troublesome world.
12. Ground of the promised present and eternal
life of blessedness to the meek (1Pe 3:10). The Lord's eyes are ever over
them for good.
ears … unto their prayers—(1Jo 5:14,
face … against—The eyes
imply favorable regard; the face of the Lord upon
(not as English Version, "against") them that do evil, implies
that He narrowly observes them, so as not to let them really and
lastingly hurt His people (compare 1Pe 3:13).
13. who … will harm you—This
fearless confidence in God's protection from harm, Christ, the Head, in
His sufferings realized; so His members.
if ye be—Greek, "if ye have
followers—The oldest manuscripts read
"emulous," "zealous of" (Tit 2:14).
good—The contrast in Greek is,
"Who will do you evil, if ye be zealous of good?"
14. But and if—"But if even." "The
promises of this life extend only so far as it is expedient for
us that they should be fulfilled" [Calvin]. So he proceeds to state the exceptions to
the promise (1Pe 3:10),
and how the truly wise will behave in such exceptional cases. "If ye
should suffer"; if it should so happen; "suffer," a milder word
for righteousness—"not the suffering,
but the cause for which one suffers, makes the martyr" [Augustine].
happy—Not even can suffering
take away your blessedness, but rather promotes it.
and—Greek, "but." Do not impair
your blessing (1Pe 3:9) by
fearing man's terror in your times of adversity.
Literally, "Be not terrified with their terror," that is, with that
which they try to strike into you, and which strikes themselves when in
adversity. This verse and 1Pe 3:15 is
quoted from Isa 8:12, 13. God alone is to be feared; he that
fears God has none else to fear.
neither be troubled—the threat of the
law, Le 26:36; De 28:65, 66; in contrast to which the Gospel gives
the believer a heart assured of God's favor, and therefore unruffled,
amidst all adversities. Not only be not afraid, but be not even
15. sanctify—hallow; honor as
holy, enshrining Him in your hearts. So in the Lord's
6:9. God's holiness is thus
glorified in our hearts as the dwelling-place of His Spirit.
the Lord God—The oldest manuscripts
read "Christ." Translate, "Sanctify Christ as Lord."
and—Greek, "but," or
"moreover." Besides this inward sanctification of God in the
heart, be also ready always to give, &c.
answer—an apologetic answer defending
to every man that asketh you—The last
words limit the universality of the "always"; not to a roller, but to
everyone among the heathen who inquires honestly.
a reason—a reasonable account. This
refutes Rome's dogma, "I believe it, because the Church believes it."
Credulity is believing without evidence; faith is believing on
evidence. There is no repose for reason itself but in faith. This verse
does not impose an obligation to bring forward a learned proof and
logical defense of revelation. But as believers deny themselves,
crucify the world, and brave persecution, they must be buoyed up by
some strong "hope"; men of the world, having no such hope themselves,
are moved by curiosity to ask the secret of this hope; the
believer must be ready to give an experimental account
"how this hope arose in him, what it contains, and on what it rests"
with—The oldest manuscripts read,
"but with." Be ready, but with "meekness." Not pertly and
meekness—(1Pe 3:4). The most effective way; not
fear—due respect towards man, and
reverence towards God, remembering His cause does not need man's hot
temper to uphold it.
16. Having a good conscience—the secret
spring of readiness to give account of our hope. So
hope and good conscience go together in Ac 24:15, 16. Profession without practice has
no weight. But those who have a good conscience can afford to
give an account of their hope "with meekness."
they speak evil of you, as of
evildoers—One oldest manuscript reads, "ye are spoken
against," omitting the rest.
falsely accuse—"calumniate"; the
Greek expresses malice shown in deeds as well as in words. It is
translated, "despitefully use," Mt 5:44; Lu 6:28.
in Christ—who is the very element of
your life as Christians. "In Christ" defines "good." It is your good
walk as Christians, not as citizens, that calls forth malice
4:4, 5, 14).
17. better—One may object, I would not
bear it so ill if I had deserved it. Peter replies, it is better
that you did not deserve it, in order that doing well and yet being
spoken against, you may prove yourself a true Christian [Gerhard].
if the will of God be so—rather as the
optative is in the oldest manuscripts, "if the will of God should will
it so." Those who honor God's will as their highest law (1Pe 2:15) have the comfort to know that suffering
is God's appointment (1Pe 4:19). So
Christ Himself; our inclination does not wish it.
18. Confirmation of 1Pe 3:17, by the glorious results of Christ's
For—"Because." That is "better," 1Pe 3:17, means of which we are rendered
more like to Christ in death and in life; for His death brought the
best issue to Himself and to us [Bengel].
Christ—the Anointed Holy One of
God; the Holy suffered for sins, the Just for the
also—as well as yourselves (1Pe 3:17). Compare 1Pe 2:21; there His suffering was brought forward
as an example to us; here, as a proof of the blessedness of suffering
once—for all; never again to suffer.
It is "better" for us also once to suffer with Christ, than for ever
without Christ We now are suffering our "once"; it will soon be a thing
of the past; a bright consolation to the tried.
for sins—as though He had Himself
committed them. He exposed Himself to death by His "confession," even
as we are called on to "give an answer to him that asketh a reason of
our hope." This was "well-doing" in its highest manifestation. As He
suffered, "The Just," so we ought willingly to suffer, for
righteousness' sake (1Pe 3:14;
compare 1Pe 3:12, 17).
that he might bring us to God—together
with Himself in His ascension to the right hand of God (1Pe 3:22). He brings us, "the unjust," justified
together with Him into heaven. So the result of Christ's death is His
drawing men to Him; spiritually now, in our having access
into the Holiest, opened by Christ's ascension; literally
hereafter. "Bring us," moreover, by the same steps of humiliation and
exaltation through which He Himself passed. The several steps of
Christ's progress from lowliness to glory are trodden over again by His
people in virtue of their oneness with Him (1Pe 4:1-3). "To God," is Greek dative (not
the preposition and case), implying that God wishes it [Bengel].
put to death—the means of His
bringing us to God.
in the flesh—that is, in respect
to the life of flesh and blood.
quickened by the Spirit—The oldest
manuscripts omit the Greek article. Translate with the
preposition "in," as the antithesis to the previous "in the
flesh" requires, "IN spirit," that is,
in respect to His Spirit. "Put to death" in the former mode of
life; "quickened" in the other. Not that His Spirit ever died and
was quickened, or made alive again, but whereas He had lived
after the manner of mortal men in the flesh, He began to live a
spiritual "resurrection" (1Pe 3:21) life, whereby He has the power
to bring us to God. Two ways of explaining 1Pe 3:18, 19, are open to us: (1) "Quickened in
Spirit," that is, immediately on His release from the "flesh,"
the energy of His undying spirit-life was "quickened" by God the
Father, into new modes of action, namely, "in the Spirit He went
down (as subsequently He went up to heaven, 1Pe 3:22, the same Greek verb) and
heralded [not salvation, as Alford, contrary to Scripture, which everywhere
represents man's state, whether saved or lost, after death
irreversible. Nor is any mention made of the conversion of the
spirits in prison. See on 1Pe 3:20. Nor is the
phrase here 'preached the Gospel' (evangelizo), but
'heralded' (ekeruxe) or 'preached'; but simply made the
announcement of His finished work; so the same Greek in
Mr 1:45, 'publish,' confirming Enoch and
Noah's testimony, and thereby declaring the virtual condemnation of
their unbelief, and the salvation of Noah and believers; a sample of
the similar opposite effects of the same work on all
unbelievers, and believers, respectively; also a consolation to those
whom Peter addresses, in their sufferings at the hands of unbelievers;
specially selected for the sake of 'baptism,' its 'antitype' (1Pe 3:21), which, as a seal, marks
believers as separated from the rest of the doomed world] to the
spirits (His Spirit speaking to the spirits) in prison
(in Hades or Sheol, awaiting the judgment, 2Pe 2:4), which were of old disobedient when,"
&c. (2) The strongest point in favor of (1) is the position of
"sometime," that is, of old, connected with "disobedient";
whereas if the preaching or announcing were a thing long past,
we should expect "sometime," or of old, to be joined to "went
and preached." But this transposition may express that their
disobedience preceded His preaching. The Greek participle
expresses the reason of His preaching, "inasmuch as they
were sometime disobedient" (compare 1Pe 4:6). Also "went" seems to mean a
personal going, as in 1Pe 3:22, not merely in spirit. But see
the answer below. The objections are "quickened" must refer to Christ's
body (compare 1Pe 3:21,
end), for as His Spirit never ceased to live, it cannot be said
to be "quickened." Compare Joh 5:21; Ro 8:11, and other passages, where "quicken" is
used of the bodily resurrection. Also, not His Spirit,
but His soul, went to Hades. His Spirit was commended by Him at
death to His Father, and was thereupon "in Paradise." The
theory—(1) would thus require that His descent to the spirits in
prison should be after His resurrection! Compare Eph 4:9, 10, which makes the descent
precede the ascent. Also Scripture elsewhere is silent about
such a heralding, though possibly Christ's death had immediate effects
on the state of both the godly and the ungodly in Hades: the souls of
the godly heretofore in comparative confinement, perhaps then having
been, as some Fathers thought, translated to God's immediate and
heavenly presence; but this cannot be proved from Scripture.
Compare however, Joh 3:13; Col 1:18. Prison is always used in a
bad sense in Scripture. "Paradise" and "Abraham's bosom," the
abode of good spirits in Old Testament times, are separated by a wide
gulf from Hell or Hades, and cannot be called "prison." Compare 2Co 12:2,
4, where "paradise" and the
"third heaven" correspond. Also, why should the antediluvian
unbelievers in particular be selected as the objects of His preaching
in Hades? Therefore explain: "Quickened in spirit, in which (as
distinguished from in person; the words "in which," that is,
in spirit, expressly obviating the objection that "went" implies
a personal going) He went (in the person of Noah, "a preacher of
righteousness," 2Pe 2:5: Alford's own Note, Eph 2:17, is the best reply to his argument from
"went" that a local going to Hades in person is meant. As
"He CAME and preached peace" by His
Spirit in the apostles and ministers after His death and ascension:
so before His incarnation He preached in Spirit through Noah to the
antediluvians, Joh 14:18, 28; Ac 26:23. "Christ should show," literally,
"announce light to the Gentiles") and preached unto the spirits
in prison, that is, the antediluvians, whose bodies indeed seemed free,
but their spirits were in prison, shut up in the earth as one great
condemned cell (exactly parallel to Isa 24:22, 23 "upon the earth … they shall be
gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and
shall be shut up in the prison," &c. [just as the fallen
angels are judicially regarded as "in chains of darkness," though for a
time now at large on the earth, 1Pe 2:4], where 1Pe 3:18 has a plain allusion to the flood, "the
windows from on high are open," compare Ge 7:11); from this prison the only way of
escape was that preached by Christ in Noah. Christ, who in our times
came in the flesh, in the days of Noah preached in Spirit by
Noah to the spirits then in prison (Isa 61:1, end, "the Spirit of the Lord God hath
sent me to proclaim the opening of the prison to them
that are bound"). So in 1Pe 1:11,
"the Spirit of Christ" is said to have testified in the prophets. As
Christ suffered even to death by enemies, and was afterwards quickened
in virtue of His "Spirit" (or divine nature, Ro 1:3, 4;
1Co 15:45), which henceforth
acted in its full energy, the first result of which was the raising of
His body (1Pe 3:21,
end) from the prison of the grave and His soul from Hades; so the same
Spirit of Christ enabled Noah, amidst reproach and trials, to preach to
the disobedient spirits fast bound in wrath. That Spirit in you can
enable you also to suffer patiently now, looking for the resurrection
20. once—not in the oldest
when … the long-suffering of God waited in
the days of Noah—Oldest manuscripts. Greek, "was
continuing to wait on" (if haply men in the hundred twenty years of
grace would repent) until the end of His waiting came in their
death by the flood. This refutes Alford's idea of a second day of grace having been
given in Hades. Noah's days are selected, as the ark and the destroying
flood answer respectively to "baptism" and the coming destruction of
unbelievers by fire.
while the ark was a-preparing—(Heb 11:7). A long period of God's
"long-suffering and waiting," as Noah had few to help him, which
rendered the world's unbelief the more inexcusable.
wherein—literally, "(by having
entered) into which."
eight—seven (the sacred number) with
souls—As this term is here used of
living persons, why should not "spirits" also? Noah preached to
their ears, but Christ in spirit, to their spirits, or
saved by water—The same water which
drowned the unbelieving, buoyed up the ark in which the eight were
saved. Not as some translate, "were brought safe through the
water." However, the sense of the preposition may be as in 1Co 3:15, "they were safely preserved through the
water," though having to be in the water.
21. whereunto—The oldest manuscripts
read, "which": literally, "which (namely, water, in general;
being) the antitype (of the water of the flood) is now saving (the
salvation being not yet fully realized by us, compare 1Co 10:1,
2, 5; Jude 5; puts into a
state of salvation) us also (two oldest manuscripts read
'you' for 'us': You also, as well as Noah and his party),
to wit, baptism." Water saved Noah not of itself, but by sustaining the
ark built in faith, resting on God's word: it was to him the
sign and mean of a kind of regeneration, of the earth. The flood
was for Noah a baptism, as the passage through the Red Sea was for the
Israelites; by baptism in the flood he and his family were transferred
from the old world to the new: from immediate destruction to lengthened
probation; from the companionship of the wicked to communion with God;
from the severing of all bonds between the creature and the Creator to
the privileges of the covenant: so we by spiritual baptism. As there
was a Ham who forfeited the privileges of the covenant, so many now.
The antitypical water, namely, baptism, saves you also not of itself,
nor the mere material water, but the spiritual thing conjoined with it,
repentance and faith, of which it is the sign and seal, as Peter
proceeds to explain. Compare the union of the sign and thing signified,
Joh 3:5; Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5; Heb 10:22; compare 1Jo 5:6.
not the, &c.—"flesh" bears the
emphasis. "Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh" (as
is done by a mere water baptism, unaccompanied with the Spirit's
baptism, compare Eph 2:11),
but of the soul. It is the ark (Christ and His Spirit-filled Church),
not the water, which is the instrument of salvation: the water only
flowed round the ark; so not the mere water baptism, but the water when
accompanied with the Spirit.
referring to the questions asked of candidates for baptism;
eliciting a confession of faith "toward God" and a renunciation of
Satan ([Augustine, The Creed,
4.1]; [Cyprian, Epistles, 7,
To Rogatianus]), which, when flowing from "a good conscience,"
assure one of being "saved." Literally, "a good conscience's
interrogation (including the satisfactory answer) toward God." I
prefer this to the translation of Wahl,
Alford and others, "inquiry of a
good conscience after God": not one of the parallels alleged,
not even 2Sa 11:7, in
the Septuagint, is strictly in point. Recent Byzantine
Greek idiom (whereby the term meant: (1) the question; (2) the
stipulation; (3) the engagement), easily flowing from the usage of the
word as Peter has it, confirms the former translation.
by the resurrection of Jesus—joined
with "saves you": In so far as baptism applies to us the power of
Christ's resurrection. As Christ's death unto sin is the source of the
believer's death unto, and so deliverance from, sin's penalty and
power; so His resurrection life is the source of the believer's new
22. (Ps 110:1; Ro 8:34, 38; 1Co 15:24; Eph 1:21;
3:10; Col 1:16; 2:10-15). The
fruit of His patience in His voluntary endured and undeserved
sufferings: a pattern to us, 1Pe 3:17, 18.
gone—(Lu 24:51). Proving against rationalists an actual
material ascension. Literally, "is on the right hand of God, having
gone into heaven." The oldest manuscripts of the Vulgate and
the Latin Fathers, add what expresses the benefit to us of
Christ's sitting on God's right hand, "Who is on the right hand of God,
having swallowed up death that we may become heirs of everlasting
life"; involving for us A STATE OF
LIFE, saved, glorious, and eternal. The Greek
manuscripts, however, reject the words. Compare with this verse Peter's
speeches, Ac 2:32-35; 3:21, 26; 10:40,