Our Respectful and Pure Conduct







Dear Sisters,

In my November 15 blog entry regarding Ephesians 5:24 “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” I’d said I’d share more on my study of 1 Peter 3.  I apologize that it has taken me this long to type it out.  Please pray for me, I’m planning to have surgery on my right elbow on December 19 which will hopefully help with all the pain and difficulty I’ve been having with writing and typing.

So, when I was reading Ephesians 5:24 and saw that word “submits,” I wondered if it was the same (in the Greek) in 1 Peter 3.  Sure enough.  It was.

1 Peter 3:1 (ESV) – “Likewise, wives, be subject (hypotasso) to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey (apeitheo) the word, they may be won (kerdaino) without a word by the conduct of their wives.”

Apeitheo – not to allow one’s self to be persuaded, to refuse or withhold belief, to refuse belief and obedience, not to comply with.

Kerdaino – to gain, acquire.  To gain one to faith in Christ.

Listen, these wives are being told to submit to their own husbands – even (or especially) the ones who do not believe, comply with, obey God’s Word.

Let me tell it like it is.  You know, for me, when my husband is being a godly, humble, patient, loving, servant leader, it is a joy for me to submit to him … but what about the times when he isn’t.  The times when he’s being selfish? Childish? Careless?

Yep.  Even then.  I am told to submit to him even in those times.  In fact, those are the times when I need to be praying fervently for strength and wisdom.  Those are the times when I must walk by the spirit and not by the lusts of my flesh.  Those are the times when I need to display as the following verse references my “respectful and pure conduct.”

One more thing – in the King James Version, 1 Peter 3:1 is translated like this:

“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 (this word means conduct, not speech) of the wives.”

Did you catch it?  In the KJV both times the Greek word is translated to phrase is “the word” while in the ESV it is “the word” the first time and “a word” the second time.
As I understand it, there is no indefinite article (“a”) in Greek.  In the original Greek, both of these are simply written as “logos” so we cannot be certain whether it is “a word” or “the word.”  And, do you know what?  They BOTH make sense.  Our husbands might be won without THE word, but they may also be won without A word from our mouths.  But it both ways, it is our respectful & pure (chaste) conduct which wins them.

This brings us to 1 Peter 3:2 “when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

This verse was unremarkable until I looked it up in the Greek.  Any guess what the Greek word translated “respectful” is?  PHOBOS.  Yes.  Phobos – fear, dread, terror … revererence.  Look back at my previous entry on Ephesians 5 on this word “phobos.”  Wow – another agreement between these two passages of 1 Peter 3 and Ephesians 5.

And how about that word “pure?”  This is “hagnos” in Greek, meaning “exciting reverence, venerable, sacred, pure, chaste, immaculate, clean.”

When I read this it reminds me of my teenage years, before I had come to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I would look around and see my friends leading sin-filled lives and yet calling themselves Christians and I was confused.  Their conduct was certainly not winning me to the Lord, in fact it led me to “blaspheme the word of God” (Titus 2:5).

My life as a wife and a follower of Jesus Christ must be characterized by purity and respect, by reverence and chastity, that I would draw my husband – whether a follower of Christ or not – into a closer walk with Jesus.  When I find myself getting caught up in petty, selfish quarrels, I need to ask myself, “Is this really that important?  Is this really a battle God wants ME to fight?  Am I trying to be God to my husband?”

May we all remember Proverbs 3:5-7, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and He will make straight your paths.  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”

More tomorrow — God willing.


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