One Peter Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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1 Peter 3:1 Likewise, ye 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;

conversation of the wives. This promise must apply especially to those wives who become Christians after they have married. Christian women who have willfully married unbelievers despite God's prohibition against it have no valid claim on God's answer (1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14). However, God is merciful and forgiving when there is true repentance and confession.

1 Peter 3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

behold. See note on 1 Peter 2:12. “Behold” here connotes “closely behold.”

1 Peter 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

adorning. See 1 Timothy 2:9. Although male modesty may not have been a problem in the days of the apostles, the principle of modesty in dress and ornamentation would need to be urged on Christian men as well as women today, especially in these days of flamboyancy and stress on physical attributes.

1 Peter 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

meek and quiet spirit. Compare the description of the “virtuous woman” (Proverbs 31:10-31, especially verse 30).

1 Peter 3:5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

1 Peter 3:6 Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

daughters ye are. This phrase means, literally, “have become daughters” of Sara, in a spiritual sense.

amazement. That is, with any “hysterical fears,” this often being a characteristic of shallow-spirited, self-oriented women, who have not the deep faith of Sarah (note Hebrews 11:11).

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

unto the wife. See Colossians 3:19; Proverbs 31:11, 28.

heirs together. Although the husband and wife have been created for very specific roles in the family, the church and society in general, and although neither will find real fulfillment in life if they rebel against those roles, they must always remember that spiritually they are equals before God. Both were created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), and are “heirs together” of God's grace.

prayers be not hindered. It is noteworthy that one important reason for unanswered prayer may be wrong home relationships.

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

one mind. That “one mind” should be the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:2, 5).

compassion. This phrase suggests, “sympathizing with” one another.

love as brethren. Literally, “loving the brethren” (xTerm 3:14).

pitiful. This word can be translated “tender-hearted” (Ephesians 4:32).

courteous. “Courteous” means, literally, “being humble of mind” (Colossians 3:12).

1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

railing. Neither evil deeds nor railing words should be a Christian's response.

called. Note 1 Peter 2:9, 21-23. We are called to follow Christ and the example He has set for us.

1 Peter 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

love life. 1 Peter 3:10-12 is essentially quoted from Psalm 34:12-16. Thus a controlled tongue is a secret contribution to a long and happy life.

1 Peter 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

eschew evil. The venerable English word “eschew” is not used much today, perhaps because there is not much evil that people eschew any more. The Greek word is ekklineo, meaning to “incline away from.” It is used only two other times, being translated “avoid” in Romans 16:17 and “gone out of the way” in Romans 3:12. The latter verse indicates that the ungodly eschew doing good. Those who would love real life and see good days should “do good” and “eschew evil.”

ensue it. This is the only use of “ensue” in the Bible. It means “pursue” (see Psalm 34:14).

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

eyes of the Lord. See note on 2 Chronicles 16:9. Note also Proverbs 15:3 and Zechariah 4:10.

against them that do evil. One cannot properly expect God to answer his prayers if he is guilty of unconfessed, unrepented sin. See also James 4:3; Psalm 66:18.

1 Peter 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

1 Peter 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

happy are ye. Here Peter echoes one of the Lord's beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:10; see also 1 Peter 4:12-14).

terror. See Isaiah 8:12-13, which Peter here quotes and applies. In context, Isaiah was encouraging the Jews in light of an impending invasion by the Assyrian armies, along with a hostile confederacy uniting Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel against Judah. Peter appropriated God's promise as applying also to the Christians of any period who might be facing persecution.

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

answer. “Answer” is the Greek apologia, from which we get our word “apologetics,” meaning the careful, logical defense of the Christian faith against the attacks of its adversaries and showing its validity as the true saving gospel of God, our Creator and Savior. In effect, Peter is admonishing believers to be always prepared to give an apologetic for the faith, especially when confronted by those who deny it and would destroy it if they could. This surely means that there is an effective apologetic that can be given, and it is each Christian's responsibility to study (2 Timothy 2:15) and be ready to give it when needed. In contrast, the unbeliever is “without excuse” (Romans 1:20), “without an apologetic.” His faith is strictly based on credulity and wishful thinking, not historical and scientific evidence like that for the Christian faith. On the “defense” (same word) of the gospel, see on Philippians 1:7, 17.

a reason. “Reason” is the Greek logos, from which we derive our word “logical.” We do, indeed, have logical, factual reasons for our hope in Christ (on “hope,” note 1 Peter 1:3, 13, 21).

meekness and fear. Note that our apologetic is to be given not with boasting or pride, but “with meekness and fear” (compare 2 Timothy 2:24-26). The Christian should not be ignorant in his “answer,” but neither should he be arrogant.

1 Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

1 Peter 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

once suffered. For “once suffered,” a better connotation is “once for all died.”

quickened by the spirit. “Quickened by the Spirit” means “alive in spirit.” Although His body was in the tomb, His spirit (which could be understood as essentially the Holy Spirit, who is also called the Spirit of Christ), descended “into the lower parts of the earth” (Ephesians 4:9).

1 Peter 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

preached. While in Hades in the Spirit, He “preached”—that is, “proclaimed”—His victory over death and Hades (Matthew 16:18; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 1:18; Luke 4:18). Note that “hell” in these verses is the Greek hades, the great pit at the center of the earth where lost souls and many rebellious angels are confined. Before Christ's resurrection, the souls of believers were also resting there, but these captives were delivered by Christ when He rose from the dead (Ephesians 4:8-10). The Greek word for “preached” here is not the word for “preached the gospel” (eyaggelizo) as in 1 Peter 1:12, 25; 4:6, but rather kerusso, which means “proclaimed” (Luke 12:3) or “published” (e.g., Luke 8:39). Christ was not giving a second chance, as it were, to those who had died in unbelief, for there is no second chance after death (Hebrews 9:27). Rather, He was proclaiming victory over Satan and his hosts.

spirits. These “spirits in prison” almost certainly were the evil spirits who had sinned in the days of Noah by trying to corrupt and control all flesh (Genesis 6:1-4, 12). Whenever the word “spirits” is used in the plural and not clearly indicated otherwise (as in Hebrews 12:23 and 1 Corinthians 14:32), it always refers to supernatural beings, or angels. In support of this meaning, note that there are thirty such occurrences in the New Testament, with only two, as noted above, referring to spirits of men. At least twenty-six of these thirty occurrences refer to evil spirits, which strongly indicates that to be the meaning here.

in prisons. The “prison” where these evil spirits are confined is identified elsewhere by Peter as tartarus, the Greek name translated “hell” in 2 Peter 2:4. This is evidently a special compartment of Hades where these “angels that sinned” are confined in “chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” They are also described in similar terms by Jude (see Jude 6).

1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

days of Noah. It was “in the days of Noah” when this flagrant disobedience of the angels took place, resulting in this severe punishment.

ark was a preparing. During the “days while the ark was a preparing,” Noah preached righteousness to the demon-controlled people of his generation (note 2 Peter 2:5), and God was “longsuffering.” But none heeded, and only eight were spared in the ark when the Flood came.

saved by water. These eight (Noah, his three sons, and the four wives) were “saved by water” (this could also be translated “through water”) in the sense that they were saved from the deadly moral and spiritual pollution that had engulfed the antediluvian world after the demonic invasion. The waters bore up their ark of safety, even as these same waters destroyed the old world and their old lives.

1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

like figure. Thus both the flood, with its ark of safety, and baptism, with its emergence from the waters of “burial,” are “like figures” of the wonderful reality of the death and resurrection of Christ, as well as the death to sin and new life of the believer. Baptism in and of itself would at most be only a bath for washing off the filth of the flesh, but when experienced as a testimony of one's saving faith in the atoning death and justifying resurrection of the Lord Jesus, it becomes “the answer of [or, better, “appeal for”] a good conscience toward God (see also Hebrews 9:14) secured forever by Christ's resurrection.

1 Peter 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

right hand of God. This is the last of the sixteen New Testament references to Christ now being at the right hand of the Father. See note on Psalm 16:11, where the first reference occurs.

subject unto him. See Ephesians 1:20-21.