1 Peter 3:1-7
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. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves: In the previous chapter Peter was talking about submitting to leaders of different types because there is no point in revolting against leadership. Instead, we are to love and serve our leaders. Likewise, Peter is recognizing that wives ought to love and serve their husbands by allowing them to lead. This submissive attitude then impacts men in a positive way. If they are not believers, then perhaps they will be won over by the love of their wives. If they are believers, then they will feel respected and encouraged.
Not from outward: Peter is not forbidding the wearing of Jewelry or any clothing that was attractive. Peter is talking about not making beauty merely an outward attribute. He is against making external beauty the big deal. Instead, women are to seek to know Christ and live from His Spirit. This type of beauty never ceases even with the coming of old age because it is internal. Thus, Peter wants women to find their worth not in that which is visible but in that worth which is spiritual and precious. When focus is on this inner beauty, women may choose to dress nicely or wear Jewelry, but not in order to become something more than who they are in Christ.
Adorn themselves: The women in the Old Testament wore submission to their husbands like clothes. The clothing of submission is a perfect fit for children of God. It is completely compatible with who wives, as well as husbands, are in Christ. Christians can choose to wear behavior that is not fitting for saints. But this will never yield peace and joy. Only the fruit of the Spirit is fitting for Christians. When wives express the fruit of the Spirit to men, then men will feel honored and valued. The fear that women carry with this type of lifestyle is based on not wanting to become doormats to their husbands. But Peter is clear: Women are co-heirs with their husbands.
Weaker vessel: Husbands are to love their wives as one would love a weaker person. In other words, husbands are to be gentle with their wives. This is not at all a statement about the value of women in marriage. Notice that they are fellow heirs of salvation with their husbands. Instead, Peter is speaking of physical strength. Women are physically weaker than men and therefore men should honor this reality and not be harsh with their wives. This pertains to physical force as well as emotional and verbal abuse. Peter likely also has in mind the emotional depth of women and how vulnerable this makes them.
Hinder your prayers: This is a practical statement for couples who are not treating one another well. People will not want to pray with their spouses if they are being treated poorly. If, however, we express the fruit of the Spirit to one another then nothing will get in the way of our prayer life.