1 Peter 3:1-2
This passage has always astonished me. I understand the instruction is for wives in relation to their husbands. This relationship is discussed several times in Scripture (Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18 and Titus 2:3-5).
Doesn't the fact that husbands are saved by the manner in which their wives live catch your attention? The NLT says "In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives."
So what kind of lives lead to the salvation of those who have no interest in the Good News? It would seem this has application not just for wives of unbelieving husbands but all of us.
Peter uses two words to describe this influential life. The first is respectful. Peter uses this word several times in his letter (1 Peter 1:17, 2:18, 3:2, 3:15) so it is significant. The first use refers to all who call God, Father. Peter instructs those who do to conduct their lives with fear. The other three times the word is translated as respect or respectful. The first use of the Greek word phobos is used to describe the disciples when they saw Jesus walk on water and thought He was a ghost in Matthew 14:26. The passage says they "cried out in fear."
Vines, one of the dictionaries I use, defines this word based upon its use in Matthew 10:28, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Vines summarizes their definition as "the reverential fear of God will inspire a constant carefulness in dealing with others in His fear." Doesn't that fit very well with Peter's instruction in verse 17 of chapter 1? So the first attribute of a holy, influential life is the manner in which I conduct myself around others based upon my fear, reverence, and awe of my Father.
The second attribute is pure conduct. In Greek, this is one word which is used primarily in the NT to describe moral purity or innocence. Another dictionary I use, Little Kittle, had this amazing definition, "The original meaning is 'what awakens awe.'" So the second attribute of a soul winning life is moral purity and innocence; a life that awakens awe in the observer. It struck me that a life lived in awe of the Father would surely reflect Him.
I have often been told "I am not good at witnessing about my faith. I just don't know what to say. I don't know the Bible well enough". Isn't our Father gracious! If you have ever felt incapable of speaking your faith, God has given you the ability to witness without a spoken word. On the other hand, if you are able and willing to speak of the God of your salvation, does your life exhibit the attributes of one who lives in fear, reverence, and awe of Father?
Father God, intellectually I know all wisdom and knowledge starts with a fear of You. May all of us who call on You as Father live respectful and pure lives for Your glory as a faithful witness of Your Good News. Holy Spirit, please help me with the application of how to faithfully live in fear of my Abba. I want my life to reflect my God and my Father.
1 Peter 3:1-2