What’s so good about the Christian family? The Wife’s Submission (1 Peter 3:1-7)

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The biblical submission of a wife to her husband is a beautiful act of love. It is an expression of unwavering commitment to the blessing of her husband. In no uncertain terms does this mean that the wife is: inferior, less valuable, dependent, has no voice, can be abused, should put up with everything, has to ask for permission etc. etc. Husbands, if this is how you think of your wife’s submission then you didn’t get this from the Bible. Likewise, wives, you must not think of your submission to your husband in these terms either. The Bible makes it very clear, wives are co-heirs in the gracious gift of life. Wives are of equal value. Wives are of equal worth and should never be treated or made to feel otherwise.

The Apostle Peter writes that:
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, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. (1 Peter 3:1-2)

Here you see the biblical definition and benchmark for what a wife’s submission is. It means committing to blessing your husband before yourself. His good is what matters especially his salvation. This means that submitting to the husband can’t mean just doing whatever the husband says, otherwise your salvation would also be on the line. Rather the wife’s submission is the means by which the husband is actually won over to God and so blessed.

This is why the Apostle Peter goes on to emphasise the inner beauty and the worth of the wife’s quiet and gentle spirit. See if the wife by her submission is going to win her husband over to God then she must be someone who;
  1. Knows the love of God
  2. Is able to share the love of God
All of this is to say that she is someone who is spiritually strong and mature. Not distracted or unsettled by the temptations and trappings of this world but rather she has a sense of calm and certainty in her soul. Her gentle and quiet spirit is actually her strength and dignity and reflects Jesus’ own gentle and humble heart which gave rest to the weary and burdened. It is this heart, this spirit, which allows husbands to find rest in their wives, as burdens are taken away from them. Can you see why husbands are won over for God when their wives are committed to adding to their husband’s blessings and taking away their burdens. This is the gospel lived out in marriage!

Now, if the wife is committed to the blessing of her non-believing husband, how much more should she be to her believing husband. If he is on the same page, following the same God, living and loving like Jesus their Lord and Saviour, then it should be easy right? And here is where Peter gives the example of Sarah’s relationship with Abraham and shows that biblical submission is beautiful but by no means easy. For as faithful and as righteous as Abraham was, Sarah would be the first to say that there were times when she just didn’t believe him and or God, laughing at the thought of it, but yet in the final assessment was committed to walking side by side with her husband in the promised blessings of God.   

The Christian Wife and her submission to her husband is what’s so good about the Christian family because it blesses the husband to be the man of God. 

Boon Guo Quah