Proper submission in the home
3. Divine order in marriage
The teaching about submission was especially relevant to a first century married woman who had begun to follow Jesus. She would ask questions such as “Should I leave my husband?” or “Should I change my behavior towards him?” or “Should I assume a superior position to him because now I am in Jesus?”
In the culture of the ancient world it was almost unthinkable for a wife to adopt a different religion than her husband. Christian women who came to Jesus before their husbands needed instruction. (Enduring Word)
Women be in subjection to your own husbands. (verse 1)
The spirit of submission, whereby a woman voluntarily acknowledges her husband’s leadership responsibility under God, is an act of faith. The Bible nowhere submits or subordinates women to men, generically. But this text calls a woman to submit herself to her husband (Eph. 5:22), and the husband is charged to lovingly give himself to caring for his wife—never exploiting the trust of her submission (v. 7; Eph. 5:25–29) This divinely ordered arrangement is never shown, nor was it ever given, to reduce the potential, purpose, or fulfillment of the woman. Only fallen nature or persistent church traditionalism, finding occasion through “proof-texts” separated from their full biblical context, can make a case for the social exploitation of women or the restriction of women from church ministry.
The Bible’s word of wisdom to women seems to be summarized in Peter’s word here: counsel to a woman whose husband is an unbeliever. She is told that her words are not her key to success in winning her husband to Christ: but her Christlike, loving spirit is. Similarly, this wisdom would apply to any woman with the potential for a public ministry of leadership in the church. Her place will most likely be given when she is not argumentatively insistent upon it so much as given to winning it by a gracious loving, servant-like spirit—the same spirit that ought to be evident in the life of a man who would lead. (Kingdom Dynamics Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1912)
The benefit of submission is shown in the way that it affects husbands for God. A wife’s submission is a powerful expression of her trust in God. This kind of faith and obedience can accomplish great things, even without a word. (Enduring Word)
When we grow up hearing a legalistic application of these verses, it’s easy to continue seeing that every time we read it. But now instead of just noticing what Peter does say, I noticed what he did not say.
He didn’t say women should submit to all men. Just to their own husband.
Submission and obedience don’t mean the same thing.
There is a difference between subjection and obedience. Wives should submit to their husbands, but they should never obey any command from their husbands that would cause them to disobey God. (AWLC)
Peter doesn’t say women should not style, color or braid their hair; nor does he forbid jewelry. If he meant that, he would also mean “don’t wear clothes.”
A wife doesn’t need persuasive words. If she displays the fruit of the Spirit, her husband beholds Jesus in her. That’s why Peter says don’t merely focus on outer beauty. Her motive should be to bring the beautiful light of Jesus into the darkness whether he changes or not.
Sarah went beyond submission by obeying her husband even when he asked her to do something wrong. She also honored him by calling him lord. “True submission knows the place of both obedience and honor,…and is full of faith in God, has no room for fear or terror. It does good and leaves the result to god and not to man.” (Enduring Word)
4. Peter instructs husbands.
Be considerate and treat her with tenderness.
Recognize, respect, and honor that she is (usually) physically weaker or perhaps more vulnerable emotionally to harsh treatment or neglect.
5. How we relate to each other in marriage and other relationships affects our relationship with God.
Men’s failure to honor their wives will result in their prayers being hindered. This could happen in a number of different ways. Selfishness (failure to see the wife’s side) blinds husbands and gives Satan an opportunity against them. But husbands who don’t honor their wives properly will surely allow strife into the marriage. And James 3:16 says strife is a direct inroad of Satan into our lives. It allows every evil work the devil wants to do. (AWLC)
By displaying a submissive attitude and showing honor to her husband, a woman places her trust in God.
The following passage isn’t about marriage, but in it, Jesus shows how love (instead of a sermon or judgment) plus God’s presence changed Zacchaeus’ home.
5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 He hurried, came down, and received him joyfully. 7 When they saw it, they all murmured, saying, “He has gone in to lodge with a man who is a sinner.”
8 Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor. If I have wrongfully exacted anything of anyone, I restore four times as much.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:5-10 WEB)
Ephesians 5:33 is interesting. Paul says a man must love his wife as he loves himself. The wife must respect her husband. That’s a good summary of Peter’s instructions.
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My answers to BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Acts + Letters of the Apostles Lesson 10 Day 2