Bible Class Notes on 1 Peter 3:5-6 | Notes on the Petrine Epistles
Peter is now going to encourage Christian women by appealing to the examples in the Old Testament. Although Peter does not mention which women he has in mind, we can deduce that he probably meant the matriarchs of Israel. In reference to Machpelah, Jacob said, “There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah” (Gen 49:31). In this passage, these matriarchs played an important role in Hebrew history, for they are mentioned alongside their husbands.
These were “holy” women. “Holy” here refers to their being “heroes.” “Holy” also has reference to their being part of God’s people.
These women are an example of dress and submissiveness.
The reason they are an example is that they hoped in God. This was the reason they were submissive to their husbands and dressed appropriately—they trusted in God. These women were chiefly concerned with pleasing God. Women today who are chiefly concerned with pleasing God will dress appropriately and will be submissive to their husbands.
Sarah serves as a prime example. Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. The obedience would be synonymous with submission.
Sarah called Abraham “lord.” This reference seems to be to Genesis 18:12: “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” The Revised Standard Version translates this “my husband.” This is literally “my lord.”
In that day, “lord” meant “sir” or “master.” Sarah, no doubt, intended this to be a term of respect toward Abraham. Women today can show the same respect by calling their husband “husband.”
Women who respect and are submissive to their husbands are Sarah’s children. The fact that these women are now Sarah’s children shows that they are Gentiles. Just as all who believe in Christ are children of Abraham, Christian women are also daughters of Sarah.
Yet, these women needed to do right and let nothing terrify them. “Right” here has a moral connotation. These women are to be morally upright. They are to let nothing terrify them. Some of these women surely had abusive husbands. These women are not to be afraid of these men.