1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands, even those who refuse to accept the Good News. Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. They will be won over (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: In the same spirit you married women should adapt yourselves to your husbands, so that even if they do not obey the Word of God they may be won to God without any word being spoken (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: In like manner, wives, put yourselves in subjection to your own husbands with implicit obedience, in order that even though certain ones obstinately refuse to be persuaded by the Word and are therefore disobedient to it, they may through the manner of life of the wives without a word [from the wives] be gained, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: In like manner, the wives, be ye subject to your own husbands, that even if certain are disobedient to the word, through the conversation of the wives, without the word, they may be won,
IN THE SAME WAY YOU WIVES: Homoios (ai) gunaikes: (Ge 3:16; Esther 1:16-20; Ro 7:2; 1Co 11:3; 14:34; Ep 5:22, 23, 24,33; Col 3:18; 1Ti 2:11,12; Titus 2:3, 4, 5, 6)
In the same way (3668) (homoios from hómoios = like, resembling) means similarly, likewise, of equal degree or manner and denoting perfect agreement. In like manner. Equally. Too. In the same way. Similar in some respect. Resembling. In most of the NT uses homoios conveys the sense of "to do likewise".
In the present context Peter appears to refer to the previous calls to submission - so just as all Christians should submit to the governing authorities (1Pe 2:13-note), as slaves should submit to their masters (1Pe 2:18-note), and as Christ gave us His perfect example of willing and complete submission (1Pe 2:21,22,23-note, 1Pe 2:24, 25-note), Peter says in the same way wives are to submit to their own husbands.
Homoios - 30x in 30v - Mt 22:26; 26:35; 27:41; Mk 15:31; Luke 3:11; 5:10, 33; 6:31; 10:32, 37; 13:3; 16:25; 17:28, 31; 22:36; Jn 5:19; 6:11; 21:13; Ro1:27-note; 1Co 7:3, 4, 22; He 9:21-note; Jas 2:25-note; 1Pe 3:1-note, 1Pe 3:7-note; 1Pe 5:5-note; Jude 1:8; Rev 2:15-note; Re 8:12-note.
NAS = like manner(1), likewise(12), same(3), same thing(1), same way(11), similar way(1), so(2), way(1).
Homoios - 8x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) - 1 Chr 28:16; Esther 1:18; Job 1:16; Ps 68:6; Pr 1:27; 4:18; Ezek 14:10; 45:11
BE (let it be your habit to be) SUBMISSIVE TO YOUR OWN HUSBANDS: hupotassomenai (PPPFPN) tois idiois andrasin:
Be submissive (5293) (hupotasso [word study] = hupo = under + tasso = arrange in an orderly manner) (Used repeatedly by Peter - 1Pe 2:13, 18; 3:1, 5, 22; 5:5) in the passive voice (as in this verse) means to submit oneself, to subordinate oneself, to obey, to place oneself under, to put oneself under orders, to align oneself under the authority of another. Hupotasso in this present use has in view the maintenance of God’s willed order, not personal inferiority of any kind. This word may denote either voluntary or forced behavior, but not any sense of inferiority.
Hupotasso - 38x in 31v - Luke 2:51; 10:17, 20; Rom 8:7, 20; 10:3; 13:1, 5; 1 Cor 14:32, 34; 15:27f; 16:16; Eph 1:22; 5:21, 24; Phil 3:21; Col 3:18; Titus 2:5, 9; 3:1; Heb 2:5, 8; 12:9; Jas 4:7; 1 Pet 2:13, 18; 3:1, 5, 22; 5:5. NAS - put in subjection(5), subject(16), subjected(7), subjecting(1), subjection(4), submissive(3), submit(2).
Hupotasso was used as military term to describe soldiers submitting to their superior or slaves submitting to their masters. The word has primarily the idea of giving up one’s own right or will. It meant to arrange [as for example troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader. Submission then is not so much to a person per se as to the position of rank that is established to ensure order rather than chaos. The buck private in the army may be a "better person" than the five-star general, but he is still a buck private. Slaves in the average Roman household in fact were "better people" in many ways when compared to their masters, yet they still had to be under authority to ensure order in the household. In non-military use hupotasso described "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".
Hupotasso is not a spineless submission but, as one writer has eloquently described it, a "voluntary selflessness."
Constable paraphrasing material from the Family Life Conference writes that…
Keep the historical context in mind reference to pagan husbands should be understood against the social background in which a wife was expected to accept the customs and religious rites of her husband.
Submission for Paul and Peter is a voluntary submission based on one’s own recognition of God’s order. It is the submission which is based on the death of pride on one hand and the desire to serve on the other. Ideally it is the submission not of fear but of perfect love. Christ Himself is the perfect example (1Pe 2:21,22,23-note, 1Pe 2:24, 25-note) of a servant Who submitted without reservation to His Father's perfect will (Php 2:5, 6, 7-note Php 2:8- note). Thus there is nothing degrading about submitting to authority and accepting God’s ordained order that alone ensures the proper functioning of the marriage bond between a husband and wife.
The present tense of the verb hupotasso calls for a attitude (make it a continual practice) of willingness to be under the order established by God. For women this does not come naturally (nor does it come naturally for men because of our fallen nature) because of sin entering the perfect environment in Genesis 3.
As a result of Eve's usurpation of Adam's headship, part of the consequence of her sin was that her desire would be for her husband (Genesis 3:16). Genesis 3:16 could be interpreted as a passionate yearning or longing for one's husband but the difficulty with that interpretation is fourfold:
The newly published conservative, evangelical Net Bible translates Genesis 3:16 this way
"To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you."
The majority of evangelical, conservative commentaries on Ge 3:16 definitely favor the interpretation that Eve would have latent within her fallen nature, her flesh, the desire to rule over, dominate and be independent of her husband. If one accepts this interpretation of (Gen 4:7) as reasonable, it would certainly explain why even the most devout, godly and "dead to self" wife would still have a tendency to chaff at God's call for her to submit to her husband. In a class I led on "Marriage without Regrets" one meek, mild, godly young woman raised her hand and confessed how during the preceding week's homework on submission she had experienced a feeling of resentment rising up from deep within and how this feeling surprised her. If one understands the "root cause" of this fleshly reaction from a study of (Gen 4:7), it at least helps one be aware of where the resistance might originate from.
Constable notes that the reason Peter calls for wives to be submissive is …
Own (2398) (idios) means belonging to oneself and not to another, one’s own, peculiar. It denotes "ownership".
Husbands (435) (aner) means man, an adult male person. Aner is used to speak of men in various relations and circumstances where the context determines the proper meaning, as in this verse clearly referring to husbands.
Peter does not require women to be subordinate to men in general but to their husbands as a function of order within the home. A wife is to accept her place in the family under the leadership of her husband whom God has placed as head in the home.
Plutarch writing in a secular connotation said that wives were to subordinate themselves and the man is to exercise control
"as the soul controls the body, by entering into her feelings and being knit to her through goodwill."
Rienecker in the Linguistic Key to the NT adds that
In every sphere of ancient civilization, women had no rights at all. Under Jewish law a woman was a thing; she was owned by her husband in exactly the same way as he owned his sheep and his goats; on no account could she leave him, although he could dismiss her at any moment. For a wife to change her religion while her husband did not was unthinkable. In Greek civilization the duty of the woman was "to remain indoors and to be obedient to her husband." It was the sign of a good woman that she must see as little, hear as little and ask as little as possible. She had no kind of independent existence and no kind of mind of her own, and her husband could divorce her almost at caprice, so long as he returned her dowry.
Under Roman law a woman had no rights. In law she remained forever a child. When she was under her father she was under the patria potestas, the father's power, which gave the father the right even of life and death over her; and when she married she passed equally into the power of her husband. She was entirely subject to her husband and completely at his mercy.
The Roman Cato wrote:
What a contrast with Christianity which commands husbands to love their wives unconditionally!
Roman matrons were prohibited from drinking wine, and Egnatius beat his wife to death when he found her doing so.
Sulpicius Gallus dismissed his wife because she had once appeared in the streets without a veil.
Antistius Vetus divorced his wife because he saw her secretly speaking to a freed woman in public.
Publius Sempronius Sophus divorced his wife because once she went to the public games.
The whole attitude of ancient civilization was that no woman could dare take any decision for herself. What, then, must have been the problems of the wife who became a Christian while her husband remained faithful to the ancestral gods? It is almost impossible for us to realize what life must have been for the wife who was brave enough to become a Christian.
Dave Roper writes that Peter's exhortation…
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Today in the Word - A magazine for Christian leaders published a cartoon that showed a pastor peering out anxiously from inside a World-War-II-style bunker, which was behind the pulpit. The well-protected pastor announced, “My text for today is 1 Peter 3:1-7.”
This requires serious reflection. Our reading indicates how essential the relationship between a wife and husband is. Much of a woman’s sense of self is tied to the way she presents herself, both outwardly and inwardly. The Bible has been accused of trying to shut away women at home in a subservient role, but that distorts Peter’s message. Accepting her husband’s leadership is not a statement of a wife’s inferiority. Both partners are equally valuable before God.
Peter’s caution against a woman investing her wealth and worth in her physical appearance to the detriment of her spirit reflects the same principle Jesus taught on several occasions. That is, believers cannot afford to invest their resources in things on earth to the neglect of eternal issues (Matt. 6:19, 20, 21; Luke 12:21).
TODAY ALONG THE WAY -You may recall the blast of media criticism that erupted in 1998 when a major Christian group dared to state that a wife should “lovingly submit” to her husband” (Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)
SO THAT EVEN IF ANY OF THEM ARE DISOBEDIENT TO THE WORD: hina kai ei tines apeithousin (3PPAI) to logo: (1Peter 1:22; 4:17; Ro 6:17; 10:16; 2Th 1:8; Heb 5:9; 11:8)
The word “if” represents a fulfilled condition. The "if" in this passage introduces a first class conditional clause which assumes the reality of the condition… specifically that the husbands of some of the woman reading the letter were in fact unsaved and disobedient to the word.
Disobedient (544) (apeitheo from "a" = negating what follows, without + peithes = obedient) literally describes one who refuses to be persuaded and who disbelieves willfully and perversely. They are unpersuaded and express an obstinate rejection to the will of God.
Apeitheo is an attitude (present tense) of unbelief which involves deliberate disobedience and conscious resistance to authority. There were disobedient husbands then just as there are today. The present tense indicates that this is their lifestyle, the way the carry on their life is in continual disobedience against God! To be sure, we all disobey from time to time. That is not what Peter is referring to here. Instead he is describing the individual with an unregenerate heart who habitually, continually disobeys (as a lifestyle) what he or she knows to be the truth.
Apeitheo - 14x in 14v - John 3:36; Acts 14:2; 19:9; Rom 2:8; 10:21; 11:30f; 15:31; Heb 3:18; 11:31; 1 Pet 2:8; 3:1, 20; 4:17. NAS = disbelieved(1), disobedient(10), do not obey(1), obey(2).
Apeitheo is translated in the KJV as believe not, 8; disobedient, 4; obey not, 3; unbelieving, 1 and in the NAS it is rendered - disbelieved, 1; disobedient, 10; do not obey, 1; obey, 2.
Apeitheo means not to allow oneself to be persuaded; not to comply with and to refuse or withhold belief (in the truth, but elsewhere in Christ, in the gospel)
Apeitheo speaks of a stubborn, stiff-necked attitude. It speaks of disbelief manifesting itself in disobedience. It is opposed to pisteuo, the verb translated "believe".
Marvin Vincent in discussing apeitheo in John 3:36 writes that..
From the above comments, it should not surprise you to discover that in the New Testament the word group translated disobey, disobedience, etc (apeitheo and related words) does not stand in contrast with obedience but in contrast with faith!
The word (3056) (logos [word study] from lego = to speak intelligently source of English "logic, logical") (Click for in depth discussion of lógos) means something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds expression in words.
The Christian wife is exhorted to be in subjection to her unsaved husband, in order that he might won without a word, not "the Word" (the gospel), be won by the behavior of the wife. Keep in mind the social context of Paul's time, in which a wife was expected to accept the customs and religious rites of her husband.
THEY MAY BE WON WITHOUT A WORD BY THE BEHAVIOR OF THEIR WIVES: dia tes ton gunaikon anastrophes aneu logou kerdethesontai, (3PFPI): (1Co 7:16; Col 4:5) (Won: Pr 11:30; 18:19; Mt 18:15; 1Co 9:19, 20, 21, 22; Jas 5:19,20)
Spurgeon writes -
Won (2770) (kerdaino from kerdos = gain) means literally to procure an advantage or profit, to acquire by effort or investment (as in the parable of the talents Mt 25:16,17, 20, 22; James 4:13 = "make a profit").
Gain also conveys the idea of to win in (Mt 18:15) apparently the "gain" being that the reproved brother repents. Peter also uses kerdaino figuratively of a submissive wife winning her husband.
Kerdaino in the present context is applied figuratively of gaining or winning someone over to one's side, in this case to the side of Christ.
Kerdaino - 17x in 16v - Matt 16:26; 18:15; 25:16f, 20, 22; Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25; Acts 27:21; 1 Cor 9:19, 20, 21, 22, Phil 3:8; Jas 4:13; 1 Pet 3:1. NAS = gain(2), gained(4), gains(2), incurred(1), profit(1), win(5), won(2).
Vine writes that kerdaino is used metaphorically
Behavior (391) (anastrophe [word study] from anastrepho = to turn up, to move about <> aná = again, back + strepho = turn) literally describes a turning around or turning back and is used figuratively to refer to one's conduct, especially focusing on our daily behavior and our general deportment. In essence anastrophe deals with on the whole manner of one's life.
Anastrophe is used of public activity, life in relation to others. Being set apart from the world and to God, wives were to show themselves holy in all their dealing with others.
Anastrophe - 13x in 13v- Gal 1:13; Eph 4:22; 1 Tim 4:12; Heb 13:7; Jas 3:13; 1 Pet 1:15, 18; 2:12; 3:1f, 15; 2 Pet 2:7; 3:11. NAS = behavior(6), conduct(4), manner of life(2), way of life(1).
Marvin Vincent writes that behavior (anastrophe) is
Note that Peter does not advise the wife to leave her heathen husband (1Cor 7:13, 14, 15, 16). Peter does not tell her to insist that there is no difference between slave and freeman, Gentile and Jew, male and female (Col 3:11), but that all are the same in the presence of the Christ whom she has come to know. Peter wants the Christian women to win their husbands by a life of reverence and purity expressed in a submissive attitude that honors him as the head of the home. It is the character and conduct of the wife that will win the lost husband—not arguments, but such attitudes as submission, understanding, love, kindness, patience. These qualities are not manufactured; they are the fruit of the Spirit that come when we are submitted to Christ .
The New Living Translation has a very nice paraphrase of this verse
Without a word does not however mean “without the Word of God”. There is no definite article before the second use of the word word No one has ever been won to the Lord Jesus apart from the Word of God because salvation comes through the Word. Jesus clearly explained one has to hear the "word" before he or she can "believe" the word, declaring
There is a play on the word logos. The wives are to remain silent—without a word—so that the husbands disobedient to “the word” may be converted!
What without a word really means is in essence “without talk, without a lot of speaking.” How true it is that Christian wives who preach at their husbands often only drive them farther away from the truth. Peter was not forbidding speaking to unsaved husbands about the Lord or sharing Scripture if the husband would be receptive. His point was that a godly wife’s conduct is going to be more influential than anything she may say.
John MacArthur adds…
Peter is exhorting these wives who have given the gospel to their husbands time after time, to stop talking about it lest they start nagging, and instead, live the gospel before them. If the husband is so obstinate as to refuse to listen to her, well then, the next best thing is to keep quiet and let the gospel speak through a Christ like life. He may refuse to listen to her words, but he cannot but see the Lord Jesus in her life.
An excellent example of such a godly wife (and mother) was Monica, the mother of Augustine. God used Monica’s witness and prayers to win both her son and her husband to Christ, though her husband was not converted until shortly before his death. Augustine wrote in Confessions,
In the context of Peter's exhortation, it is interesting to contrast that of pagan writer Plutarch (AD50-120) who said that “it is becoming for a wife to worship and know only the gods that her husband believes in, and to shut the front door tight upon all queer rituals and outlandish superstitions.”
Christ's Agents - We as believers in Christ are called to be witnesses to our world (Acts 1:8). It's not always easy. Sometimes we are treated rudely or unkindly. It's then that our actions and behavior can be our most effective testimony.
In our daily life and service
Loud Silence - The world famous master of mime, Marcel Marceau, was asked what the difference was between regular acting and pantomime. Marceau's response was interesting. He said, "In the case of a bad actor, the words are there even if the actor is no good. But when a mime is not good, there is nothing left. A mime must be very clear and very strong."
The same thing is true of the Christian's witness. If a believer's verbal testimony is rejected, it may be wise for him to say no more. But it's then that silence should speak so clearly that no one can mistake the message.
For example, in the case of a married couple, the wife's quiet reverence for God should be crystal-clear to her unbelieving husband so that he may be won "without a word" (1 Pet. 3:1-2). Husbands are reminded by Peter to live with their wives with understanding and honor (v.7). If the wife is the one who needs a wordless witness, then the husband's character and treatment of her should reflect his relationship to Jesus Christ.
These truths apply to every believer, married or not. If we are in a situation where our actions alone have to do the talking, let's make sure they are coming through loud and clear for Christ. — Mart De Haan
Sometimes our witness will be spurned
Amplified: When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him—to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: by watching your pure, godly behavior. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: simply by seeing the pure and reverent behavior of you, their wives. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: having viewed attentively your pure manner of life which is accompanied by a reverential fear; (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: having beheld your pure behavior in fear,
AS THEY OBSERVE: epopteusantes (AAPMPN): (1Pet 3:16; 1:15; 2:12; Php 1:27; 3:20; 1Ti 4:12; 2Pe 3:11)
Among the Greeks the word was used of those who had attained to the third grade, the highest, of the Eleusinian mysteries, a religious cult at Eleusis, with its worship, rites, festival and pilgrimages; this brotherhood was open to all Greeks) means to be a spectator, to be an overseer, to view carefully, to watch over a period of time. It means to to observe something, implying both continuity and intent. The unsaved watch the saved very carefully.
Peter in the only other NT use of epoteuo exhorted his readers to
MacArthur explains that
Almost inevitably we will be criticized and so we need to remember that unsaved husbands and others not saved are observing our conduct closely and intently.
Application: Applying the truths just discussed, the question is "How would the unbelievers in your office, school, home, etc describe YOUR behavior?"
YOUR CHASTE AND RESPECTFUL BEHAVIOR: ten en phobo hagnen anastrophen humon: (1Pet 3:5,6,15; Ep 5:33; 6:5; Col 3:22)
Peter now describes a number of characteristics which describe this submission, descriptions of the behavior of the wife illustrating how she is to work out her submission.
Chaste (53) (hagnos) means freedom from defilements or impurities. Hagnos describes what is morally undefiled and when used ceremonially describes that which has been so cleansed that it is fit to be brought into the presence of God and used in His service. Although hagnos refers primarily to that which is inwardly pure, this purity also affects a person’s conduct. Here it indicates the irreproachable conduct of the wife.
Hagnos means free from admixture of evil, and is once applied to God, John writing that
Hagnos is used 8 times in the NT in the NASB and is translated: chaste, 1; free from sin, 1; innocent, 1; pure, 5.
In the Septuagint (LXX) hagnos is found 8 times (Lev. 23:40; Job 40:22; Ps. 12:6; 19:9; Prov. 15:26; 19:13; 20:9; 21:8) and often signifies ceremonial purification and/or moral and ethical purity.
Hagnos is always with a moral sense but is not limited to sins of the flesh, but covering purity in motives as well as in acts. In 2Co 11:2, of virgin purity. In James 3:17, as a characteristic of heavenly wisdom.
Barclay (critique) emphasizing the secular origin and use writes that…
Chaste is defined by Webster as free from all taint of what is lewd or salacious and implies a refraining from acts or even thoughts or desires that are not virginal or not sanctioned by marriage vows.
Hagnos refers to the irreproachable conduct of a godly wife. The believing wife must live with the conscious awareness and conviction that all life is lived in the presence of Christ. (Eph 5:21-note). Purity of life with reverence for God is what the unsaved husband should observe consistently.
J H Jowett asks and then poetically answers…
Respectful (5401) (phobos) literally means fear but in context conveys the meanings of honoring or reverencing her husband. Phobos reflects her attitude toward her husband that parallels her attitude toward God’s will.
The Amplified Version describes the wife's reverence for her husband as follows…
George Müller told of a wealthy German whose wife was a devout believer. This man was a heavy drinker, spending late nights in the tavern. She would send the servants to bed, stay up till he returned, receive him kindly, and never scold him or complain. At times she would even have to undress him and put him to bed. One night in the tavern he said to his cronies,
They were skeptical at first, but decided to go along and see. Sure enough, she came to the door, received them courteously, and willingly agreed to make supper for them without the slightest trace of resentment. After serving them, she went off to her room. As soon as she had left, one of the men began to condemn the husband. “
The accuser got up without finishing his supper and left the house. Another did the same and another till they had all departed without eating the meal. Within a half hour, the husband became deeply convicted of his wickedness, and especially of his heartless treatment of his wife. He went to his wife’s room, asked her to pray for him, repented of his sins, and surrendered to Christ. From that time on, he became a devoted disciple of the Lord Jesus. Won without a word!
George Müller advised: Dearly beloved, don’t be discouraged if you have to suffer from unconverted relatives. Perhaps very shortly the Lord may give you the desire of your heart, and answer your prayer for them. But in the meantime, seek to commend the truth, not by reproaching them on account of their behavior toward you, but by manifesting toward them the meekness, gentleness and kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Amplified: Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] p interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Your beauty should not be dependent on an elaborate coiffure, or on the wearing of jewellery or fine clothes, (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: let your adornment not be that adornment which is from without and merely external, namely, an elaborate gathering of the hair into knots, and a lavish display of gold ornaments, or the donning of apparel, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: whose adorning -- let it not be that which is outward, of plaiting of hair, and of putting around of things of gold, or of putting on of garments,
YOUR ADORNMENT MUST NOT BE MERELY EXTERNAL: on esto (3SPAM) ouch o exothen: (1Ti 2:9,10; Titus 2:3-15; Ro 12:2)
Adornment (2889) (kosmos [word study]) (see study verb form kosmeo) means literally “an ordered system” and speaks of that which is congruous, fitting. The idea is that the wife's clothing on the outside of the body should be an expression of what is in the heart.
External (1855) (exothen from exo= out + suffix –then = from or at a place) means from without, outwardly.
Exothen - 13x in 12v - Matt 23:25, 27f; Mark 7:15, 18; Luke 11:39f; 2 Cor 7:5; 1 Tim 3:7; 1 Pet 3:3; Rev 11:2; 14:20
Must not be - Not is absolute negation = no exceptions.
As the Christian wife thus seeks to live before her husband, the apostle commands (present imperative = continuous or habitual action called for) her not to depend upon outward adornment to win her husband to the Lord. Her adornment must come from within, from a heart permeated with the beauty and fragrance of Christ for it the presence of the Lord Jesus in the life of the wife that will attract the disobedient husband and not the adornment she puts on.
BRAIDING THE HAIR: emplokes trichon:
Braiding (1708) (emploke from empléko = to interweave, braid in, entangle <> from en = in + pléko = connect, tie, twine/braid) refers to a braiding, an intertwining or a plaiting as of the hair in ornamentation.
Hair (2359) (thrix) the hairs of the head.
She is not to depend upon the plaiting of the hair in her effort to win her husband to the Lord. Reference is made here to the extravagant and costly excesses to which women of the first century went in hair ornament. The braiding of hair along with bright clothes was important in the cult of Artemis (Diana) and Isis.
Vincent quotes an ancient writing that gives additional insight into why Peter's instruction is so specific:
Thus, extravagant excesses and intricate artificiality of hair dress are forbidden the Christian woman as adornment. Ornaments of gold were worn round the hair as nets and round the finger, arm, or ankle. (Things have not changed much have they?)
AND WEARING GOLD JEWELRY: kai peritheseos chrusion: (Ge 24:22, 47, 53; Ex 3:22; 32:2; 33:4; 35:22; 38:8; 2Ki 9:30; Esther 5:1; Ps 45:9; Is 3:18-24; 52:1; 61:10; Je 2:32; 4:30; Ezekiel 16:7-13; 23:40)
Wearing (4025) (perithesis from peri = around + tithemi = place) means literally “to place around or hang around,” as one hangs ornaments around a Christmas tree.
Gold (5553) (chrusion) is literally gold as in the earth and mined from the earth. It is also used to represent the things made of gold (as here) such as gold jewelry or gold coins (Acts 3:6).
Chrusion - 12x in 12v - Acts 3:6; 20:33; 1 Tim 2:9; Heb 9:4; 1 Pet 1:7, 18; 3:3; Rev 3:18; 17:4; 18:16; 21:18, 21
The wearing of jewelry is not forbidden here, but it is clearly not to be a gaudy, conspicuous, extravagant display. This would hardly serve to win a disobedient husband to Christ.
OR PUTTING ON DRESSES: e enduseos himation kosmos:
Putting on (1745) (endusis from enduo [word study] = put on in turn from en = in + duo = sink, go in or under, to put on) is used only here in the NT and means the putting on or wearing of clothes. In one secular writing it is used to describe "a beloved spouse who attired herself unobtrusively 'ornatus non conspiciendi'")
So here Peter says that dependence upon apparel is forbidden. The purpose of clothing is for the protection of the body and what Peter is forbidding is the donning of apparel for the purpose of making ourselves pleasing in the eyes of the unsaved so that we may win them to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus.
Wuest has an instructive question asking…
Beautiful People - Our society idolizes the so-called "beautiful people" -popular entertainers and models whose youthful faces dominate the pages of the magazines at the supermarket checkout. But such attractiveness has nothing to do with the kind of beauty that delights the heart of God.
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
Beautiful people are those who mirror Christ.
Happily Ever After? - Despite what we've heard in countless fairy tales, there's no guarantee that people who get married will live happily ever after. Things go wrong—sometimes terribly wrong. Even with the best of intentions, we may find ourselves in a house full of resentment, hostility, unrest, and misery. There is no heartache quite like the heartache of an unhappy marriage.
"For better or for worse," we pledge,
Amplified: But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: but on the inner personality - the unfading loveliness of a calm and gentle spirit, a thing very precious in the eyes of God. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: but let that adornment be the hidden personality in the heart, imperishable in quality, the adornment of a meek and quiet disposition, which is in the sight of God very costly. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: but -- the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible thing of the meek and quiet spirit, which is, before God, of great price,
BUT LET IT BE THE HIDDEN PERSON OF THE HEART: all o kruptos tes kardias anthropos: (Ps 45:13; 51:6; Mt 23:26; Lk 11:40; Ro 2:29; 6:6; 7:22; 2Co 4:16; Ep 4:22-24; Col 3:3,9,10)
Let it be - Not in Greek but implied by the context.
Spurgeon - There is no ornament like that. No taste can ever conceive anything so lovely as a holy character. No expensive materials, and no ingenious fashioning of them, can ever produce such true beauty as “a meek and quiet spirit.” You must have known some godly matrons, venerable Christian women, whose gentle piety has blessed the whole household of which they formed a part. They attained supreme authority over all simply by yielding; they gained a queenly position in the house by gentleness and quietness. Nobody dared to offend them; — not because they would have been in a passion, but because they were themselves so inoffensive, so kind, so gentle. (1 Peter 3 Commentary)
Hidden (2927) (kruptos from verb krupto = to keep secret or hidden; English - cryptic) secret, concealed. It describes that which is unknown because it is being kept secret. Something hidden, where it cannot be seen by others (Mt 6:4, Mt 6:6, Mt 6:18).
Kruptos - 17x in 15v - Matt 6:4, 6; 10:26; Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; 12:2; John 7:4, 10; 18:20; Rom 2:16, 29; 1 Cor 4:5; 14:25; 2 Cor 4:2; 1 Pet 3:4. NAS = hidden(5), inwardly(1), secret(7), secrets(2), things hidden(2).
The idea of hidden person of the heart is that…
the personality of the Christian woman is made beautiful by the ministry of the Holy Spirit in glorifying the Lord Jesus and manifesting Him in and through her life… The adornment must be spiritual, not physical. Personality is after all far more important than either physical beauty or the adornment which mere clothing affords. A person ought to be bigger than any consideration of outward decoration. One can dress up a fence post. If one finds it necessary to depend upon either physical beauty or clothing in order to make a favorable impression upon others, that fact shows that that person realizes his lack of those personal and spiritual qualities that make a virile Christian character." (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
The hidden person of the heart is the best sermon the wife could preach to win her husband for Christ. There are few passages where the value of a lovely Christian life is so vividly stressed.
Heart (2588) (kardia) does not refer to the physical organ but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will. No outward obedience is of the slightest value unless the heart turns to God.
Hughes explains that what Paul is saying here is that…
The Scottish writer John Eadie says that…
Vine writes that kardia…
MacArthur commenting on kardia writes that…
MacArthur adds that
WITH THE IMPERISHABLE QUALITY OF A GENTLE: en to aphtharto tou praeos: (1Peter 3:15; Ps 25:9; 147:6; 149:4; Is 11:4; 29:19; 57:15; 61:1; Mt 5:5; 11:29; Mt 21:5; 2Co 10:1; Gal 5:23; Ep 4:2; Col 3:12; 2Ti 2:25; Titus 3:2; Jas 1:21; 3:13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
Imperishable (862) (aphthartos [word study] from a = negates what follows + phtheiro = to corrupt) means nothing can corrupt or ruin, not liable to pass away, not subject to corruption, decay or dissolution and so imperishable. Absolutely nothing can ruin your eternal inheritance beloved. In secular Greek aphthartos described something that had not been ravaged by an invading army.
Aphthartos - 8x in 8v - Mark 16:8; Rom 1:23; 1 Cor 9:25; 15:52; 1 Tim 1:17; 1 Pet 1:4, 23; 3:4. NAS = immortal(1), imperishable(4), imperishable quality(1), incorruptible(1).
Note that the gentle or meek spirit here is in fact a word of power, not of weakness as many think.
Lenski - Without the incorruption of a meek and quiet spirit the hidden man of the heart would be filled with a vain, proud, self-assertive spirit, the mark of an unregenerate heart. Pneuma (spirit) is to be understood in the ethical sense of temperament or character. Peter does not name the virtues when he uses the nouns “meekness” and “quietness” because he does not want to parallel them with the outward ornamentation of the body. These Christian virtues are far more than adornments which are put on for a while so that men may see and admire them and are then taken off again. Peter avoids such a parallel. The incorruption is permanently connected with the hidden man of the heart, and it is the meek and quiet spirit (appositional genitive) which constitutes this thing that is incorruptible. In 1:7 Peter says of gold that it is “perishing”; in 1:18 gold and silver are termed “corruptible things.” This indicates why he now uses “incorruption.” The meek and quiet spirit in the heart is imperishable; it is the true beauty, not one that is put on, but one that is inherent; it is not an earthly, bodily, outward thing but is inherent in the soul.
Gentle (4239) (praus) (Click prautes for study of related noun "gentleness') refers to one who is not overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance and is gentle, humble, considerate, meek and unassuming.Praus - 4x in 4v - Matt 5:5; 11:29; 21:5; 1 Pet 3:4
Praus describes the man or woman whose temper is always under complete control. He or she knows when to be angry and when not to be angry. He or she patiently bears wrongs to himself or herself but is ever chivalrously ready to spring to the help of others who are wronged.
Lenski - The two adjectives “meek and quiet” match the participle “continuing in subjection” and bring out the true Christian character of the wife’s submissiveness. Although it is inward, these adjectives state that this spirit at the same time manifests itself outwardly by the entire conduct. Paganism knew meekness as a human virtue only to a slight degree, only in the sense of an equitable mind; the Scriptures elevate meekness and regard it as a spiritual virtue that is pleasing to God. Paganism despised the person who was not masterful, who did not assert his own will and make others bow to it; Christianity elevated lowliness and did not regard it as a form of weakness but as a mark of inner, spiritual strength. See what Jesus says about the meek in Mt 5:5-note; so meekness is ever extolled. It springs from our relation to God, from the consciousness of our sinfulness and thus extends also to men and suggests a willing bearing of what their sins inflict upon us (see Trench). All this was beyond the pagan conception because it belongs to our regenerate spirit or character, to our life in the kingdom. This meekness is always quiet; loudness, intemperate, irate speech and action are foreign to it. A steady, balanced strength keeps it on an even keel. Such a Christian wife is a treasure for any husband. When a heathen husband sees that by conversion his wife is changed from vanity, love of display, and other feminine vices to the true beauty of a new spirit, he must surely be drawn to a religion that is able to produce such wonders of grace. Paul notes cases of the opposite kind, where the unbelieving spouse may even depart and thus break up the marriage (1Cor. 7:15); Peter passes these cases by, they are not pertinent to his simple admonitory purpose.
Praus and prautes convey the idea of tenderness and graciousness, and can be accurately translated “meekness” and “meek” respectively. But unlike those English words, the Greek terms do not connote weakness but rather power under control. The adjective praus was often used of a wild horse that was broken and made useful to its owner. For believers, to be gentle is to be willingly under the sovereign control of God. Numbers 12:3 describes Moses as
“very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”
Yet that same Moses could act decisively, and flared up in anger when provoked.
Praus is often used of a gentle voice, a gentle breeze, or a gentle animal. As noted above the Greeks characterized meekness as power under control and in the case of the Spirit filled believer this means that he or she is under the control of God's Spirit. From a practical standpoint, the individual who is "praus" exhibits a freedom from malice, bitterness, or any desire for revenge. The only way to truly define meekness is in the context of relationships because it refers to how we treat others. A gentle spirit should characterize our relationship with both man and God.
How would you describe your attitude, beloved? Are you meek, humble, gentle, and mild, or do you tend to display an arrogant, selfish attitude toward others? Test yourself with the following questions: Are you harsh? If you are mean in your treatment of others, if there is an absence of gentleness in your treatment of others, take heed. Are you continually grasping? If you make sure you always get yours first, if numero uno is the subtle driving force in your life, if you care little about how your actions affect others, beware. Are you vengeful? If you are known as someone never to cross, if you always get your "pound of flesh," be on your guard. Are your emotions uncontrolled? If rage fills your soul so that life is a series of explosions occasioned by the "fools" in your life, watch out. None of these traits emanates from a meek, gentle spirit.
Gentleness is a God-honored character trait, one the nine fold aspects of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:23) and is never bitter, malicious, self-seeking, self-promoting, arrogant, or vengeful.
The person who is "gentle" or "meek" sees everything as coming from God and accepting it without murmuring and without disputing. Meekness and weakness are not synonymous.
The "gentle, meek" person (empowered by the indwelling Spirit, gentleness being one aspect of the Spirit's fruit, Gal 5:23) is enabled to say
"God, in this situation (whatever it might be), You are in control. You are sovereign and You rule over all. You have a purpose and that one aspect of Your purpose is to make me more like Christ."
Gentleness or meekness is to characterize everyone in the kingdom of God. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,
Blessed are the gentle (praus), for they shall inherit the earth (Mt 5:5-note).
Our Lord used praus of Himself in His famous invitation to all who are weary and heavy laden to
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle (praus) and humble in heart (Mt 11:29).
In fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy (Zech 9:9), as Jesus prepares for His triumphal entry in His last week in Jerusalem, Matthew records
BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE (praus), AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.' (Mt 21:5)
Robert Johnstone (in his excellent nineteenth-century commentary on James) has some insightful comments on meek or gentle writing…
I do not know that at any point the opposition between the spirit of the world and the Spirit of Christ is more marked, more obviously diametrical, than with regard to this feature of character. That “the meek” should “inherit the earth”—they who bear wrongs, and exemplify that love which “seeketh not her own," (1Co 13:5-note)—to a world which believes in high-handedness and self-assertion, and pushing the weakest to the wall, a statement like this of the Lord from heaven cannot but appear an utter paradox. The man of the world desires to be counted anything but “meek” or “poor in spirit,” and would deem such a description of him equivalent to a charge of unmanliness. Ah, brethren, this is because we have taken in Satan’s conception of manliness instead of God’s. One Man has been shown us by God, in Whom His ideal of man was embodied; and He, “when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously” (1Peter 2:21-23); He for those who nailed Him to the tree prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Lu 23:34, cf Acts 7:60) The world’s spirit of wrath, then, must be folly; whilst than a spirit of meekness like His, in the midst of controversy, oppositions, trials of whatever kind, there can be no surer evidence that “Jesus is made of God to His people wisdom. (Johnstone, Robert : A Commentary on James. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1977, p261–62)
Strong's note on praus states that
"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 them 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." (cf Isaiah 41:17)
William Barclay (critique) has a lengthy discussion of praus (and the related word prautes) writing that praus has two main lines of meanings…
(a) Aristotle, the great Greek thinker and teacher, has much to say about praotēs (related to praus). It was his custom to define every virtue as the mean between two extremes. On one side there was excess of some quality, on the other defect; and in between there was exactly its right proportion. Aristotle defines praotēs (related to praus) as the mean between being too angry and never being angry at all. The man who is praus is the man who is always angry at the right time and never angry at the wrong time. To put that in another way, the man who is praus is the man who is kindled by indignation at the wrongs and the sufferings of others, but is never moved to anger by the wrongs and the insults he himself has to bear. So, then, the man who is (as in the Authorized Version), meek is the man who is always angry at the right time but never angry at the wrong time.
(b) There is another fact which will illumine the meaning of this word. Praus is the Greek for an animal which has been trained and domesticated until it is completely under control. Therefore the man who is praus is the man who has every instinct and every passion under perfect control. It would not be right to say that such a man is entirely self-controlled, for such self-control is beyond human power; but it would be right to say that such a man is God-controlled. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press)
Praus conveys the idea of "controlled strength" and is that humble and gentle attitude that expresses itself in a patient submissiveness.
Think about it… if gentleness or meekness governs the circumstances we encounter rather than the circumstances governing us, it has to be powerful.
Meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest.
Meekness is an equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down because it is not occupied with self at all.
The perfect example of praus is our Lord Jesus Christ and how He walked and responded even to those who mistreated and falsely accused Him (1Pe 2:18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25-see notes 1Pe 2:18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25). He did not operate with deceit, did not return derogatory remarks and did not threaten even though He had more right to do so as Creator than anyone ever created. He kept His mouth closed & prayed. He continually entrusted Himself to God, knowing that God knew his unjust treatment & that He would judge righteously. Jesus' purpose was not to judge (at least not as a Man) but to win over the sinner. Jesus then is the wife's (and all believer's) Example, Role model and most importantly our Enabler (through the Spirit of Christ Who indwells all believers) to supernaturally exhibit this gentle spirit. (1Thessalonians 5:24-ntoe).
So in Peter's message to the wife is to do all you can to win your husband with your meekness & with a quiet spirit, with that tranquility that arises from within and remains unshaken by circumstances. This is not an easy command, especially in our modern liberated feminist era where women are taught independence & self-assertion. Yet God speaks there truths for He knows & understands the hearts of all mankind and He knows what is best. That is why He tells us not to lean on our own understanding but to acknowledge Him in all our ways and He is responsible to make our paths straight. His thoughts & ways are much higher than ours. Peter says to the wife to take the high road that she might live in the highest plane.
Here is the KEY to this dynamic -- it is in a sense letting go of trying to "work" on one's husband, giving up on one's own (self) efforts and trusting God to work on him. All the while the wife by God's grace exercises the godly discipline of a gentle and quiet spirit. Now we begin to see why it is characterized as "precious". It is not the wife's job to make the husband holy. It is God's job and only within His power.
J H Jowett asks and then poetically answers…
AND QUIET SPIRIT (disposition) WHICH IS PRECIOUS IN THE SIGHT OF GOD : kai hesuchiou pneumatos : o estin (3SPAI) enopion tou theou poluteles: (Ps 131:2; Jer 51:59; 1Th 4:11; 2Th 3:12; 1Ti 2:2) (1Sa 16:7; Ps 147:10,11; 149:4; Lk 16:15)
Quiet (2272) (hesuchios) means quiet, tranquil (free from agitation of mind or spirit and suggesting a suggests a very deep quietude or composure), without turmoil, well ordered or undisturbed from without and exhibiting a peaceful attitude. It does not mean she should be silent at all times and never express an opinion. Compare the description of a "virtuous woman" (Pr 31:10-31).
The only other NT use of hesuchios is 1Timothy…
Spirit - In this context refers to one's general disposition.
Precious (4185) (poluteles is from polus = much or great + telos = expense or cost) means very expensive, costly or sumptuous and in the present context means "very precious".
Poluteles - 3x in 3v - Mk 14:3; 1Ti 2:9; 1Pe 3:4 NAS = costly(1), precious(1), very costly(1).
In the sight of God - The Greek word enopion (from en = in + ops = face or eye) is literally in the face of, in the presence of and thus before. This picture makes her manifestation of a gentle and quiet spirit virtually a sacrificial act of worship! The corollary is God is the Spectator of such a life lived (cp Pr 15:3 Pr 5:21, Job 34:21, 22 )
Cultural context -- Christianity came into a world of luxury and decadence combined. Purple was the favourite colour for clothes. One pound weight of the best Tyrian purple wool, strained twice through, cost 1,000 denarii, 43.50 pounds. A tyrian cloak of the best purple cost well over 100 pounds. In one year silks, pearls, scents and jewelry were imported from India to the value of 1,000,000 pounds. Similar imports of luxury came from Arabia. Diamonds, emeralds, topazes, opals and the sardonyx were favourite stones. Struma Nonius had a ring valued at 21,250 pounds. Pearls were loved most of all. Julius Caesar bought for Servilia a pearl which cost him 65,250 pounds. Earrings were made of pearls and Seneca spoke of women with two or three fortunes in their ears. Slippers were encrusted with them; Nero even had a room whose walls were covered with them. Pliny saw Lollia Paulina, wife of Caligula, wearing a dress so covered with pearls and emeralds that it had cost 450,000 pounds.
The Birthmark - Charles William Eliot (1834-1926), former president of Harvard University, had a birthmark on his face that bothered him greatly. As a young man, he was told that surgeons could do nothing to remove it. Someone described that moment as “the dark hour of his soul.” Eliot’s mother gave him this helpful advice: “My son, it is not possible for you to get rid of that hardship. But it is possible for you, with God’s help, to grow a mind and soul so big that people will forget to look at your face.”
”Of great price, costly, valuable, very dear, highly esteemed, expensive.” People and things are said to be precious to us; yet, how much more precious to us should things of a spiritual nature be. Peter loved to use the word, “precious” in his epistles. Note Peter’s precious treasures.
This last verse is not from Peter, but should be included in the list of God’s precious things, serving, as it does, as the final evaluation of the things of this life. It is a precious, comforting thought to know that to