Question: What does it mean when the Bible tells you to have a meek and quiet spirit? It is in reference to the wife. I don’t know the book or chapter.
Answer: The verses you are searching for are found in 1 Peter and in the NKJV it is stated like this:
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
3 “Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel- 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
5 “For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” (1 Peter 3:1-6)
This passage of Scripture was given, for one, to wives who have unsaved husbands so they would know how to win their unsaved husbands to the Lord. Sometimes wives think the best way to win them to the Lord is by preaching at them. This is probably not usually going to work very well.
St. Peter said that what you need to do is to live such a godly life before your husband that he cannot help but see the difference in your life. You don’t really need to say all that much with your words, your life will speak volumes to them. Your love and respect for them will speak for you.
The reason the passage starts with, ‘likewise’ is because “A comparison is drawn between wives’ obedience to their husbands and servants’ (employees) obedience to their masters (bosses) (2:18; see also 2:13). Both situations call for reverent behavior from servants and wives (2:18; 3:2) toward ungodly masters and husbands (2:18, 19; 3:1).
As verses 3-6 indicate, a wife’s obedience is not from intimidation, but from a quiet confidence, which is the fruit of trust in God. Such a comparison between servants and wives was appropriate in a first-century setting with its slavery and the subordinate role of women in society. However, the principles of respectful godly behavior and a quiet spirit transcend time boundaries.” ( New Spirit Filled Life Bible )
Another way of looking at these verses is seen in Ephesians 5, and these comments come out of that study we have about the husband-wife relationship. In Ephesians (5:21) it says, “submitting to one another in the fear of God.”
Paul talks about submitting to one another first, before he talks about wives submitting to husbands. Sometimes we as husbands like to forget about this verse. We go right to the next one. On this verse we can say “amen brother,” “preach it!” But it doesn’t just say for wives to submit, it also says for husbands to submit!
This is the only way a marriage will work, if both are submitted to the Lord and to each other. Someone has said that you can tell how mature a Christian is by how long it takes him or her to ask God for forgiveness when they sin.
I would like to take it a step further. In marriage you can tell how far you have come in your relationship with the Lord and each other, by how long it takes to apologize to your spouse when you ‘blow it.’ We need to keep short accounts. Not only with God, but with each other. Of course, this applies not only to spouses, but others in the church as well.
As we “both” draw closer to the Lord we will also draw closer together. This takes humility on the part of both the husband and the wife. We just went to a fifty-year anniversary of a Christian couple in our church, and this Sunday we will go to another one.
My wife’s aunt, a Christian lady married to a Christian gentleman, just had their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary. If you were to ask any one of these three couples, “Is it important for both in a marriage to submit to each other?” I’m sure you know what they would say. Of course, this verse applies to more than just married couples, but it is put in this section for a reason, it applies to the whole Church, we are to submit to one another.
(5:22) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Maybe in some countries submitting for wives may be an easy thing to do, but in our American culture this is not something that comes easily. We are living in a culture and a time, that says, “You have come a long way baby!” Often this slogan is used to sell women something like cigarettes.
God wants the wife to have a full and wonderful life. Sometimes though, women think that God wants to rob them of their independence. This is not the case; God has your best interest at heart. When a wife is submitted to her husband, God can do marvelous things through that couple! I’m thinking of Christian couples who have been used mightily of the Lord, they were first and foremost in love with Jesus, and secondly they were submitted in love to each other.
Let’s look at some other scriptures on this subject: “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” (By the way, this is not fear like we so often think of it, but a respect or reverence.) (1 Peter 3:1, 2)
The passage goes on with some great advice for wives here: “Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel-rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” (1 Peter 3:3-6)
Notice it doesn’t stop there with the wife and her responsibility, but it also goes on in these verses to speak about the husband and his responsibility. “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7)
Some would look at the phrase “as to the weaker vessel” as meaning inferior, this is not the case. What it is saying here is that the woman has been given by God a tenderness that the man so often lacks. We can run roughshod over our wives’ feelings and not even realize it.
God wants us to be more thoughtful than that. We are to understand them, and that is that they are created by God to be nurturers. So be thankful someone has some feelings between the two of you. This is a good thing husbands, and not a bad thing. We need some of that, and that is, especially in the way we treat our wives. We need to honor them as the verse says, and in this way she will also respect and obey us. Notice also, if you want your prayers answered men, I’m including myself, we need to treat them right.
Now wife you need to treat your husband as if he were the Lord Jesus Christ. That puts a whole new perspective on it doesn’t it? The wife obeys because she is in obedience to Christ. As she does that, it is like showing she is a daughter of Sarah and the other holy women that have lived before us.
It says much the same thing as this verse 22 in Colossians 3:18-19, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” Then it goes on to show how this will happen, and that is, if the husband will do his part and that is to “love” his wife: “Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.” What happens is that if we are bitter or upset with them it just makes it worse, that is like putting gas on the fire. If we as husbands, however, will just “love” our wives, there is no end to what God can do in and through our marriage!
I hope this helps,
Gary T. Panell
For more information email me at [email protected]
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