1 Peter 1-5 Won over without a word

From 1 Peter 1-5

peter Our conduct affects how well unbelievers receive the gospel. Not only do we need to be prepared to give a defence of what we believe. We need to match our beliefs with our lifestyles. The salvation of others may be influenced by what we do as much as what we say.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

Prior to this passage Peter has been instructing his audience to be subject to human authorities. By doing good they will silence the criticism of non believers. Servants should be subject to their masters. If anyone suffers they should remember the example of Christ and the good that came of it.

This passage continues in the theme of how behaviour can influence others and their perception of the gospel. It is interesting because of the first few verses which suggest people could become Christians without hearing the gospel. Check it out.

3 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. (1 Pet 3.1-2)

Peter says, ‘won over without a word’. Perhaps a clarifying question might be, ‘won over to what?’ The assumption is they have heard of the Christian faith through someone’s testimony (probably the wife) but were not initially converted. But after seeing how the gospel affected their wives behaviour they were convinced of its truth. Like Paul instructs in Titus 2.10 Peter is stressing the importance of Christian behaviour in influencing others for Christ.

The gospel message is necessary and sufficient, but it may not be the primary influence which crosses people over the line.

The key thing to remember is that the Holy Spirit is working in a number of different ways for people’s salvation.

Peter outlines what he means by respectful and pure conduct.

3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Pet 3.3-4)

We live in a world which glorifies outward appearance. But Peter calls wives, and I think all believers, to think and act differently. In order to apply this we first need to value the inner beauty of gentle and humble hearts over external beauty. This is where we start:

We need to value inner qualities over the external.

Only then can our own values manifest themselves in our outward conduct. When we do this the world will see something different and want it.

5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Pet 3.5-6)

Peter reminds them of the godly example of women before them. He is instructing women here, but I need to interject with advice for men.

Why does Peter refer to wives ‘fearing anything’?

How often fear dominates the lives of women I cannot know. But I suspect from this verse men need to be constantly aware they can inspire fear in women. Men are naturally stronger and more domineering. They can intentionally and unintentionally inspire fear in the women around them.

Care, consideration and sensitivity to the needs of women is something we men want to keep in mind. Moving back to what Peter asks his audience to consider Sarah’s example. Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him Lord. This verse is not really politically correct by today’s standards and I acknowledge it is a real issue and source of fear for women.

7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Pet 3.7)

Peter has highlighted the different roles of men and women. Woman should acknowledge the headship of men in the family, just as Christ the church (Eph 5.22-33). Men should recognise headship is about responsibility and service. Both should submit to one another in love as they go about this (Eph 5.21).

Peter adds something extra to Paul and alludes to something greater. He says ‘so that your prayers may not be hindered’ and by this he implies peoples prayers can be hindered by the sin in their lives.

For Believers

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Click to enlarge

Our conduct affects how well unbelievers receive the gospel. Not only do we need to be prepared to give a defence of what we believe. We need to match our beliefs with our lifestyles. The salvation of others may be influenced by what we do as much as what we say.


Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights

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  • With havin so much written content do you ever run into any
    problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website
    has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either written myself
    or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over
    the web without my agreement. Do you know any ways to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d
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    • Good question. You made me think through some stuff. Im increasingly aware of copyright issues. I make a serious effort to reference all my quotes and use public domain images where possible.

      My content I haven’t been concerned of until now. WordPress has published this article I’m following its advice as best I can.