Today we have before us a controversial yet important passage. Controversial, not as much in the sense of what the Bible is saying, but how it is interpreted in light of our present culture. Of course, we are talking about the uses of “subject” and “submit”, words that our culture views as negative, but that the Bible views as positive.
Peter is encouraging wives to “subject” themselves to their husbands. Basically he is saying that they should show respect to their husbands, with pure character. Peter is saying that it is a good thing when wives show respect to their husbands in this way. Submission, when viewed wrongly, associates itself with images of being walked over, devalued, and as a servant to the needs of the husband. This could not be further from how the Bible views submission. The Bible paints a beautiful picture of a wife who loves and respects her husband, and finds her hope and confidence in God so much that she is free to put his needs before her own, trusting in God’s good design of a husbands role as sacrificial leader and a wife’s role as helper.
Likewise, husbands are called to show love and honor to their wives as well. Peter gives such a high expectation to husbands that he says that failure to love and honor your wife in a godly manner could result in prayers being hindered—that’s serious!
Whether you’re married or not, all Christians should exhibit character that is pure, and show respect to all people. Yes, God has given men and women unique roles in a marriage relationship, but the purpose of these roles is to point to the bigger picture: of Jesus who lovingly and sacrificially gave himself up for his bride, the church. As we exist in this life, relationships between husband and wife, and the church as a whole, finds its purpose in pointing people to the gospel.
How are your relationships pointing people to the gospel?
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate