These small group studies of 1 Peter contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
1 Peter 3:1-6 Inductive Bible Study
I. Wives be subject to your own husbands (1)
II. So that they may be won over (1a)
III. True beauty is on the inside (2-4)
IV. Follow the examples of godly women from the Bible like Sarah (5-6)
I. Verse 1
Who are wives to be subject to? Who does this NOT include? Then who do the sisters who are not married need to be subject to?
What does it mean to be subject to your husband? In what ways is this similar or different than the previous passages, which command servants to submit to masters and all of us to submit to authorities/governments?
What kind of behaviors show a submissive heart?
What kind of behaviors show an unsubmissive heart?
How do you women feel about this command? Does it mean that in the Bible women are inferior to men (no)?
If you were married, what do you think your husbands could do to make this easier and more pleasant for you? Guys, how could you make submitting easier and more pleasant for your wives?
When do you feel it might be difficult to submit to your husbands? What if you are smarter than husband in a specific field (say finance)? What if your husband doesn’t want to lead or is afraid to lead?
Are you willing to follow God’s directive in this area?
As single women, what can you be doing now to help prepare yourselves to be this kind of woman?
1. In the same way – In the same way as what? In the same way that servants are to obey their masters and we are to obey the government, wives are to obey their husbands. The mutual submission theory (The idea that husband and wife are to submit to each other is ridiculous. Yes, Ephesians 5 does we are to subject ourselves to one another. This means we are to always put others needs before our own and consider others more important than we are.) does not hold up in light of this passage. It is clear that God has designed authority structures in every area of life. He has put authorities into place in the political sphere (governments), the social sphere (bosses and masters), the spiritual sphere (elders over the church), and the family sphere (parents over children and wife submit to husband. This should not be a surprise to us. God is an orderly God. He doesn’t want confusion and chaos. He doesn’t want there to be multiple people or groups striving to lead and bickering about who is in charge.
2. God has designed the family in much the same way that He has designed the church. Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 12. A marriage is much like a basketball team. Each player has a different position. They are to work together in harmony towards a common goal. This unity and teamwork allows them to cover the deficiencies of one team member and enhance their strengths. No one player can win by himself. A team needs each other. This is like how God has designed the church and how God has designed marriage. Modern women buck at the concept that they should respect and submit to their husbands because they feel that that means they are inferior or less important. This is clearly not true. Galatians 3:28. God has designed different, but complementary roles for men and women. This is much like salt and pepper. Each has its own function.
3. This verse makes it clear that wives are to be subject to their own husbands. This is important because some men want all women to submit to them. But this unbiblical. As a woman, you are not required to submit to all men. If you are married you are required to submit to your own husband. This relationship takes priority over your relationship with a boss. If your husband and your boss want you to do two different things, you need to follow your husband (which by the way is one good reason why women should be homemakers). This relationship also takes priority over your relationship to your parents. Once married, you have created a new family unit, Genesis 2:24. There will be times when your parents want you to do one thing (for example take a certain job, move to a certain city, put your kids in a certain school, etc.) Your husband may want to do another thing. In this case, you must follow your husband’s leadership and politely decline your parents’ suggestion. At the same time, you are not subject to all men. While single, who is a Christian sister subject to? Her parents and her church. A single sister should look to the church for Christian guidance and put herself under the authority of the leadership there. A side note to guys: don’t try to command all women around. Certainly if you are in position of leadership in the church, you need to lead. Otherwise don’t stick your noses where they don’t belong!
4. What can you as single women be doing now to prepare for submitting to your husbands? You should practice following, especially at church. During church activities try not to take command of the situation if there are brothers present. You can gently encourage the brothers to take the lead. Practice an attitude of humility towards your church leadership. Before making big decisions, ask your pastor or other leaders for advice. Make a habit of listening to this advice. Show more honor and respect to your parents, especially your dad. Ask his opinion on things. Listen to his counsel. Respect his rules. Learn to pray for those in authority and forgive their mistakes instead of nitpicking.
5. Guys, what can we do to make this task easier for our wives? Next week we will talk more about our roles, but we can have a preliminary discussion first about our responsibilities.
II. Verse 1a
What reason is given in these verses for why the wives should submit? Will this be effective in reaching the husbands for Christ or helping them to grow in their current relationship with Him?
What might a husband think about his newly converted wife if her behavior reflects this passage? How could this be more effective than using words to preach the gospel to him?
1. This verse is not giving an excuse for sisters to marry unbelievers. Other parts of the Bible are very clear that this is wrong. However, it shows what a lady should do if she becomes a believer after getting married. Many women become believers and are of course excited and passionate about it. In their excitement they start “sharing” with their husbands. Their husbands first see them start to spend more and more time at church and fellowships and less and less time at home. Next they hear them endlessly “nagging” about the need to repent of sin and come to church and perhaps even how they fail to live up to the biblical requirements for a husband. What would be the natural reaction to this? Many husbands get fed up with it and want out. Peter gives the solution. Don’t be pushy. SHOW your husband the benefits of turning to Christ by showing him how much you have changed since coming to Christ. Keep living this way day after day. Put your husbands’ needs above your own. It won’t be long before he will notice a change. Pray and live out the Christian testimony in front of him. Maybe none of you are married to unbelievers. Great! Stay that way. But in all likelihood you will still meet sisters who are. Remember to encourage them with this verse so that they will know how to treat their husbands.
III. Verses 2-4
Are you beautiful?
A little survey:
How often do you buy cosmetic products?
How often do you go to spa, massage, fingernail, or hair treatments?
How many bottles of lotions and other beauty products do you have in your bathroom?
How much time do you spend on makeup or other forms of facial care each day?
Now consider how much time you spend in prayer, reading the Bible and sharing the gospel.
What is true beauty in God’s sight?
Which kind of beauty will last?
Which kind of beauty will attract the right kind of guy? (What is the danger if a guy is attracted to you for physical beauty only?)
What can you do to develop this type of inner beauty?
What kind of qualities do you think God wants you as a woman to have?
Flip that around, and guys what application can we make from this?
1. True beauty in God’s sight is not about exterior looks. It is about the heart attitudes. So many women focus on their physical looks. They spend hours buying and applying makeup. They spend hours reading fashion magazines. They spend hours getting beauty treatments. They spend money on plastic surgery to improve their looks. They think they need to do this to “catch” a guy or to keep the guy they have. Other women starve themselves to get what they consider is the perfect figure. These are unhealthy habits. If you do this, the guy you get will be the wrong kind of guy. If the guy is only focused on the outside, then what happens when you lose some of that beauty (like for example you get pregnant or get older, or put on a few pounds, BTW, I am NOT saying that pregnant ladies, etc. are not beautiful, haha!)? When you lose that beauty, the guy who liked you just for your beauty may start to look around. Then he may leave you for a younger and more beautiful one. Women should protect guys by being more modest and not trying to draw attention to themselves and guys should respect women by not having drifting eyes, but instead looking for those deeper inner qualities.
2. Women, if you live your life to please God with your spiritual beauty, the right guy will take notice at the right time and for the right reason.
3. What can guys get from this? Guys are the ones who should be taking the initiative in relationships. When you observe for a potential spouse, look for those deeper, inner qualities of beauty that please God. These are the qualities that will last.
4. Discuss each aspect of the this inner beauty one by one:
IV. Verses 5-6
What is the relationship between hoping in God and submitting to ones’ husband?
How is submission to ones’ husband an adornment?
Why did Sarah call Abraham lord? Is that necessary for wives to call their husbands this? What did this show about her attitude towards him?
Are there any other examples in the Bible of women who were submissive to the authorities, either husband or other?
1. A holy woman is one who submits to her husband. This is not a new concept, but is one that God planned from the very beginning at creation. This doesn’t mean it is easy though. Women, ancient or modern, are sure to struggle with this from time to time. Men are sure to take advantage of and treat women badly as they are doing in many Muslim countries today. But a Christian woman is still called to submit to her husband. She can do so with no fear and because of her hope in God. She knows that God is in control and that God commands her to do it. Therefore although she may not be 100% confident in her husband’s sanity at all times, she can place complete faith in God and trust that He will cause it to work out for the best as He has promised in Romans 8:28. We do see from this verse that although women are to submit to their husbands, they still have a higher authority, God. This shows that first of all if their husbands tell them to sin, they can say “no.” Second, it shows that their husband should not become an idol in their life. While they should receive support and encouragement and spiritual feeding from their husbands, they need to have their own relationship with God and depend on Him above all else.
2. Discuss the specific example of Sarah and her referring to Abraham as “lord.”