On The Meaning In Context Of Those Troublesome Verses On Women In 1 Peter -- By: Bruce C. E. Fleming

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 05:3 (Summer 1991)
Article: On The Meaning In Context Of Those Troublesome Verses On Women In 1 Peter
Author: Bruce C. E. Fleming

On The Meaning In Context Of Those Troublesome Verses On Women In 1 Peter

and a gentle warning about cross-referencing too quickly

Bruce C. E. Fleming

The Reverend Bruce CE Fleming, author of The Contextualization of Theology—an Evangelical Perspective (Pasadena: William Carey library, 1980) is a Ph.D. candidate in Practical Theology at the University of Strasbourg, France, and holds an M.Div. and a Th.M. torn Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL. He has served two terms as a missionary to French-speaking Africa, most recently as Professor of Practical Theology and Academic Dean of the Bangui Evangelical School of Theology, in the Central African Republic. His wife, Dr. Joy Hasky Fleming, has served as Professor of Old Testament Studies.

In various cultures around the world, sermons, supposedly based on 1 Peter, are preached on “How all wives must obey their husbands.” As the sermon develops, the preacher brings up numerous verses from other passages to buttress his message. But the idea of evangelistic witness to an unsaved husband is not brought out. And because this key part of 1 Peter 3:1-7 is missed, the message is built on a shaky exegetical base.1 The accompanying barrage of proof texts and weak arguments only make things worse.2 Listeners leave with the impression, There was something wrong with that message, but I’m not sure I can put my finger on it.”

Often Ephesians 5:22-32 is used as a cross reference in sermons on “How all wives must obey their husbands.” But Ephesians 5 doesn’t teach anything even close to the that idea.3

The following thoughts are presented to draw attention to the main thrust of 1 Peter 3:1-7. It is hoped that after reading the following article, whenever these verses are studied, the main ideas of the passage won’t be smothered by other ideas that are illegitimately imported from somewhere else.


It is often helpful, when studying a particular New Testament writer and his various writings, to ask the question, “What kind of a writer is this?” This helps in studying the action oriented Gospel of Mark or the Gospel of Matthew which is filled with material significant to readers with a Jewish background. Scholars debate the useful question, “How Jewish or how Greek was Paul’s thought?” Or they ask, “How did Luke’s medical background influence his way of writing history?” These que...

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