Welcome back to our online Inductive Bible Study on 1 Peter, “A Living Hope in Christ” by Jen Wilkin.   We just completed Week Six of our study, which is the second part of a three-part series on Submission.  Last week we observed 1 Peter 2:13-25, the first of a three-part series on understanding submission and the importance of submitting to authoritative figures in our communities and in our nation.

This week we studied 1 Peter 3:1-12 and looked at submission in a more personal and intimate light in the marriage relationship.   In today’s culture, any discussion regarding the role of women that includes the word submission always produced a misunderstanding followed by intense reactions.  My prayer is that after studying these passages on a more deeper level has enhanced your understanding in what God truly desires for us as His children.

So let’s take a look at this troublesome verse:

“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the Word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.” 1 Peter 3:1 NIV

First of all, let’s explore what the word submissive means:

The Greek word for submissive is hypotassō, and it means to obey:—be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto. (blueletterbible.org)

In other words, wives are to obey their husbands. I am sure this is an area many of us fail miserably.  1 Peter 3:1 has been misunderstood for years.  I recall a time in Sunday School in my young adult couples class, we were studying this same passage of Scripture and our Sunday School teacher asked for one of the ladies to read 1 Peter 3:1, and no one would volunteer.  Being a newlywed, I volunteered to read the passage, and every woman in the class glared at me.  At the time, I did not understand why.  After being married for a few years, I joined the ranks.  Submit to my husband so he can dominate me? No way!

Now, let’s look at how husbands are to relate to their wives:

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1 Peter 3:7 NIV

It wasn’t until years later I began to understand why God included these passages of Scriptures in His Holy Word.

Husbands are to treat their wives with “respect.”  The NASB version states for husbands to “honor” their wives.  How does this look in real life?

What it boils down to is this is not played out in real life situations.  However, it is a simple prescription that God gave us for a long and happy marital relationship.  If husbands treated their wives with respect and honor, wives would have no problem submitting to their husbands.  And vice versa, if wives are submissive to their husbands, husbands would have no problem respecting their wives.  It’s a mutual trust and faith relationship.  And I truly believe in my heart that marriages would be saved, and the divorce rate would decline if husbands and wives followed God’s simple command for marriages.

Finally, Peter states in the latter part of that verse “so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 

God put man at the head of his household to guide his family and to provide for his family both physically and spiritually.

If a man is not considerate and respectful of his wife, his prayers will not be heard, because a living relationship with God depends on right relationships with others.  Jesus said that if you have a problem with a fellow believer, you must make it right with that person before coming to worship (Matt. 5:23-24).  This principle carries over into family relationships.  If men use their position to mistreat their wives, their prayers will be hindered.” NLT Life Application Study Bible

Peter declared that the husbands’ prayers are dependent on the way they treat their wives.  God will not bless those who use their positions of authority to abuse others.

These are important Scriptures to take to heart and to live out in our family relationships.  I know it is easier said than done, but it can be done. It just takes prayer, and a lot of practice to get it right.  It’s not too late!  If you are suffering in your marital relationship at this very moment, why not change your attitude and pray for God to give you the strength and courage to be submissive to your husbands. And watch to see God work!

BIBLE STUDY TIP:  Write out Week 6 Scriptures (1 Peter 3:1-12) in your journal.

DIGGING DEEPER:  Memorize 1 Peter 3:1-12


  • Join a Small Group and fellowship with your fellow Bible students.
  • Complete your study of Week Seven, “Submission – Part 3” 1 Peter 3:13-22
  • Pray before you begin your study.  Ask your resident Teacher, the Holy Spirit, to open your heart to wisdom and understanding to learn His truths.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR WEEK THREE (answer in small groups or post a comment below:

  1. What wisdom does 3:1-2 offer to wives of unbelievers? To wives of believers? Is there any wisdom here for unmarried women as well? (Page 79)
  2. How could a Christian wife’s submission to her unbelieving husband help win him to Christ?
  3. How might the recognition that submission to your husband is not required in every situation protect you? How might that recognition be a temptation to sin for you? (Page 81)
  4. How should the phrase “they are heirs with you of the gracious gift of life” instruct a husband? How should it affect a husband’s thoughts, words, and actions? (Page 83)
  5. In 1 Peter 3:8-12, Peter lists five things we need to have to be able to relate rightly to one another. (Page 84). Which of these five things is hardest for you to demonstrate to other believers? Which is easiest? Why?

Praying for you,