There are two topics that we need to address: from verses 1-8 we hear some words about wives, and in vss.18-19 we find verses which are beneficial to us when we talk about the Apostles’ Creed. Let’s look at the verses that Peter, who was married and had a mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-15), wrote in regards to wives. So it is crucial to understand that the very highest apostle, Peter, who was placed as the head of the church, was married. There are denominations that do not allow their clergy to marry, and yet Peter, the primary Apostle, was married. One would not be incorrect to say that this is somewhat ambivalent at best and hypocritical at worst.
We find a command for wives to be obedient unto their husbands. I think I have posted this article before, but I want to do it again because it is so important and it is so good.
So where does this lead us to in regards to these verses and this chapter in I Peter? These verses speak about a woman staying in a relationship with an unbelieving husband for the purpose of leading them to the Lord. This concept is fraught with difficulties, especially when we are dealing with ministry with teens. I always tell teens that when you date, you never know if this is the person that God has chosen for your life, but if the person is an unbeliever, then you already know that this is not someone that God has in mind for you, so why even bother?
These verses also give guidance on how women should dress and what they should do. So, here is my statement and my question. We live in a grey world. There are some who say that they follow the words of Scripture 100% and if the Bible says it then it must be right and it is what I am going to do. Yes, I agree, I’m with you on that. But if you are a woman and you say this…do you braid your hair? Do you wear any type of gold jewelry? I don’t mean this just for women, but for men as well, for other things that the Bible says. How have we justified not to follow the commands of Scripture that these verses give us and yet say that there are other commands which we absolutely must follow? It is grey, isn’t it? We choose to follow certain Scriptures simply because they make more sense to us in our time and in our context. It is not because we believe the Bible more than someone else. We believe those things in the Bible that make the most sense to us more than others. Those who choose to follow these verses of the Bible and demand that their wives submit, choose to do it because it benefits them.
They don’t focus on Galatians 3:28. They don’t focus on Judges 4. There are other verses which focus on the parallel worth and mutuality of women, but I’m guessing that those who focus on I Peter 3 tend not to spend too much time on these other verses. But we don’t really get to pick and choose, do we? Then how are we to decide what we really believe and what Scripture actually teaches us? Much of it is based upon the leading of the Holy Spirit and the consistency of Scripture teaching us the same message over and over again. It isn’t easy.
The second item is that which we find in vss.18-19. It is here where we find the basis for the phrase in the Apostles’ Creed: He descended into hell. We do believe that when Jesus died he descended into hell to preach to those who did not know that the Messiah had arrived and that he is the Messiah. It is a sign of God’s amazing grace that he came and was able to do just that.