For a series intro, check out the first post: Intro Let’s jump into this week’s summary…
Clark offers this summary after discussing 1 Peter 3:
“In this short passage we see several themes found throughout the entire letter. Peter spoke of holy women who hope in God, who don’t fear anything, and who respectfully submit to their husbands for the sake of the gospel. Such godly and courageous women show the posture of an exiled evangelist. What took priority, though, in Peter’s address to these wives was respect for their husbands. This particular section continues Peter’s extended discussion on submitting to authority. As such, we should see that their humble decorum—their “gentle and quiet spirit”—was meant to adorn the gospel before their husbands. And Peter understood that their respectful disposition was of such importance—it was so effectual—that their husbands could be brought to faith in Christ by merely watching the consistent respect of their wives. When they demonstrated a surprisingly humble submission, these hope-filled wives could win their husbands without a word.”
“Especially in the case of first-generation Christians, it can be incredibly difficult to live in the same four walls as others who oppose the gospel. Not only do they not believe like you do, they can also use their collective influence to manipulate, shame, exclude, provoke, and intimidate. But Peter called those in such a difficult situation to live with the utmost respect, dignity, patience, gentleness, quietness, and humility. And while we might think Peter was asking a lot of these women, the reality is he expected the exact same disposition of all believers—even us—as we live as strangers and sojourners in this world.”
Then, broadens the discussion to our day…
“As mentioned above, Peter’s specific instruction to believing wives is part of a larger section on the Christian posture toward all people. Humility and gentleness aren’t just the appropriate approach of a woman in a patriarchal society. It’s also not just the necessary attitude of slaves living under lopsided authority. No, all Christians everywhere are called to honor everyone. This can be incredibly difficult when we feel pushed into a corner as exiles. When criticized and scorned, we often respond in kind. That’s because the natural inclination of every human heart is to play dodgeball with shame. If we’re mocked, then we’ll mock back. If we’re trolled, then we’ll be sure to troll back—only one better. But Jesus left us a different example. When he was reviled, he didn’t revile in return (2:22–23). Furthermore, Peter didn’t simply challenge his suffering readers to passively receive the world’s abuse, as if that’s what it means to turn the other cheek.”
“Instead, we’re to actively pursue honor. We’re to seek peace (3:11). We’re to bless and not curse (3:9). We’re to respect our authorities and dignify our enemies, whether they be deadbeat dads or despots. So yes, according to Peter, we’re to honor everyone. Take a moment and turn that thought over in your mind. You’re called to show honor to every single person. Not just the people who deserve it. Not just those who earn our respect. Not just the ones who treat us agreeably. Not just the politicians we vote for or the immigrants who are legal. Not just the customers who pay their bills or the employees who do their work. Not just the neighborly neighbors. Not just kind pagans or honest Muslims. Not just the helpful wife or the good father.”
Now, a laser focus to our own hearts…
“I doubt many of us are guilty of browbeating anyone with the gospel. But if we’re honest, we’re often culpable for not respecting our opponents. For not showing due honor. For using our words to shame our enemies or attack their agendas. For casually slandering those with whom we disagree, even rejoicing when our sarcasm gets laughs or our meme gets likes.”
“It should be noteworthy to us, then, that from the outset of his letter Peter was concerned that his readers who faced regular insult for their faith be quick to “put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (2:1). Those are strong and comprehensive words. But Peter knew that Christian exiles easily slip into an unending volley of tit for tat. Of hurting those who hurt them. Of showing spite to their accusers. Of harboring malice toward those who put them down. Of mentally standing on their toes, like a tennis player, ready to return serve.”
“But Peter wrote his letter so we’d have a different kind of readiness. He wants us to be prepared to give an answer for the hope in us—yet do so with gentleness and respect (3:15). As we have already explored, such gospel preparedness comes from fearing God first and demonstrating an evident hope. But our manner of speech should also exhibit a certain kind of fear toward those to whom we witness, a gentle spirit and a humble respect. Such a disposition is critical for exiled evangelists. Just as our enduring hope can be a compelling testimony when we suffer, showing respect to our rivals has a way of validating the gospel we preach. Many times people won’t be compelled to listen to our message on account of sound arguments or persuasive evidence. Instead, their ears will only open when we demonstrate inexplicable kindness, meekness, and compassion. The fact is, ridiculing your opponents is the privilege of the powerful.”
Question For Thought or Discussion:
1.What is the number one place in your life that you are not showing respect and honor to someone who DOESN’T deserve it (yes you read that right)?
2. What is the first step to show honor and/or respect to that person?