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A Controversial Bible Passage

November 12, 2019

Wives, in the same way, be submissive to your husbands. 1 Peter 3:1 (NIV)

No Bible passage today is more controversial than this one! So it’s especially important to be sure we understand what God is saying.

Peter explains when he speaks about the holy women of the past who put their hope in God: “They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master” (3:5-6).

It is fascinating that God identifies Sarah as the model for Christian wives. Sarah was no pushover; she was a strong-willed woman. She insisted that Hagar should be excluded from the household after Isaac was born (and Abraham didn’t like it). But Sarah was right, and we know that because God told Abraham to do what she said (Gen. 21:12).

Women who follow Sarah’s example will not give unthinking, slavish obedience to their husbands. God does not call you to be a cheerleader when your husband is headed in the wrong direction. Your husband may need you to say, “This is wrong.” Sarah was like the voice of God to her husband, and there may be times when you have that ministry too.

Sarah treated Abraham with great respect. Master was a term of respect like sir, or Mr. That sounds awkward, but what it means is Sarah did not look down on Abraham. She played a wonderful role in making him the great man of God that he became.

It was through Isaac’s line that Jesus Christ was born into the world! Sarah could never have imagined what God would do through her love and loyalty to Abraham, but her faithfulness will result in a vast crowd from every tribe and nation glorifying God for all eternity.

In your own words, what do you think God is saying in 1 Peter 3:1?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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