June 7, 2011
RESPECTFUL AND PURE BEHAVIOR
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We have seen that the Godly wife must be submissive to her husband, and also win them without a word when their husbands disobey the Word of God. Today we will move deeper in the text to learn precisely what actions the wife should take to win her disobedient husband.
as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
1 Peter 3:2
Observation of the Wife. Notice the word “observe” (“ἐποπτεύσαντες“). Husband watch their wives, and especially watch for her response to his sinful behavior. Husbands often swap stories about the things their wives say to them, and the problems they have had with their wives. Wives, of course, do the same things. Here, however, the wife expects the husband to give careful attention to her behavior. The less she says, the more her behavior will shine for Jesus Christ, or not. Her husband will watch her carefully while he remains in disobedience to the Word of God. Sometimes, he will be looking for any excuse to continue his sinful behavior, or even expand it. When the wife remains silent, the focus will not be upon her words, but her actions.
The “in Fear” Chaste Behavior. The original text here conveys a special meaning by the arrangement of the words. In English, the words chaste and respectful seem to be separate descriptions of the word behavior. I would prefer to bring out the close connection in the original between the two words: chaste and respectful. The term “respectful” actually means here “in fear” (“ἐν φόβῳ“). You may say that the wife should not “fear” her husband, but consider Ephesians 5:21 where we all live “in fear” (“ἐν φόβῳ“) of Christ. Peter used this same expression in 1 Peter 1:17 where we live “in fear” (“ἐν φόβῳ“) during the time we stay upon earth, knowing that judgment will be coming from the Father. Likewise, in 1 Peter 2:18, servants live “in fear” (“ἐν φόβῳ“) of their masters. Peter placed this phrase “in fear” in the middle of “the chaste” so that it reads in Greek: “the in fear chaste” manner of life. The word “chaste” (“ἁγνὴν“) also deserves careful review. “Chaste” here means pure from carnality, pure from every fault, with sincerity. Wives do not play get-even games with their husbands, or headache games, or make any retaliatory moves in response to the the sinful behavior of their husbands. The emphasis is that their Godly fear of their husbands relates directly to the purity of the behavior. Finally, the term “behavior” (“ἀναστροφὴν“) helps us understand the general response of the wife. This term “behavior” means more than one or two isolated acts of purity, or reverence. It speaks of a lifestyle of Godly living. The husband’s sinful behavior does not deflect her from her manner of living consistent with quiet reverence for God, demonstrated in love for her husband.
So we learn more about spiritual wives today and their role in daily devotions.
● Being a wife in Christ means that you live with Godly fear of your husband at all times, but especially when he lives in disobedience to the Word of God.
● Being a wife in Christ means that you live in purity before God, especially when your husband lives in disobedience to the Word of God. Just because your husband lives in disobedience will never be an excuse for you to live in disobedience too.
● Being a wife in Christ means that you expect your husband, children, and the entire world to pay close attention to your behavior. We often see the wives of politicians standing with them at press conferences, sending a message of support for them, even after their indiscretions. The Christian wife stands with God, and lives accordingly, so that by her respectful and chaste behavior, she tries to win her husband, so that he stops his disobedience to the Word of God.
Application for Today
The Godly wife lives in respectful fear and purity at all times, and especially when her husband lives in disobedience to the Word of God. She follows the example of Jesus Christ, by ministering to her husband without a word, but speaking loudly through her manner of life. She continues to live for God, and experience His blessings, while her husband lives in disobedience. All of us need to master this principle of Godly living, especially when people we love around us live in sinful disobedience to the Word of God. Will you live in fear and purity, no matter how people you love treat you today? Will you expect God’s blessing upon your life for doing so today?