1 Peter 3:1-6
A Godly Wife
“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10). I’m proud to say that I’ve known many in God’s church—none more excellent than mine, of course—but still many excellent wives. This entire passage might be entitled, “The Godly Wife.” And why not? The theme of the Apostle’s letter is godliness. To take a moment to address matters of family relations in the context of godliness is simply expected.
The godly wife’s first duty is to be subject to her own husband, not in a slavish way, but to willingly follow his God-ordained role as leader within the family. But the Apostle’s concern at this point is the witness of the godly wife; that is, that she may win her unbelieving husband “without a word…by [her] respectful and pure conduct.” In other words, a godly wife should win an unbelieving husband by her Christian conduct. And though such a woman might not have had much choice in ancient times, allow me to add that no godly woman should ever freely enter such an arrangement today. We must all marry “in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). However, when a wife becomes a Christian of late, then she has no choice but as Peter dictates. And it is important for wives to remember, a wife’s conduct speaks louder to her husband than her words which he might receive as nagging. That might not be fair, but it is the way men are.
The next duty of a godly woman that Peter takes up is dress. To sum, Peter counsels modesty. The woman is the fairer sex; indeed, God especially designed her so to be. But this can also be her weakness. Clothing and beauty industries know this very well. It is this that the Apostle cautions the godly woman against. The beauty and charm of the godly woman is not her outward appearance but her heart—the gentle and quiet spirit. Granted, such discussions about fashion cannot be boiled down to rules which would smack of legalism, but neither can we dismiss this passage and dress ourselves in luxurious, or even worse, revealing attire. Besides, the poor need our compassion worse than we need jewelry.
Peter then points to Old Testament examples of the faith. No, you needn’t call your husband, “lord,” though you might do so to tease him. Peter is more concerned that as a godly woman, you do good and fear nothing. Isn’t that interesting? The weaker sex is told to fear nothing and thereby encourage her husband. This is counter-cultural today; don’t let a feminist fool you with false promises. Concern yourself with godliness.