I attend a small Bible study at a small church. One of us reads a few verses and then we talk about them.
Not to long ago, it was the leaders turn to read and the verses that he was to read were the first verses of First Peter Chapter three. His wife was also one of the participants and it was obvious that he took great delight when he read the first verse. It was not malicious and his wife took it well, but the glee of reading the verse was great.
He read, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands” and with a smile on his face said, “We could stop right there, couldn’t we”.
I thought, and of course I said, “Why yes, and we men usually do stop right there”.
I had to bust out laughing. That part of the verse did not apply to him and therefore it did not apply to his wife, or one could say that part of the verse did not apply to his wife and therefore it did not apply to him!
The man was a believer and the verse is written to the wife of an unbeliever. I still smile when I think about it.
Now, that is not to say that a wife should not be submissive to her husband. The verse is a continuation of the advice that we should all be submissive to everyone and endure pain and suffering, because we are conscious of God. The verse says, “In the same way” and it is a continuation of verse chapter two eighteen. (1 Pet 2:18 NIV) Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.
Because we men stop in the middle of the verse the way we usually interpret it bothered me greatly. It did not fit the Second Royal command which is; do to others as you would have them do to you.
I do not want someone, other than God, telling me what to do and so applying the Second Royal Law, to myself, I do not want to tell anyone else what to do. So the verse did not seem correct. However, as usual, it was I that was not correct and when I realized that it was to a wife married to an unbeliever, everything fell into place and I understood.
If I were the husband that the verse was written for, I would want my wife to do everything that she could to bring me to my senses, so that I might turn to God, repent and be baptized into Christ. So, looking at all of the verse, it does indeed fit the Second Royal Law, for if it were the wife that was unsaved, she would want the same.
First Peter 3:1-6 is written to women and as a man I am kind of eavesdropping on God and women. I must because, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16&17 NIV) However, one should be careful with the information that is gained by eavesdropping.
Having said all of that, I asked myself, “Doesn’t God give all the same advice?”
My answer is “Yes, God asks the same from every one.” Whether slave, wife, or husband the requirement is the same. He starts by saying everyone should submit to all authority and then He singles out slaves, then wives, then husbands and He says “in the same way” to everyone.
Now, if you are a husband and believe God appointed you as the master of your wife, you may well be correct. However, consider what Jesus did while here on this earth. Though God had appointed him king, he was and is the ultimate authority and yet he submitted himself to all earthly authority: authorities that were weaker than him!
Men, lighten up, a perfect master (Jesus) doesn’t demand obedience. He earns it. Go, and do the same. Do not demand your wife obey you. That must come voluntarily from her and if it does not, you are violating the second royal law.