3:1 Likewise, 1 ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; 2 that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
(1) In the third place he sets forth the wives duties to their husbands, commanding them to be obedient. (2) He speaks namely of those who had husbands who were not Christians, who ought so much the more be subject to their husbands, that by their honest and chaste conversation, they may win them to the Lord. 3:3 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
(3) He condemns the unrestrained indulgences and excesses of women, and sets forth their true apparel, such as is precious before God, that is, the inward and incorruptible, which consists in a meek and quiet spirit. 3:4 But [let it be] the a hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is b in the sight of God of great price.
(a) Who has his abiding place fastened in the heart: so that the hidden man is set against the outward adorning of the body. 3:5 4 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
(b) Precious indeed and so taken of God.
(4) An argument taken from the example of women, and especially of Sarah, who was the mother of all believers. 3:6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are 5 not afraid with any amazement.
(5) Because women are by nature fearful, he gives them to understand that he requires of them that subjection, which is not wrung out from them either by force or fear. 3:7 6 Likewise, ye husbands, c dwell with [them] according to d knowledge, 7 giving e honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker f vessel, 8 and as being heirs together of the g grace of life; 9 that your prayers be not hindered.
(6) He also teaches husbands their duties, that is, that the more understanding and wisdom they have, the more wisely and circumspectly they behave themselves. 3:8 10 Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous:
(c) Do all the duties of wedlock.
(d) The more wisdom the husband has, the more circumspectly he must behave himself in bearing those inconveniences, which through the womans weakness often cause trouble both to the husband and the wife. (7) The second argument: because the wife nonetheless is weaker by nature than the man, she is an excellent instrument of the man, made for far more excellent uses: upon which it follows that she is not therefore to be neglected, because she is weak, but on the contrary she ought to be so much more cared for.
(e) Having an honest care for her.
(f) The woman is called a vessel after the manner of the Hebrews, because the husband uses her as his friend and helper, to live faithfully before God. (8) The third argument: for that they are equal in that which is the most important (that is to say, in the benefit of eternal life) who otherwise are unequal concerning the leadership and conduct at home, and therefore they are not to be despised although they are weak.
(g) Of that gracious and free benefit, by which we have everlasting life given to us. (9) The fourth argument: All fighting and rebuking must be avoided, because they hinder prayers and the whole service of God, to which both the husband and wife are equally called.
3:9 11 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; 12 knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
(10) He turns to common exhortations, and commends harmony and whatever things pertain to the maintenance of peace and mutual love.
3:10 13 For he that will love life, and h see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
(11) We must not only not recompense injury for injury, but we must also recompense them with benefits.
(12) An argument taken by comparison: Seeing that we ourselves are unworthy of so great bountifulness, than forgive one anothers faults? And from this verse to the end of the chapter, ( 1 Peter 3:9-22 ), there is a digression, to exhort us valiantly to bear afflictions.
3:12 For the eyes of the Lord [are] over the righteous, and his ears [are open] unto their prayers: but the i face of the Lord [is] against them that do evil.
(13) A secret objection: But this our patience shall be nothing else but an inciting and hardening of the wicked in their wickedness, to make them set upon us more boldly and destroy us. Indeed (faith the apostle by the words of David) to live without doing harm, and to follow after peace when it flies away, is the way to that happy and quiet peace. If so be any man be afflicted for doing justly, the Lord marks all things, and will in his time deliver the godly, who cry to him, and will destroy the wicked.
(h) Lead a blessed and happy life.
(i) This word "face" after the manner of the Hebrews, is taken for "anger". 3:13 14 And who [is] he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness sake, happy [are ye]: 15 and be not afraid of their k terror, neither be troubled;
(14) The second argument: when the wicked are provoked, they are more wayward: therefore they must instead be won by good deeds. If they cannot be gained by that means also, yet nonetheless we shall be blessed if we suffer for righteousness sake.
3:15 But l sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: 16 and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
(15) A most certain counsel in afflictions, be they never so terrible, to be of a steady mind and to stand fast. But how shall we attain to it? If we sanctify God in our minds and hearts, that is to say, if we rest upon him as one that is almighty that loves mankind, that is good and true indeed.
(k) Be not dismayed as they are.
(l) Give him all prayers and glory, and hang only on him. 3:17 17 For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
(16) He will have us, when we are afflicted for righteousness sake, to be careful not for redeeming of our life, either with denying or renouncing the truth, or with like violence, or any such means: but rather to give an account of our faith boldly, and yet with a meek spirit, and full of godly reverence, that the enemies may not have anything justly to object, but may rather be ashamed of themselves.
3:18 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, 19 the just for the unjust, 20 that he might bring us to God, 21 being put to death in the m flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
(17) A reason which stands upon two general rules of Christianity, which nonetheless all men do not allow. The one is, if we must suffer afflictions, it is better to suffer wrongfully than rightfully: the other is this, because we are so afflicted not by accident, but by the will of our God.
3:19 22 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
(18) A proof of either of the rules, by the example of Christ himself our chief pattern, who was afflicted not for his own sins (which were none) but for ours, and that according to his Fathers decree.
(19) An argument taken by comparison: Christ the just, suffered for us that are unjust and shall it grieve us who are unjust, to suffer for the cause of Christ.
(20) Another argument being partly taken of things coupled together, that is, because Christ brings us to his Father that same way that he went himself, and partly from the cause efficient: that is, because Christ is not only set before us for an example to follow, but also he holds us up by his power in all the difficulties of this life, until he bring us to his Father.
(21) Another argument taken from the happy end of these afflictions, in which Christ also goes before us both in example and power, as one who suffered most grievous torments even to death, although but only in one part of him, that is, in the flesh or mans nature: but yet became conqueror by virtue of his divinity.
(m) As touching his manhood, for his body was dead, and his soul felt the sorrows of death.
3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when n once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight o souls were saved by water.
(22) A secret objection: Christ indeed might do this, but what is that to us? Indeed (faith the apostle) for Christ has showed his power in all ages both in the preservation of the godly, were they never so few and miserable, and in avenging the rebellion of his enemies, as it appears by the history of the flood: for Christ is he who in those days (when God through his patience appointed a time of repentance to the world) was present, not in corporal presence, but by his divine power, preaching repentance, even by the mouth of Noah himself who then prepared the ark, to those disobedient spirits who are now in prison, waiting for the full recompence of their rebellion, and saved those few, (that is, only eight people) in the water.
(n) This word "once" shows that there was a furthermost day appointed, and if that were once past, there should be no more. 3:21 23 The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward p God,) 24 by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
(23) A proportional applying of the former example to the time which followed the coming of Christ: for the preservation of Noah in the waters, was a figure of our baptism, not as though the material water of baptism shows us, as those waters which bare up the ark saved Noah, but because Christ with his inward virtue, which the outward baptism shadows, preserves us being washed, so that we may call upon God with a good conscience.
(p) The conscience being sanctified, may freely call upon God.
(24) That same virtue, by which Christ rose again, and now being carried up into heaven has received all power, does at this day defend and preserve us.