Beautiful Wives, Considerate Husbands
1 Peter 3:1-7
We have noticed several times already a few parallels between the teaching of the Apostles Peter and Paul. One parallel is their teaching on submission as a manifestation of our growth in sanctification, and an element of that is submission in marriage.
There are a number of parallels between Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:17-28 and Peter’s words here in 1 Peter 3:1-7. Sproul notes,
“Through almost two thousand years of reflection on the biblical text, there has been virtually monolithic [consistent, titanic] agreement as to the content of the teaching – that is, until the advent of the feminist movement. Since feminism has swept through the Western world, the axe has been laid at the root of the meaning of these texts. It is now argued that the traditional interpretation of the texts has been controlled by a seemingly incurable chauvinism that has held captive the minds of scholars. The feminist movement heralds the liberation of these texts from the tyranny of such male dominance. People also argue that the marriage teaching of Paul in Ephesians and of Peter in his epistle simply reflect the cultural custom of their day and so has no bearing on the church now. Rather, they say, the texts that require submission of the wife to the husband are no longer applicable.
“There are women scholars who claim the Bible as their authority while simultaneously declaring that these particular biblical teachings reflect sinful, chauvinistic attitudes that were imposed upon the church by the Apostles. More conservative advocates of feminism have sought, instead of discrediting the biblical texts, to reinterpret them in order to make them compatible with the goals of feminism.”
‘There are many dimensions to the feminist movement,’ Sproul maintains, and then continues,
“A strong protest raised within the movement has to do with the claim of some men that the subordination of the wife to the husband, established at creation, was based upon the inherent inferiority of women. That protest is legitimate, I believe, according to the Word of God. In the wake of feminism we have seen a protest against inequities of wages given to women for the same job men hold. We have also witnessed many professions open to women that were, for the most part, previously closed. Today we find women in politics, medicine, jurisprudence, and a host of other avenues that heretofore were closed to them. All these things, I think, are good and necessary.”
However, while the movement has created some positive change, it clearly has a downside. The downside of feminism in our time is the strong influence the movement has had on abortion, which is America’s greatest moral shame. ‘In that respect,’ declares Sproul, ‘the influence of feminism has been destructive.’ Feminism has also created unbelievable turmoil within the family and in homes the country over. As Sproul notes, ‘It seems we are facing an endless power struggle between men and women and between husband and wife.’
Sproul concludes, “All of that has produced disastrous results, but it is incumbent upon us as Christians not to interpret the text on the basis of contemporary movements or on what is deemed politically correct. Rather, we are to be sober in seeking to understand what the Bible teaches and, once we understand it, to be submissive to it.”
The path of Christian living, as we understand the Bible, is no different for the husband than for the wife. Both are called to follow Christ in humble and compassionate love, accepting rebuffs with forgiving grace (3:8, 9). In providing this household code, Peter is offering us God’s grace. But what these words mean for both wives and husbands will take some prayerful thought. You will want to join us this week as we ask what the Bible means when it calls for wives to submit and husbands to be considerate.
Please remember Michelle and me in prayer as we travel to a sister church to speak at their missions conference on planting a gospel church in rural America. We are grateful for our leaders who will serve the gospel this week at Redeemer. The Lord be with you.
In His Steps,