Monday, December 3, 2012

1 Peter 3

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Wives and Husbands (v. 1-7)

Wives should "be subject" to their husband, even if he doesn't obey the word. They should see your good conduct and be won back over to the lord. You should submit to your husband as Sarah obeyed Abraham.

Nothing surprising here, just the same misogyny as we've seen a number of times. I wonder, if you are a good Christian woman, how do you wind up being married to a man who isn't? Did she choose poorly when marrying (or possibly did her father choose poorly) or has a good husband fallen away from the faith? At any rate, this is ridiculous as usual, is the wife supposed to submit no matter what? Does this include if he is beating her? It's also interesting why the wife should do this, she is supposed to submit and be good so that her husband can be saved. All of the focus is on him, it really shows where society was at the time.

From Guzik: "This submission isn’t a reward for the husband’s good behavior, it is commanded by God as the proper order for the home." I'm not sure what to add here, these ideas from the bible are clearly holding us back as a society.

Then I saw this from him "Wives may want to shape their husbands - either to Christ or in Christ - through their words. Peter reminds them that God’s plan is that wives impact their husbands not through persuasive lectures, but through godly submission, chaste conduct, and the fear of God." I had to go back and look at the verse again, and sure enough it says that women should win their husbands over without a word. Guzik seems to interpret this to say that women should shut up. And you know, this seems to be consistent with other teachings of the bible.

Don't focus your attention on your outward appearance, you should develop your inner beauty.

This is good advice, of course the text is talking about developing spiritually, but I think it is easy enough to take it as developing a good personality in many other ways as well. 

Husbands should understand and honor their wives, for they are weaker than you.

Same old thing, wives have to submit, husbands have to 'honor'. Problem is, honor can mean almost anything, so ultimately the man can do whatever he wants. "I beat my wife to teach her what is right so she will act properly in the future, in this way I have honored her." 

Suffering for Righteousness' Sake (v. 8-22)

You should all have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil.

Other than the unity of mind, I like all of these things. Unity of mind might sound good on the surface, but it is important for everyone to think for themselves.

It is better to have a good conscience and suffer for doing good than to do evil.

Usually I am against the ideas of suffering offered up in the bible, but that is because the suffering itself usually takes center stage. Here, we aren't talking about suffering for its own sake, we are talking about doing good in the face of evil and if suffering happens, so be it. This is a good message, stand up for your principles even if you face negative consequences.

Jesus also suffered, he died and was revived in the spirit, then he went to talk to spirits in prison because they did not obey. When Noah was preparing the ark, God waited patiently to save those 8 people while he flooded the rest of the world. Baptism corresponds to this even.

So yeah, this last paragraph is a little hard to parse. The punctuation is all weird and the ideas jump a bit. It goes from Jesus to Noah's ark to baptism without catching a breath. I don't really get the whole thing, but I think the basic idea is that Jesus suffered so you can too. If I'm wrong here feel free to correct me.

Guzik suggests that Jesus is talking to spirits who have been imprisoned since the great flood. He is preaching to them because they didn't have a chance to be saved back then. That makes a little bit of sense, I guess the prison is supposed to be hell, or purgatory, or something. Too cryptic to be useful as far as I'm concerned. 

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)


3:3-4 spend time developing a good personality and not just outer beauty

"Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-- 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."

3:8-9 good values

"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling...

3:17 Do good, even if you risk personal suffering

"For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil."


3:1,5 wives submit to your husband no matter what they do

"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands..."

"For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands"


  1. The submitting to one's husband thing is tough to stomach. I'm not sure why any woman would want to be part of such a religion. Then again, I'm not sure why any man would want this sort of obedience from a wife.

    1. I think the second half of your point is something that doesn't get much attention. I would probably be divorced if my wife was unthinking obedient automaton...I love the fact that she is her own person, will correct me if I am wrong, will make decisions with me (not me for her or vice versa), etc. The misogyny in the bible is "tough to stomach" in many ways...

    2. That's a good point, while reading the bible I often wonder why any woman would want to follow a religion that thinks like this, however the husband's position rarely occurs to me. I think it is easy to imagine a woman who is oppressed in this way, but it is hard to imagine myself in the oppressive role so it just flows right past my brain.


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