The Marriage Relationship
1And now let me speak to the wives. Be devoted to your own husbands, # 3:1 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “defer to the authority of your husbands” (patiently accept, submit). so that even if some of them do not obey the Word of God, your kind conduct may win them over without you saying a thing. 2For when they observe your pure, godly life before God, it will impact them deeply. 3-4Let your true beauty come from your inner personality, not a focus on the external. For lasting beauty comes from a gentle and peaceful spirit, which is precious in God’s sight and is much more important than the outward adornment of elaborate hair, jewelry, # 3:3–4 Or “braiding of hair or gold ornaments.” and fine clothes.
5Holy women of long ago who had set their hopes in God beautified themselves with lives lived in deference to their own husbands’ authority. 6For example, our “mother,” Sarah, devoted herself # 3:6 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “obeyed.” to her husband, Abraham, and even called him “master.” And you have become her daughters when you do what is right without fear and intimidation. # 3:6 That is, the wife is not inferior and should never be intimidated by her husband. The Aramaic can be translated “without being terrified by any fear.”
7Husbands, you in turn must treat your wives with tenderness, # 3:7 Or “with intimate insight” (“realistically,” “with considerateness”). That is, with consideration of what they desire and delight in, not ignorant of their preferences. viewing them # 3:7 Or “make a home as equals.” as feminine # 3:7 Or “weaker vessel,” which is a possible idiom for “weaker livelihood.” Widows and female orphans were horribly disadvantaged in the time this was written. Without an advocate, women were often oppressed by corrupt political officials. However, in Aramaic, the native language of Peter, the word for “weaker” is machal, which means weak, but weak only in the sense of a debtor who has been paid off so he has no power over you and is weakened. Machal carries the idea of neutralizing a threat. The Aramaic word for “vessel” is mana and is taken from the Phoenician word for “clothing.” Its etymological root comes from the Phoenician word for the “outrigging of a ship” (i.e., sail, rudder, anchor). Peter may be describing the wife as the “outrigging of a marriage” that helps keep the relation-“ship” on course and moving. partners who deserve to be honored, for they are co-heirs with you of the “divine grace of life,” # 3:7 This unique New Testament phrase describes the joyous grace that husband and wife share as a married couple, as coheirs of eternal life. But there is more than a hint of the life they give birth to—that is, the wonderful grace of giving life to a child, “the divine grace of life.” so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Love One Another
8Now, this is the goal: to live in harmony with one another and demonstrate affectionate love, # 3:8 Or “brotherly love.” sympathy, # 3:8 The Aramaic can be translated “suffer with those who are suffering.” and kindness toward other believers. Let humility describe who you are as you dearly love one another. 9Never retaliate when someone treats you wrongly, nor insult those who insult you, but instead, respond by speaking a blessing over them—because a blessing is what God promised to give you. # 3:9 Every believer is blessed by God. There are eight virtues found in vv. 8–9 that should characterize our fellowship as believers who follow Christ: (1) a sublime harmony, (2) demonstration of affectionate (brotherly) love, (3) sympathy, (4) kindness, (5) humility, (6) fervent love, (7) never retaliating evil for evil or insult for insult, and (8) speaking blessings over those who mistreat us. 10For the Scriptures tell us:
Whoever wants to embrace true life
and find beauty in each day
11must stop speaking evil, hurtful words
and never deceive in what they say.
Always turn from what is wrong
and cultivate what is good;
eagerly pursue peace in every relationship,
making it your prize.
12For the eyes of the Lord Yahweh # 3:12 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is kurios (lord). rest upon the godly,
and his heart responds to their prayers.
But he turns his back on those who practice evil. # 3:12 Or “He sets his face against evildoers.” See Ps. 34:12–16.
Persecuted for Doing Good
13Why would anyone harm # 3:13 The Aramaic can be translated “do evil to you.” you if you’re passionate and devoted # 3:13 Or “eager to do good.” The Aramaic word used for “passionate and devoted” is a homonym that can also mean “imitators.” For this reason some Greek manuscripts have “followers/imitators of what is good.” to pleasing God? 14But even if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you will have the joyful experience of the blessing of God. # 3:14 There are three things to remember when you suffer mistreatment or persecution for the cause of Christ: (1) The eyes of God rest upon you, v. 12; (2) God’s heart responds to your prayers, v. 12; (3) You will experience the blessing of God in spite of your enemies, with nothing to fear, v. 14. And
Don’t be intimidated or terrified
by those who would terrify you. # 3:14 As translated from the Aramaic. See Isa. 8:12–13.
15But give reverent honor in your hearts to the Anointed One and treat him as the holy Master # 3:15 The Aramaic can be translated “Lord Yahweh.” This is a clear statement that Christ is the Lord Yahweh. of your lives. And if anyone asks # 3:15 Or “repeatedly asks.” about the hope living within you, always be ready to explain your faith 16with gentleness and respect. Maintain a clean conscience, so that those who slander you for living a pure life in Christ will have to lie about you and will be ashamed because of their slander. # 3:16 Or “be ashamed when they accuse you.” We cannot prevent people from slandering us, but when they do, they should be forced to lie. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if it is in God’s plan, than for doing evil.
18Christ suffered and died # 3:18 There is great variation among reliable texts of this phrase. Some have “Christ suffered,” and others read “Christ died.” This translation has included both concepts. for sins once and for all—the innocent for the guilty # 3:18 Or “the just for the unjust.” See Isa. 53:11–12. —to bring you near to God by his body # 3:18 Or “by being put to death in/by the flesh.” The passive verb (“having been put to death”) implies that this was something done to him “by flesh” (or “humanity”). The contrast is this: humanity put him on the cross, but the Spirit raised him up to life. being put to death and by being raised to life by the Spirit. 19He went in the spiritual realm # 3:19 Or “through the [Holy] Spirit.” and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison # 3:19 The Aramaic can be translated Sheol (“Hades”). 20because of their disobedience of long ago. # 3:20 The early church fathers cited this passage, along with others, in the belief that Jesus “descended into hell” (e.g., the Apostles’ Creed, although the earliest versions of it do not include the words “descended into hell”). In this context, between his death and resurrection, Jesus is said to have gone into the underworld and preached (the victory of the cross) to the spirits (fallen angels) who are bound. See also Gen. 6:1–4; 2 Peter 2:4. However, Augustine, Aquinas, and others argue that the proclamation Jesus made was through Noah by the Holy Spirit to the people of Noah’s day who were disobedient. Nearly every scholar concludes that this passage in 1 Peter is one of the most difficult in the New Testament to interpret. For during the time of Noah God patiently waited while the ark was being prepared, but only a few were brought safely through the floodwaters: a total of eight souls. 21This was a prophetic picture # 3:21 The Greek word antitypos means “a picture,” “a type,” “a symbol,” “a pattern,” or “a counterpart.” of the immersion that now saves you—not a bathing of the physical body but rather the response of a good conscience before God # 3:21 Or “by the response of a good conscience.” The word often translated “conscience” (syneidēsis) actually means “a joint knowing,” “a virtuous co-knowledge,” or “co-perception.” through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who is now in heaven at the place of supreme authority next to God. # 3:22 Or “at the right hand of God.” The very powers of heaven, including every angel and authority, now yield in submission to him.