Here at 113Restoration.com, our guiding principle is I Corinthians 11:3. The word picture we use to represent this verse is shown below. Hierarchy is represented by the superior positioned on the left side of the arrow with his subordinate on the right side of the arrow.
God the Father (YHVH) <- God the Son (Yeshua) <- Man <- Woman
In his letter to the exiled descendants of the ten tribes who were at that time living in and around Asia Minor (see I Peter 1:1-2), Peter was both explaining some fundamentals of the faith that they needed to know and giving excellent advice for walking in their public and private lives. My purpose here is not to expound on the entire letter, but to demonstrate that in the section 2:13 – 3:7 he was teaching the exiles the importance of respecting one’s superior in the hierarchy and loving one’s subordinate, in particular one’s wife. Let’s begin by considering I Peter 2:13-17.
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God, that by doing right you silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Act as free people, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond-servants of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.I Peter 2:13-17
Peter tells us to submit ourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution. From the context, it looks like he specifically means the political rulers. He is saying that kings and governors are sent by Him, the Lord, as his agents for punishing evildoers and praising the righteous. That means if these rulers are sent by Yeshua, then we as Yeshua’s subordinates fear God and honor the king. I also want to point out that while we can act as free people, we should use our freedom, not to cover evil, but by behaving as bond-servants for God (see Romans 6:22 and I Corinthians 7:22 for Paul’s thoughts on this.)
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are harsh.I Peter 2:18
Peter now turns from free men honoring the king to the relationship between master and servant. He tells servants to be subject to their masters with all respect. Subordinates respect their superiors.
Moving from the general case of servants being subject to their masters, Peter now addresses the specific instance of Jesus Christ as the Master, and redeemed men as his servants.
21 For you have been called for this purpose, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you would follow in His steps, 22 He who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being abusively insulted, He did not insult in return; while suffering, He did not threaten, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself brought our sins in His body up on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.I Peter 2:21-25
What is the purpose that Peter is referencing here? The purpose is for each redeemed man to imitate Yeshua as He walked here on the Earth. Yeshua is our Example. Peter gives examples of how Yeshua humbly walked but what I really want to highlight is that Yeshua kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously (see Genesis 18:22-33). This Righteous Judge is none other than YHVH Himself. We were sinners and straying like sheep, but now we have returned to the Shepherd through his suffering, death and resurrection.
Yeshua looked to His Father and acted in love towards us. This is His example. I can represent this with another word picture.
God the Father <- entrust/respect – Yeshua the Son – love -> redeemed sheep
In the same way, you wives, be subject to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won over without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your pure and respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely the external—braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or putting on apparel; 4 but it should be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way the holy women of former times, who hoped in God, also used to adorn themselves, being subject to their own husbands, 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord; and you have proved to be her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.I Peter 3:1-6
“In the same way”, as servants respect their masters with all respect (2:18), so are wives to be subject to their husbands. Peter is saying that unredeemed men can be won over by their wives’ respectful behavior. Yes, wives must place their husbands above themselves in the patriarchal hierarchy, but that willing and respectful submission is so powerful it can win men for Christ!!!
7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.I Peter 3:7
“In the same way” as Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ enables His redeemed men to die to their sin and live for righteousness, so do husbands enable their wives to die to their sin and live for righteousness. Outside of the equality they share in salvation, the husband must regard his wife as a subordinate and helpmeet.
The English phrase in an “understanding way” does not, in my opinion, adequately translate the Greek word ‘gnosis’ (G#1108). In Greek, ‘gnosis’ means the following:
- knowledge signifies in general intelligence, understanding
- the general knowledge of Christian religion
- the deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of this religion, such as belongs to the more advanced
- esp. of things lawful and unlawful for Christians
- moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living
The redeemed husband dwells with his wife and brings her into a deeper and more perfect knowledge, and teaches her to know what is lawful and not lawful (what agrees with Torah and what doesn’t, what is holy and profane, what is clean and unclean). He understands what she lacks and supplies it so she is elevated in her understanding and walk. This isn’t about letting the wife continue in sinful behavior because she’s “weaker” and her husband needs to “understand” her.
As Yeshua trains and elevates the husband, so also does the husband train and elevate his wife.
The husband respects Yeshua and obeys Him. The wife respects her husband and obeys him.
Yeshua loves the husband. The husband loves the wife. Doing this honors his wife and he shares with her the joy and grace of salvation for in this, they are equals. Significantly, as the husband lives in an understanding way with his wife, his prayers are not hindered!!
Nevertheless, as for you individually, each husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.Ephesians 5:33
If a husband does not teach his wife and elevate her as Yeshua has taught and elevated him from being an unredeemed wandering sheep, he is not behaving righteously and his prayers will be hindered. Perhaps that’s a tactful way of saying “ignored”? If a husband listens to his wife more than he listens to Yeshua, as Adam did Eve, would Yeshua be disrespected? Wouldn’t that husband’s prayers get hindered (ignored)?