Scripture: 1 Peter 3:1-8

Sermon Summary

First century christian wives, husbands and converts had a tough time figuring out how their new faith was to be lived out within their families and culture.  Peter wrote to them to give guidance on how best to live out their new faith in such a way as to be a witness to those around them including spouses.

New International Version

1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers

8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.


The Message

1-4 The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.

4-6 Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as "my dear husband." You'll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.

7 The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God's grace, you're equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don't run aground.

8-12 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

Community Group Discussion Questions

New Christian Wives (vs 1-2)

Why was it so important for new christian wives in ancient Rome to live out their faith in such a way that encouraged their husbands to consider faith as well?  Discuss the particular challenges faced by first century wives who were new to the faith and what they might have in common with todays women who come to faith and have a husband who does not. 

Inner Strength and Beauty (vs 3-6)

Peter stressed the importance of inner strength and beauty over outer beauty for these wives.  It wasn't that the outer held no importance but why do you think he told the women to emphasize one over the other?

In our society today what do you think we emphasize as most important for young ladies?  Would Peter's instructions still be relevant today?  Why?

Peter gave Sarah, wife of Abraham, as an example of being a godly, dedicated wife.  How can women who have healthy, Christ centered marriages help younger women?

New Christian Husbands (vs 7)

Peter instructed the husbands to be considerate and respectful of their wives so that their prayers would not be hindered.  Why is it so important for the husband to exemplify a Christ centered life within this relationship and in the home?  What kind of difference can this make as he lives out his faith?

Everyone (vs 8)

Read verse eight of chapter three.  What kind of difference does it make at work, in the home and in the world when those who profess Christ live out these characteristics?