Ordered Love: An Exposition Of 1 Peter 3:1-7 -- By: Owen D. Strachan

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 021:1 (Spring 2016)
Article: Ordered Love: An Exposition Of 1 Peter 3:1-7
Author: Owen D. Strachan

Ordered Love: An Exposition Of 1 Peter 3:1-7

Owen Strachan

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Associate Professor of Christian Theology and Director of the Center for Public Theology
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Kansas City, Missouri

We are all accustomed to seeing fairytale weddings. Every so often, somebody very famous marries another very famous person. Despite the cynicism of our age, we collectively gasp at the lavish affair. The very famous groom looks handsome; the very famous bride is resplendent in finery that sparkles.1

The imagery, even in a celebrified age, is unmissable: the man and woman are distinct, but united. He is tall and strong, his well-cut jacket emphasizing his strong shoulders—he is made for action, and ready for protection. She is radiant and feminine, and her white dress speaks, at least in theory, to purity, the true beauty of a woman entering the high and holy covenant of marriage.

Not long after, the celebrity-watching websites break in with an exclusive: The marriage is over!, they scream. Get all the details in our special coverage of this earth-shaking event. The populace follows along, dutifully clicking on articles that lead to voyeuristic snooping into someone else’s tragedy (the spectator sport of modern culture). Many people, learning of this sad news, shake their head. “How could they go wrong?” they murmur. “They were such a good match. So attractive. So rich. So happy.” There are many reasons why marriages break down. Here, though, is the preeminent cause of modern marital ruin: the “fairytale wedding” failed to proceed from any sense of how wedded union is supposed to work. The couple was committed to one another, they were drawn to one another, but as to the structure of the relationship, they had no plan. From day one, they lived interchangeably, Spouse A and Spouse B, and inevitably clashed in all sorts of ways.

This is true not simply of the fairytale marriage, but common ones. It’s even true in the church. Many couples have heard precious little about God’s design for wedded union. Love in the biblical sense, contra what we hear today, has shape and definition. Playing off legal terms—“ordered liberty,” for example—you could say that marriage is “ordered love.”2 God in Scripture has provided us with a plan for covenantal union, in other words. He calls men and women to certain roles. When men and women own the biblical pattern, they step into a truly storybook marriage, one that ...

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