Is 1 Peter 3 an eternal Marriage Manual?

“We don’t publish books by women, never have and never will.”

“Find us a man who can write books for women.”

This is what the fictional character Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables was told by a publishing house in 1916 when she went to work there.

It was four years before women would be allowed to vote.

I wonder how many thousands of women and girls have read those Anne of Green Gables books and saw the movie and heard the words about women, and never related it to their lives of today.

Women couldn’t publish books under their own names nor a multitude of other things that women can do today.  We shrug, and think “well, that was the way it was back then.  But it is not that way today.”

It is that way today, of course, only they don’t put the two together.

It is the attitude against women that was prevalent up until 1964 and is still prevalent in our churches today.  Of course we don’t openly tell women that. 

We covertly tell them that.

Remember the pastor who I wrote about yesterday?  The Father’s Day message where he told the men that husbands must allow their wives to submit, because “the women had to submit in order to honor God.”

Same attitude.  We put up with it in our churches, because they always put God into the sentences. 

Whenever  a preacher tells a woman that to honor God, she has to submit, she ought to run to her Bible and find out why Peter or the Apostle Paul would say such a thing. The fact is that the intent of the scripture is always misquoted.

1 Peter 3 is the passage that the pastor quoted in the sermon.  The pastor said that fewer marriages would break up if the wife would submit to her husband.  That passage is not about saving marriages. 

This is what the passage is about.

It starts in 1 Peter Chapter 2 with Peter telling them that now that they are Christians, they should act in this way toward others:

  • Keep your behavior excellent among Gentiles
  • Submit yourselves to human institutions – kings or those in authority
  • Act as free men and do not use your freedom for evil
  • Servants are to treat their masters with respect
  • Wives are to respect their husbands
  • Husbands are to respect their wives.

It ends with Chapter 3 and Verse 8-9 “To conclude: you must all have the same attitude and the same feelings; love one another as brothers, and be kind and humble with one another. Do not pay back evil with evil or cursing with cursing; instead, pay back with a blessing, because a blessing is what God promised to give you when he called you.” (Good News Bible)

They stole Peter’s words about living together in harmony, and made it an eternal marriage manual in which the wife submits.

The passage actually says “Wives, now that you are Christians, this is what you should do.  Continue on in your marriage the way you always have.  Maybe your good character and demeanor will win your husband over to the Lord.” 

Remember wifely submission was a fact of life for those women.  (See first sentence of this blog). Peter wasn’t telling them to submit.  They were already submitting, like they had done every day of their life. 

Peter is telling them the same thing that Jesus told them: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  (Matthew 7:12 NIV)

“I’ve never seen how people who read the Bible so much, know so little about it” (Don Taylor, husband of Shirley Taylor)

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
This entry was posted in Apostle Paul clarified, Do Baptists Really Believe That?, Male Headship fallacy, Marriage, Scriptures explained and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Is 1 Peter 3 an eternal Marriage Manual?

  1. Mara says:

    Shirley, off-topic, but actually not too far off.

    There is a blog at Biblegateway that is activily surpressing any balanced argument against the surpression of women by Comp doctrine.

    You can see the evidence of it on Suzanne’s Bookshelf


  2. EricW says:

    Complementarianism when it’s a euphemism for patriarchalism is evil. It may appear to be benign, but it is an enemy, not only of women, but of the Gospel.

    Says me. 🙂


  3. Lydia says:

    This passage starts way back in Chp 2 and is about believers who must live around unbelievers and how to do it. Many pastors conveniently ignore the context.

    NEver read a bible verse! Read the whole book or letter!


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