In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that there are a few topics that I don’t feel entirely comfortable/qualified to talk about. Nuclear thermodynamics? Not a clue. Quantum mechanics? Nope. Child raising? Talk to me in about 1,000 years, but probably still no. That being said, there are a few things that need to be discussed, simply by virtue of it being in the Scriptures, and one of those is the conduct of women in regards to their husband.

In writing a letter that is filled with encouragement and “how-to’s” in response to persecution, Peter slips in this little nugget at the beginning of 1 Peter 3: “Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” In a way, through saying this, Peter is making a tongue in cheek reference to the Jews’ common contention that they were “sons of Abraham”, with Jesus responding, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham” (John 8:31-47). It’s a simple concept then: children, by genetics or training, generally follow after the patterns of their parents, which makes the aforementioned child raising – that I am not knowledgeable in – all the more important.

Referring to christian wives as “daughters of Sarah” provides a nice gender-specific parallel to the gender-neutral “sons of Abraham,” but teaches the same concept, that if you want to be pleasing to God as a wife, as Sarah was, then join in following her example. When Peter begins this chapter by saying, “In the same way,” he is referencing the discussion that took place at the end of the previous chapter, which had to do with the manner in which servants respected their masters. That is not to say IN ANY WAY that women are the slaves/servants/vassal/lackey/minion of their husband; anybody that teaches that she is is Biblically wrong and incredibly unGodly. Peter’s point in referencing that is to show the attitude that is present when one is under authority of any kind: how should you respond to it? Two scenarios are presented in chapter two – one of servants under harsh masters and Jesus being nailed to a cross – and both are described as having been vindicated by their conduct. Such is the point that Peter wants to make with wives.

Your conduct is what matters in any relationship, but especially one in which your spouse is overbearing. The verses that follow are ones we use most often in reference to modesty, but all they’re really addressing is how a woman carries herself. Is she overly fashionable? Does she put her trust in her possessions? Or does she invest in her inward character, the “imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit”? This is the way that Peter claims women used to act: women like Sarah who honored and submitted to her husband, not out of a sense of dread or fear, but with respect (Phil. 2:12). 

It should be noted that this persona of respect and honor is not (or at least, should not be) lost on a husband. Peter mentions that it is this character that has the potential to win over even the most hardened man (1 Peter 3:1), just as the witnessing of Stephen’s martyrdom had a profound impact on Paul so many years later (Acts 22:20). A good husband will notice your behavior, and will make changes – possibly over a span of several years – that reflect his admiration of your integrity and character. What this creates is a marriage that is based on the proper authoritative structure, but one that is held together and thrives on a mutual love and admiration for one another, just as Christ has with His church (Eph. 5:22-33).

Last modified: January 22, 2019