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The Saving Influence of a Wife in Subjection - 1 Peter 3:1-7

1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

NLT: "1 In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over 2 by observing your pure and reverent lives."

The wife is instructed to be "in subjection" (hypotasso) to her husband. This means to be subordinate, obey and submit herself to him. This verse is in perfect agreement with other similar verses that use the same Greek word to describe the relationship between a wife and her husband (Col. 3:18, Eph. 5:22-24, 1 Cor. 14:34).

This passage provides another reason for the wife to be in a submissive role; she can, through the example of her life, influence her husband in regards to truths in God's Word, even when he won't read the Word for himself. Observing the wife's submission can be attractive to an unbeliever who sees Christ's character through her actions.

3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

NLT: "3 Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

A meek and quiet spirit is of "great price" (polyteles) to God, meaning very precious and extremely expensive. The quiet (hesychios) spirit refers to being still, quiet and peacable. The "hidden man of the heart" refers to the inward mind of a person. The development and beautification of the wife's mind is what God values.

5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

NLT: "5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 6 For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do."

Women in history who were holy/blameless put themselves in subjection to their husbands. Those who are their daughters do the same.

7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

NLT: "7 In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered."

When men relate to women, they must remember that women are "heirs together" or "equal partner[s]" (NLT) in the gift of salvation. This concept is also clearly stated in Galatians 3:27-28: "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." This concept does not negate the differing roles of men and women or erase distinctions betweeen male and female. Even though men and women are equal partners in grace, the wife is simultaneously called to "accept... the authority" of her husband (verse 1 in NLT).

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