1 Peter 3:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Peter 3:2, NIV: "when they see the purity and reverence of your lives."

1 Peter 3:2, ESV: "when they see your respectful and pure conduct."

1 Peter 3:2, KJV: "While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear."

1 Peter 3:2, NASB: "as they observe your pure and respectful behavior."

1 Peter 3:2, NLT: "by observing your pure and reverent lives."

1 Peter 3:2, CSB: "when they observe your pure, reverent lives."

What does 1 Peter 3:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse concludes a sentence begun in verse one. Note that the context of "submission" does not always include "obedience." Christians are never to follow instructions from other people which go against God's will (Acts 5:29). We are, however, to "submit" to their authority, even their punishment, if that is required.

In the previous verse, Peter instructed wives to be subject even to their unsaved husbands. In particular, men who "do not obey the word." The "word" here likely refers to the gospel of Jesus or to Jesus Himself. Peter wrote that a wife's demonstration of submission to her husband had the potential to "win" him, possibly even to faith in Christ, without her having to convince him with persuasive speech.

Peter's case to wives who want their husbands to trust in Christ is this: Don't try to talk him into your faith. Don't beg him to believe. And don't decide that, because you are free in Christ, you needn't submit to his authority. Instead, show him the difference Christ has made in you. Allow him to see the difference between you and the world. Let him see the purity of your life: your single-minded devotion to Christ. Let him see your reverence for God. And then let him see that those things contribute to your submission to your husband.

The big picture Peter is painting is that Christ makes people better citizens, better workers, and better wives. Believers should be those who endure unfair treatment, with joyful confidence in their future and their God. That attitude is attractive. That attraction makes those with little official clout in the world into a powerful influence for Christ.