1Pe 3:1-22. RELATIVE DUTIES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES: EXHORTATIONS TO LOVE AND FORBEARANCE: RIGHT CONDUCT UNDER PERSECUTIONS FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE, AFTER CHRIST'S EXAMPLE, WHOSE DEATH RESULTED IN QUICKENING TO US THROUGH HIS BEING QUICKENED AGAIN, OF WHICH BAPTISM IS THE SACRAMENTAL SEAL.
1. Likewise--Greek, "In like manner," as "servants" in
their sphere; compare the reason of the woman's subjection,
your own--enforcing the obligation: it is not strangers ye are required to be subject to. Every time that obedience is enjoined upon women to their husbands, the Greek, "idios," "one's own peculiarly," is used, while the wives of men are designated only by heauton, "of themselves." Feeling the need of leaning on one stronger than herself, the wife (especially if joined to an unbeliever) might be tempted, though only spiritually, to enter into that relation with another in which she ought to stand to "her own spouse (1Co 14:34, 35, "Let them ask their own [idious] husbands at home"); an attachment to the person of the teacher might thus spring up, which, without being in the common sense spiritual adultery, would still weaken in its spiritual basis the married relation [STEIGER].
that, if--Greek, "that even if." Even if you have a husband that obeys not the word (that is, is an unbeliever).
without the word--independently of hearing the word preached, the usual way of faith coming. But BENGEL, "without word," that is, without direct Gospel discourse of the wives, "they may (literally, in oldest manuscripts, 'shall,' which marks the almost objective certainty of the result) be won" indirectly. "Unspoken acting is more powerful than unperformed speaking" [ŒCUMENIUS]. "A soul converted is gained to itself, to the pastor, wife, or husband, who sought it, and to Jesus Christ; added to His treasury who thought not His own precious blood too dear to lay out for this gain" [LEIGHTON]. "The discreet wife would choose first of all to persuade her husband to share with her in the things which lead to blessedness; but if this be impossible, let her then alone diligently press after virtue, in all things obeying him so as to do nothing at any time against his will, except in such things as are essential to virtue and salvation" [CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA].
2. behold--on narrowly looking into it, literally, "having
chaste--pure, spotless, free from all impurity.
fear--reverential, towards your husbands. Scrupulously pure, as opposed to the noisy, ambitious character of worldly women.
3. Literally, "To whom let there belong (namely, as their
peculiar ornament) not the outward adornment (usual in the sex which
first, by the fall, brought in the need of covering, Note,
plaiting--artificial braiding, in order to attract admiration.
wearing--literally, "putting round," namely, the head, as a diadem--the arm, as a bracelet--the finger, as rings.
apparel--showy and costly. "Have the blush of modesty on thy face instead of paint, and moral worth and discretion instead of gold and emeralds" [MELISSA].
4. But--"Rather." The "outward adornment" of jewelry, &c., is
forbidden, in so far as woman loves such things, not in so far as she
uses them from a sense of propriety, and does not abuse them.
Singularity mostly comes from pride and throws needless hindrances to
religion in the way of others. Under costly attire there may be a
humble mind. "Great is he who uses his earthenware as if it were plate;
not less great is he who uses his silver as if it were earthenware"
[SENECA in ALFORD].
hidden--inner man, which the Christian instinctively hides from public view.
of the heart--consisting in the heart regenerated and adorned by the Spirit. This "inner man of the heart" is the subject of the verb "be," 1Pe 3:3, Greek: "Of whom let the inner man be," namely, the distinction or adornment.
in that--consisting or standing in that as its element.
not corruptible--not transitory, nor tainted with corruption, as all earthly adornments.
meek and quiet--meek, not creating disturbances: quiet, bearing with tranquillity the disturbances caused by others. Meek in affections and feelings; quiet in words, countenance, and actions [BENGEL].
in the sight of God--who looks to inward, not merely outward things.
of great price--The results of redemption should correspond to its costly price (1Pe 1:19).
5. after this manner--with the ornament of a meek and quiet
spirit (compare the portrait of the godly wife,
trusted--Greek, "hoped." "Holy" is explained by "hoped in (so as to be 'united to,' Greek) God." Hope in God is the spring of true holiness [BENGEL].
in subjection--Their ornament consisted in their subordination. Vanity was forbidden (1Pe 3:3) as being contrary to female subjection.
6. Sara--an example of faith.
calling him lord-- (Ge 18:12).
ye are--Greek, "ye have become": "children" of Abraham and Sara by faith, whereas ye were Gentile aliens from the covenant.
afraid with any amazement--Greek, "fluttering alarm," "consternation." Act well, and be not thrown into sudden panic, as weak females are apt to be, by any opposition from without. BENGEL translates, "Not afraid OF any fluttering terror coming from without" (1Pe 3:13-16). So the Septuagint, Pr 3:25 uses the same Greek word, which Peter probably refers to. Anger assails men; fear, women. You need fear no man in doing what is right: not thrown into fluttering agitation by any sudden outbreak of temper on the part of your unbelieving husbands, while you do well.
7. dwell--Greek, "dwelling": connected with the verb,
knowledge--Christian knowledge: appreciating the due relation of the sexes in the design of God, and acting with tenderness and forbearance accordingly: wisely: with wise consideration.
them . . . giving honour to the wife--translate and punctuate the Greek rather, "dwelling according to knowledge with the female (Greek adjective, qualifying 'vessel'; not as English Version, a noun) as with the weaker vessel (see on 1Th 4:4. Both husband and wife are vessels in God's hand, and of God's making, to fulfil His gracious purposes. Both weak, the woman the weaker. The sense of his own weakness, and that she, like himself, is God's vessel and fabric, ought to lead him to act with tender and wise consideration towards her who is the weaker fabric), giving (literally, 'assigning,' 'apportioning') honor as being also (besides being man and wife) heirs together," &c.; or, as the Vatican manuscript reads, as to those who are also (besides being your wives) fellow heirs." (The reason why the man should give honor to the woman is, because God gives honor to both as fellow heirs; compare the same argument, 1Pe 3:9). He does not take into account the case of an unbelieving wife, as she might yet believe.
grace of life--God's gracious gift of life (1Pe 1:4, 13).
that your prayers be not hindered--by dissensions, which prevent united prayer, on which depends the blessing.
8. General summary of relative duty, after having
detailed particular duties from
of one mind--as to the faith.
having compassion one of another--Greek, "sympathizing" in the joy and sorrow of others.
love as brethren--Greek, "loving the brethren."
pitiful--towards the afflicted.
courteous--genuine Christian politeness; not the tinsel of the world's politeness; stamped with unfeigned love on one side, and humility on the other. But the oldest manuscripts read, "humble-minded." It is slightly different from "humble," in that it marks a conscious effort to be truly humble.
9. evil--in deed.
blessing--your revilers; participle, not a noun after "rendering."
knowing that--The oldest manuscripts read merely, "because."
are--Greek, "were called."
inherit a blessing--not only passive, but also active; receiving spiritual blessing from God by faith, and in your turn blessing others from love [GERHARD in ALFORD]. "It is not in order to inherit a blessing that we must bless, but because our portion is blessing." No railing can injure you (1Pe 3:13). Imitate God who "blesses" you. The first fruits of His blessing for eternity are enjoyed by the righteous even now (1Pe 3:10) [BENGEL].
10. will love--Greek, "wishes to love." He who loves
life (present and eternal), and desires to continue to do
so, not involving himself in troubles which will make this life a
burden, and cause him to forfeit eternal life. Peter confirms his
refrain--curb, literally, "cause to cease"; implying that our natural inclination and custom is to speak evil. "Men commonly think that they would be exposed to the wantonness of their enemies if they did not strenuously vindicate their rights. But the Spirit promises a life of blessedness to none but those who are gentle and patient of evils" [CALVIN].
evil . . . guile--First he warns against sins of the tongue, evil-speaking, and deceitful, double-tongued speaking; next, against acts of injury to one's neighbor.
11. In oldest manuscripts, Greek, "Moreover
(besides his words, in acts), let him."
ensue--pursue as a thing hard to attain, and that flees from one in this troublesome world.
12. Ground of the promised present and eternal life of
blessedness to the meek
The Lord's eyes are ever over them for good.
ears . . . unto their prayers-- (1Jo 5:14, 15).
face . . . against--The eyes imply favorable regard; the face of the Lord upon (not as English Version, "against") them that do evil, implies that He narrowly observes them, so as not to let them really and lastingly hurt His people (compare 1Pe 3:13).
13. who . . . will harm you--This fearless confidence
in God's protection from harm, Christ, the Head, in His sufferings
realized; so His members.
if ye be--Greek, "if ye have become."
followers--The oldest manuscripts read "emulous," "zealous of" (Tit 2:14).
good--The contrast in Greek is, "Who will do you evil, if ye be zealous of good?"
14. But and if--"But if even." "The promises of this life
extend only so far as it is expedient for us that they should be
fulfilled" [CALVIN]. So he proceeds to state the
exceptions to the promise
and how the truly wise will behave in such exceptional cases. "If ye
should suffer"; if it should so happen; "suffer," a milder word
for righteousness--"not the suffering, but the cause for which one suffers, makes the martyr" [AUGUSTINE].
happy--Not even can suffering take away your blessedness, but rather promotes it.
and--Greek, "but." Do not impair your blessing (1Pe 3:9) by fearing man's terror in your times of adversity. Literally, "Be not terrified with their terror," that is, with that which they try to strike into you, and which strikes themselves when in adversity. This verse and 1Pe 3:15 is quoted from Isa 8:12, 13. God alone is to be feared; he that fears God has none else to fear.
neither be troubled--the threat of the law, Le 26:36; De 28:65, 66; in contrast to which the Gospel gives the believer a heart assured of God's favor, and therefore unruffled, amidst all adversities. Not only be not afraid, but be not even agitated.
15. sanctify--hallow; honor as holy, enshrining Him in
your hearts. So in the Lord's Prayer,
God's holiness is thus glorified in our hearts as the dwelling-place of
the Lord God--The oldest manuscripts read "Christ." Translate, "Sanctify Christ as Lord."
and--Greek, "but," or "moreover." Besides this inward sanctification of God in the heart, be also ready always to give, &c.
answer--an apologetic answer defending your faith.
to every man that asketh you--The last words limit the universality of the "always"; not to a roller, but to everyone among the heathen who inquires honestly.
a reason--a reasonable account. This refutes Rome's dogma, "I believe it, because the Church believes it." Credulity is believing without evidence; faith is believing on evidence. There is no repose for reason itself but in faith. This verse does not impose an obligation to bring forward a learned proof and logical defense of revelation. But as believers deny themselves, crucify the world, and brave persecution, they must be buoyed up by some strong "hope"; men of the world, having no such hope themselves, are moved by curiosity to ask the secret of this hope; the believer must be ready to give an experimental account "how this hope arose in him, what it contains, and on what it rests" [STEIGER].
with--The oldest manuscripts read, "but with." Be ready, but with "meekness." Not pertly and arrogantly.
meekness-- (1Pe 3:4). The most effective way; not self-sufficient impetuosity.
fear--due respect towards man, and reverence towards God, remembering His cause does not need man's hot temper to uphold it.
16. Having a good conscience--the secret spring of readiness
to give account of our hope. So hope and good
conscience go together in
Ac 24:15, 16.
Profession without practice has no weight. But those who have a good
conscience can afford to give an account of their hope "with
whereas-- (1Pe 2:12).
they speak evil of you, as of evildoers--One oldest manuscript reads, "ye are spoken against," omitting the rest.
falsely accuse--"calumniate"; the Greek expresses malice shown in deeds as well as in words. It is translated, "despitefully use," Mt 5:44; Lu 6:28.
in Christ--who is the very element of your life as Christians. "In Christ" defines "good." It is your good walk as Christians, not as citizens, that calls forth malice (1Pe 4:4, 5, 14).
17. better--One may object, I would not bear it so ill if I had
deserved it. Peter replies, it is better that you did not
deserve it, in order that doing well and yet being spoken against, you
may prove yourself a true Christian [GERHARD].
if the will of God be so--rather as the optative is in the oldest manuscripts, "if the will of God should will it so." Those who honor God's will as their highest law (1Pe 2:15) have the comfort to know that suffering is God's appointment (1Pe 4:19). So Christ Himself; our inclination does not wish it.
18. Confirmation of
by the glorious results of Christ's suffering innocently.
For--"Because." That is "better," 1Pe 3:17, means of which we are rendered more like to Christ in death and in life; for His death brought the best issue to Himself and to us [BENGEL].
Christ--the Anointed Holy One of God; the Holy suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust.
also--as well as yourselves (1Pe 3:17). Compare 1Pe 2:21; there His suffering was brought forward as an example to us; here, as a proof of the blessedness of suffering for well-doing.
once--for all; never again to suffer. It is "better" for us also once to suffer with Christ, than for ever without Christ We now are suffering our "once"; it will soon be a thing of the past; a bright consolation to the tried.
for sins--as though He had Himself committed them. He exposed Himself to death by His "confession," even as we are called on to "give an answer to him that asketh a reason of our hope." This was "well-doing" in its highest manifestation. As He suffered, "The Just," so we ought willingly to suffer, for righteousness' sake (1Pe 3:14; compare 1Pe 3:12, 17).
that he might bring us to God--together with Himself in His ascension to the right hand of God (1Pe 3:22). He brings us, "the unjust," justified together with Him into heaven. So the result of Christ's death is His drawing men to Him; spiritually now, in our having access into the Holiest, opened by Christ's ascension; literally hereafter. "Bring us," moreover, by the same steps of humiliation and exaltation through which He Himself passed. The several steps of Christ's progress from lowliness to glory are trodden over again by His people in virtue of their oneness with Him (1Pe 4:1-3). "To God," is Greek dative (not the preposition and case), implying that God wishes it [BENGEL].
put to death--the means of His bringing us to God.
in the flesh--that is, in respect to the life of flesh and blood.
quickened by the Spirit--The oldest manuscripts omit the Greek article. Translate with the preposition "in," as the antithesis to the previous "in the flesh" requires, "IN spirit," that is, in respect to His Spirit. "Put to death" in the former mode of life; "quickened" in the other. Not that His Spirit ever died and was quickened, or made alive again, but whereas He had lived after the manner of mortal men in the flesh, He began to live a spiritual "resurrection" (1Pe 3:21) life, whereby He has the power to bring us to God. Two ways of explaining 1Pe 3:18, 19, are open to us: (1) "Quickened in Spirit," that is, immediately on His release from the "flesh," the energy of His undying spirit-life was "quickened" by God the Father, into new modes of action, namely, "in the Spirit He went down (as subsequently He went up to heaven, 1Pe 3:22, the same Greek verb) and heralded [not salvation, as ALFORD, contrary to Scripture, which everywhere represents man's state, whether saved or lost, after death irreversible. Nor is any mention made of the conversion of the spirits in prison. See on 1Pe 3:20. Nor is the phrase here 'preached the Gospel' (evangelizo), but 'heralded' (ekeruxe) or 'preached'; but simply made the announcement of His finished work; so the same Greek in Mr 1:45, 'publish,' confirming Enoch and Noah's testimony, and thereby declaring the virtual condemnation of their unbelief, and the salvation of Noah and believers; a sample of the similar opposite effects of the same work on all unbelievers, and believers, respectively; also a consolation to those whom Peter addresses, in their sufferings at the hands of unbelievers; specially selected for the sake of 'baptism,' its 'antitype' (1Pe 3:21), which, as a seal, marks believers as separated from the rest of the doomed world] to the spirits (His Spirit speaking to the spirits) in prison (in Hades or Sheol, awaiting the judgment, 2Pe 2:4), which were of old disobedient when," &c. (2) The strongest point in favor of (1) is the position of "sometime," that is, of old, connected with "disobedient"; whereas if the preaching or announcing were a thing long past, we should expect "sometime," or of old, to be joined to "went and preached." But this transposition may express that their disobedience preceded His preaching. The Greek participle expresses the reason of His preaching, "inasmuch as they were sometime disobedient" (compare 1Pe 4:6). Also "went" seems to mean a personal going, as in 1Pe 3:22, not merely in spirit. But see the answer below. The objections are "quickened" must refer to Christ's body (compare 1Pe 3:21, end), for as His Spirit never ceased to live, it cannot be said to be "quickened." Compare Joh 5:21; Ro 8:11, and other passages, where "quicken" is used of the bodily resurrection. Also, not His Spirit, but His soul, went to Hades. His Spirit was commended by Him at death to His Father, and was thereupon "in Paradise." The theory--(1) would thus require that His descent to the spirits in prison should be after His resurrection! Compare Eph 4:9, 10, which makes the descent precede the ascent. Also Scripture elsewhere is silent about such a heralding, though possibly Christ's death had immediate effects on the state of both the godly and the ungodly in Hades: the souls of the godly heretofore in comparative confinement, perhaps then having been, as some Fathers thought, translated to God's immediate and heavenly presence; but this cannot be proved from Scripture. Compare however, Joh 3:13; Col 1:18. Prison is always used in a bad sense in Scripture. "Paradise" and "Abraham's bosom," the abode of good spirits in Old Testament times, are separated by a wide gulf from Hell or Hades, and cannot be called "prison." Compare 2Co 12:2, 4, where "paradise" and the "third heaven" correspond. Also, why should the antediluvian unbelievers in particular be selected as the objects of His preaching in Hades? Therefore explain: "Quickened in spirit, in which (as distinguished from in person; the words "in which," that is, in spirit, expressly obviating the objection that "went" implies a personal going) He went (in the person of Noah, "a preacher of righteousness," 2Pe 2:5: ALFORD'S own Note, Eph 2:17, is the best reply to his argument from "went" that a local going to Hades in person is meant. As "He CAME and preached peace" by His Spirit in the apostles and ministers after His death and ascension: so before His incarnation He preached in Spirit through Noah to the antediluvians, Joh 14:18, 28; Ac 26:23. "Christ should show," literally, "announce light to the Gentiles") and preached unto the spirits in prison, that is, the antediluvians, whose bodies indeed seemed free, but their spirits were in prison, shut up in the earth as one great condemned cell (exactly parallel to Isa 24:22, 23 "upon the earth . . . they shall be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison," &c. [just as the fallen angels are judicially regarded as "in chains of darkness," though for a time now at large on the earth, 1Pe 2:4], where 1Pe 3:18 has a plain allusion to the flood, "the windows from on high are open," compare Ge 7:11); from this prison the only way of escape was that preached by Christ in Noah. Christ, who in our times came in the flesh, in the days of Noah preached in Spirit by Noah to the spirits then in prison (Isa 61:1, end, "the Spirit of the Lord God hath sent me to proclaim the opening of the prison to them that are bound"). So in 1Pe 1:11, "the Spirit of Christ" is said to have testified in the prophets. As Christ suffered even to death by enemies, and was afterwards quickened in virtue of His "Spirit" (or divine nature, Ro 1:3, 4; 1Co 15:45), which henceforth acted in its full energy, the first result of which was the raising of His body (1Pe 3:21, end) from the prison of the grave and His soul from Hades; so the same Spirit of Christ enabled Noah, amidst reproach and trials, to preach to the disobedient spirits fast bound in wrath. That Spirit in you can enable you also to suffer patiently now, looking for the resurrection deliverance.
20. once--not in the oldest manuscripts.
when . . . the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah--Oldest manuscripts. Greek, "was continuing to wait on" (if haply men in the hundred twenty years of grace would repent) until the end of His waiting came in their death by the flood. This refutes ALFORD'S idea of a second day of grace having been given in Hades. Noah's days are selected, as the ark and the destroying flood answer respectively to "baptism" and the coming destruction of unbelievers by fire.
while the ark was a-preparing-- (Heb 11:7). A long period of God's "long-suffering and waiting," as Noah had few to help him, which rendered the world's unbelief the more inexcusable.
wherein--literally, "(by having entered) into which."
eight--seven (the sacred number) with ungodly Ham.
souls--As this term is here used of living persons, why should not "spirits" also? Noah preached to their ears, but Christ in spirit, to their spirits, or spiritual natures.
saved by water--The same water which drowned the unbelieving, buoyed up the ark in which the eight were saved. Not as some translate, "were brought safe through the water." However, the sense of the preposition may be as in 1Co 3:15, "they were safely preserved through the water," though having to be in the water.
21. whereunto--The oldest manuscripts read, "which": literally,
"which (namely, water, in general; being) the antitype (of the
water of the flood) is now saving (the salvation being not yet fully
realized by us, compare
1Co 10:1, 2, 5;
puts into a state of salvation) us also (two oldest manuscripts
read 'you' for 'us': You also, as well as Noah and his
party), to wit, baptism." Water saved Noah not of itself, but by
sustaining the ark built in faith, resting on God's word: it was
to him the sign and mean of a kind of regeneration, of the
earth. The flood was for Noah a baptism, as the passage through the Red
Sea was for the Israelites; by baptism in the flood he and his family
were transferred from the old world to the new: from immediate
destruction to lengthened probation; from the companionship of the
wicked to communion with God; from the severing of all bonds between
the creature and the Creator to the privileges of the covenant: so we
by spiritual baptism. As there was a Ham who forfeited the privileges
of the covenant, so many now. The antitypical water, namely, baptism,
saves you also not of itself, nor the mere material water, but the
spiritual thing conjoined with it, repentance and faith, of which it is
the sign and seal, as Peter proceeds to explain. Compare the union of
the sign and thing signified,
not the, &c.--"flesh" bears the emphasis. "Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh" (as is done by a mere water baptism, unaccompanied with the Spirit's baptism, compare Eph 2:11), but of the soul. It is the ark (Christ and His Spirit-filled Church), not the water, which is the instrument of salvation: the water only flowed round the ark; so not the mere water baptism, but the water when accompanied with the Spirit.
answer--Greek, "interrogation"; referring to the questions asked of candidates for baptism; eliciting a confession of faith "toward God" and a renunciation of Satan ([AUGUSTINE, The Creed, 4.1]; [CYPRIAN, Epistles, 7, To Rogatianus]), which, when flowing from "a good conscience," assure one of being "saved." Literally, "a good conscience's interrogation (including the satisfactory answer) toward God." I prefer this to the translation of WAHL, ALFORD and others, "inquiry of a good conscience after God": not one of the parallels alleged, not even 2Sa 11:7, in the Septuagint, is strictly in point. Recent Byzantine Greek idiom (whereby the term meant: (1) the question; (2) the stipulation; (3) the engagement), easily flowing from the usage of the word as Peter has it, confirms the former translation.
by the resurrection of Jesus--joined with "saves you": In so far as baptism applies to us the power of Christ's resurrection. As Christ's death unto sin is the source of the believer's death unto, and so deliverance from, sin's penalty and power; so His resurrection life is the source of the believer's new spiritual life.
Ro 8:34, 38;
Eph 1:21; 3:10;
Col 1:16; 2:10-15).
The fruit of His patience in His voluntary endured and undeserved
sufferings: a pattern to us,
1Pe 3:17, 18.
gone-- (Lu 24:51). Proving against rationalists an actual material ascension. Literally, "is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven." The oldest manuscripts of the Vulgate and the Latin Fathers, add what expresses the benefit to us of Christ's sitting on God's right hand, "Who is on the right hand of God, having swallowed up death that we may become heirs of everlasting life"; involving for us A STATE OF LIFE, saved, glorious, and eternal. The Greek manuscripts, however, reject the words. Compare with this verse Peter's speeches, Ac 2:32-35; 3:21, 26; 10:40, 42.