From: Over 50 Interpreters Explain First Peter Return to Home
By Roland H. Worth, Jr. © 2018
List of All Sources Quoted At End of File
WEB: In the same way, wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; so that, even if any don't obey the Word, they may be won by the behavior of their wives without a word;
Young’s: In like manner, the wives, be ye subject to your own husbands, that even if certain are disobedient to the word, through the conversation of the wives, without the word, they may be won,
Conte (RC): Similarly also, wives should be
subject to their husbands, so that, even if some do
not believe the Word, they may benefit without the
Word, through the behavior of these wives,
3:1 Likewise, ye wives. The sequence of thought is every way suggestive. The Apostle passes from the all but universal relation of the master and the slave as one element of social life, to the other, yet more universal, and involving from the Roman point of view almost as great a subordination, of husband and wife. Here also it was his object to impress on men and women, especially on the latter, the thought that the doctrine of Christ was no element of disorder. The stress which he lays on their duties may be fairly taken as indicating the prominence of women among the converts to the new faith. Of that prominence we have sufficient evidence in the narrative of the Acts (Acts ; 17:4, 12). In what follows we have again a reproduction of the teaching of Paul (Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:9). It is not without interest to recall the fact that Aristotle makes the two relations of which Peter speaks, that of husband and wife, that of master and slave, the germ-cells, as it were, out of which all political society has been developed (Arist. Pol. i. 2). 
For thought: an intensified degree of submission than what might otherwise be required—due to the societal situation believers Peter was addressing found themselves within? Third division of second prudential rule: subordination conjugal. Here, again, the form in the original is participial, joining this injunction on to 1 Peter , , where the word is the same in Greek, “wives, in the same way submitting yourselves.” Whether this imposes for all time upon Christian wives as complete a submission towards their husbands as is here enjoined might perhaps be questioned, because the special reason for the command in this place was to allay suspicions engendered by the boldness with which Christianity proclaimed the freedom of the individual. Peter has just been giving injunctions for absolute submission, even to injustice, on the part of slaves; and the progress of Christianity has abolished slavery altogether. The measure of the Christian wife’s submission may safely be left to her own enlightened conscience, guided by other passages of the New Testament not written, like this, for a special emergency.  Alternatively the text could be read as meaning: Though this is the wifely obligation in all parts of the world, everywhere, it is especially important when this type of societal situation arises. [rw]
be in subjection. Treat them as the rightful head of the family. 
Of course no wife need feel compelled to act contrary to conscience or duty; of course no personal inferiority is implied; of course there are sacred rights which none should dare invade; yet upon Christian wives there ever rests the obligation of patient submission to their husbands. 
to your own husbands. This admonition was especially important when the husband was a heathen and the wife a Christian. In this case the wife might more easily be persuaded that it was right for her to refuse obedience to her husband, and, at least mentally, associate herself with some other man, perhaps some office-bearer in the church. 
In depth: The significance of the “subjection” being to “your own husband:” Far too often the pivotal “own” is omitted in the exegesis of this and similar texts. The command is for Mrs. X to be “in subjection” to her husband, Mr. X. The text does not make the claim or demand that she be subject to all husbands, much less all males. Female “subjection” is for the good order and success of the couple’s own marriage. It is never—New Testament speaking—designed to make the gender of women subject to the gender that is male. If something else were intended in texts such as this, something broader than husband-wife language would be used. [rw]
One of the odder comments I came across in preparing this compilation was the following objection to translating “own” in the verse, while then explicitly giving the very reason it was needed, to avoid the kind of situation we just mentioned [rw]: The “own” is not needed and is misleading; the Greek word idios, which “own” translates, is inserted because without it the phrase might have been taken to mean “be in subjection to men.” Peter, it will be remembered, was a married man. 
Another effort to expand a husband-wife obligation into a male gender-female gender obligation: Here, as also in at least two other passages where the same charge is given, viz. Ephesians 5:22, Titus 2:5 (in Ephesians 5:24, and Colossians 3:18, the reading of the Received Text is insufficiently supported), the strong pronominal adjective which usually means “own” or “proper” is inserted before “husbands.” There is, however, no such contrast intended, as some interpreters (Steiger, etc.) imagine, between those to whom these women were united in marriage and others. The fact that in the decadence of the language the adjective lost much of its original force, makes it doubtful how much emphasis can be allowed it here. It may point, however, to the nature of the marriage relation, the legal claims, the peculiar and exclusive union which it involved, as furnishing a reason for submission (see Ellicott on Ephesians ). 
that, if any obey not the word. The Scriptures and the preaching of the gospel. 
The words that follow indicate the frequency of the cases in which the wife only was a convert. The Greek text runs as though, in some cases at least, it might be expected that husband and wife would both have been converted together. The Greek verb for “obey not” implies, as in 1 Peter 2:7, Acts 14:2, Hebrews 3:18, Hebrews 11:31, a positive antagonism rather than the mere absence of belief and obedience. 
they also may without the word be won. The Greek for “word” has no article, and the probable meaning is not “without the open preaching of the word of Christ,” but rather, “without speech, without a word [being uttered].” The silent preaching of conduct is what the Apostle relied on as a more effective instrument of conversion than any argument or debate. 
Even though they had rejected the gospel they might “be gained” without preaching, as they read sermons without words, written in the eloquent language of pure conduct and respectful demeanor. 
As it would be strange indeed (in view of Romans 10:14-17) to find an apostle contemplating the possibility of a conversion to Christ without the instrumentality of the Gospel, it is necessary to suppose that there is a kind of play upon the words here, the same term being used (by a figure of speech known to grammarians as antanaclasis) with different meanings. So Bengel briefly explains the term word as meaning “in the first instance the Gospel, in the second, talk.” The Syriac Version here renders it “without trouble.” 
be won. Or gained, viz. to Christ and his church: the same metaphor Paul useth, 1 Corinthians 9:19-21; Philippians 3:8. 
In the verb “be won,” literally, be gained over, we have the same word as that used by Paul in 1 Corinthians -20, and by our Lord, in teaching which must have made a special impression on Peter’s mind, in Matthew . 
by the conversation [conduct, NKJV] of the wives. The word conversation, in the Scriptures, is never confined, as it is now with us, to oral discourse, but denotes conduct in general. It includes indeed “conversation” as the word is now used, but it embraces also much more--including everything that we do. The meaning here is, that the habitual deportment of the wife was to be such as to show the reality and power of religion; to show that it had such influence on her temper, her words, her whole deportment, as to demonstrate that it was from God. 
In depth: The practical need for the matter to be dealt with when dealing with a Greco-Roman context . Classical writers often speak of Greek and Roman women as given to embrace Judaism and other Eastern religions. Thus many women were converted to Christianity while their husbands remained pagan, and perhaps, in some instances, Jews. With the Greeks and Romans, as with the Jews, religious observances formed a considerable part of the routine of family life; so that the presence of Christians and non-Christians in the same family might be most embarrassing. A Christian could hardly live the ordinary domestic life of a heathen household without seeming to countenance idolatry. In a Jewish family the difficulty would be less; Jewish observances might be unnecessary, but they were not wrong.
WEB: seeing your pure behavior in fear
Young’s: having beheld your pure behaviour in fear,
Conte (RC): as they consider with fear your
3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation [conduct, NKJV]. Which their unbelieving husbands would accurately observe and attend to. Evil men are strict observers of the conversation of the professors of religion; their curiosity, envy, and jealousy, make them watch narrowly the ways and lives of good people. 
The behavior is styled chaste, not in the limited sense of the English adjective, but as covering purity, modesty, and whatever makes wifely conduct not only correct but winsome. 
coupled with fear [respectful behavior, NASB]. What is meant is not exactly “the fear of God,” but rather a sensitive respect for the husband and the married relation, the chastity or purity of behavior is exhibited as associated necessarily with the dutiful spirit that recoils from everything inconsistent with the woman’s and the wife’s position. 
WEB: Let your beauty be not just the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on fine clothing;
Young’s: whose adorning -- let it not be that which is outward, of plaiting of hair, and of putting around of things of gold, or of putting on of garments,
Conte (RC): For you, there should be no
unnecessary adornment of the hair, or surrounding
with gold, or the wearing of ornate clothing.
3:3 Whose adorning. The passage shows that the Asiatic Christians were not all of the poorer classes. The wealth of the Ephesian Christians about this time may be gathered from 1 Timothy 2:9, and of the Laodiceans from Revelation 3:17. The advice is not intended directly as a corrective of vanity. Peter is not bidding them beware of love of dress, although (as Bengel points out) the three words of “plaiting,” “wearing” (literally, putting round oneself), and “putting on,” are intended to convey the notion of elaborate processes in which time is wasted. But the main thought is, How are the husbands to be attracted? Not, says Peter, by any external prettiness of adornment, but by inward graces. 
let it not be. Merely or principally anything external. 
that outward adorning of plaiting [arranging, NKJV] the hair. Only here in New Testament. Compare 1 Timothy 2:9. The Roman women of the day were addicted to ridiculous extravagance in the adornment of the hair. Juvenal (Satire, vi.) satirized these customs. He says: “The attendants will vote on the dressing of the hair as if a question of reputation or of life were at stake, so great is the trouble she takes in quest of beauty; with so many tiers does she load, with so many continuous stories does she build up on high her head. She is tall as Andromache in front, behind she is shorter. You would think her another person.” The hair was dyed, and secured with costly pins and with nets of gold thread. False hair and blond wigs were worn. 
This was a warning against the extravagant fashions in hair-dressing and decoration with costly jewels, prevailing among the Greeks and Romans at that period; also a reminder that the true adornment is from within. 
and of wearing of gold. It cannot be supposed that all wearing of gold about the person is wrong, for there is nothing evil in gold itself. The meaning is, that such ornaments should not be sought; that Christians should be in no way distinguished for them; that they should not engross the time and attention; that Christians should so dress as to show that their minds are occupied with nobler objects. If it should be said that this expression teaches that it is wrong to wear gold at all, it may be replied that on the same principle it would follow that the next clause teaches that it is wrong to put on apparel at all. 
or of putting on of apparel. [The Greek term for “putting on” found] only here in New Testament. Female extravagance in dress in the days of the empire reached an alarming pitch. 
The fineness and fashion of the garments of women had
at this time reached an almost unparalleled extravagance. The filmy half-transparent tissue of the Coan loom, the dyed garments of
The arts themselves had gone to unheard of excess, as we learn from literature, coins, and sculpture, among the heathen ladies of the Empire. Pliny the elder speaks of having seen Nero’s mother dressed in a robe of gold tissue, and Lollia Paulina in apparel covered with pearls and emeralds costing fifty millions of sesterces (Hist. Nat. xxxiii. 19, ix. 35, 36). 
In depth: To what extent were these attire instructions intended to be requirements versus broad, general guidelines ? The question may be asked, Are the Apostle’s words prohibitive as well as hortatory? Is it wrong for Christian women now to plait their hair, or to wear gold ornaments or pearls? The answer to that question must be left mainly to the individual conscience. “Let every one be fully persuaded in her own mind.”
As some help to a decision, however, it may be noted (1) that the language is not that of formal prohibition, but of a comparative estimate of the value of the two kinds of adornment;
(2) that in regard to the third form of ornamentation, seeing that some clothes must be worn, the words cannot have a merely prohibitive force; and
(3) that in the possible, if not common, case of the husband giving such ornaments and wishing his wife to wear them, the “meek and quiet spirit” which the Apostle recommends would naturally show itself in complying with his requests rather than in an obstinate and froward refusal.
On the whole then, as a rule bearing upon daily life, we may say that while the words do not condemn the use of jewelry, or attention to the color and the form of dress, within the limits of simplicity and economy, they tend to minimize that form of personal adornment, and bid women trust not to them, but to moral qualities, as elements of attraction.
WEB: but in the hidden person of the heart, in the incorruptible adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God very precious.
Young’s: but -- the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible thing of the meek and quiet spirit, which is, before God, of great price,
Conte (RC): Instead, you should be a hidden
person of the heart, with the incorruptibility of a
quiet and a meek spirit, rich in the sight of God.
3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart. The phrase is identical in meaning with the “inward man” of Romans , 2 Corinthians , Ephesians . The word for “man” is one which takes within its range women as well as men. The “hidden humanity of the heart” would be somewhat too abstract in its form, and “the hidden human,” though the word has the sanction of one or two poets of mark, would sound too grotesque, but either would express the meaning of the word adequately. The “hidden man of the heart”—(the genitive expresses the fact that the life of the “hidden man” manifests itself in the sphere of the feelings and affections)—is the “new creature” (2 Corinthians , Galatians ), the “Christ formed in us” (Galatians ), on which Paul loves to dwell. Men do not see it with the outward eye, but they can be made to recognize its presence. 
The term “man” is
used much as we use the I, the self, the
personality. It is described as
“hidden,” in antithesis to those exterior, material adornments which are meant
to catch the eye. And it is defined as
“of the heart,” as found in the heart, or identified with it. Clement [of
in that which is not corruptible. Which will not wear out like dress and jewels and is never out of fashion. 
What is not corrupted? The [extended] phrase literally runs, “in the imperishable of the meek and quiet spirit;” the adjective meaning not “without stain,” or “uncorrupted,” as Grotius, Luther, Erasmus, take it, but in accordance with 1 Peter 1:7, simply “permanent” in opposition to the transitory and decaying. This is construed, therefore, in several ways; either  as = in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (so A.V., but with a certain strain upon the Greek); or  = in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit (so R.V., with Hofmann, Alford, etc.); or  = in the imperishableness of a meek and quiet spirit,—i.e. in what cannot perish, namely, a meek and quiet spirit. This last is most in harmony with the previous contrast (in 1 Peter 1:7) between proved faith which is to be found unto praise at Christ’s coming, and gold that perisheth. So the Rhemish gives “in the incorruptibility of a quiet and a modest spirit.” 
even the ornament [beauty, NKJV] of a meek [gentle, NKJV] and quiet spirit. [This description] has been well explained as “the spirit which neither worries other people nor allows itself to be worried;” a suitable spirit for a woman “in subjection” (verse 1). 
even the ornament [beauty, NKJV] of a meek [gentle, NKJV]. It is the invisible internal character that is pivotal in Peter’s mind. In one sense it can never be visibly “seen;” in another sense, its behavioral “fall out” is inevitable and can’t avoid being seen. [rw]
“Meek” (praus), “mild,” “gentle,” used in the LXX for a word which came to be synonymous with “faithful worshipper of Jehovah;” elsewhere in the N.T. only three times—twice of Christ (Matthew 11:29, 21:5), and once in the Beatitude, “Blessed are the meek” (Matthew 5:5). The corresponding quality, “meekness,” is frequently commended by Paul. 
The quality of meekness implies more than gentleness. In the old Greek ethics it amounts only to mildness, in the sense of the opposite of roughness and violence (Plato, Rep. 558A, etc.), or in that of the subsidence of anger (Herod., 1 Peter ). It is defined by Aristotle as the mean between passionate temper and the neutral disposition which is incapable of heated feeling, and as inclining to the weakness of the latter (Nic. Eth. iv. 5). In the New Testament it is not mere equanimity, but the grace of a positive denial of self which holds disputings alien to it, and curbs the tendency of nature to passion, resistance, and resentment (cf. also Christ’s application of it to Himself, Matthew 11:29). 
and quiet spirit. So far as we can distinguish, where it is almost impossible to separate, “meekness,” the absence of self-assertion, and “quietness,” the calm tranquility, [the first is the cause and the latter] the effect. 
The quality of quietness expresses a tranquility or peaceableness (the adjective is the same as the “peaceable” of 1 Timothy 2:2, its only other New Testament occurrence) which has its deep source within. 
which is in the sight of God of great price [very precious, NKJV]. Dress could only appeal to men, character would commend them to God. But, as the Apostle is specially dealing with their relation to their husbands, he may also have in mind that showy dress is a bid for general admiration, while the graces of speech and conduct which spring from a “meek and quiet spirit” would be most obvious in family life. 
The antecedent to “which” has been variously taken. Is it “the meek and quiet spirit?” Is it “the imperishableness of the meek and quiet spirit?” Or is it “the hidden man of the heart exhibiting itself in such a spirit?” Each has something to be said for it, but the last seems nearest to the truth. Such a possession will be not only attractive to the husband for the time, but has a permanent value as being esteemed by God. 
which is in the sight of God. In the sight of our fellow mortals these things may be of little concern and of no priority; with God it is the opposite, of great concern and with a high priority. [rw]
The estimate which is put upon such a spirit by Him who has said of Himself that He “seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7), should be a further recommendation of it to these women. 
of great price [very precious, NKJV]. The same epithet is used to describe the array as costly (1 Timothy 2:9), and the spikenard as very precious (Mark 14:3). It is another, with a similar sense, which occurs in 1 Peter 1:7, and is used to describe the pearl (Matthew ) as one “of great price,” and Mary’s spikenard as “very costly” (John 12:3; cf. Matthew 26:7). With Peter’s statement of the wife’s true adorning, compare above all the picture of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 (specially Proverbs 31:25); and such classical parallels as this from Plutarch’s Nuptial Precepts—“that adorns a woman which makes her more becoming; and this is not done either by gold, or emerald, or purple, but by those things which give her the appearance of dignity, orderliness, modesty.” 
A small fortune will be spent on expensive wrist watches, computerized “toys,” designer clothes, and “prestige” autos. Yet the kind of thing that is counted as of value in God’s sight is the inner development of the soul. All that costs us is effort. It makes redemption available for those of all economic stratas and not just of a limited percentage of the human species. Yet how often it is neglected because we can’t use it to impress the jaundiced souls of others! [rw]
WEB: For this is how the holy women before, who hoped in God also adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands:
Young’s: for thus once also the holy women who did hope on God, were adorning themselves, being subject to their own husbands,
Conte (RC): For in this way, in past times also,
holy women adorned themselves, hoping in God,
being subject to their own husbands.
3:5 For after this manner. These instructions are not without precedent. They are not imposing some new criteria that has never been made before. [rw]
in the old time. The allusion here is particularly to the times of the patriarchs. 
the holy women
also. Scarcely, as often
explained, the women of ancient
These women are called ‘holy’ here (as the prophets are also designated, 2 Peter ; Luke 1:70; Acts ; Ephesians 3:5) not merely in regard to their personal character, but in a semi-official sense as “women of blessed memory” (Fronmuller), occupying a distinct position among the people whom God had separated for Himself. The personal character is then more definitely described when it is added that “they hoped in (or, literally, toward) God.” 
who trusted in God. Greek, “Who hoped in God;” that is, who were truly pious. They were characterized by simple trust or hope in God, rather than by a fondness for external adorning. 
Their eye turned Godward, not earthward; their life drew its inspiration not from the present, but from the future; their expectation looked to the performance of God’s promises, not to what things as they were could yield. 
adorned themselves. The ancients were held up as role models. And not just the males like Moses and David. Their pious examples are as relevant to women as those of males are to that gender. [rw]
being in subjection [submissive, NKJV] unto their own husbands. Not rebellious. Not putting the household into chaos and making each other’s life a misery. [rw]
their own husbands. The Scriptures never teach that women are subject to the male gender in general—only that the wife is subject to her own husband. (Note that specification “own,” found also in the teaching of the apostle Paul on the subject: Ephesians 5:22, 24.) It reflects the “hierarchy” of power within a household or family rather than laying down a rule of the relationship of one gender to another.
Even the Pauline command to “keep silent in the churches” only implies that it is the male responsibility to take leadership in the assembly rather than the female; hence it is neither right nor proper for him to pass on that obligation to his wife. In the division of marital responsibilities it is the husband who has that role of public religious leadership. And even in that regard, wives are told to “ask their own husbands” at home (1 Corinthians -35); i.e., the husbands were supposed to be knowledgeable enough to provide the answers they needed--or be able to find them out. If they don’t try to do so, they have failed in their own responsibilities. [rw]
WEB: as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose children you now are, if you do well, and are not put in fear by any terror.
Young’s: as Sarah was obedient to Abraham, calling him 'sir,' of whom ye did become daughters, doing good, and not fearing any terror.
Conte (RC): For so Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling
him lord. You are her daughters, well-behaved and
unafraid of any disturbance.
3:6 Even as Sara. The only occasions on which she asserts that independence are the two expulsions of Hagar. In the New Testament she appears but seldom, once as an example of faith (Hebrews 11:11), twice where she is entirely secondary to Abraham (Romans 5:19; Romans 9:9), and here in the character which Tennyson depicts in his Isabel: ‘A courage to endure and to obey—A hate of gossip, parlance, and of sway, / Crowned Isabel, through all her placid life. / The queen of marriage,—a most perfect wife.” 
obeyed Abraham. The tense which Peter uses would seem to imply a reference to some special instance of obedience, but, as the history of Genesis supplies no such instance in act, we are left to infer that he saw in her use of “my lord,” in speaking of her husband (Genesis 18:12), a representative utterance that implied a sense of habitual subordination. It seems strange to refer to literature like that of the sixth satire of Juvenal in illustration of an Epistle of Peter, but there can be no clearer evidence that the general corruption of the Empire had extended itself to the life of home, and that over and above the prevalence of adultery and divorce, the wives of Rome, and we may believe also, of the cities that followed in the wake of Rome, had well-nigh thrown aside all sense of the reverence which the Apostle looked on as essential. 
calling him lord. A definite example of the general fact just alleged. Peter seems rather to have argued from what every one would feel must have been the case than from explicit records. Sara’s usual subjection is clearly seen in the one instance to which Peter refers (Genesis ), where Sara, though not addressing Abraham, but speaking to herself, calls him “my lord.” People show their usual habits of mind more freely in speaking to themselves. 
It was probably inferred from this instance [Genesis 18:12], by the apostle, and not without reason, that Sarah habitually used this respectful appellation, acknowledging by it that he was her superior, and that he had a right to rule in his own house. The word lord has the elementary idea of ruling, and this is the sense here--that she acknowledged that he had a right to direct the affairs of his household, and that it was her duty to be in subjection to him as the head of the family. Among the Romans, it was quite common for wives to use the appellation lord (dominus), when speaking of their husbands. The same custom also prevailed among the Greeks. This passage does not prove that the term lord should be the particular appellation by which Christian wives should address their husbands now, but it proves that there should be the same respect and deference which was implied by its use in patriarchal times. The welfare of society, and the happiness of individuals, are not diminished by showing proper respect for all classes of persons in the various relations of life. 
whose daughters ye are. If the words were addressed to women who were converts from heathenism, we might see in the words a suggestive parallel to those of Paul, that Abraham was the father of “all them that believe though they be not circumcised” (Romans ), that “they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). Taking this view there would be a special interest in the fact that Peter, the married Apostle, told the female converts from among the Gentiles that they were as truly daughters of Sarah as their husbands, if believing, were sons of Abraham. [A different view is also possible:] On the assumption which has been adopted throughout these notes, that the Epistle was really addressed, as it purports to be, to the Jews of the dispersion, the words have another significance. The daughters of Sarah according to the flesh are told that they only became truly her children when they reproduced her character. The words, on this view, present a striking parallelism to those in which Paul speaks of Abraham as being “the father not of the circumcision only, as such, but of those who walk in the steps of Abraham’s faith” (Romans ). 
as long as ye do well. That is, you will be worthy to be regarded as her daughters, if you manifest the same spirit that she did. 
and are not afraid. Obedience and submission, however, do not mean anxious fear, or continual dread, or cowering terror; these are not attractive conduct. 
This also carries the weight that the husband should not dream—for one minute—that he has any right to terrorize his wife. “Chickens come home to roost”--and that one will as well! [rw]
with any amazement [terror, NKJV]. [This] means, literally, if ye do well without fear of any threatening. A most important supplement. The apostle sets this restriction to the subjection of wives, that in doing well, they must never suffer themselves to be intimidated, even by the threats of their husbands. 
The word for “amazement” does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, but the cognate verb is found in Luke 21:9, 24:37. The noun itself meets us in the LXX of Proverbs 3:25. It implies the crouching, shuddering fear of one who is overwhelmed with terror. 
Compare Proverbs , which passage the Apostle seems here to have in mind: “be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh,” where the word for “fear” is the same as in this place, [the Greek term] not occurring elsewhere in the LXX or the New Testament. Its proper meaning is the “flutter” or “fright” produced by sudden alarm. 
In depth: “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham”—citing her as the desired standard of obedience or simply as a historical example of such obedience ? Why is Sarah introduced in this connection? Possibly as the standard by which the holy women of old measured their wifely submission. Taking “as” in the sense of “according as” (with Schott), we should have in this sentence a new stroke added to the preceding description; and the point would be, that not only did these holy women of olden time submit themselves to their own husbands, but they regulated the measure of their wifely obedience by no lower standard than the noble example of Sarah.
Most interpreters (Huther, Alford, Bengel, Schott, etc.) retain for the “as” the sense of “as for instance,” and take Sarah to be introduced here simply as an eminent example of what characterized the holy women of the sacred history generally. It is plain, however, that she is named here not merely as one instance out of many, however brilliant an instance, but as the ancestress of the Israel of God. As Abraham is the father of all the faithful, so Sarah is the mother of all believing women, and the fact that their common mother made herself so obedient to her own husband is argument enough with her daughters in the kingdom of God new, as it was with her daughters in the kingdom of God then.
The completeness and constancy of Sarah’s obedience are implied whether we read the “obeyed” as an imperfect or as the historical past; for the authorities differ. The latter reading (see similar instances in John 17:4; Galatians 4:8) indeed gives even greater force to the idea of completeness designating the whole course of Sarah’s wifely conduct by the quality which belonged to it as a finished whole.
WEB: You husbands, in the same way, live with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor to the woman, as to the weaker vessel, as being also joint heirs of the grace of life; that your prayers may not be hindered.
Young’s: The husbands, in like manner, dwelling with them, according to knowledge, as to a weaker vessel -- to the wife -- imparting honour, as also being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered.
Conte (RC): Similarly, you husbands should live
with them in accord with knowledge, bestowing
honor on the female as the weaker vessel and as
co-heirs of the life of grace, so that your prayers
may not be hindered.
3:7 Likewise [In the same way, NASB, NIV] . “In like manner:” With the same loyal recognition of all just claims. The spirit which made the wife “meek and quiet” would make the husband kind and attentive. 
ye husbands. This verse is not another application of , but an appendix to the previous paragraph, guarding against any abuse of its teaching. 
This is evidently introduced in order to guard against any abuse of the advice given to wives, and to bring out the idea that the marriage relation is one of mutual affection. 
This implies on the side of the husbands that they are to dwell with their wives. Should a Christian husband be wedded to a heathen wife, he is not to consider himself freed on that account from the claims of family and conjugal life. 
dwell with them according to knowledge [with understanding, NKJV]. Knowledge of the nature and duties of the marriage relation. 
This is probably to be taken adverbially in the sense
of “with insight,” that is, with understanding of what belongs to the relation
of husband and wife. 
This does not mean according to their knowledge of the Gospel (Grotius, etc.); neither is it exactly = according to the Christian recognition of the wife’s relation to the husband (Scott, etc.). It means reasonably, intelligently, i.e. with a just recognition and wise consideration of what the ordinance itself is, and what the relative positions of husband and wife are. “One cannot now prescribe rules,” says Luther; “God brings it home to every man himself that he must act toward his wife agreeably to reason, according as may be best adapted to each wife.” So the poet Thomson describes the husband, “Who, with superior dignity, with reason, / And manly tenderness, will ever love her; / Not first a kneeling slave, and then a tyrant.” 
dwell with. The word for “dwell together” (not found elsewhere) is clearly intended to cover all the relations of married life. 
giving honour unto the wife. The word for “giving,” not found elsewhere in the New Testament, implies an equitable apportionment. 
Doddridge, Clarke, and some others, suppose that the word honor here refers to maintenance or support; and that the command is, that the husband is to provide for his wife so that she may not want. But it seems to me that the word is to be understood here in its more usual signification, and that it inculcates a higher duty than that of merely providing for the temporal needs of the wife, and strikes at a deeper evil than a mere neglect of meeting her temporal necessities. The reasons assigned for doing this seem to imply it. 
From husbands he requires prudence; for dominion over their wives is not given them, except on this condition, that they exercise authority prudently. Part of the prudence which he mentions, is, that the husbands honor their wives. For nothing destroys the friendship of life more than contempt; nor can we really love any but those whom we esteem; for love must be connected with respect. 
as unto the weaker vessel. Man is a weak vessel, and easily damaged; woman is a “weaker” one. Her mental or moral strength is not referred to. 
In the term “vessel,” which finds a parallel in 1 Thessalonians 4:4, we have the thought that all, men and women alike, are “instruments” which God has made for His service (compare 2 Timothy 2:20-21). The husband is bound to think of himself in that light. He must recognize himself as the stronger vessel of the two, and therefore, because noblesse oblige, he must render due honor to the weaker, seeking to strengthen and purify and elevate it. 
Illustration: Glasses are to be tenderly handled; a small knock soon breaks them. So here. Wilt not thou for the honor of marriage cast away thy harshness, roughness, cruelty to a consort? 
and as being heirs together of the grace of life. An additional and higher reason for honor to the wife. We prefer the pointing of Tischendorf and Alford, which gives the rendering: Dwell according to knowledge with the wife as with the weaker vessel, giving honor as to those who are (not only your wives, but) also fellow heirs (with you) of the grace of life. Thus reading, the apostle enjoins (1.) Considerateness for the wife, because of her comparative physical weakness; and, (2.) Honor for her because she is an heir with her husband to the gift of life. 
Husband and wife were fellow Christians, redeemed by the same ransom, living by the same grace, looking forward to the same inheritance, therefore the wife was obviously worthy of all honor. Some ancient manuscripts read “manifold grace of life;” in we have “the manifold grace of God.” Apparently the case of a Christian married to a non-Christian wife is not considered; the latter would hardly be called an “heir of the grace of life.” 
that your prayers be not hindered. Some MSS give a stronger form of the verb, “that your prayers be not cut off (or, stopped).” The words clearly include, though they do not dwell on them, the special hindrances to prayer referred to in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5. 
The spirit which makes a man harsh and over-bearing towards the weak would hinder his fellowship with God, and might disturb the wife’s faith. Similar admonitions to husbands are found in Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19. 
Roos: “There is no room for prayer that may be answered while the husband despises and tyrannizes his wife and where a marriage is marred by discord.” 
Family prayers under consideration? It is fairly implied here that it was supposed there would be united or family prayer. The apostle is speaking of “dwelling with the wife,” and of the right manner of treating her; and it is plainly supposed that united prayer would be one thing that would characterize their living together. He does not direct that there should be prayer. He seems to take it for granted that there would be; and it may be remarked, that where there is true religion in right exercise, there is prayer as a matter of course. 
Where there was no reciprocated respect, each recognizing the high vocation of the other, there could be no union of heart and soul in prayer. Where the husband thought of the wife only as ministering to his comfort or his pleasures, as one whom he might, as both Jewish and Roman law permitted, repudiate at will, there could be no recognition of the fact that she shared his highest hopes. 
It should also be noted that if a husband’s ill thought out actions toward the spouse can hinder his prayers, there is every reason to assume that a wife’s improper attitudes and actions will do the same so far as her prayers. [rw]
WEB: Finally, be all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brothers, tenderhearted, courteous,
Young’s: And finally, being all of one mind, having fellow-feeling, loving as brethren, compassionate, courteous,
Conte (RC): And finally, may you all be of one
mind: compassionate, loving brotherhood, merciful,
3:8 Finally, be ye all. The previous paragraphs have dealt with special classes—slaves, wives, husbands; the summary addresses all these, and those of other classes as well. 
It is, says an old Greek interpreter, as if the apostle had written, “Why should I give particular directions? I say simply to all.” 
of one mind. One in sentiment, of “one accord.” 
To be unanimous in the belief of the same faith, and the practice of the same duties of religion. 
Or: That is, let there be unity of aim and purpose. 
The word used here (ὁμόφρων homophrōn) does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means, of the same mind; like-minded; and the object is to secure harmony in their views and feelings. 
having compassion one of another. Like “sympathy” in English, it denotes more frequently fellow-feeling in sorrow than in joy. 
Revised Version margin, “Greek, sympathetic;” only here in the New Testament. The corresponding verb is used in Hebrews 4:15, “We have not a high priest that cannot be touched-with-the-feeling-of our infirmities.” “Compassionate” [in English] suggests that the person who feels compassion is in a superior position, and the Greek does not imply this, so that “sympathetic” (“entering into each other’s feelings,” “feeling for and with one another”) is better. 
“Of one mind” suggests mental attitude; “having compassion” normally involves, at least in part, verbal and other outward behavior. True Christianity always involves both aspects of our nature. [rw]
love as brethren. That is, as belonging to the one family of Christian believers. 
be pitiful [tenderhearted, NKJV]. In classical Greek it means “strong-hearted, but as its proper meaning is “goodhearted,” it embraces both senses, and the one quality by no means excludes the other. 
be courteous. To all. Courtesy is such a behavior toward equals and inferiors as shows respect mixed with love. 
Kind, affable, humane, in opposition to sourness and moroseness: the same word is used, Acts 27:3. 
The MSS present two readings, one of which, “courteous” or better, perhaps, friendly, is a fair rendering, and the other a word not found elsewhere, but meaning “lowly” or “humble,” and corresponding to the noun “humility” in Acts 20:19; Philippians 2:3; 1 Peter 5:5. 
WEB: not rendering evil for evil, or insult for insult; but instead blessing; knowing that to this were you called, that you may inherit a blessing.
Young’s: not giving back evil for evil, or railing for railing, and on the contrary, blessing, having known that to this ye were called, that a blessing ye may inherit;
Conte (RC): not repaying evil with evil, nor
slander with slander, but, to the contrary, repaying
with blessings. For to this you have been called, so
that you may possess the inheritance of a blessing.
3:9 Not rendering evil for evil. We may probably see in the words a verbal reproduction of the precept of Romans , 1 Thessalonians , an echo of the spirit of the teaching of Matthew . As this clause forbids retaliation in act, so that which follows forbids retaliation in words. 
or railing for railing [reviling for reviling, NKJV]. Abusive language. 
Probably now he is thinking solely of relation to the adverse world. Among the Christians surely there would be no “evil” or “railing” to provoke a retort! “Evil,” in act; “railing,” in word.  In light of James’ emphasis on the easy abuse of the tongue among Christians—towards each other--I fear this underestimates the ease of our stumbling in relation to fellow believers as well. [rw]
but contrariwise blessing. Kind language, suited to do good. 
Cf. 1 Corinthians 4:12-13, “Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat.” Cf. also Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount, -38, especially [verse] 28, “Bless them that curse you.” This clause is included in the Authorized Version of Matthew 5:44, following inferior manuscripts. It was not originally part of Matthew, but was introduced by some scribe from Luke. 
Though the word is chosen as the exact opposite of the bad language used against the Christians, “blessing” may perhaps involve the opposite of unkind action as well. It is used for the conferring of benefits: (1) spiritual, in Acts 3:26; Galatians 3:8; (2) material, in 2 Corinthians 9:5. (Compare 2 Kings 5:15; Joel 2:14; Haggai 2:19.) 
knowing that ye are thereunto called. This is your calling--your business in life, to do good, and to do good for evil, and to implore God‘s blessing even on your worst enemies. And this is not only your duty, but your interest; for in so doing you shall obtain God‘s blessing, even life for evermore. 
The duty which was formerly enjoined on slaves by an appeal to Christ’s example (1 Peter 2:23), is now repeated as a duty applicable to all Christians, and as involved in the Divine call which first makes us Christians. That call, too, is again expressed as a definite event of the past, carrying with it once for all, and from the very beginning of the Christian life, all that Peter would now pledge us to. 
that ye should inherit a blessing. It is not without significance that this is given as the reason for not retaliating. God blesses, therefore we should bless. He forgives us, and therefore we should forgive others. Vindictiveness, in any form, whether in word or act, is at variance with the conditions on which that inheritance is offered and involves therefore its certain forfeiture. 
Weymouth: For "He who wishes to be well-satisfied with life and see happy days-- let him restrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from deceitful words;
WEB: For, "He who would love life, and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.
Young’s: for 'he who is willing to love life, and to see good days, let him guard his tongue from evil, and his lips -- not to speak guile;
Conte (RC): For whoever wants to love life and
to see good days should restrain his tongue from evil,
and his lips, so that they utter no deceit.
For he that will love life. The quotation is from the LXX (following the Hebrew) of Psalms 34:12-16, with slight changes. 
It implies that there is some positive desire to live; some active wish that life should be prolonged. This whole passage 1 Peter 3:10-12 is taken, with some slight variations, from Psalm 34:12-16. It is implied here that it is right to love life, and to desire many days. The desire is referred to without any expression of disapprobation, and the way is shown by which length of days may be secured. Life is a blessing; a precious gift of God. 
The phrase “love life” means more than “to be fain to have life,” or “to show love for life” (de Wette), or even “to be in earnest as to the love of life” (Wiesinger). It is to be taken in the simple sense of loving life for its good as opposed to hating it for its emptiness and vexations (Lillie), in the slightly modified sense of cherishing life, or in the secondary sense (which the verb has also in the Classics) of being pleased with life. 
and see good days. The term “see” has also the intensive force of experiencing or knowing personally what a thing is, which it often has in the Old Testament. e.g. Psalms 27:13, etc. 
Although “loving life” and having “good days” requires a certain financial level, it does not require profound wealth. That elusive sense of “doing all right” can have its guts torn out if one is living in ongoing—and needless—conflicts with others. [rw]
let him refrain his tongue from evil. One of the sure ways of not “seeing good days”—and making your life and that of others a living misery—is to allow uncontrolled bile to pour out of your tongue. Another is to do outright evil to others (verse 11). You not only make other peoples’ lives miserable, you ultimately turn your own life into a storm of discontent as well. [rw]
and his lips that they speak no guile [deceit, NKJV]. Nothing deceitful or adapted to do injury. 
Nothing that will lead others astray. 
WEB: Let him turn away from evil, and do good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it.
Young’s: let him turn aside from evil, and do good, let him seek peace and pursue it;
Conte (RC): Let him turn away from evil, and do
good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it.
Let him eschew [turn away from, NKJV] evil. Literally swerve out of the way from evil. The two former clauses dealt with the domain of word; these two with the domain of action. It suits Peter’s intention better to take the verse, not as an exhortation to virtue in general, but as an instruction how to behave under provocation and in danger. The “good” which the man is to do is what is kind, not merely what is virtuous; and so, by contrast, the “evil” to be eschewed probably means chiefly what is malicious. 
The idea is that of turning away from something which comes in one’s way. See specially Proverbs 4:15. To this avoidance of evil is added the duty of active goodness, as these two things are coupled elsewhere in the Psalms (Psalms 37:27), in the burden of prophetic exhortation (Isaiah -17), and in Paul (Romans 12:9). 
and do good. In any and every way; by endeavoring to promote the happiness of all. 
let him seek peace, and ensue [pursue, NKJV] it. Follow it; that is, practice it. The meaning is, that a peaceful spirit will contribute to length of days: (1) A peaceful spirit--a calm, serene, and equal temper of mind--is favorable to health, avoiding those corroding and distracting passions which do so much to wear out the physical energies of the frame; and (2) such a spirit will preserve us from those contentions and strifes to which so many owe their death. 
“As much as in you lieth,” says
seek peace. Not only with God and his own conscience, but with his neighbors, which is here especially meant. 
This indicates that the irreproachable goodness in view is still that of those who are under peculiar temptation to the opposite. Those who suffer from slander or other kinds of wrong are not to imagine themselves exempt from these great laws of Christian duty. All the more are they called to guard against every form of evil, to resist the inclination to take their case into their own hand. They are to meet evil by doing positive good, and cultivating all that makes for peace. 
WEB: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears open to their prayer; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
Young’s: because the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears -- to their supplication, and the face of the Lord is upon those doing evil;'
Conte (RC): For the eyes of the Lord are upon the
just, and his ears are with their prayers, but the
countenance of the Lord is upon those who do evil.
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous. He takes special notice of them, exercises a providential constant government over them, and bears a special respect and affection to them. 
[Because of this] they may be sure that his promises will be kept; and, also, that when he lays down conditions, he will see that they are fulfilled. 
The sense that the Lord’s eyes are over you is a sufficient reason for self-restraint under provocation: especially, perhaps, when we see that by “the Lord” Peter understands Jesus Christ. That this is the case is clear from his use of the same Psalm in 1 Peter 2:3. If Christ, the model of meekness under persecution (1 Peter ), is watching, we not only need no passionate self-defense, but should be ashamed to use it. Was Peter thinking how once, while he himself was cursing and swearing at those who accused him of being a Christian, he felt the eyes of the Lord turn upon him? The thought of His eyes being over Us is chiefly that of guardianship. 
For. It may be noted that the “for” is added by the Apostle to emphasize the sequence of thought. There is no conjunction either in the Hebrew or the LXX [of Psalms 34:12-16 that he is quoting]. 
Peter is quoting Psalms 34 as a christocentric one? It is instructive now to turn and see the circumstances in which this Psalm was composed. The moment was one of David’s extremest peril among an infuriated heathen population. The danger and dread he was in are shown in Psalms 56. Yet nothing can be brighter and more serene than Psalms 34. He had obtained life and days; and it was all through confidence in God on the one hand, and inoffensive self-submission on the other.
Had he used violence—“shown spirit,” as we say—like
the “young lions,” he would have come worse off. It seems to be for this cause that Peter
deemed the Psalm so appropriate to his readers, misjudged and suspiciously
watched (Psalms 56:5-6) by unbelievers, who only waited the opportunity to shed
their blood (Psalms 56:1-2). But the
striking change is that, whereas David’s trust in Jehovah was a trust simply in
the Eternal Being without distinction of Persons, Peter bids the Hebrews of
Asia read that Psalm into an act of faith in Jesus. We shall see the same thing in 1 Peter 3:15,
as we saw it in 1 Peter 2:3. The force
of the change will be felt by any one who reads through that Psalm,
substituting (like the
and his ears are open unto their prayers. Rather, are towards their prayer—i.e., directed towards it. 
He listens to them rather than ignores them. [rw]
but the face of the Lord. His anger, or indignation; face being here taken not for God’s favor, (as many times it is), but in the contrary sense, as Leviticus ; Leviticus 20:5; [Psalms 34:16]. Men show by their countenances whether they be angry or pleased; and hence it is that God’s face is sometimes taken for his favor, sometimes for his displeasure. 
is against them that do evil. Peter fails to add what the Psalmist appends here, “to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.” 
Technical note: The two prepositions “over the righteous” and “against them that do evil” express, perhaps, the thought of the original, but as the Greek preposition is the same in both cases, they are open to the charge of being an interpolated refinement. The eyes of God are upon both the good and the evil. It lies in the nature of the case that the result is protective or punitive according to the character of each. 
However: The preposition, also, is the same here as in the former clause, and should be translated simply “upon,” not “against.” The different meaning which God’s sleepless observance must have to the evil is left as self-understood, and obtains thereby an intenser force. It is enough for the righteous to know that God’s eye is upon the evil, and the knowledge of this adds to their own sense of security in the midst of enemies. 
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on the New Testament. Carey Hart,
Henry. Vol. IV: Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.
6 Rev. Dr
C. G. Barth. The Bible Manual.
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8 Joh. Ed. Huther, Th. D., Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the
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11 Rev. S. T. Bloomfield, M.A. Recensio Symoptica Annotations Sacrae
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14 Anonymous [Justin
Edwards]. The New
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