Passage: 1 Peter 3:1–7
- Wives with unbelieving husbands should so adorn themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit that their husbands may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of their lives (vv. 1-6)
- A Christian man’s wife is heir with him of the gracious gift of eternal life. Thus, his relationship with God is hindered if he fails to live with his wife in a godly way, treating her with respect and consideration as the more vulnerable party in the headship/submission dynamic (v. 7)
Question: What is wifely submission?
Answer: A wife’s divine calling to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. It is not an absolute surrender of her will. It is her disposition to yield to her husband’s guidance and her inclination to follow his leadership. Christ is her absolute authority, not the husband. She submits “out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21) and “for the Lord’s sake” (1 Peter 2:13).
Likewise, husbandly headship does not consist in a series of directives to the wife. Leadership is not synonymous with unilateral decision-making. Headship bears the primary responsibility for the moral design and planning in the home, but the development of that design and plan will include the wife. A good husband will take responsibility to establish a pattern of interaction that honors both husband and wife (and children) as a store of varied wisdom for family life.
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