Chaste Conversation

1Peter 3:1-3 Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel

‘Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands’ wives are to be in submission to their husbands, (not to all men alike as some people like to misquote) like Christians submitting to rulers (2:13) and servants submitting to their masters (2:18).

‘Without the word be won’ if husbands will not hear preaching of the gospel, they will hear the preaching of the chaste behaviour of the wives. If the wife will conduct herself chastely, in reverence to her husband and in the fear of God, her husband may be won (3:2-3).

Eight ways to win a husband to God (3:1-6): Submit to and obey the husband [always in the Lord] (3:1, 5-6). Obey the Word (3:1). Have chaste conversation (3:2). Let not the outward adorning be the chief aim in life (3:3) no shameless attire. Let the inner man be adorned more than the outward man (3:3-4). Trust in God (3:5). Do well (3:6). Live faithful to the husband, so there will be no fear of being found guilty of infidelity (3:6). These are not only duties of a wife, but are the eight things which make a model wife. How can one who is constantly breaking these laws win a husband or anyone else?

‘Conversation’ [Greek: anastrophe] behaviour or manner of life; the whole conduct of life in domestic and public relations. Always translated “conversation” (1:15, 18; 2:12; 3:1, 2, 16; Gal. 1:13; Eph. 4:22; 1Tim. 4:12; Heb. 13:7; Jas. 3:13; 2Pet. 2:7; 3:11).

‘Adorning’ [Greek: kosmos] behaviour; fashion; ornament; decoration. ‘Let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel’ outward adorning consists here of hairstyle, wearing gold and wearing apparel. It is not the total condemnation of these three things that Peter intends here, but rather he’s stressing the importance of inner adorning over outward adorning. Many go to extremes classing as sin all wearing of rings, bracelets, and other ornaments, but this is not the purpose of the passage. It says nothing of any one of these things being sinful or unbecoming to Christians, and in this respect is in perfect accord with Paul who rebukes extravagance in ornaments and garments when women adorn themselves to bring any form of attention to their bodies or themselves.

We are to pay more attention to the inward man than to the outer man (3:4). Peter here gives the examples of holy women of old who adorned the inner man by being quiet and meek before their husbands, but who wore jewellery and outward adorning (3:5-6; Gen. 24:22, 30, 47, 53). All these came from Abraham and Sarah who were rich in silver and gold (Gen. 24:35).

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