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1 Peter 3

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-7

The Duties of Marriage 1 Peter 3:1-7 deals with the duties of a husband and wife within the institution of marriage. In 1 Peter 3:1-6 Peter charges the wives to be submissive to their husbands. In 1 Peter 3:2 Peter tells the wives how to win their husbands by good works without preaching the Word to them. He made a statement like this to the believers in general in 1 Peter 2:12, which tells them to walk in good works before unbelievers so that they may glorify God in the day of visitation. Thus, Peter applies this principle to a woman married to an unbeliever in 1 Peter 3:1-6.

1 Peter 2:12, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

Having just charged wives to be submissive to their husbands (1 Peter 3:1-6), it is important for Peter to explain the reciprocating role of husbands to submissive wives. The husband is to honor their wives as weaker vessels (1 Peter 3:7). In other words, when the wives humble themselves, the husbands are to exalt them.

Love and Respect - 1 Peter 3:1-7 may be summed up in Ephesians 5:33, “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” This type of response requires believers to daily crucify their flesh in order to fulfill this biblical command. For example, when a wife is not loved, she responds by not showing respect unto her husband; and when a husband is not honored, he responds by not show love towards his wife. Thus, the themes of love and respect are woven within the fabric of this passage of Scripture.

1 Peter 3:1 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;

1 Peter 3:1 “Likewise” Comments - Peter has given a charge to the slaves to submit themselves unto their masters. In like manner, Peter will now give a similar charge of submission to the wives.

Like Christ is the head of man, so man is the head of the woman.

1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

1 Peter 3:2 “they also may… be won” Comments - This verb tells us that the action now has the potential, but not the absolute certainty of happening. That is, the husband will have to make the ultimate decision to his eternal destiny. The wife is simply a motivator and encourager towards the right decision. This verse means that the wife can put the husband into a very likely position of being born again, but not absolute guaranteed.

1 Peter 3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

1 Peter 3:2 Comments - A chaste lifestyle condemns those around you (Matthew 12:41).

Matthew 12:41, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.”

Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

1 Peter 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

1 Peter 3:3 Comments J. Vernon McGee tells us that a great amount of emphasis was placed upon the adornment of women’s hair and jewelry. [95] Ancient pictures and marble heads of Roman women reveal elaborate braiding of hair as a part of Roman culture for wealthy aristocrats. [96] Thus, Peter’s remarks in 1 Peter 3:3 about luxurious clothing reflect a person of pride rather than humility.

[95] J. Vernon McGee, The First Epistle of Peter, in Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1998), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), comments on 1 Peter 3:3.

[96] Adam Clarke, The First Epistle of Peter, in Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v. 3.1 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc., 1993-2000), comments on 1 Peter 3:3.

1 Peter 3:4 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.

1 Peter 3:4 Word Study on “meek” The NASB translates this word as “gentle.”

1 Peter 3:4 Word Study on “quiet” Strong says the Greek word “quiet” ( η ̔ συ ́ χιος ) (G2272) means, “still (undisturbed, undisturbing).” The Latin word used here is “sedates,” from which we get the English word “sedated.”

1 Peter 3:5 Comments - Peter describes the value of a meek and quiet spirit by calling it of great price in the sight of God. This description stands in contrast to the adornment of costly gold, braided hair and expensive clothing. Man’s spiritual well being is always of greater value than material possessions.

1 Peter 3:4 Scripture References - Note related verses:

Proverbs 19:13, “A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.”

Proverbs 21:19, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”

Proverbs 27:15, “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”

1 Peter 3:5 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:

1 Peter 3:5 “who trusted in God” Comments - The Greek verb used in this phrase is ελπι ́ ζω (G1679), which means, “to expect, confide” ( Strong), and “hope, hope for, expect, forsee.” Peter says that these holy women of old “hoped” in God. Peter did not use the regular Greek verb πιστευ ́ ω (G4100) in 1 Peter 3:5, which translated “to believe,” because the underlying theme of his first epistle is perseverance. Thus, we hope and look to God for the final outcome of our faith in the midst of our trials. Peter then gives the example of Sarah and Abraham, who waited upon God’s promise and eventually received her son. Her submission and respect for her husband was an outward manifestation of her faith in God and of her hope of His promise coming to pass.

1 Peter 3:6 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.

1 Peter 3:6 “and are not afraid with any amazement” - Comments - Godly women are not to be hysterical and worried, but to do good deeds and be peaceful in spirit (verse 4), having “a meek and quiet spirit.”

1 Peter 3:6 Comments - Joseph Prince teaches that the Lord spoke to him and said that Sarah was the only woman in the Old Testament whose youth was renewed in her old age, and this is why Peter calls Christian women daughters of Sara. [97] She was so beautiful at that in her old age Pharaoh and Abimelech king of Gerar took her as his wife (Genesis 12:14-15; Genesis 20:1).

[97] Joseph Prince, Destined to Reign, on Lighthouse Television (Kampala, Uganda), television program, 8 December 2009.

1 Peter 3:7 Peter Charges Husbands to Honor their Wives Having just charged wives to be submissive to their husbands (1 Peter 3:1-6), it is important for Peter to explain the reciprocating role of husbands to submissive wives. The husband is to honor their wives as weaker vessels (1 Peter 3:7). In other words, when the wives humble themselves, the husbands are to exalt them.

1 Peter 3:7 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.

1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise, ye husbands” Comments - Since God expects women to fulfill their roles of godly submission, the husband, in like manner, is now required to respond by honoring the wife. Her submissive role will invoke divine responsibility for the husband.

1 Peter 3:7 “giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel” Comments - Today, in underdeveloped countries, as in the New Testament times, women and children suffer tremendous abuse. Even today in developed countries, there is still much wife abuse. This occurs because the man is physically stronger than women and children. He thus uses this advantage to dominate over others.

How much more appropriate is Peter, being married, unlike Jesus and Paul, to mention the aspect of the wife. Women, in general, are not able to endure hardness and resist temptations like a strong man of God. Many Ministers have learned this about their wives, though they are to love them still.

1 Peter 3:7 “and as being heirs together of the grace of life” Comments - Peter’s statement in 1 Peter 3:7, “and as being heirs together of the grace of life” implies that a husband and wife will partake of the same eternal rewards in Heaven.

1 Peter 3:7 Comments - Husbands have the tendency to not show their wives gratitude or respect and even to despise their “weaker” state by considering them difficult and foolish during times of disagreements. When there is a disagreement, men tend to walk away from the situation and leave the wife to herself. But how wonderful when we, as men, learn to drop our feelings, go quietly to the wife without trying to figure out her side of the misunderstanding, take her by the hand and simply prayer together, asking God for wisdom. Why ignore such a wonderful opportunity for pray in this time of need? I have learned that it really works and the Lord gives His wisdom generously and quickly (James 1:5). How easily is the situation diffused. But the husband has to learn to crucify his feelings, take a leading role, and pray with his wife during these times when emotions are tense, instead of “looking down on her” (note the comment of “weaker vessel” in this verse) as immature or foolish. This is one cause of hindered prayers, when we ignore prayer and sulk in our emotions.

Verses 1-12

Submission to Authority within Society - With this mindset of being chosen servants of a holy God to bring the Gentiles into a saving knowledge of God’s plan of redemption we will understand why we must submit ourselves to those in authority over us in the fear of God (1 Peter 2:13 to 1 Peter 3:12). It is important to note that Peter points out in particular the submissive roles of slaves and women in society, roles that are often abused by those in authority in these pagan societies.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Believers Submit to Government 1 Peter 2:13-17

2. Slaves Submit to their Masters 1 Peter 2:18-25

3. Wives Submit to Their Husbands 1 Peter 3:1-7

Verses 1-22

Obedience to Christ Jesus (Illustration of Sermon): Perseverance - The Believer’s Response is to Decide to Walk in Love and Submission with His Fellow Man in Light of This Blessed Hope Once we have been enlightened to our blessed hope of the Heavenly Father (1 Peter 1:3-12), and exhorted to choose to sanctify ourselves by growing in maturity through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:13 to 1 Peter 2:10), Peter illustrates what a lifestyle of sanctification looks like as we obey to Jesus Christ with good works by submitting to authority and enduring persecution for righteousness sake (1 Peter 2:11 to 1 Peter 4:11).

In 1 Peter 2:11 to 1 Peter 4:11 we are told that our obedience to Christ is based upon our willingness to persevere in the midst of persecutions. Obedience requires some degree of suffering. Paul wrote in Hebrews, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered,” (Hebrews 5:8). This is why the opening verse of this next section explains that we serve Him by “abstaining from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul,” (1 Peter 2:11). The preceding passage (1 Peter 2:4-10) explains that we as a people of God have been separated unto a holy calling. Thus, the believer’s next response to this blessed hope of election (1 Peter 1:3-12) and exhortation to holiness (1 Peter 1:13 to 1 Peter 2:10) is to serve Him in obedience. Within the context of 1 Peter our souls are “fully hoping in the grace being brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13), so that our minds are to be focused upon our eternal inheritance, rather than worldly lusts. These fleshly lusts mentioned in 1 Peter 2:11 pull our focus away from Heaven and turns our hope towards the cares of this world.

Having exhorted us into a lifestyle of holiness by explaining that we are elected as a chosen people through the purchased blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:13 to 1 Peter 2:10), Peter then gives us practical advice on conducting ourselves in the fear of God and love towards mankind (1 Peter 2:11 to 1 Peter 4:11). In the previous passage of 1 Peter 2:4-10 Peter has drawn a picture of what a mature Church looks like when the believers corporately grow into spiritual maturity through the Word of God, which he exhorts in 1 Peter 2:1-3. Peter will then give practical examples of our “spiritual sacrifices” in the lengthy passage of submission. We are to do good works as a testimony to the Gentiles of our blessed hope (1 Peter 2:11-12) by submitting to those in authority over us: all believers to government (1 Peter 2:13-17), slaves to their masters (1 Peter 2:18-25), wives to husbands (1 Peter 3:1-6), and husbands honoring wives (1 Peter 3:7). In summary it is a walk of love from the heart (1 Peter 3:8-12). However, this love walk will mean persecution and suffering, but Christ serves as our example of suffering for righteousness sake (1 Peter 3:13 to 1 Peter 4:11). Our choice to submit to those in authority is actually our way of entrusting ourselves into the hands of a faithful creator (1 Peter 4:19).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Introductory Remarks 1 Peter 2:11-12

2. Submission to Authority Within Society 1 Peter 2:13 to 1 Peter 3:12

3. Walking in Love 1 Peter 3:13-22

4. Crucifying the Flesh 1 Peter 4:1-6

Verses 8-12

Charge to All Believers Regarding Submission In 1 Peter 3:8-12 Peter concludes this exhortation on good works towards all men by giving everyone the underlying rule to guide us, which is the love walk, and he quotes a passage about good works to support his statement from Psalms 34:12-16.

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

1 Peter 3:8 “Finally” Comments - That is, “In conclusion to this passage on submitting to one another as a display of good works to the Gentiles.

1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

1 Peter 3:10 Comments - Why do we have to guard our lips in order to have a good life: simply because we eat the fruit of our lips. Our words set in motion the course of our lives, so that we literally have to “eat our own words.”

Proverbs 13:2-3, “A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence. He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”

1 Peter 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

1 Peter 3:10-12 Comments - 1 Peter 3:10-12 is a quote from Psalms 34:12-16. In the preceding verse of Psalms 34:11, the psalmist has declared that he would teach us now to fear the Lord. He then reveals how walk in the fear of the Lord in Psalms 34:12-16.

Psalms 34:12-16, “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.”

Verses 13-22

Walking in Love in the Midst of Persecutions - This love walk will mean persecution and suffering. In 1 Peter 3:13-17 Peter explains how a lifestyle of submission and obedience to Christ brings suffering, and he gives Christ as our supreme example (1 Peter 3:18-22). He first dealt with submission to those in authority within society (1 Peter 2:11 to 1 Peter 3:12), and follows by an exhortation to endure suffering (1 Peter 3:13 to 1 Peter 4:6) because persecutions are often inflicted from a pagan society.

1 Peter 3:13 introduces a passage on suffering for righteousness sake. The passage in 1 Peter 3:13-19 explains that we are to be followers of that which is good. The statement is found as a reference to a previous passage on good works (1 Peter 2:13 to 1 Peter 3:12), which began by saying, “whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works , which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12) Thus, the underlying emphasis of 1 Peter 2:13 to 1 Peter 3:12 is about good works before the Gentiles as a testimony of God’s redemptive work in our lives and the future hope of our eternal inheritance.

1 Peter 3:15 Comments - The hope within us was planted in our hearts in 1 Peter 1:13 after having heard it described in 1 Peter 1:3-12. We maintain our focus upon this hope by abstaining from fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2:11), and we battle to keep this hope alive within us until the end by deciding to suffer as Christ suffered (1 Peter 4:1).

1 Peter 2:11, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”

1 Peter 4:1, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;”

1 Peter 3:18 Comments - 1 Peter 3:18 tells us that Jesus Christ was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. In 1 Peter 3:21 Peter will refer to water baptism, which is a symbol of our identification with the death, burial and resurrection of our risen Lord.

1 Peter 3:20 “eight souls were saved by water” - Comments The NASB reads, “eight persons were brought safely through the water.”

1 Peter 3:19-20 Comments Jesus Preaches in Hell 1 Peter 3:19-20 describes the amazing event of Jesus going into Hell and preaching to those who died up to the time of Noah’s flood. Within the context of these verses the phrase “spirits in prison” refers to those people who died during the time of Noah’s flood. They are called “spirit” and not men because they no longer dwell in a physical body. Upon further reading in this epistle, we see a group of people called, “them that are dead” in 1 Peter 4:6. Therefore, this confirms the fact that this verse refers to those who were in hell when Jesus spent three days and nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40).

1 Peter 4:6, “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead , that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth .”

Peter testifies to Jesus being in Hell prior to His resurrection when he quoted from Psalms 16:0 on the day of Pentecost.

Psalms 16:10, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

Many believers have been taken to Heaven and Hell with Jesus Christ and toured these places. Jesus sent them back to earth to testify that these eternal places of rest and of torment actually exist. If we believe these modern testimonies, then we should have no problem believing that Jesus visited Hell during His three days of burial in the tomb.

Perhaps God allowed the Gospel to be preached to all those who lived before the Flood because they had less testimonies of God’s standard of righteousness and of His divine judgment than those who lived after the Flood. In other words, post-flood mankind now had an eternal reminder of God’s standard of righteousness by living in a post-flood world so that they are without excuse. The evidences of a great catastrophe are everywhere to behold as a testimony of God’s wrath upon sinful mankind. It is also possible that very few men, perhaps only those few righteous men listed in Genesis under Seth’s genealogy, were accounted righteous and entered into Heaven, so that almost all of mankind before the Flood were judged in their sins and went to Hell. To this congregation of sinners Jesus preached the Gospel. They may have been held in a special place in Hell for this very event of Christ’s coming. 1 Peter 4:6 goes on to explain why Christ preached to them, so that their judgment might be just.

The Gospel of Nicodemus, a New Testament Apocryphal book, testifies to the belief of the early church that Christ Jesus descended into Hell to preach to those imprisoned there. [98]

[98] The Gospel of Nicodemus, “Part 2: The Descent of Christ Into Hell,” trans. Alexander Walker, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 8 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916), 336-8, 448-58.

1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 3:21 “but the answer of a good conscience toward God” Word Study - There are two possible grammatical translations for the phrase “but the answer of a good conscience toward God” in 1 Peter 3:21:

1. “But a request from (Ablative) a good conscience unto God.”

2. “But a request of (Genitive) a good conscience unto God.”

Comments - The context of this passage suggests a meaning, “the lifestyle of a good conscience towards God.” In other words, 1 Peter 3:16 tells us to “have a good conscience,” which means a daily commitment to walk with a pure conscience.

Noah had a good conscience towards God, See:

Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Genesis 6:9, “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God .”

Genesis 7:1, “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation .”

Genesis 6:5, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually .”

Note the conscience of the believer before God:

Hebrews 10:22, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience , and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Comments - Joyce Meyer said that the hardest pillow to sleep on is a guilty conscience. [99]

[99] Joyce Meyer, Life in the Word (Fenton, Missouri: Joyce Meyer Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

1 Peter 3:21 Comments - In 1 Peter 3:21 Peter seems to appeal to his readers to walk before God with a good conscience in order to insure their salvation. It reflects an earlier appeal for a life of holiness, or sanctification. In 1 Peter 3:18-20 Peter has referred to two events that represented the meaning of our ordinance of water baptism in the New Testament Church, which were Jesus’ resurrection in the New Testament and the Flood of Noah from the Old Testament. Water baptism is an outward expression of our faith in the Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Noah, Moses and the Israelites all passed through water in order to be saved. We also are to do this. Jesus' disciples in New Testament went thru water baptism, and we are to do it, also. When Noah entered into the ark, it was an act of obedience to demonstrate his faith in God. This act of obedience saved him. His salvation started in his heart, but his entry into the ark saved him. This is what 1 Peter 3:21 is saying takes place in our heart when we are water baptized.

The baptism that saves us is not being dipped in water to wash away dirt, but a water baptism, which is an act of faith that allows us to have a good conscience towards God. It is the act of baptism, in obedience to God's command, that gives us this good conscience. A formal altar call is a relatively recent activity in church. But before this time, the act of water baptism served as the first outward testimony that a person had become a Christian. It was the first act that a new believer does in obedience to Christ. In the early Church, water baptism was a new believer’s first public testimony of his/her decision to follow Christ rather than a response to an altar call. It serves as a “crossing over the line” into a genuine commitment to join a local fellowship of believers. It is the first step in the Christian life as an act of obedience. Water baptism is the pledge of a good conscience toward God and our initial response to faith in Christ’s redemptive work on Calvary. As an act of faith and promise to serve God, baptism is our way of pledging to serve God with a good conscience night and day. In this sense, the new believer becomes identified with the body of Christ. If his old friends ever questioned his sincerity and hoped that he would come back into their worldly traditions, then water baptism served to settle the issue once and for all. The new believer was then genuinely considered a “Christian.” This is why water baptism gives the believer a good conscience towards God. It is like responding to an altar call.

1 Peter 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Peter 3". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.