1 Peter Chapter Three
I. Content of the Chapter
Principles in the Life of Those Who Have Been Favored
A. Principles in the family life (v.1-7):
a. Be submissive to one’s own husband (v
b. Chaste conduct accompanied by fear (v.1b-2);
c.Let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit (v.3-4);
d. Examples of the holy women and Sarah (v.5-6);
a. Dwell with wives with understanding;
b. Give honor to the wife;
B. Principles in life of human communication (v.8-13):
1. Heart: be of one mind, have compassion on others, love, and be tenderhearted, and be courteous (v.8);
2. Words: refrain one’s tongue and bless (v.9-10);
3. Conduct: turn away from evil and do good and seek peace and pursue it (v.11-13);
C. Principles in the life before God (v.14-22):
1. The will of God is to suffer for doing good (v.14-17);
2. Examples of Christ’s suffering (v.18-22);
II. Verse by Verse Commentary
1Pet. 3:1 “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,”
YLT: “In like manner, the wives, be ye subject to your own husbands, that even if certain are disobedient to the word, through the conversation of the wives, without the word, they may be won,”
Meaning of Words: “submissive”: obedient; “not obey”: not believe; “conduct”: walking, conversation; “won”: gain, earn;
The Background: the status of women at that time was humble. And the husband could abandon his wife at will. Especially the husband who did not believe the Lord did never allow his wife to offend in words.
Literal Meaning: “likewise”, it is after the teaching concerning “obedience to every ordinance of men” in the previous chapter (2:13). As the bondservants are subject to the masters (see 2:18), so let the wives be to their own husbands.
“Be submissive to your own husbands”, “be submissive”, it relates to both obedient actions as well as obedience of will. Obedience in the Scriptures taught in the Scriptures emphasizes inner submission.
Wives shall be submissive to their husbands as the church submits to Christ (see Eph. 5:24). That is to say, the submission of wives to their own husbands is on account of submission to the Lord. We have to obey whatever Christ asks us to obey. Contrarily, if husbands ask the wives to forgive faith or reading the scriptures or prayers, wives cannot obey. Therefore, wives are submissive to their own husbands in the Lord (see Col. 3:18).
Note that wives have to be submissive to “their own” husbands (see v.5) rather than the husbands of others or all men, indicating that this teaching has nothing to do with social status of male and female, but with family institution. In other words, the submission of wives is because of the different functions of both wives and husbands in the family institution appointed by God rather than the inferior status.
“That even if some do not obey the word”, “the word” (with a definite article) refers to the word of the truth of gospel (see 4:17); “do not obey the word”: do not believe the truth of gospel, that is, do not believe the Lord;
“They, without a word”, “word” (with an article): common words, including encouragement and nagging. Here it expresses that the word may have little effect on husbands.
“May be won by the conduct of their wives”, note that the Scriptures do not encourage believers to leave spouses who do not believe, but help them to be saved (see 1Cor. 7:13-16). Meanwhile, to any part of both husbands and wives, the power of conduct should be more effective than persuasive words.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Wives shall be subject to “their own” husbands (see Eph. 5:22) ---- many times, it is easier to be subject to the husbands of others than to one’s own husband.
2) Just as the husbands shall love their own wives as the Christ loved the assembly to “deliver himself up” for it (see Eph. 5:25), the wives shall also obey their own husbands with a kind of “selfless obedience” (see Eph. 5:25). He who sticks to his own ideas cannot be submissive, so he needs to be dealt with the cross.
3) If the basic “responsibility” of the wife in the Lord is not blocked, even though some “rights” as a Christian will be sacrificed, she has to obey her husband all the same.
4) Obedience of wives is not out of tremble nor passive and blind obedience. Only those who live with the Lord by the gracious power can we become submissive truly.
5) There are two ways enabling men to believe the Lord: preachment of the truth and conduct. The former is phonic gospel, and the latter is silent gospel. Both of them should be matched together (see Phil. 1:27). Many times silent testimony is better than vocal preachment.
6) Preachment of the gospel is a work of “gaining” men. It is worthwhile for a wife to pay the cost of conduct and yet win the soul of her husband.
1Pet. 3:2 “when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”
YLT: “having beheld your pure behaviour in fear,”
Meaning of Words: “observe”: behold, see; “chaste”: clean, pure, modest; “fear”: reverence, terror;
Literal Meaning: “chaste conduct”: the holy (see 1:15) and honorable (see 2:12) and good (see v.16) conduct that manifests chastity; “accompanied by fear”: walk in the attitude and atmosphere of fearing God; chaste conduct is the manifestation of fearing God, and fear is the motivation of chaste conduct.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) It is better of the manifestation of the faith in Christ and the glory of Christ’s life by conduct than “a thousand words”.
2) God is a jealousy God (Ex. 34:4). He cannot bear that we love or seek idols in hearts. Anyone or anything cannot replace the position of God. Therefore, believers have to keep chaste in fear.
3) The absence of chaste conduct exposes the absence of real fear (see v.1). If the chaste conduct is not out of fear, it turns out to be hypocrisy and cannot gain men (see v.1).
1Pet. 3:3 “Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel--”
YLT: “whose adorning -- let it not be that which is outward, of plaiting of hair, and of putting around of things of gold, or of putting on of garments,”
Meaning of Words: “arranging”: braid, plait; “wearing”: putting all around, decorating oneself with; “apparel”: garment, robe;
The Background: “arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—”, at that time, in the Roman Empire, the common women had no social status and just idled around all the day, so they turned to pay attention to the decoration of appearance to kill the time. “Arranging the hair”, at that time women spent a lot in decorations, either golden or silver, including hair ornaments, necklaces, earrings, rings, arm and wrist bracelets etc. “Putting on fine apparel”: women at that time were also choosy about materials and styles of clothing to show off themselves.
Literal Meaning: “do not let your adornment be merely outward—”, “your”: that of the wives who are believers (see v.1); “do not let…”: here it is not cold and rigid prohibition but general remind. That is to say, we need not to be too fastidious about adornment. “Outward”: manifest outwardly…; “adornment”: it is the same word with the word “world” in the original. The word “world” originally refers to a systematic world in order. Here it is used to describe the adornment of women ---- women make them up to show their beauty to draw or please others, especially their own husbands.
“Arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—”, “arranging the hair”, it relates to the complicated and elaborate braiding of the hair rather than the decent and elegant braids; “wearing gold”, here it indicates the extravagant ornaments, not that women should not wear the ring (see Luke 15:22); “putting on fine apparel”, it refers to the too expensive apparel far beyond its realistic function. That is not to say women should not wear decent and nice clothes.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) An old saying goes like this, “a girl will doll herself up for him who loves her”. Sense of beauty is the inborn nature of women. Adornment is supposed to be beyond reproach. It is right for believers to keep decent appearance and becoming clothing (see 1Tim. 3:11; 2:9). What is really wrong is spending excessive money and time in outward adornment.
2) The best way for wives to please their own husbands is not outward but inward adornment (see v.4). The influence of a wife’s appearance upon her husband is much less than that of her inner holiness and submissive life (see v.1-2);
3) Hair is the “glory” of women (see 1Cor. 11:15), but not adornment for women to “boast of”.
4) Some conservative Christians misunderstand the original intention of Peter and quote this verse to abstain the apparel to an undue extent.
5) Meyer said, “Many people are dressed gorgeously but are shabbily corrupted inside. However, there is another small group of people that who have unspeakable inner beauty even with shabby clothing”.
1Pet. 3:4 “rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
YLT: “but -- the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible thing of the meek and quiet spirit, which is, before God, of great price,”
Meaning of Words: “hidden”: inward, concealed; “incorruptible”: undecaying, immortal; “precious”: of great price, costly;
Literal Meaning: “rather let it be hidden person of the heart”, “hidden person”, it is a contrast to the apparent body (see v.3);
“With the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”, “incorruptible”, the inner beauty is a kind of incorruptible adornment; “gentle”: the humble and meek attitude in a submissive way; “quiet spirit”: it is in “the hidden person”;
“Which is very precious in the sight of God”, “in the sight of God”, it indicates that the view of God is rather different from that of men; “very precious”: it is the value of God in the sight of God.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Our spirit is the hidden person in us. The value of a man does not lie in the appearance, but in the reality of the inner hidden person.
2) The real beauty of female Christians is not out of the adornment of outward appearance, but of the beauty of inner life. The former may corrupt, but the latter will never perish.
3) Man looks upon the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart (see 1Sam. 16:7). In the sight of God, the value of inner beauty far surpasses the outward beauty.
4) In the sight of men, pearl and jade are precious. However, the gentle and quiet spirit is precious in the sight of God.
5) A husband who knows God cherishes the virtues of his wife more than her outward beauty.
1Pet. 3:5 “For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,”
YLT: “for thus once also the holy women who did hope on God, were adorning themselves, being subject to their own husbands,”
Meaning of Words: “in former times”: in old times; “holy”: sanctified;
Literal Meaning: “for in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves”, “in former times”: in the times of the Old Testament; “trusted in God”: set one’s hope and reliance upon God rather than the apparent beauty; “holy women”: the women who had been sanctified to God; “adorned themselves”: adorned themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit (see v.4);
“Being submissive to their own husbands”, here it is the second time of mentioning the submission to their own husbands (see v.1); here in this verse “adornment” and “submission” are mentioned together, indicating that the submission of wives is their best adornment.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) He who believes in God will not be shames (Rom. 9:33; 10:11). However, he who trusts in the outward adornment will often lose hope.
2) Let the saints who have been sanctified to God adorn themselves with that which God looks upon rather than imitate the fashion of the world to seek the apparent adornment.
3) The manner of women of God in the Old Testament is to cultivate the inner virtues and spiritual beauty. One of the beauty is submission their own husbands in fear.
4) The best adornment for believers is a submissive spirit. The more we obey, the more shall we please and draw our own spouses.
5) “Submission” is the secret spiritual weapon of “subduing” men’s hearts, because all other weapons can at best subdue men in appearance, but cannot subdue the hearts.
1Pet. 3:6 “as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.”
YLT: “as Sarah was obedient to Abraham, calling him `sir,' of whom ye did become daughters, doing good, and not fearing any terror.”
Meaning of Words: “obey”: hearken, hear under, heed; “”:; “terror”: alarm, scare, fright;
Literal Meaning: “as Sarah obeyed Abraham”, “obeyed”, it is in the simple past tense, so it refers to a definite occasion in the past that reveals Sarah’s habitual submission to Abraham (see Gen. 18:6).
“Calling him lord”, “lord”, it showed that Sarah confessed her husband was the lord of the family (see Gen. 18:12). Note that Sarah called Abraham “lord” in her heart. She did not call Abraham lord in public to show off her submission to husband. Instead, she confessed in her heart that Abraham was the head of the family and expressed it by action.
“If you do good and are not afraid with any terror”, “do good”, broadly speaking it refers to all good works (see 2:12). And narrowly speaking, it refers to the responsibility of a wife, namely, submission and chaste conduct (see v.1-4); “terror”: all kinds of emotion, especially the anxiety and tremble and excitement and confusion caused by dread, which can be divided into two sorts: 1) the first one comes to the husbands who do not believe the Lord and threaten the wives they should give up the faith; 2) the second comes from the revilement of others (see v.13-16);
“Whose daughters you are”, “whose daughters”: the daughters of Sarah were worthy of the holy women who trusted in God (see v.5). God had proclaimed that His elect were born by Sarah (Is. 51:2).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “Obedience” and “calling him lord” show the consistency of words and deeds. We shall not call “Lord, Lord” with mouth only, but not keep the will of the Lord (see Matt. 7:21).
2) One duty of Christian wives’ obedience to their own husbands at home is doing good. .
3) Real believers shall “fear God instead of men”. If one fears God and walks decently in holiness, he will not be afraid of the terror and revilement of anyone.
4) Every child will inherit the characteristic of the parents. Likewise, the female Christians had also already inherited the obedience of Sarah to her husband when they were reborn. The problem is whether they have manifested it in conduct or not.
1Pet. 3:7 “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
YLT: “The husbands, in like manner, dwelling with , according to knowledge, as to a weaker vessel -- to the wife -- imparting honour, as also being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered.”
Meaning of Words: “understanding”: knowledge; “give honor to”: esteem; “hinder”: exscind, cut down;
Literal Meaning: “husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding”, “understanding”, the knowledge Christians shall have, especially the will of God toward our marriage life; “dwell with”: all aspects of the marriage life, including the sexual life here in the opinions of some Bible expositors.
“Giving honor to wife”, give honor to the wife she deserves and let her enjoy her part;
“As to the weaker vessel”, “as to…”, it shows that reason why husbands have to dwell with wives with understanding; “the weaker vessel”, here it especially refers to the physiological weakness as well as mental weakness. Generally speaking, the female is physically weaker than the male.
“That your prayers may not be hindered”, “that…”, husbands dwell with wives with understanding and give honor to them; “prayers may not be hindered”, it indicates that the marital relations will effect the relations with God. Good marriage life will foster spiritual life.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The basic condition for the harmony of Christians’ marital life is the emphasis on rationality more than passion and on knowledge more than affection. Let Christian husbands not get overly emotional in family life, but deal with wives according to natural human feeling and spiritual common sense.
2) “Weak” is not “inferior”. No man can despise others according to the inborn elements ---- sexuality, race, complexion, height, physique, intelligence etc.
3) Man was created as a “vessel” to be filled with the glory of God (see Rom. 9:21-24). The Lord’s salvation is to restore the purpose of God’s creation of men ---- treasure in the earthen vessels (2Cor. 4:7) ---- and let man be precious vessel of the Lord (2Tim. 2:21).
4) Husband and wife are vessels inheriting the grace of life. If the life condition of a couple who have been married for many years still varies widely, such marriage is rather abnormal.
5) “Being heirs together of the grace of life”, the life of male and female believers before God is of the same nature and equal, and the function is different.
6) If husband and wife are of the same mind and heart, their prayers will not be hindered. Prayers of husband and wife with one accord will drive God’s hands to do things for us.
7) Berger said, “The mourning uttered by wife when she is wounded prevents God hearing the husband’s prayer”.
8) Whether our prayers are granted is closely connected with how we deal with others. The most thing that we are likely to ignore is what we have owned those who are closest to us, which will make our prayers hindered.
1Pet. 3:8 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;”
YLT: “And finally, being all of one mind, having fellow-feeling, loving as brethren, compassionate, courteous,”
Meaning of Words: “finally”: in the end, at last; “compassion”: mercy; “tenderhearted”: sympathetic, well compassioned;
Literal Meaning: “finally”, it shows that words from verse eight to eleven are a conclusion of the paragraph concerning daily conduct from 2:11 to 3:11.
“All of you be of one mind”, “you”: various people in society and in the church and in family; “all of you”: no one is exceptional; “be of one mind”, let the mind of Jesus Christ be in us so that we are enabled to be of the same mind in harmony (see Phil. 2:2, 4).
“Having compassion for one another”, feel empathy for one another ---- rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with those that weep (Rom. 12:15).
“Love as brothers”, it shows that all of us who are begotten of God will love also him that is begotten of Him (see 1John 5:1).
“Be tenderhearted and be courteous”, “be tenderhearted”, have the bowel full of compassion toward others (see Eph. 4:32); “be courteous”, humble oneself and make him stand on the same level with others, i.e. condescend to others;
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The best formula of “the same mind” is ---- “be of the same mind” in basic principles, and “be free” in insignificant things, and “love” in all things.
2) If a Christian cannot be of the same mind with others, he can by no means lead a Christian life. Likewise, if there are many divisions in the church, it is unworthy of being called the Lord’s church.
3) The biggest difficulty for interpersonal relationship is the different “mind”. Men are widely divergent in mind and thoughts and feelings and affections and even sorrows. The first step of improving interpersonal relationship is to adjust one’s mind to that of others.
4) We have to try to rise above every difficulty to enter into the feelings of others without insistence on our own ideas. Thus
5) He who has deep spiritual knowledge and experience is the one that is able to place him in others’ position to identify with others (see Heb. 2:17-18; 4:15-16).
6) “Compassion” and selfishness cannot exist together. If one is selfish, he cannot be sympathetic to others. Only when one forgets himself and identifies with the sorrow of others, will he have compassion for others. Where there is Christ there is compassion.
7) There are various reasons and motivations behind the activities of everyone. If more considerations and compassion are given to others, problems among men will be decreased. Otherwise, misunderstanding will become a starting point of problems.
8) Loving God cannot be separated from loving men, both of which are closely connected as lips and teeth.
9) Today, in the church, many in the church are brothers, but have no brotherly love. Some even appear as enemies, turning out to be worse than strangers.
10) In the modern society, compassion seems to become a lost virtue. Every time when men hear the miserable news report, they remain unmoved and indifferent and lacking in compassion. Even though someone is touched sometimes, he is unable to help with practical actions.
11) The Scriptures have not taught us to be compassionate to sins, but to he who commits sins (see Jude 23) ---- let us sympathize with man’s sorrows caused by temptations or sins and humble ourselves without any pride to confess that we may also fall into the same failures.
12) “Be courteous”: be considerate toward others and place others before oneself and be full of courtesy in conversation; being courteous is serving others first and being willing to help others and knowing how to respond to the favor of others. He who is courteous will not be rude or impolite.
1Pet. 3:9 “not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”
YLT: “not giving back evil for evil, or railing for railing, and on the contrary, blessing, having known that to this ye were called, that a blessing ye may inherit;”
Meaning of Words: “reviling”: reproach;
Literal Meaning: “not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling”, it is forgiving the enemies in the passive aspect.
“But on the contrary blessing”, “blessing”, it is blessing all the time. This is doing good to the enemies in the positive aspect and praying for good for them (see Matt. 5:44; Acts 7:60).
“Knowing that you were called to sins”, the purpose of God’s calling us is proclaiming the praises of Him (see 2:9), including the passive abstaining from fleshly lusts (see 2:11) ---- not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, and the positive doing good (see 2:15) ---- but on the contrary blessing.
“That you may inherit a blessing”, “that”, it shows that the previous points are the condition for being blessed by God; “inherit a blessing”: the inheritance reserved in the heaven (see 1:4), i.e. enjoy His eternal glory (see 5:10, 1, 4).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Revenge and humiliating men, no matter direct or indirect, are in no wise allowed in the kingdom of God.
2) We Christians are called to inherit and convey the blessings of God ---- blessings for both ourselves and others.
3) Christians are not called to hurt but edify the people. Do not curse, but bless.
4) Blessing others will make oneself more blessed. If men are unworthy of the blessings, let them return to us (see Matt. 10:13).
1Pet. 3:10 “For "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.”
YLT: “for `he who is willing to love life, and to see good days, let him guard his tongue from evil, and his lips -- not to speak guile;”
Meaning of Words: “refrain”: restrain, quit; “deceit”: wile, craft, trick;
Literal Meaning: “for…”, words from verse ten to twelve are quoted from the Book of Psalm (34:12-16).
“He who would love life And see good days”, “life”, it is not the physical life at this age, but the eternal life (see Matt. 16:25). “Good days”: the days of owning good blessing, which is not the present but eternal blessing (see v.9).
“Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit”, here it shows that the following points are conditions of enjoyment life and good days. “Evil”: the words of avenge (see v.9; 2:23); “deceit”: all words that disobey the holy nature (see 2:1, 22);
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) God is a God punishes the evildoers and rewards those who do good. Therefore, let man perform properly so as to receive the blessings of God.
2) “Words are echoes of the heart”, the word of a man reveals what kind of man he is and through which life he lives. Therefore let a man who desires to seek the truth start from words firstly.
3) “For of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34). Therefore, if we want to deal with our own words, we have to first deal with our heart (see 1:13).
1Pet. 3:11 “Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.”
YLT: “let him turn aside from evil, and do good, let him seek peace and pursue it;”
Meaning of Words: “turn away”: avoid, go out of the way, deviate; “pursue”: seek, persecute, press forward;
Literal Meaning: “let him turn away from evil and do good”, “turn away”: escape from sins as the one who avoids paying debts; “do good”: good works (see 2:12); avoid sins and evil in the passive aspect and do good in the positive aspect;
“Let him seek peace and pursue it”, “seek peace”: seek chances to make peace ---- not only keep peace but also bring peace to men (Matt. 5:9); “pursue it”: devote every effort to press forward with the expectation of obtaining what we should obtain (see Phil. 3:12-14).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Christians who love spiritual life should have two aspects of pursuit: the first is escaping from sins, and the other is seeking peace and goodness.
2) Turning from evil and doing good emphasize on self-discipline. The pursuit of peace relates to sound interpersonal relationship.
3) True “peace” should be reconciliation with God first (Col. 1:20-22) and then peace in men’ heart (Col. 3:15; Phil. 4:7) and peace with all (Heb. 12:14).
4) The only way of overcoming evil is not resisting it but leaving it alone. Resistance will stir up more troubles and create more evil. If the evil is not resisted, he who does evil will not be irritated and the fire of evil will be thus quenched.
1Pet. 3:12 “For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil."”
YLT: “because the eyes of the Lord upon the righteous, and His ears -- to their supplication, and the face of the Lord upon those doing evil;'”
Meaning of Words: “the face … against”: the opposing countenance;
Literal Meaning: “for the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous”, “for” here it is the explanation for why the elements listed in verse ten and eleven will bring us heavenly goodness. “The eyes … are on…”: look down from above, which contains a meaning of protection and provision; “the righteous”, it is opposite to those who do evil as well as the ungodly and sinners (see 4:18); the righteous: those who fear God and do good (see v.13, 15).
“And His ears are open to their prayers”, “ears are open to…”: ask, it shall be given (see Matt. 7:7-8); “their”: that of the righteous;
“But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil”, “those who do evil”: those who do not keep the will of God (see 2:15); “the face … is against”: it refers to the displeasure and anger and rejection;
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The Lord’s eyes and ears and face all have response ---- He is so occupied in caring about the condition of men. How can we ignore His will?
2) Whether it is blessing or curse, it is totally decided by man’s choice ---- if man desires to enjoy good days, he has to go good and be righteous. The wicked can in no wise expect to obtain blessings from God.
3) If we do not treat with men according to the Scriptures but avenge on them, we have put us outside of the Lord’s sight, because the Lord’s eyes are on the righteous. We cannot do evil and expect to obtain the blessing of the righteous.
1Pet. 3:13 “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?”
YLT: “and who he who will be doing you evil, if of Him who is good ye may become imitators?”
Meaning of Words: “follower”: enthusiast, imitator;
Literal Meaning: “if you become followers of what is good”, “follower”, it refers to those who are as enthusiastic as the Zealot; “become followers of what is good”: those who devote themselves in doing good;
“Who is he who will harm you?” It does not mean that there is no one harming those who do good, but that man can merely hurt the physical bodies of us at most but not our spiritual life (see Matt. 10:28).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) John Wesley said, “Heart without love is not pure, and virtues without zeal will fleet soon”.
2) If man is filled with enthusiasm of doing good, evil things can attack him in no wise.
3) The enemy’s attack against Christians, no matter how terrible it is, cannot cause eternal harm. The enemy may hurt one’s body, but cannot hurt his soul.
1Pet. 3:14 “But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled."”
YLT: “but if ye also should suffer because of righteousness, happy ! and of their fear be not afraid, nor be troubled,”
Meaning of Words: “suffer”: be harmed; “be afraid of”: frighten; “be troubled”: be stirred, be agitated;
Literal Meaning: “but even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed”, it is quoted from the Lord’s sermons on the mountain ---- “blessed are they who are persecuted on account of righteousness” (Matt. 5:10-12).
“And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled”, “be afraid of their threats”, possibly, it is quoted from the Book of Isaiah ---- “Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” (Is. 8:12).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If believers in persecutions have felt the presence of the Lord Christ, they will obtain the divine boldness to bear good testimony.
2) Let us rely on God with whole heart and believe that Christ governs our emotions and thoughts and all rather than be afraid of the enemy. Thus, the enemy can never shake us.
3) Someone said, “Our lack of fear of God is because of excessive fear of men”.
1Pet. 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”
YLT: “and the Lord God sanctify in your hearts. And ready always for defence to every one who is asking of you an account concerning the hope that in you, with meekness and fear;”
Meaning of Words: “sanctify”: hallow; “reason”: explanation; “give a defense”: clearing of self, answer;
Literal Meaning: “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts”, “sanctify the Lord God”: sanctify Christ out of everything and esteem Him as the Lord and let Him have the first place in all things (see Col. 1:18).
“Give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you”, “hope”: the living hope of inheriting the eternal life (see 1:3); “defense”: reasonable explanation;
“And always be ready to…with meekness and fear”, “always be ready to”: make good preparations for the answer; “meekness”: answer politely; “fear”: answer with the motivation of fearing of God; preparation is to oneself, and meekness is to men, and fear is to God;
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) He who really sanctifies the Lord God lets Him dominate every realm of his life, including his property, occupation, possession, marriage, leisure and etc.
2) If man sanctifies the Lord God, the most important thing for him is his relation with God. And such relationship cannot be taken from him by anything of the world.
3) One who has the Lord in his heart must be filled with fear and meekness. He fears God, for He deeply knows who God is. He is meek, for he is governed by God, not by Himself.
4) A pitiful thing is many Christians do not know in whom he believes and why he has to believe. Let Christians be ready to make reasonable explanation for their faith in mind and spirit.
5) The best way of making men turn to believe Christ is continual exhortation with meek words. Hard arguments will merely cause men resist Christianity.
6) Theological argument may easily irritate men. Different religious views may easily cause hostility. No matter the preachment of the gospel or the defense of the truth, all should be done in love.
1Pet. 3:16 “having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.”
YLT: “having a good conscience, that in that in which they speak against you as evil-doers, they may be ashamed who are traducing your good behaviour in Christ;”
Meaning of Words: “good”: perfect, sound; “revile”: insult, slander, falsely accuse; “ashamed”: shame down, disgrace;
Literal Meaning: “having a good conscience”, keep the conscience in peace before God in conversation (see 2:19);
“That when they defame you as evildoers”, “defame”: to write or say untrue things or even sins about someone; men in the world often blame someone because he does not run with them in the same way (see 4:4).
“Those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed”, “revile”: speak evil of or do evil to someone to hurt him; “in Christ”: walk according to Christ and be united with Christ in everything; “your good conduct”, it equals to “the righteous”, “followers of what is good”, “those who sanctify the Lord God in hearts” and “those who have good conscience” (v.12-16); “be ashamed”: the conscience is accused but does not repent truly (see Matt. 27:3-4; 2Cor. 7:10);
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Christians’ daily life is the best defense of faith. Let us have a good conscience in our conversation. Let us face with judgment with spotless and clean life.
2) We cannot avoid the attacks of others, but we can decrease the chances of leaving byword to men. As long as we do right, men cannot find any reason for reproach and contrarily they may be ashamed. Therefore, let us overcome revilement by good works.
3) Someone said, “The so-called holy man is the one whose life enables men to believe God easier”.
4) Man should walk “in Christ” so as to become a man “with good conduct” in the sight of God.
5) If one does not take heed to his words, he will reap as he has sown and bring contempt upon himself.
1Pet. 3:17 “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
YLT: “for better doing good, if the will of God will it, to suffer, than doing evil;”
Meaning of Words: “better”: excel;
Literal Meaning: “if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good”, “the will of God”: all the environments arranged by God for the profit of us (see Rom. 8:28); “suffer for doing good”, here it suggests that the previous “followers of doing good” and “having a good conscience” (see v.13, 16) may not change the attitudes of the opponents but still make us suffer.
“For it is better … than for doing evil”, “for doing evil”, all the sufferings caused by one’s failure and ignorance.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) As long as one is a “man”, he must have sufferings in life. The problem lies in whether they are caused by ourselves or arranged by God.
2) If believers’ sufferings are out of the will of God, there must be positive effects ---- faith will be tried. Suffering will test man’s real condition of reliance to God.
3) Since sufferings are unavoidable, it is better for Christians to accept it as a life style and exclusive privilege. It is impossible for unbelievers to have such sufferings.
1Pet. 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,”
YLT: “because also Christ once for sin did suffer -- righteous for unrighteous -- that he might lead us to God, having been put to death indeed, in the flesh, and having been made alive in the spirit,”
Meaning of Words: “suffer”: be afflicted; “just”: upright; “flesh”: physical body;
Literal Meaning: “for Christ also suffered once for sins”, “once”: do once for all (see Heb. 7:27-28); “suffered for sins”: he suffered and died for sinners rather than Himself so that we have been forgiven by God.
“The just for the unjust”, “the just”: the Lord Jesus Christ; “unjust”: sinners throughout the generations;
“That He might bring us to God”, “bring”: introduce, a word used in the ancient royal palace when a servant led the guest to see the king; “to God”, sin hindered between God and men that men could not draw near to God. Now, since sin is removed, we are enabled to come to God (see Heb. 9:26; Eph. 2:13).
“Being put to death in the flesh”, “flesh”: the physical body when the Lord Jesus came to the earth (see John 1:14); “put to death”: be crucified on the cross;
“But made alive by the Spirit”, “the Spirit”: it is the Spirit through which the Lord Jesus lived on the cross (see Mark 2:8). When He expired on the cross, He committed His Spirit to the Father (see Luke 23:46). “Made alive”, when the flesh of the Lord was crucified, His Spirit did not die but lived. Therefore, here “made alive” does not mean His resurrection on the third day after death (1Cor. 15:4), but His Spirit still lived before His resurrection and went to the hell to proclaim the victory (see v.19).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Let every afflicted Christian know he has a Lord who had suffered for him. And the Lord suffered before us and became the example and salvation for us who are in sufferings (see Heb. 2:10, 18; 4:15).
2) Most of our sufferings are caused by us. And all the sufferings of Christ are thoroughly for others.
3) The redemptive suffering of Christ can only be borne by Him alone. We cannot take part in it at all. However, we will have part in the suffering (see 4:13) that Christ bore for the sake of testimony and “fill up that which is behind of the tribulations of Christ in the flesh” (Col. 1:24).
4) “Death” is not the end of life, but deliverance of life that will bring men into another realm. Therefore, when we live in the flesh, let us not pay more attention to the life of this age than the eternal life.
1Pet. 3:19 “by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,”
YLT: “in which also to the spirits in prison having gone he did preach,”
Meaning of Words: “preach”: proclaim, announce, declare; “prison”: be watched, be bound;
Literal Meaning: “by whom also He went and preached”, “by whom”: by His Spirit (see v.18), which happened after His crucifixion before resurrection; “preached”: proclaimed that He had accomplished the redemption, namely, the declaration of the victory; note that here it is not “preaching” to the dead that did not believe God and let them have the second chance of repentance, for it goes against the truth.
“To the spirits in prison”, “prison”: it is the hell where the spirits of the dead are imprisoned (see Luke 16:23; Eph. 4:9). Believers are in the paradise, and sinners are in the place of suffering (see Luke 16:25-26; 23:43). “The spirits”: the spirits of the dead who formerly were disobedient (see v.20); some Bible expositors think the spirits are the spirits of the fallen angels imprisoned in dark pit (see 2Pet. 2:4; Jude 6).
Enlightenment in the Word: man’s death in the flesh is not the ultimate end. The dead shall go to the hell to wait for the judgment in the end.
1Pet. 3:20 “who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.”
YLT: “who sometime disbelieved, when once the long-suffering of God did wait, in days of Noah -- an ark being preparing -- in which few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water;”
Meaning of Words: “prepare”: build; “ark”: box; “longsuffering”: patience, forbearance;
Literal Meaning: “who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared,”, “who …”, here it explains who the “the spirits in prison” are (see v.19); “in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared”, God had commanded Noah to make an ark to keep all flesh alive, lest they should be destroyed by the flood (see Gen. 6:13-19); “when once the Divine longsuffering waited”, it kept for one hundred and twenty years (see Gen. 6:3); “who formerly were disobedient”, the spirits who did not obey the righteousness preached by Noah (see 2Pet. 2:5), which in the sight of some Bible expositors include the spirits of the fallen angels that were imprisoned (see 2Pet. 2:4; Jude 6).
“In which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water”, why did the Lord Jesus preach the victory especially to the disobedient spirits in the days of Noah after His death? Because the apostle Peter will mention the Lord’s resurrection is connected with the baptism (see Rom. 6:3-5) typified by the deliverance from the flood that the whole family of Noah had obtained in the ark. Therefore, they are regarded as the representatives to show the victory of the Lord’s preachment in prison after death (see Eph. 4:9; Rom. 10:7).
“In which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water”, “in which”: those who are in Christ by faith; “were saved through water”, it does not say the flood provided the power of saving men, but that the flood judged and destroyed the corrupted world so that the whole eight souls of Noah’s family in the ark were made alive after the flood and had been delivered from the corrupted world through the effect of flood (see Gen. 6:13; 7:21-23). “Eight souls”: Noah and his wife and their three sons and daughters-in-law (see Gen. 7:13).
1Pet. 3:21 “There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”
YLT: “also to which an antitype doth now save us -- baptism, (not a putting away of the filth of flesh, but the question of a good conscience in regard to God,) through the rising again of Jesus Christ,”
Meaning of Words: “antitype”: figure, counterpart; “removal”: put away;
Literal Meaning: “there is also an antitype ---- baptism”, “antitype”: typify or symbolize; “baptism”: immerse the whole body into the water to show that we have truly been unto Christ and died with Him together (see Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27) so that the effect of Christ’s risen life will be fulfilled on us.
“Which now saves us … through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”, “the resurrection of Jesus Christ”, here it refers to the life and great power manifested in His resurrection (see John 11:25; Eph. 1:20); “saves us”: deliver us from corruption and sin;
“Not removal of the filth of the flesh”, the baptism is not clearing away the filth of men. That is to say, baptism is not to seek the external effect brought by the physical water.
“But the answer of a good conscience”, it indicates that baptism has the inner spiritual effect, through which he who is baptized declares that he has died and been raised up with Christ (see Rom. 6:3-8) and will henceforth seek to live to God and lead a holy life before God so as to keep a good conscience. Note that a good conscience shall not be kept only occasionally, but continually (see Acts 23:1; 24:16).
Controversial Clarification: “there is also an antitype which now saves us ---- baptism, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”, according to this verse, it is believed in the Catholic church that “the baptism of water” has real power of saving the souls of men, so they baptize babies and the dead. Actually, baptism is merely an antitype, which indicates that man’s baptism now is just as the salvation that Noah’s whole family obtained through water. Since we believe that Christ had suffered and been crucified for us and receive His redemption, the risen power of Jesus Christ will also save us. Baptism itself has no power to save men. It is the risen power of Jesus Christ that will be manifested on those who believe that He had suffered and died for us. Therefore, he that does not believe and yet is baptized shall not be saved (see Mark 16:16).
“But the answer of a good conscience”, according to this verse, some Bible expositors think the internal effect of baptism is cleansing the conscience, and the purification of conscience is through the precious blood of Jesus Christ (see Heb. 9:14; 10:19, 21; 1Pet. 1:2), not “water”.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The holy and spotless conduct of believers is not due to any religious ritual, but the appropriation of the great power of Christ’s risen life.
2) He who does not have holy and spotless conduct has no good conscience either. However, if one desires to have holy and spotless conduct, he has to appropriate the resurrection of Christ in spirit. Through the resurrection of Christ only, man can have holy and spotless daily life and have a good conscience before God.
1Pet. 3:22 “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.”
YLT: “who is at the right hand of God, having gone on to heaven -- messengers, and authorities, and powers, having been subjected to him.”
Meaning of Words: “authorities”: forces; “powers”: strength, mighty work;
Literal Meaning: “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God”, “heaven”: third heaven; “right hand”: the most honorable status;
“Angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him”, “angels”: all good angels; “authorities”: the archangels that are higher in power among all the angels; “powers”: the archangels who are given special power to perform special missions among all the angels;
III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons
Virtues of Wives
A. Be submissive to one’s own husbands (v
B. Have chaste conduct (v.1b-v
C. Fear (v.2b);
D. Have decent clothing (v.3);
E. Have a gentle and quiet spirit (v.4);
F. Imitate the holy women who trusted in God in
former times (v.5
G. Do good works without any terror (v.6b);
Reasons Why Husbands Have to Deal with Wives Well
A. Husbands shall dwell with wives with
understanding, for wives are weaker (v
B. Husbands shall give honor to the wife, for both of them are heirs together of the grace of life (v.7b).
C. Husbands shall treat with wives well so that
the prayers of husbands may not be hindered (v
Five Basic Features of Christians’ Cooperative Life
A. Harmony ---- be of one mind;
B. Compassion ---- respond to the need of others;
C. Love ---- treat with one another as brethren;
D. Be tenderhearted ---- be full of affection and solicitude;
E. Be courteous ---- encourage one another and rejoice with those that rejoice;
Secrets of Christians’ Joy
A. Be of one mind (v
B. Have compassion for one another, and love as brothers (v.8b);
C. Be tenderhearted and be courteous (v
D. Refrain one’s tongue from evil (v
E. Bless (v.9b);
F. Turn away from evil and do good (v
G. Seek peace and pursue it (v.11b);
Profits of Being Followers of What is Good
A. Be kept by God (v.13);
B. Sufferings will be transformed into blessings (v.14);
C. Be able to conquer the enemies (v.16);
What Shall We Do When We Are Suffering For Righteousness’ Sake
A. Do not be afraid of suffering for righteousness’ sake (v.14);
B. Sanctify the Lord God in hearts (v.15);
C. Have a good conscience (v.16);
D. Be willing to keep the will of God (v.17);
Principles for Individuals Concerning the Preachment of the Gospel
A. Reasonable and sensible (v
B. Gentle and mild (v.15b) ---- the manner of the testimony should be gentle and courteous rather than be aggressive.
C. Be sober in fear (v
D. Bright and fair (v.16) ---- the real person shall be worthy of the testimony, who has to keep a good conscience before God and men.
Effects of Christ’s Suffering
A. The effect of redemption ---- suffered once for “sins”;
B. The eternal effect ---- suffered “once” for sins;
C. The effect of substitution ---- “the just for unjust”;
D. The effect of reconciliation ---- “that He might bring us to God”;
E. The effect of giving His Spirit ---- “by whom He went and preached”;
Examples of Christ’s Suffering
A. The reason for Christ’s suffering ---- the
just for the unjust that He might bring us to God (v
B. The result of Christ’s suffering ---- through he died in the flesh, he was made alive by the Spirit (v.18b);
C. The effect of Christ’s suffering ---- at the right hand of God, and all the angels have been made subject to Him (v.19-22 );
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Mary Zhou