Bible Class Notes on 1 Peter 3:7 | Notes on the Petrine Epistles
Peter now turns his attention to Christian men. Peter addresses women who had unbelieving husbands. Obviously, not all women had unbelieving husbands. These instructions would make little sense if they were directed toward unbelieving men.
Peter addresses these men by saying, “Likewise you husbands.” “Likewise” here carried the nuance of “in turn” or “for your part.” Peter has just told women about their responsibilities before God—the men were no different; they, too, had responsibilities they needed to meet.
Husbands are to live considerately with their wives. This is the only occurrence of the verb “to live with” in the New Testament. The verb was used in the Septuagint to refer to the marital relationship, often with sexual overtones. There do not seem to be any sexual overtones in this passage. Peter is telling men how they are to live with their wives—in regard to their sexual relationship and in regard to other aspects of their relationship.
Husbands are to live “considerately” with their wives. “Considerately” is literally “knowledge.” “Knowledge” often refers to the sexual relationship. Because of the husband’s power of his wife, he could abuse her physically, sexually, and emotionally. Women were vulnerable in the Roman world; they were considered property and slaves. Peter raises the standard and tells men to value their wives as precious.
Husbands are to honor their wives as “the weaker sex.” “Sex” literally means “vessel.” This term was often used for a piece of pottery and came to be used metaphorically of human bodies. Peter told husbands to regard their wives as the weaker vessel.
What does Peter mean that women are the weaker sex? This weakness is physical; it does refer to the body. Women were not made like men; there are certain things, therefore, women cannot do. Men don’t need to expect more from their wives than the women are able to give.
Peter provides two reasons why men need to treat their wives properly—(1) women are joint heirs of the grace of life; and (2) Prayers will be hindered by poor family relationships.
Women are joint heirs of the grace of life. In the Roman world, women were second-class citizens. That is not true in the church—the distinctions between men and women do not exist in regard to salvation (Gal 3:28). Women can be saved as well as men.
A failure to keep the marital relationship solid would affect one’s relationship with God. The husband cannot be right with God if he is not right with his wife.
Throughout the New Testament, there is the idea that I order to be right with God we must be right with others.
- Matthew 5:23.
- Matthew 6:12, 14-15.
The home is here pictured as a miniature church. The home should be a place where God is honored. God is not honored in homes where there is no prayer. We need to keep marital relationships pure so that we can have a pure relationship with God.
This Bible class was originally taught by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.