Submission is a controversial and sensitive subject in our society. As we define what it is, it is just as important for us to clarify what it is not. In this lab, John Piper walks carefully through 1 Peter 3:1–6 one more time to address potential objections to Peter’s radical vision for submission.
Principle for Bible Reading
Anytime we come to a controversial passage or doctrine in the Bible, we have to stop and ask even more questions. For instance, it is often illuminating, in addition to determining what the verses do say, to also ask what the verses are not saying. In this case, you might start by defining what submission is, but then you might also ask what submission is not, according to Peter.
- Looking specifically at 1 Peter 3:1–6, what can you say that godly submission to a husband is not? What might someone wrongly assume about submission that needs to be corrected or balanced?
- Read 1 Peter 3:1–6 again. What is Peter’s main point or objective in these six verses? How would explain his purpose in communicating this vision for submission to someone?
- No reread 1 Peter 2:9–12. How, if at all, do those verses effect your answer to the previous question?
Six Things Submission Is Not (01:30–05:17)
- It is not agreeing with the husband on all important matters. (1 Peter 3:1)
- It is not leaving the brain at the altar. (1 Peter 3:1)
- It is not avoiding the effort to change her husband. (1 Peter 3:1)
- It is not putting the will of the husband before the will of Christ. (1 Peter 3:1)
- It is not getting all her spiritual strength through the husband. (1 Peter 3:5)
- It is not acting in fear. (1 Peter 3:6)
What is submission? The divine calling of a wife to joyfully and fearlessly honor and affirm her husband’s leadership, and to help carry it through according to her gifts.
The End of Submission (05:17–08:43)
- What is the aim of 1 Peter 3:1–6? To magnify God’s superior worth by hoping in him, through Jesus Christ, as more precious and more resourceful than her husband, and by showing that this hope results in a life that is more husband-honoring, and husband-winning than if he were the idol he would like to be.
- Peter says the same thing in 1 Peter 2:9 when he says we are called, “to proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
- Peter goes on to say that as we proclaim God’s excellencies, we hope and pray and expect that those in the world will be won to Christ (1 Peter 2:12).