1 Peter 3

Wives and Husbands

In the same way, wives, be subject to your own husbands. Then,
Grk “that…they may be won over,” showing the purpose of “being subject” (vs. 1b). Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
even if some are disobedient to the word, they will be won over without a word by the way you live,
Grk “by the wives’ behavior.”
when they see your pure and reverent conduct.
Grk “behavior,” the same word translated “the way you live” in vs. 1.
Let your
Grk “whose,” referring to the wives.
Or “adornment.”
not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry
The word “jewelry” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate that gold ornaments or jewelry is intended; otherwise the reader might assume wearing gold-colored clothing was forbidden.
or fine clothes –
but the inner person
Grk “the hidden man.” KJV’s “the hidden man of the heart,” referring to a wife, could be seriously misunderstood by the modern English reader.
of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.
For in the same way the holy women who hoped in God long ago adorned themselves by being subject to their husbands, like Sarah who obeyed
Grk “as Sarah obeyed.”
Abraham, calling him lord. You become her children
Grk “whose children you become.”
when you do what is good and have no fear in doing so.
Grk “doing good and not fearing any intimidation.”
Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as the weaker partners
Grk “living together according to knowledge, as to the weaker, female vessel.” The primary verbs of vs. 7 are participles (“living together…showing honor”) but they continue the sense of command from the previous paragraphs.
and show them honor as fellow heirs of the grace of life. In this way nothing will hinder your prayers.
Grk “so that your prayers may not be hindered.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek, this clause was translated as a separate sentence.

Suffering for Doing Good

Finally, all of you be harmonious,
There is no main verb in this verse (Grk “Finally, all [ ] harmonious”), but it continues the sense of command from the previous paragraphs.
sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble.
Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless
Grk “not returning…but blessing,” continuing the sense of command from the preceding.
The direct object “others” is omitted but implied in Greek, and must be supplied to suit English style.
because you were called to inherit a blessing.
10 For

the one who wants to love life and see good days must keep
Grk “stop.”
his tongue from evil and his lips from uttering deceit.
11  And he must turn away from evil and do good;
he must seek peace and pursue it.
12  For the eyes of the Lord are
The verbs are implied but not expressed in this verse: “the Lord’s eyes [ ] on the righteous and his ears [ ] to their prayer, but his face [ ] against those who do evil.”
upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil.
Verses 10–12 are a quotation from Ps 34:12–16.

13  For
Here καί (kai) has been translated as “For” to indicate that what follows gives an explanation.
who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good?
14 But in fact, if you happen to suffer
The Greek construction here implies that such suffering was not the norm, even though it could happen, and in fact may well have happened to some of the readers (cf. 4:4, 12–19).
for doing what is right,
Grk “because of righteousness.”
you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them
Grk “do not fear their fear,” referring to those who cause their suffering. The phrase “their fear” may mean “what they fear” (subjective genitive), but in a situation of persecution it more likely means “fear of them” (objective genitive).
or be shaken.
A quotation from Isa 8:12.
15 But set Christ
Most later mss (P Maj.) have θεόν (qeon, “God”) instead of Χριστόν (Christon; “Christ”) here. But Χριστόν is widely supported by excellent and early witnesses (Ƥ72 א A B C Ψ 33 1739 al latt sy co), and as a less common idiom better explains the rise of the other reading.
Or “sanctify Christ as Lord.”
as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.
Grk “the hope in you.”
16 Yet do it with courtesy and respect,
Grk “but with courtesy and respect,” continuing the command of v. 15. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you.
Grk “when you are spoken against.”
17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it,
Grk “if the will of God should will it.” As in 3:14 the Greek construction here implies that suffering for doing good was not what God normally willed, even though it could happen, and in fact may have happened to some of the readers (cf. 4:4, 12–19).
than for doing evil.

This passage has been typeset as poetry because many scholars regard this passage as poetic or hymnic. These terms are used broadly to refer to the genre of writing, not to the content. There are two broad criteria for determining if a passage is poetic or hymnic: “(a) stylistic: a certain rhythmical lilt when the passages are read aloud, the presence of parallelismus membrorum (i.e., an arrangement into couplets), the semblance of some metre, and the presence of rhetorical devices such as alliteration, chiasmus, and antithesis; and (b) linguistic: an unusual vocabulary, particularly the presence of theological terms, which is different from the surrounding context” (P. T. O’Brien, Philippians [NIGTC], 188–89). Classifying a passage as hymnic or poetic is important because understanding this genre can provide keys to interpretation. However, not all scholars agree that the above criteria are present in this passage, so the decision to typeset it as poetry should be viewed as a tentative decision about its genre.
Because Christ also suffered
The variants here are legion (B. M. Metzger produces eight variants in a nice layout of the evidence [TCGNT 622]). Most of these variants involve pronouns, prepositions, or word order changes, but the major problem involves whether Christ “suffered” (ἔπαθεν, epathen) or “died” (ἀπέθανεν, apethanen). The witnesses that read ἀπέθανεν are Ƥ72 א A Cvid Ψ 0285 33 614 630 945 1241 1505 1739; the witnesses that read ἔπαθεν are B L P 81 Maj.. Although the external evidence slightly favors ἀπέθανεν, such may be a secondary reading. Intrinsically, ἔπαθεν both fits the context better, especially the verbal link between v. 17 and v. 18 (note in particular the introductory causal ὅτι [{oti, “because“] and the emphatic καί [kai, “also“]), and fits the author’s style (1 Peter never uses ἀποθνῄσκω [apoqnēskō], but uses πάσχω [pascō] 11 other times, more than any other NT book). However, scribes would most likely realize this, and might conform the verb in v. 18 to the author’s typical usage. It may be argued, however, that scribes tended to alter the text in light of more common NT idioms, and did not have as much sensitivity to the literary features in the immediate context. In this instance, it may not be insignificant that the NT collocates ἀποθνῄσκω with ἁμαρτία (hamartia, “sin”) seven other times, though only once (1 Cor 15:3) with a meaning similar to what would be demanded here, but collocates πάσχω with ἁμαρτία in only one other place, 1 Pet 4:1, where the meaning also detours from what is seen here. All in all, a decision is difficult, but ἔπαθεν is to be preferred slightly.
once for sins,
the just for the unjust,
The reference to the just suffering for the unjust is an allusion to Isa 53:11–12.

to bring you to God,
by being put to death in the flesh
Greek emphasizes the contrast between these two phrases more than can be easily expressed in English.
by being made alive in the spirit.
Put to death in the flesh…made alive in the spirit. The contrast of flesh and spirit is not between two parts of Christ’s person (material versus immaterial) but between two broader modes of existence: the realm of unregenerate earthly life versus eternal heavenly life. The reference may not be to the Holy Spirit directly, but indirectly, since the Spirit permeates and characterizes the spiritual mode of existence. However, ExSyn 343 (n. 76) states “It is often objected that the Holy Spirit cannot be in view because the two datives of v 18 (σαρκί, πνεύματι [sarki, pneumati]) would then have a different syntactical force (sphere, means). But if 1 Pet 3:18 is a hymnic or liturgical fragment, this can be no objection because of ‘poetic license’: poetry is replete with examples of grammatical and lexical license, not the least of which is the use of the same morpho-syntactic categories, in parallel lines, with entirely different senses (note, e.g., the dat. expressions in 1 Tim 3:16).”

19  In it
Grk “in which.” ExSyn 343 notes: “The antecedent of the RP [relative pronoun] is by no means certain. Some take it to refer to πνεύματι immediately preceding, the meaning of which might be either the Holy Spirit or the spiritual state. Others see the phrase as causal (‘for which reason,’ ‘because of this’), referring back to the entire clause, while still other scholars read the phrase as temporal (if so, it could be with or without an antecedent: ‘on which occasion’ or ‘meanwhile’). None of these options is excluded by syntax. It may be significant, however, that every other time ἐν ᾧ is used in 1 Peter it bears an adverbial/conjunctive force (cf. 1:6; 2:12; 3:16 [here, temporal]; 4:4).” Also, because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
he went and preached to the spirits in prison,
And preached to the spirits in prison. The meaning of this preaching and the spirits to whom he preached are much debated. It is commonly understood to be: (1) Christ’s announcement of his victory over evil to the fallen angels who await judgment for their role in leading the Noahic generation into sin; this proclamation occurred sometime between Christ’s death and ascension; or (2) Christ’s preaching of repentance through Noah to the unrighteous humans, now dead and confined in hell, who lived in the days of Noah. The latter is preferred because of the temporal indications in v. 20a and the wider argument of the book. These verses encourage Christians to stand for righteousness and try to influence their contemporaries for the gospel in spite of the suffering that may come to them. All who identify with them and their Savior will be saved from the coming judgment, just as in Noah’s day.

20  after they were disobedient long ago
This reflects a Greek participle, literally “having been disobedient formerly,” that refers to the “spirits” in v. 19. Many translations take this as adjectival describing the spirits (“who had once been disobedient”; cf. NASB, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV, TEV), but the grammatical construction strongly favors an adverbial interpretation describing the time of the preaching, as reflected above.
when God patiently waited
Grk “the patience of God waited.”
in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed. In the ark
Grk “in which,” referring to the ark; the referent (the ark) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water.
21 And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you
Grk “which also, [as] an antitype, now saves you, [that is] baptism.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
– not the washing off of physical dirt
Grk “the removal of the dirt of the flesh,” where flesh refers to the physical make-up of the body with no moral connotations.
but the pledge
Or “response”; “answer.”
of a good conscience to God – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
22 who went into heaven and is at the right hand of God
Grk “who is at the right hand…having gone into heaven.”
with angels and authorities and powers subject to him.
Grk “angels…having been subjected to him.”

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