Posted by: Bob Clark | May 31, 2011

Men, Women, and Marriage, part 3

“Wives, in the same way be submissive…” (1 Peter 3:1).

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate…” (1 Peter 3:7).

The context of mutual submission in which Paul teaches about marriage in Ephesians 5 plays a big role in understanding the role of both husband and wife. Similarly, Peter’s teaching about marriage in 1 Peter 3 is presented within a larger context about Jesus and submission (1 Peter 2:13-3:23).

Jesus is held up as the model for Christian behavior, whatever one’s place in life. Christians are to be followers of Christ.

Peter uses the words “in the same way” when addressing both wives (verse 1) and husbands (verse 7). A look at the larger context reveals that these words point back to the previous chapter’s discussion of Jesus. Peter reminds his readers: Jesus suffered unjustly, committed no sin, did not retaliate when insulted, made no threats, entrusted himself to God, and was killed on the cross for the benefit of others (1 Peter 2:21-25).

If you want to learn how to be a wife, look at Jesus. If you want to know how to be a husband, look at Jesus. Jesus was more concerned with giving of himself than he was with taking. Jesus was submissive and deferential. Jesus laid down his life for others. Jesus’s submission is the model for Christian husbands and wives. Christian wives are reminded of submissive women like Sarah who were loyal to their husbands (and we should not forget there were times when God reminded the men to listen to their wives, such as Genesis 21:12).

Wives are to be followers of the submissive Jesus who are not only submissive, but more interested in inner beauty and purity than outward adornment.  Wives are to have a gravitas about them because of their Christ-like behavior.  Husbands are to be followers of the submissive Jesus who are considerate, respectful, and gentle as they relate to their wives.

Peter may not quote from Genesis 2, but he tells Christian husbands that their wives are “your equal partner in God’s gift of new life.” It is worth noting that Genesis, Jesus, Paul, and Peter are in agreement on husband and wife being equals.

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