First Peter 3 7
After last weeks message I know some of you have been wondering what will we learn today. I asked specifically that the men in our congregation would pray for the Lord to give the ability to hear what God wants in their lives. My prayer is also that God would give you the power to live out what we will look at this morning. We are addressing the responsibility of a man in how he is to treat his wife.
Read. Eph. 5:22-33, Col. 3:11; 1 Peter 3:7
Of all the passages I have preached on over the years there have been some that are hard to explain, we will have one of those a little farther on in this chapter. But this morning we come to just one verse in 1 Peter and it is not different for it is rather easy to understand but the NIV, KJV, and the ASV don’t translate the verse correctly. So you will need to pay close attention.
The NIV translates Be considerate as you live with your wife. The Greek is far more pointed. The ASV says dwell together and that is closer. The word translated live with and dwell together is from one compound word meaning to make the home together. It is far more considerate living. It is more than dwelling together. It is to be joined as home builders. It is not just the wife’s job. It belongs to both to be homemakers, partnering, two as one, in an awesome task of building a godly home for Christ.
Now that sounds pretty basic. Why does Peter have to tell us men to do this? Because we need to be told. Men are very willing to not get involved at home. In fact some have used the phrase a woman’s place is in the home to avoid their responsibility. Men, God says the home is to be a team event. Husbands and wives together doing whatever it takes to build a home, a family for God’s glory. We are to be partners.
Peter tells us how we are to be homebuilders. Here again the NIV translates it be considerate. The KJV and ASV are closer using the word knowledge. The Greek says “with knowledge/understanding.” The knowledge/understanding is both of God’s Word and the knowledge of what will be best for your wife to build her up into the godly woman the Lord desires her to be. It is a striving to understand her. That involves getting to know and understanding your wife. Dr. Warren W. asks couples preparing for marriage to write down three things each other enjoys doing. He says often the girl gets them right and the guy gets them wrong. What a sad way to start a marriage. Maybe that would be a good discussion for you married couples. It will help you understand how much knowledge you have of your mate. Men you need to have an understanding of the blessing God has given you in your wife. Again don’t buy into the world that says men will never understand women. God’s word says if any of you lacks wisdom – ask. May I say this goes two ways – ask God and communicate with your wife.
This whole concept must have been drastic in that culture because most wives were treated as slaves. Look at what else Peter says. V. 7b Men we are to respect/honor our wives as the weaker vessel. Once again the Greek is clearer. It says we are to assign value. That means actively telling her how valuable she is to you. Please understand Peter is not saying a wife is weaker mentally, morally, or spiritually. He is referring to her physical abilities. The way God made us, men are usually able to do more physically than women. Everyone can see that reality.
What Peter has in mind here is that you treat your wife as a delicate, beautiful, and precious gift of God. Being a loving husband takes work. For a man to respect his wife he must accept her for who she is. She is God’s gift to him, a precious gift.. Dr. Ed Wheat said, “A wife’s sense of her own beauty depends greatly on what her husband thinks of her. She must be nourished with praise and never diminished by criticism.
It takes time and it requires the empowering by the Holy Spirit. Peter goes on and says they are heir with you of God’s gracious gift of life. He is saying spiritually you are equals. Yes there are different roles for men and woman but we are equal in Christ. We are all saved by grace and all of us are dependent upon the Holy Spirit. She in no way is inferior as a person and unlike this world; she will receive equal reward at Christ’s return. Men, we may be physically stronger but sad to say for us churches usually have more spiritually growing woman than men. Therefore respect/honor the assigning value is essential on the part of the husband towards his wife.
Note to you single guys. This is how you should respect all women. Respect, honor, assign value. It requires you to look far beyond the exterior beauty to the true character of every woman. Develop this as a pattern in your life now. You will be a blessing.
That had to be tough as a new believer who use to treat his wife as a slave. Can you imagine his wife as he comes home one day and the husband says I am no longer going treat you as a slave but with honor and respect? I value you and your input into our marriage. We are going to work together to raise these children so that God is glorified. She probably thought he was nuts but then she experienced daily her husband helping at home, respecting and honoring her and living with her as his spiritual equal. Her question would be what happened to you? The answer – I believe in Jesus Christ. Once again what a walking testimony of the gospel - for her and everyone who sees how he treats his wife.
Now men listen to this. God tells us that how we treat our wives will affect our prayer lives! It is the prayers of a righteous man that are effective. If your relationship with your wife is the pits, your prayer life will be the pits as well. Again the word used is hinder and it is far more than hinder it is a military word for cutting up the road so nothing gets through.
Guys do you see this. How you treat your wife affects your walk with Christ. We try so hard to separate our physical life from our spiritual life, but it just doesn’t work. You can’t fool God! A husband who does not treat his wife in accord with the Christian principles set forth in v.7 will thereby be out of fellowship with God, and thus cannot expect God to grant him power in his prayer life.
I want all of you to see what God is saying in this whole section on submission. We dealt with governments, work, marriage. In God’s plan, each believer is to be a most vibrant and appealing testimony to this lost world in whatever position God has placed you. God is showing us in this passage how we should behave in society so as to have the maximum impact on our society for Christ.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church. Whatever it takes for her to be a godly woman you encourage, you guide, you love. For that is exactly what Christ does for His church – He encourages, He guides, He loves us.
So with Peter I state, men, be homebuilders and respect/honor assign value to your wife and pray. Godly praying men are godly husbands who love their wives as Christ loved the church.
Mills, M. 1997, c1987. I Peter : A study guide to the First Epistle by Peter (1 Pe 3:7-8). 3E Ministries: Dallas