July 14

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—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. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:1-7)

The relationship between a husband and wife is not a major theme of 1 Peter, which was addressed to Christians in Asia Minor who were experiencing persecution under Roman rule for their encouragement (1 Peter 1:1; 2:18-25; 3:13-22; 4:12-19). However, his instructions to husband and wives is a reminder that marriages are to follow the pattern already established, regardless of circumstances. The Gentile Christians who heard Peter’s letter were suffering from public harassment; today the provocation comes from the values and expectations of the world, which has a low view of marriage. The greatest difficulty we have in any relationship, though, is our own sin that causes us to become self-centered, controlling, and fearful of vulnerability. So the admonition for wives to be respectful and gentle is excellent advice for all women in their marriages, families, and friendships. I sometimes struggle with being a little rough and outspoken, so this is especially challenging for me at times.

Another source of difficulty for marriages is all the issues that arise with children. We will concentrate on parenting when we consider “family” in this devotional series, but let’s acknowledge that marriages are tremendously influenced by children, especially those living at home. Peter says that wives are not to “fear anything that is frightening,” but, honestly, children’s problems and needs can be very worrisome and anxiety-producing. Perhaps we can find help in Proverbs 3:25-26: “Do not be afraid of sudden terror…for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” Women who depend upon the Lord possess wisdom and confidence, to counter fear and worry, through their partnership with Christ and with their husbands.

Commentators are not sure about Peter’s reference to women as the “weaker vessel,” but Matthew Henry has this wise commentary on 1 Peter 3:1-7: “Christians ought to do their duty to one another, from a willing mind, and in obedience to the command of God…They are heirs together of all the blessings of this life and that which is to come and should live peaceably one with another. Prayer sweetens their converse. And it is not enough that they pray with the family, but husband and wife together by themselves, and with their children. Those who are acquainted with prayer, find such unspeakable sweetness in it, that they will not be hindered therein. That you may pray much, live holily; and that you may live holily, be much in prayer.” *

Do you pray with your spouse or family? Do you pray for other families and marriages? Prayer is fragrant incense to God and strengthens the body’s faith.

* Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Ephesians 1 Peter 5:, https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-concise/1-peter/3.html

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