May 11, 2021 – Tuesday
1 Peter 3:1-2 NIV
1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,
2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
What are we to make of this sentence over two verses? First what do we mean in the same way? Let’s consider 1 Peter 2:13 and :18 and see if they point us in the right direction. 2:13 is clearly for everyone, Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, while 2:18 is directed to slaves, Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. Ellicott’s commentary suggests something quite different quoting M. Renan, This model of submission and humility, (meaning the Lamb of God), is made by Peter the law for all classes of Christian society. The wife above all, by the discreet charm of her piety, to be the great missionary of the faith.
The Benson Commentary was even more to the point, stating, Here St. Peter wisely intimates to the women, that the silent, but powerful persuasion of a becoming behaviour, would be more effectual in winning their unbelieving husbands to embrace the gospel, than many arguments, proposed perhaps with heat, for the purpose of convincing them. For when the husbands found what a happy influence the gospel had in making their wives sweet-tempered and dutiful in every respect, they could not but entertain a good opinion of a religion which produced such excellent effects. Many of the men, husbands, had rejected arguments for the gospel while their wives were wiser and accepted the gospel and Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Thus argument was not going to win anyone over to the saving gospel of Jesus, but the behavior of wives toward their husbands might do what Peter could not do.
This is a lesson for all of us, men and women alike, for when a friend or loved one rejects the gospel then our role also becomes that of a missionary of the faith as they see our faith in action. Recall Paul wrote in Galatians 5:6b, The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. This should make everyone wonder, “Have I been expressing my faith through love?” I don’t like my answer, for I surely do not, at least not all the time and often not even most of the time. Perhaps this, like many habits or actions, is learned behavior.
It has often been said our behavior may be the only Bible our neighbor reads. Thus our behavior towards our neighbors and in view of our neighbors may have a more profound effect than we might ever imagine. I am reminded of the story of a young airman who rode often to work with a senior NCO and his wife. What he observed led him to ask why they were different. There answer was “Jesus.” This led him eventually to church with them and a relationship with Jesus as he became a believer. Later in life he was called to be a preacher as well. All from the example set before him by the senior NCO and his wife. Who is watching your behavior, our behavior, my behavior?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Please let my behavior be pleasing to You and be an example of your love and mercy to those around me. Help me to express my faith in You and Jesus be such that others would want some of what you have granted me. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.