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Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death ° in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us ° (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

3:1 conversation of the wives. This promise must apply especially to those wives who become Christians after they have married. Christian women who have willfully married unbelievers despite God’s prohibition against it have no valid claim on God’s answer (I Corinthians 7:39; II Corinthians 6:14). However, God is merciful and forgiving when there is true repentance and confession.

3:2 behold. See note on I Peter 2:12. “Behold” here connotes “closely behold.”

3:3 adorning. See I Timothy 2:9. Although male modesty may not have been a problem in the days of the apostles, the principle of modesty in dress and ornamentation would need to be urged on Christian men as well as women today, especially in these days of flamboyancy and stress on physical attributes.

3:4 meek and quiet spirit. Compare the description of the “virtuous woman” (Proverbs 31:10-31, especially verse 30).

3:6 daughters ye are. This phrase means, literally, “have become daughters” of Sara, in a spiritual sense.

3:6 amazement. That is, with any “hysterical fears,” this often being a characteristic of shallow-spirited, self-oriented women, who have not the deep faith of Sarah (note Hebrews 11:11).

3:7 unto the wife. See Colossians 3:19; Proverbs 31:11,28.

3:7 heirs together. Although the husband and wife have been created for very specific roles in the family, the church and society in general, and although neither will find real fulfillment in life if they rebel against those roles, they must always remember that spiritually they are equals before God. Both were created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), and are “heirs together” of God’s grace.

3:7 prayers be not hindered. It is noteworthy that one important reason for unanswered prayer may be wrong home relationships.

3:8 one mind. That “one mind” should be the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:2,5).

3:8 compassion. This phrase suggests, “sympathizing with” one another.

3:8 love as brethren. Literally, “loving the brethren” (I John 3:14).

3:8 pitiful. This word can be translated “tender-hearted” (Ephesians 4:32).

3:8 courteous. “Courteous” means, literally, “being humble of mind” (Colossians 3:12).

3:9 railing. Neither evil deeds nor railing words should be a Christian’s response.

3:9 called. Note I Peter 2:9,21-23. We are called to follow Christ and the example He has set for us.

3:10 love life. I Peter 3:10-12 is essentially quoted from Psalm 34:12-16. Thus a controlled tongue is a secret contribution to a long and happy life.

3:11 eschew evil. The venerable English word “eschew” is not used much today, perhaps because there is not much evil that people eschew any more. The Greek word is ekklineo, meaning to “incline away from.” It is used only two other times, being translated “avoid” in Romans 16:17 and “gone out of the way” in Romans 3:12. The latter verse indicates that the ungodly eschew doing good. Those who would love real life and see good days should “do good” and “eschew evil.”

3:11 ensue it. This is the only use of “ensue” in the Bible. It means “pursue” (see Psalm 34:14).

3:12 eyes of the Lord. See note on II Chronicles 16:9. Note also Proverbs 15:3 and Zechariah 4:10.

3:12 against them that do evil. One cannot properly expect God to answer his prayers if he is guilty of unconfessed, unrepented sin. See also James 4:3; Psalm 66:18.

3:14 happy are ye. Here Peter echoes one of the Lord’s beatitudes in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:10; see also I Peter 4:12-14).

3:14 terror. See Isaiah 8:12-13, which Peter here quotes and applies. In context, Isaiah was encouraging the Jews in light of an impending invasion by the Assyrian armies, along with a hostile confederacy uniting Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel against Judah. Peter appropriated God’s promise as applying also to the Christians of any period who might be facing persecution.

3:15 answer. “Answer” is the Greek apologia, from which we get our word “apologetics,” meaning the careful, logical defense of the Christian faith against the attacks of its adversaries and showing its validity as the true saving gospel of God, our Creator and Savior. In effect, Peter is admonishing believers to be always prepared to give an apologetic for the faith, especially when confronted by those who deny it and would destroy it if they could. This surely means that there is an effective apologetic that can be given, and it is each Christian’s responsibility to study (II Timothy 2:15) and be ready to give it when needed. In contrast, the unbeliever is “without excuse” (Romans 1:20), “without an apologetic.” His faith is strictly based on credulity and wishful thinking, not historical and scientific evidence like that for the Christian faith. On the “defense” (same word) of the gospel, see on Philippians 1:7,17.

3:15 a reason. “Reason” is the Greek logos, from which we derive our word “logical.” We do, indeed, have logical, factual reasons for our hope in Christ (on “hope,” note I Peter 1:3,13,21).

3:15 meekness and fear. Note that our apologetic is to be given not with boasting or pride, but “with meekness and fear” (compare II Timothy 2:24-26). The Christian should not be ignorant in his “answer,” but neither should he be arrogant.

3:18 once suffered. For “once suffered,” a better connotation is “once for all died.”

3:18 quickened by the spirit. “Quickened by the Spirit” means “alive in spirit.” Although His body was in the tomb, His spirit (which could be understood as essentially the Holy Spirit, who is also called the Spirit of Christ), descended “into the lower parts of the earth” (Ephesians 4:9).

3:19 preached. While in Hades in the Spirit, He “preached”—that is, “proclaimed”—His victory over death and Hades (Matthew 16:18; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 1:18; Luke 4:18). Note that “hell” in these verses is the Greek hades, the great pit at the center of the earth where lost souls and many rebellious angels are confined. Before Christ’s resurrection, the souls of believers were also resting there, but these captives were delivered by Christ when He rose from the dead (Ephesians 4:8-10). The Greek word for “preached” here is not the word for “preached the gospel” (eyaggelizo) as in I Peter 1:12,25; 4:6, but rather kerusso, which means “proclaimed” (Luke 12:3) or “published” (e.g., Luke 8:39). Christ was not giving a second chance, as it were, to those who had died in unbelief, for there is no second chance after death (Hebrews 9:27). Rather, He was proclaiming victory over Satan and his hosts.

3:19 spirits. These “spirits in prison” almost certainly were the evil spirits who had sinned in the days of Noah by trying to corrupt and control all flesh (Genesis 6:1-4,12). Whenever the word “spirits” is used in the plural and not clearly indicated otherwise (as in Hebrews 12:23 and I Corinthians 14:32), it always refers to supernatural beings, or angels. In support of this meaning, note that there are thirty such occurrences in the New Testament, with only two, as noted above, referring to spirits of men. At least twenty-six of these thirty occurrences refer to evil spirits, which strongly indicates that to be the meaning here.

3:19 in prisons. The “prison” where these evil spirits are confined is identified elsewhere by Peter as tartarus, the Greek name translated “hell” in II Peter 2:4. This is evidently a special compartment of Hades where these “angels that sinned” are confined in “chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” They are also described in similar terms by Jude (see Jude 6).

3:20 days of Noah. It was “in the days of Noah” when this flagrant disobedience of the angels took place, resulting in this severe punishment.

3:20 ark was a preparing. During the “days while the ark was a preparing,” Noah preached righteousness to the demon-controlled people of his generation (note II Peter 2:5), and God was “longsuffering.” But none heeded, and only eight were spared in the ark when the Flood came.

3:20 saved by water. These eight (Noah, his three sons, and the four wives) were “saved by water” (this could also be translated “through water”) in the sense that they were saved from the deadly moral and spiritual pollution that had engulfed the antediluvian world after the demonic invasion. The waters bore up their ark of safety, even as these same waters destroyed the old world and their old lives.

3:21 like figure. Thus both the flood, with its ark of safety, and baptism, with its emergence from the waters of “burial,” are “like figures” of the wonderful reality of the death and resurrection of Christ, as well as the death to sin and new life of the believer. Baptism in and of itself would at most be only a bath for washing off the filth of the flesh, but when experienced as a testimony of one’s saving faith in the atoning death and justifying resurrection of the Lord Jesus, it becomes “the answer of [or, better, “appeal for”] a good conscience toward God (see also Hebrews 9:14) secured forever by Christ’s resurrection.

3:22 right hand of God. This is the last of the sixteen New Testament references to Christ now being at the right hand of the Father. See note on Psalm 16:11, where the first reference occurs.

3:22 subject unto him. See Ephesians 1:20-21.

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