Living Together with Understanding

living together

c) 1 Pet 3:7–9: As Peter turned to address husbands, his attention centered on those married to believers.

People in Greco-Roman society expected a wife to automatically adopt her husband’s religion.[1]

He wrote, “Husbands, likewise, live together with understanding—as with someone weaker—with your wife, according her respect even as co-heirs of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”

In this case, “weaker” (asthenēs) refers to physical strength.[2]

Peter stated that a Christian husband must not be demanding or selfish in his marital relationship. Instead, he should practice consideration and sensitivity as he serves his wife.[3]

Similarly, Paul asserted that abusive behavior is incompatible with a true relationship with the Lord.[4] One of the terms he employed in 1 Cor 6:9–10 (loidoros) means “reviler, abusive person.”[5]

According to Peter, access to God is both the goal and the test of a man’s faith.[6]

Image via Wikimedia Commons


Read 1 Pet 3:7–9. What makes Peter’s threat to men who fail to treat their wives with proper honor and understanding so severe?  How can women married to unbelievers avoid giving in to fear in living out their faith?




Go to Marriage throughout Redemptive History


[Related posts include A Minority Religion (1 Pet 3:1–2); In the Spirit of Sarah (1 Pet 3:3–6); Not Good! (Gen 2:18); A Parade of Animals (Gen 2:19–20); An Equal and Adequate Partner (Gen 2:21–23); A Transfer of Loyalty (Gen 2:24); Slaves and War Brides (Exod 21:10–11 and Deut 21:10–14); God Hates Violence (Mal 2:13–16); Partners in Ministry (Acts 18:1–3, 18–20, 24–26 and 2 Ki 22:11–23:4); Effects of the Fall Reversed (Rom 5:12–21 and Rom 16:1–12); Marital Separation (1 Cor 7:10–11); Concerning Mixed Marriages (1 Cor 7:12–13); Contagious Holiness (1 Cor 7:14); Dissolution of Marriage (1 Cor 7:15–16); Three Heads (1 Cor 11:3); Interdependence (1 Cor 11:11–12); Unity in the Spirit (Eph 5:18–21); Submissive to One Another (Eph 5:21–24); Sacrificial Love (Eph 5:25–30); and Prayer without Anger (1 Tim 2:8)]

[Click here to go to Women and Marriage throughout Redemptive History; Introduction to Chapter 9; or to Chapter 8: Pain and Desire (Genesis 3:16, 20)]


[1] Michaels, 1 Peter, 169.

[2]Danker, et al., “ἀσθενεια” (astheneia), BDAG, 142.

[3] McKnight, 1 Peter, 186.

[4] An official statement of the theologically-conservative Presbyterian Church of America states, “The Committee believes that when there are words and actions on the part of one spouse that threatens the life of the other spouse and/or children, that the one(s) threatened should be counseled by the [elders], or representative thereof, to remove themselves from the threatening situation and the abuser should be urged to seek counsel.  Such a procedure will protect those threatened.  When the abuser does not cease these words and actions, the [elders] should investigate whether these words and actions are in effect breaking the one-flesh relationship by ‘hating’ the abused spouse and not ‘nourishing and cherishing’ this one (Eph 5:28–29). In counseling the abuser, the reality of his Christian faith should be ascertained. When it is determined by the [elders] that the abuser does not appear to them to be Christian and the abuse continues, the Pauline teaching about an unbeliever leaving a believer should be applied [1 Cor 7:12–16].” (PCA Digest, “Report of the Ad-Interim Committee on Divorce and Remarriage.” (To the Twentieth General Assembly, 1992), Appendix 0,, 291–2.

[5] Danker et al., “λοιδορος” (loidoros), BDAG, 602.

[6]Edward G. Selwyn, The First Epistle of St. Peter, 2nd Ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1981), 188.