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3. Suffering for Doing Good

1In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your won husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; 2beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear. 3Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; 4but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5For after this manner aforetime the holy women also, who hoped in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: 6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose children ye now are, if ye do well, and are not put in fear by any terror. 7Ye husbands, in like manner, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel, as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life; to the end that your prayers be not hindered. 8Finally, be ye all likeminded, compassionate, loving as brethren, tenderhearted, humbleminded: 9not rendering evil for evil, or reviling for reviling; but contrariwise blessing; for hereunto were ye called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 10For,

He that would love life,

And see good days,

Let him refrain his tongue from evil,

And his lips that they speak no guile:

11And let him turn away from evil, and do good;

Let him seek peace, and pursue it.

12For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous,

And his ears unto their supplication:

But the face of the Lord is upon them that do evil.

13And who is he that will harm you, if ye be zealous of that which is good? 14But even if ye should suffer for righteousness' sake, blessed are ye: and fear not their fear, neither be troubled; 15but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear: 16having a good conscience; that, wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ. 17For it is better, if the will of God should so will, that ye suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing. 18Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19in which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, 20that aforetime were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water: 21which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ; 22who is one the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

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1Pe 3:1-22. 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. LikewiseGreek, "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, ifGreek, "that even if." Even if you have a husband that obeys not the word (that is, is an unbeliever).

without the wordindependently 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 Alexandria].

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

chaste—pure, spotless, free from all impurity.

fearreverential, 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].

hiddeninner man, which the Christian instinctively hides from public view.

of the heartconsisting 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 quietmeek, 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).

trustedGreek, "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 subjection.

6. Sara—an example of faith.

calling him lord—(Ge 18:12).

ye areGreek, "ye have become": "children" of Abraham and Sara by faith, whereas ye were Gentile aliens from the covenant.

afraid with any amazementGreek, "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" (1Pe 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 well.

7. dwellGreek, "dwelling": connected with the verb, 1Pe 2:17, "Honor all."

knowledge—Christian knowledge: appreciating the due relation of the sexes in the design of God, and acting with tenderness and forbearance accordingly: wisely: with wise consideration.

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 blessing.