1 Peter 3:7
Having spoken to wives, the Apostle now turns to husbands. What he says is encapsulated in one verse, but what a verse! Allow me first to remark how consistent Scripture is, how in the writing of their letters (which unbeknownst to them would become the New Testament), the apostles manifest such perfect agreement, some emphasizing one matter, others another, but always in complete harmony. What each says about relations between husband and wife and parents and children aligns with the other—and no wonder; such precision is to be expected from the word of God.
Husbands are commanded to “live with their wives in an understanding way.” The Greek word for “understanding” may also be translated “according to knowledge.” Perhaps the word, “considerately,” carries the better sense given the context (NICNT, 122). A husband’s knowledge of his wife is to be personal and loving, tender-hearted and sincere, sacrificial and seeking to meet her needs. Given the ancient world where women were little better than property, these words (as well as Paul’s) on a husband’s responsibility towards his wife were revolutionary. They still are but cut in the opposite direction: Whereas then these words were revolutionary for the honor paid to the wife in a world where women could be wantonly mistreated, they are revolutionary now for the honor paid to a wife in a day when both sexes are encouraged to be simply wanton. Moreover, a husband is to honor his wife “as the weaker vessel,” indicating her greater vulnerability before the world. He must care for her, protect her and keep her, provide for and love her. If this is termed “sexist” today, so be it; thinking pagans will admit the truth of it.
And a husband is to honor his wife for two reasons: 1) She is an heir with him in the “grace of life,” referring to their common salvation in Christ Jesus. She is his equal in creation as each are created in God’s image, and his equal in redemption as each are saved through the blood of Christ. And, 2) He is to live with her in an understanding way so that their “prayers may not be hindered.” There is no excuse for a Christian couple to not be praying together daily. There are so many things to pray about in every marriage and family. Praying together also opens up hearts as husband and wife share with one another their burdens, cares, joys, and triumphs. Most important, through the reading of Scripture along with praying together, both grow together in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. And husband, it is your job to lead out in this. You are your family’s pastor. Now do it!