Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter Part 11 -- By: John H. Bennetch
BSac 100:398 (Apr 43) p. 263
Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter
(Continued from the October-December Number, 1942)
Still calling for submission, Peter comes next to the case with married women. 3:1–6 will urge them to obey husbands and conduct themselves in agreement with the holiness of God. Before examining the directions given, the status of woman in the first century may well be reviewed, since knowledge of this will enable the student to appreciate fully what the apostle wrote nineteen centuries ago.
There is no more impressive contrast between the nations which have been under the influence of Christianity and those which have not been, history declares, than the difference in the position of woman. Her condition was a debased one in the ancient monarchies of the Orient. The female served the male; polygamy prevailed; divorce was obtained easily. Among Greeks and Romans the woman held a higher position than elsewhere, yet from the earliest period even there the wife was regarded as a piece of property, an individual destitute of legal rights, absolutely under the control of her father until marriage. In later periods of Roman history the immorality and the utter laxity in marriage relations became “the butt of satirists and the grief of moralists.” Under Christianity, however, woman has been enabled to occupy the high position assigned her at creation, namely, social equality with man. Witness the active part which women took in the history of the early church, when the apostles led to the greatest triumph which Christianity has ever known. And witness how the Galilean apostle grants them recognition in his writings. Just as the lowly slave has been esteemed a fellow human being, so the woman is accounted equal to
BSac 100:398 (Apr 43) p. 264
man, though differing in her responsibilities. Thereby the Christian faith took a deliberate stand against all entrenched custom and prejudice.
3:1 includes both the demand for woman to yield obedience to the husband as to the one entrusted with responsibility for home management, and the reason for the demand being made. Ὁμοίως will unite the new verse with what precedes. This adverb may be construed with the third word in the Greek sentence, obey; slaves are to be in subjection to their masters (2:18), likewise-homoios-wives to husbands. But it can be taken still more appropriately with the word it precedes immediately, namely, wives, in harmony with 2:17 : honor all ...
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