Tag Archives: 1 peter

02. Modesty, feminine traditions, headship; honor God without contention

Women are to dress modestly and femininely, act like women, and embrace the unique role of special protection under headship given by God — as by nature weaker than the man.

Dress in a way that honors God, without contention – Lois

Hair and head covering, slacks, pants, trousers, and dresses – Lois’ viewpoint

This Bible study is based on 1 Corinthians 11:3-16, NIV

Is a woman’s hair to be her head covering?

To me, 1 Corinthians 11:15 is the key to the issue of head coverings for women. I see this verse as indicating that a woman’s hair is to be her head covering, not a separate wrap that she would wear over her head. I believe the Scriptures are teaching some general principles here.

Are pants, slacks, or trousers proper attire for women?

When I was a girl in the 1950’s, girls were not allowed to wear slacks to public school. Dresses were considered the appropriate feminine attire for school, business, and church. Slacks or pants were acceptable feminine attire for casual social occasions in the 1950’s.

But in the early 1900’s, trousers were considered “severe bigotry” for a woman. I have a wonderful hardcover book called, “What Can a Woman Do?” that was published in Albany, New York in 1893. A chapter on personal appearance describes appropriate dresses for a woman, and adds this commentary:

“Custom makes laws as irrevocable as those of legislatures, and the time has not yet come, possibly never will, when a girl can snatch her hat from its nail and get out into the open air as quickly as her brother. There must necessarily be certain restrictions of sex, and no amount of reform will change the laws of nature…. The working dress of American ladies to-day is a happy compromise between the despotic fashions of a court and the severe bigotry of a reform costume of the coat and trousers pattern.”

Modesty, feminine traditions, and headship

I believe the Bible teaches that women are to dress modestly and in accordance with femine traditions of their day. Even today it is the Middle Eastern custom for women to wear a cloth covering over their head. For a woman to have appeared in public without a head-covering in the time Paul wrote the letter to the Corinthians would have indicated rebellion to authority.

On the other hand, there are Scriptural principles that cannot be ignored. 1 Corinthians 11:3 begins this commentary on women’s head covering by pointing out that “the head of the woman is the man.”

Later in verse 14-15 the Scripture asks: “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?”

Verse 15 concludes with the answer: “For long hair is given to her as a covering.”

Verse 4 indicates that a covering dishonors the head of a man: Verse 4 says, “Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.”

Yet the Bible speaks of a special and binding Nazarite vow of commitment that a mother sometimes made for her unborn infant, or a man could make for himself. This vow included letting his hair grow long (Numbers 6:5). Sampson, Samuel, and possibly John the Baptist were among those who were set apart by a Nazarite vow.

A woman should look and dress like a woman

I believe Paul is teaching in 1 Corinthians 11 that a man should look and dress like a man and a woman should look and dress like a woman. For some women long hair is not difficult to manage and they enjoy this especially feminine touch. For others of us, long hair is very cumbersome, unbecoming, and time-consuming to manage. As such, it can become burdensome and a deterrant to the ministry God has for us to do.

If the Apostle Paul, or Jesus, were walking among us today, I believe they would instruct women to chose a feminine hairstyle and advise men to select a masculine hairstyle.

If they were speaking with women in the Middle Eastern countries where a cloth head covering is still worn today to symbolize woman’s submission, I belive they would instruct women to wear a head covering to show their lack of rebellion to authority.

In our American society where women have embraced women’s liberation and have attempted to be like men, I believe they would advise women to dress modestly and feminely, to act like women, and to embrace the unique role of special protection that God has given her since she is by nature weaker than the man (1 Peter 3:7).

Dress in a way that honors God, without contention

Paul concludes his instructions by saying in 1 Corinthians 11:16, “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” (I believe the KJV expresses this verse a bit more clearly and I have quoted it here.)

Commentators differ in their interpretation of this passage. I tend to agree with those who believe that “no such custom” in this verse is not referring to “no such custom” of being contentious, but rather to “no such custom” of head covering in the doctrine of the churches of that day.

I believe this Scripture is teaching that we should not defy social traditions in a way that would bring reproach on the name of Christ, thus in a society where it is a reproach for women to go unveiled, she should be veiled.

I think this is teaching us that we are not to be contentious on the issue of head covering. Some women will wear a head covering for the glory of God. Some will dress modestly in accordance with accepted feminine attire of their day for the glory of God. Since either way we serve with a pure motive of honoring Christ, let us not be contentious among ourselves regarding this issue.

–Lois

Next: Reader comment from Jo

This 2-part Bible Study was written by Tina and Lois in 2000-2001. Comment by Jo was received 2004.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

00. Daughters of Sarah: Wives of great worth

Sarah’s imperfection gives me hope. The story of Sarah proves that we don’t have to be perfect to receive God’s blessing and become wives of great worth.

Introduction and Author’s Preface

Becoming Sarah’s daughters

Sarah was not perfect. Her early history makes her seem an unlikely example to pattern ourselves after. Yet we are told in 1 Peter 3 to submit to our husbands as Sarah did. God says that we are daughters of Sarah “if you do what is right do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do” (v. 6, NLT).

Sarah’s imperfection gives me hope. I’m still learning. As I look back, I can see areas where I could have been a better wife. God understands my humanity, and he has forgiven me for the things I lacked. Through many years of seeking his will for my role as a wife, God taught me the principles I’ve shared in Daughters of Sarah.

Unequally Yoked

My husband was an unbeliever when we married. I was a Christian, but I allowed other things to compromise my relationship with God. Seven years into the marriage, I made a new commitment to God, and I questioned how to live for Christ in an unequally yoked marriage. My husband later professed faith in Christ, but he struggled with commitment and security in that relationship. Through it all, I found answers in God’s Word to help me find my role.

The last year we were together, my husband was out of the house a lot. I worked in volunteer Christian ministry through chat rooms when I was alone. I found women who were experiencing the same marriage struggles I experienced, and I began sharing with them the things God taught me through the years.

Hope in a House Divided

When my marriage ended in separation, my friends reached out to me. Yet, they could not reach the loneliness I experienced as I watched my world torn to shreds. Again, I sought answers in God’s Word. God planted a dream in my heart to create a place where women experiencing the hurts of a troubled marriage could find help.

In January of the year 2000, God led me to to set up the website Hope in a House Divided in order to share the things I was learning from the Bible. God also opened doors for me to start an email support group for women struggling in their marriages. Early in the year 2000, I began writing and publishing the Daughters of Sarah Bible studies on Hope in a House Divided as well as our email support group where we discussed these lessons in depth.

Moving Forward

As I moved these studies to our new site in March of 2009, I added discussion questions for each session. I also added sub-headings throughout, and made a few editorial changes for clarity. This preface and introduction is written in March of 2009.

The story of Sarah proves that we don’t have to be perfect to receive God’s blessing. We only have to submit to God’s loving direction in our lives. God bless you as you seek to fulfill the role he has for you at this point in your marriage.

Lois

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0. Daughters of Sarah – Contents

Helps wives with unbelieving husbands, women in difficult or unequally yoked marriage unions, or any woman seeking to be a better wife improve her marriage relationship. Studies on submission.

Bible answers from the book of 1 Peter.

Daughters of Sarah

The Daughters of Sarah Bible studies for women are based on the story of Sarah and her husband Abraham, whom God made “the father of many nations” (See Genesis 17:4-5 and Romans 4:17-18).

For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, when she called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do (1 Peter 3:6 The New Living Translation).

Table of Contents

Daughters of Sarah: Wives of great worth (Introduction)
Chosen for God’s Best: Chosing to obey, 1 Peter 1:1-5
Take Control by Submission: Given to God, 1 Peter 1:6-15
Live by Faith: Trusting God’s faithfulness, 1 Peter 1:7-21
Rid Yourself of Selfish Attitudes: Needed and honored, 1 Peter 2:1-8
Called to Be Holy: Welcome and equal, 1 Peter 2:9
Winning the Inner Battle: Set yourself free, 1 Peter 2:10-16
What About Our Rights? Given to God’s protection, 1 Peter 2:17-25
Winning Behavior: Repay evil with blessing, 1 Peter 3:1-12
If things still go wrong You go right, for you are blessed! 1 Peter 3:13 – 5:11

— Begin reading Daughters of Sarah

05. Called to be holy: Welcome and equal

The Hebrew Tabernacle: Jesus’ sacrifice opened the way for whoever accepts His atonement to freely commune with God. We are welcome and equal in our relationship with Christ.

Daughters of Sarah Bible Study session 5 (1 Peter 2:9).

We Are Welcome

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (2:9).

Ah…there’s that beautiful word “chosen” again! Yet this Scripture goes beyond chosen. Not only are we chosen, but if we have trusted in Christ, we are part of a royal priesthood. What does this mean?

In the Old Testament, the priests were set aside to offer lambs and other sacrifices for the sin of the people. The priests also were given the opportunity to communicate directly with God in the Holy of Holies area of the Hebrew Tabernacle and later the Temple. Then they would share God’s words with the people. The Tabernacle was composed of three parts, and the Temple was later patterned after the Tabernacle. There is rich symbolism throughout. Each part in some way symbolized Jesus.

The first part was an outer court in a fenced-in area. Just inside the Gate (Jesus, our Entryway) was the Altar (Jesus, our Sacrifice) where the lambs were sacrificed to atone for sin. Also in the outer court was a basin or Laver (Jesus, who cleanses us.)

The inner part of the Tabernacle consisted of two rooms. The first room, called the Holy Place, contained a Table of Bread (Jesus, our Sustenance), a Candlestick (Jesus, our Light), and an Altar of Incense (Jesus, our Intercessor).

The second part was the most holy place, called the Holy of Holies. It was separated from the Holy Place by a curtain, or Veil. The Holy of Holies contained the Ark of the Covenant (Jesus, our Ark of safety and Fulfillment of promise).

It was inside the Holy of Holies that the priest went to commune with God. When Jesus gave his life on the cross as our atoning Lamb, the Veil of the Temple, which was as thick as a man’s hand, was torn in two. This symbolized the beginning of a new era. We would no longer need a priest to communicate to God for us in the Holy of Holies. In the New Testament, Jesus, the Lamb of God, became our High Priest. The Veil was torn in two, as Jesus’ sacrifice opened the way for whoever accepts His atonement to freely commune with God.

We Are Equal

“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:11-12).

Christ offered his life as a sacrifice for our sin. Once the sacrifice, God’s redemption, was complete, Christ sat down at the right hand of God. No further sacrifice is needed to atone for our sin. When we accept the sacrifice he made for us, we become part of the priesthood under Jesus. Now we can communicate directly with God our Father.

“In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God” (John 16:26-27).

There are Scriptures that tell us that Jesus does intercede to the Father for us. But he wants us to know that he has also made a way for us to communicate directly with the Father because we love Jesus and the Father loves us!

The Israelites are God’s chosen people, chosen to be a holy nation. However, the Bible teaches that today every believer in Christ becomes part of God’s spiritual holy nation. God has lovingly called us “a people belonging to God.” Male or female, we share this same privilege. We are equal in our relationship with Christ.

God has shown us the light of truth. Have you responded to the truth and received Jesus as the sacrifice for your sin? If you haven’t, that is the first step. Click our Seekers page to learn more about this important step.

We no longer live in the darkness of rebellion. Now we are free to walk in the wonderful light of God’s loving watch care!

Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for showing us who Christ is for us, and accepting us when we respond to him. Thank you that all who believe in Christ as Savior and Lord are equal in their relationship with him. Amen.

Questions for Discussion

  1. How is the Hebrew Tabernacle a picture of who Christ is for us?
  2. What is the significance of the torn Veil at Jesus’ death?
  3. What is the significance of Christ’s sitting down on the right hand of God?
  4. How can we communicate directly with God?
  5. What does it mean to believe in Christ as Savior and Lord?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted.

02.Take control by submission: Given to God

We Are Submissive. Submission to God is not passive! Submission is actively taking control of our selfish nature and handing the control to God. Only then can he provide us his best.

Daughters of Sarah Bible Study session 2 (1 Peter 1:6-15).

Submit in Faith

How can a wife submit to her husband, who is at best imperfect and sometimes fails to lead in right directions? We submit through faith in our mighty God! We submit joyfully in the freedom of God’s protection.  We submit actively in the holiness made possible by grace.  In our last session, we learned that we are “chosen…for obedience” through the “sprinkling by his blood,” into “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1:4-5).

In our own power, or our husband’s power, there is always vulnerability for the things we value to “perish, spoil, or fade,” no matter how wise our plans. As we submit to God’s plan in faith we are “shielded by God’s power.” No matter how poor our husband’s decisions may be, we are shielded! We may suffer some consequences with him, yes. But we will not be overthrown. Our God will see us through. We have his word!

Submit Joyfully

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1:6-7).

Our submission to our husbands is a monitor of our faith in and submission to our God. It is not enough to submit reluctantly or grudgingly. Submission sounds like a passive word. We want active control. Yet this is not different from what we want in every area of our lives. God says, “No.” He requires us to give control of our lives to him. Only then can he provide for us his very best.

Submit in Freedom

If our husbands have control, does that not override God’s control in our lives? No. As the leader of our home, our husbands are to submit to God’s control as well.

But what if my husband doesn’t submit to God’s control? That frees me from this requirement of submission. Right?

We are just looking for excuses. God says neither we nor our husbands are given ultimate control. God requires submission as an act of obedient faith. God never requires submission so he can get control. God already has control!

This frees us to submit to our husbands knowing that even if our husbands rebel against God, they cannot lead us into areas where we are not, by faith, “shielded by God’s power!”

Submit Actively

We don’t want to be passive. We want to be active, and that is exactly what God has called us to! The submission that God requires is never passive. It must be active obedience to and acceptance of God’s plan for us. How can we actively submit to our husbands and ultimately to God?

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1:13).

Ah, the control that we so desire! But not control of our husbands. Ours is a higher calling: self-control. We must prepare our minds for action by acknowledging that God is our ultimate authority. We must determine to cooperate with God by embracing God’s plan of submission to our husbands.

We must be self-controlled. No longer can we allow ourselves to assume the leadership role in our homes. We must relinquish control of our homes and take control of our attitudes, thoughts, and actions. We must discipline ourselves to submit to our husbands in accordance with the command of our God.

Submit in Holiness

We must not allow our minds to dwell on the possible consequences of what appears to us to be poor judgment on our husband’s part. Our hope must be “fully set” in God’s grace. Because of his grace, Jesus lives in us by faith. Jesus is being revealed in our lives every day as we submit to God’s authority. Ultimately Jesus Christ will be revealed in all of his glory in power on high. We will be there with him, partakers of his grace that gives us acceptance in his love!

So now, as wives, we are faced with a choice. God says, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1:14-15).

Prayer

Lord, give us the courage to submit, and teach us the way day by day. Amen

Questions for Discussion

  1. Why is it harder to submit to our husbands than to submit to God?
  2. Can we submit to God without submitting to our husbands?
  3. How does submission set us free?
  4. How can we be self-controlled?
  5. What is the ultimate goal of obedience in verses 14-15?

Next

See also: What we believe about submission

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted.

01. Chosen for God’s best: Chosing to obey

Daughters of Sarah Bible Study session 1 (1 Peter 3:1,1:1-5).

We are chosen for provision, protection, obedience, and forgiveness when we choose to follow Christ. As wives, are we willing to obey what God shows us regarding submission?

Chosen for Provision and Protection

Christ chose to submit to God and death on the cross. This is explained in 1 Peter 2, and we are chosen to follow his example, to submit “in the same way” Christ did: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands…” (1 Peter 3:1) By following Christ’s example, we receive God’s provision and protection.

As wives, most of us have convinced ourselves that this Scripture does not apply in our own circumstances. It can’t mean we are to submit to our husbands if their decisions are not in line with what we understand God’s will to be. Yet upon closer examination we realize this passage was written especially for us when our husbands are not Christians or fail to make decisions in line with what we understand to be God’s direction. Read the rest of the verse:

“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,” (3:1).

Do you have the courage to look into what God is saying? If so, be prepared to make some changes. 1 Peter 3:1 is a key verse for us. To understand what God means by, “In the same way,” we must start at the beginning:

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance” (1:1-2)

This Scripture is written to those who have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord and thus have become part of God’s elect. He has elected those who accept his Son for special blessing, provision, protection, and honor.

Notice first that we have been “chosen.” From the beginning, the God who had all foreknowledge of the situations we would face in our marriages today chose you and me!.

Chosen for Obedience

What are we chosen for? First we are chosen for obedience. Because we are chosen, we are immediately faced with a choice. Our choice is: “Will I choose to be obedient or disobedient to God’s choices for me?” In the context of being a wife, and the question of submission to our husbands, am I willing to obey what God shows me? That is the only question that matters.

This is not a question of whether our husbands are capable; or whether they are worthy of leadership; or whether we can do a better job. Those areas are for God to decide. The question for me, ultimately is not whether I will submit to my husband. It is whether I will submit to my God. I have been “chosen…for obedience.” Will I choose obedience or disobedience to God? If we are unwilling to submit to God here, at the foundation of his call to us, how do we dare to judge our husbands for their failures in the leadership areas God has called them to?

Chosen for Forgiveness

God knew we would blow the obedience issue before we ever started. We have not always chosen to submit to our husbands. But the real problem is that by choosing not to submit to our husbands in the ways that God has ordained, we have chosen to rebel against God’s design for us. So the second thing that God chose us for is “sprinkling by his blood.” I thank my God that his choices for me have the power to overcome and rescue me from the wrong choices I have made!

I am chosen for obedience. Because God knew I would fail in obedience to God, he chose me for forgiveness, for redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you” (1:3-4).

Chosen to Choose

This is a hard choice God has called us to make. It always seems that it would be easier to have someone else’s choice — to be required to make someone else’s commitment. Commitment is never easy. Commitment to God by submission to another human has to be one of the toughest callings God has ever required. But it brings with it the richness of God’s protection and blessing in a way that frees us as nothing else can.

We are “chosen…for obedience” through the “sprinkling by his blood,” into “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1:4-5).

Prayer

Lord, the topic of submission is a place that we don’t want to go. We would like to write something else into what you are saying in your word on this subject. But we cannot. You have told us that our submission is ultimately an act of commitment and submission to you.

Thank you for the privilege of saying “yes” to you, Lord. Thank you that we can give you the gift of our desires and even the security we feel at being in control. We trust in a greater security of your control and your desires for our good, Lord.

We don’t want to go to the topic of submission. But we choose to go there because that is where you have called us, and we go with you, Lord. Thank you for leading us safely through all the troubled waters we must travel as we submit to your plan for us. Amen.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What does it mean to you to be chosen for obedience?
  2. How does being chosen cause us immediately to be confronted with a choice?
  3. If our husbands are not following God in their lives, should we follow their leadership? How does this work?
  4. Why is submitting to our husbands so important?
  5. If God had chosen us for obedience without choosing us for redemption, where would that have left us?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted.