(Vs. 1) In the preceding chapter the apostle speaks of giving honor, obedience, and respect to kings, magistrates, and people who hold an office or a position of leadership and authority. This chapter begins with "likewise" (in the same manner) as the husband is the leader and ruling authority in the home, the wife is to be in subjection. Other scriptures dealing with this subject are Gen. 3:16; I Cor. 11:3, and Eph. 5:22-24. A woman who desires to be in God's will shall love her husband, speak respectfully of him and to him, and seek to carry out his wishes in family affairs.
Peter explains that one reason for this is that, if the husband is not a believer, he will be impressed by the behavior and spiritual attitude of his wife and will seek the mercy of the lord. Peter is not teaching that a man is saved without hearing the gospel; but it is not the arguments, nagging, and talking of religion by the wife that impress him, but her godly attitude and conduct.
(Vs. 2) When the unbelieving partner observes the modest and holy conduct of his wife, along with her love for and faith in Christ, together with a reverence for his authority, he will be impressed and may be led to seek the Lord. A rebellious, contentious, and bossy wife can never impress an unbelieving husband. Her religion is vain (James 2:18-20).
(Vs. 3) "Whose adorning." Let it not be only outward such as the hair, jewelry, and clothing of the body. The apostle is not condemning the proper care and beauty of the hair. There were women among the Jews whose business it was to plait and care for women's hair. He is not forbidding the moderate use of jewelry. (The daughters of Abraham were supplied with such things--Gen. 24:22, 30, 47, 53.) He is not forbidding neat, attractive, modest clothing which is suitable to age, character, and station in life; but he is saying that believing women should not so much regard and be so intent on the adorning of their bodies and the outward signs of beauty as they should be concerned with the beauty of a godly character, attitude, and personality. The beauty of the heart and mind and soul is real beauty (I Tim. 2:9-10).
(Vs. 4) Women (and men), let your care and concern be toward making beautiful the inward person (called "the hidden man" because it is not seen with the natural eye as the corruptible, outward ornaments are seen). Far better to be known for the inward beauty of a meek and quiet spirit which lasts eternally than to impress people for a while with corruptible ornaments and outward beauty that will soon fade and wither away (Luke 16:15; Matt. 23:25-28).
(Vs. 5) This is the example set for us by all the women of the past who trusted in God. Their adorning and marks of beauty came not from outward wardrobes, Jewelry, and hairstyles; but they were in subjection to the law of God, submissive wives, and good mothers (Titus 2:3-5). Nothing is less attractive or uglier than a woman trying to rule a home or a church (I Tim. 2:8-15).
(Vs. 6) Sarah journeyed with Abraham wherever he went, did the things he asked her to do, and respectfully called him her lord. You women can be called the true daughters of Sarah as you follow her example, not being shaken by fear for your security, your rights, your pride, or your station in life. After all, you are not seeking the praise of people but the praise of the Lord.
(Vs. 7) Likewise (in the same manner), there is an HONOR, RESPECT, and RECOGNITION to be given to the wife by her husband.
1. "Dwell with your wives according to knowledge." Use wisdom and good sense. Your wife is not a slave, but a loving companion. She is not a subject to be ordered about by a rod of law, but apart of you to be instructed in love.
2. "Give honor to the wife." There are several honors that crown the head of a woman. (a) She was created by God as she is in order to bring joy, companionship, and comfort to man (I Cor. 11:9). (b) She is a man's wife. There is no one closer or of more importance to him on this earth (Gen. 2:24). (c) She is a mother (Gen. 3:20). What could carry more honor, respect, or recognition as far as this world of flesh is concerned than to bring forth a son or a daughter?
3. "Treat her as a weaker vessel;" that is, with tenderness, gentleness, and kindness. Real strength shines brighter when it can carry a great load and at the same time caress a flower. The man who holds his wife in contempt holds God in contempt, for she is a gift from God.
4. She is to be looked upon as a joint-heir with you of the grace of God. She is a daughter of our blessed King; therefore, to abuse her, mistreat her, and to treat her with contempt is to incur the wrath of her Father and to hinder your prayers and fellowship with Him (Eph. 5:25).