What happens to marriages between the picture on the left and the picture on the right?
1. If you could give just one word of advice to a young couple getting married, what would it be? (Provide an index card for each person to write their response, collect and read them.)
It would seem that everyone has some advice for young couples but it would be very helpful to sort valid from invalid advice.
2. Throughout Scripture we are told that a wife is to submit to her husband. How do you define biblical submission? (Although it is counter cultural to consider adopting a posture of submission in most instances, it should be a goal of every Christian. Understanding what true submission looks like is critical to being able to live the life that Christ requires of us.)
When we come to understand, as Christians, that Christ gave Himself for our redemption we find it easier to submit to Him. Likewise, when a husband loves his wife as Christ loved us, few wives will find it hard to submit to her husband’s God given leadership of the home.
Today’s session provides the scriptural basis for how believers can honor God through healthy relationships, including those closest to us.
For The Wife!
Verse 1 of our text references Peter’s previous discussion about slaves and masters in 1 Peter 2:18-25. Peter had encouraged slaves to submit themselves to their masters in the hopes that they would see the attitude of Jesus in them. He encouraged wives, likewise, to submit to their unbelieving husbands in the hopes that the wives would lead them to Christ.
Read 1 Peter 3:1-6
1. Why would Peter give such detailed instructions on what submission looks like in the daily life of a believer? (Submission must be intentional! Our human nature must be subdued to fit in with God’s plan for us to remain gentle and humble.
2. According to this passage, what is the purpose of submission? (So that others might be led to accept Jesus as their Savior!)
A submissive spirit is ultimately about pleasing God rather than simply pleasing one’s husband. God approves a gentle and quiet spirit rather than one that is rebellious. A wife is to submit first to God then to her husband. Nowhere in Scripture is she commanded to submit to any other man.
3. Peter called on wives to focus on inner beauty. Why would the commonly heard phrase “beautiful is inside and out” be a good summary to Peter’s instructions here? (The outward beauty cannot compete with inward beauty. Peter is not saying don’t wear nice looking clothes and jewelry. Outward appearance is far less important than attending to one’s character and inner nature.)
Submission does not imply inferiority. Submission is given willingly, never coerced. Submission does not mean wives are to participate in sinful activities dictated by husbands or to remain in life-threatening situations for them or their children!
For The Husband! Read 1 Peter 3:7
Have members read from several different translations.
1. How do the different translations help us understand this verse?
2. According to Peter, what is the husband’s attitude to be toward his wife? (He must consider the needs of his wife, who is physically weaker, and treat her accordingly. More to the point, he must honor her, a word that elevates the wife’s status above his own.)
It is important that the husband recognize the wife’s equality in Christ. She is a co-heir, not inferior or superior, but one who will share equally in the kingdom of God.
3. What does a man’s treatment of his wife and other women reveal about his view of himself and of God?
4. What is impacted by how the husband treats his wife? (Peter says here it will determine whether his own prayers are answered. A husband who mistreats his wife sets up barriers between him and God. It is sin!)
Read Eph. 5:25A woman married to a man who loves her as Christ loves the church will have no problem submitting to his leadership in the home!
For All Believers! Read 1 Peter 3:8-12
1. According to this passage, how are believers to relate to each other? (Likeminded; sympathetic; love one another; compassionate; humble; not paying evil; not giving insults; give blessings ;)
2. How could following Peter’s directives impact the church?
3. How could it impact our society?
4. Psalm 34:12-16 is alluded to in verses 10-12. What do these verses tell us to do?
5. Why are we to do these things? (verse 12)
6. What are some of the biggest challenges Christians face in understanding how to honor God through marriage and healthy relationships?
7. What are the rewards of being a submissive Christian? (Submission enhances relationships; God counts it as righteousness. Finally, God blesses us when we do good to others, even those who mistreat us.)
Summarize and Challenge!
Wives demonstrate Christ by submitting to their husbands and possessing a pure lifestyle. Husbands demonstrate Christ by loving, protecting, understanding, and respecting their wives. Believers can be a blessing to others by offering godly compassion and love.
1. What can you do this week to invest in your marriage?
2. For marrieds and singles: What practical action are you taking or do you need to take in light of this passage?
3. In what direct and indirect ways have you shown yourself to be submissive?
4. In what ways have you refused to be submissive?
5. If there are outstanding issues that need to be resolved, decide on the steps that you will take to submit to that authority.
Challenge: Begin each day this week by reading 1 Peter 3:8-12 and asking God to help you recognize opportunities to be a blessing to others, especially those who insult or mistreat you in some way.