1 Peter 3:7

1 Peter 3:7  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The address to husbands is much shorter, as we can readily see and understand. Yet is there not a little for our instruction.
“Ye husbands, likewise, dwelling with [them] according to knowledge, awarding honor as to a weaker vessel, the female, as also fellow-heirs of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered” (ver. 7).
As the wife is called to subjection to her own husband, so is the husband to dwell with her “according to knowledge.” Thus the apostle reminds the Corinthian saints “we all have knowledge” (1 Cor. 8:11Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. (1 Corinthians 8:1)). It is characteristic of Christ to give spiritual intelligence which is far more. We do not await the day of the Lord to have divine light. We walk in the light as following Him who is the Light of life; we are already, all Christians, sons of light and sons of day; we are not, as we were, of night and of darkness. The Son of God is come and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true. Loved of Him we are to walk in the same love; light in the Lord, to walk as children of light, for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth. On the one hand we are to prove what is well-pleasing to the Lord; on the other, to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather also reprove them, exposed as they all are by the light, for that which makes everything manifest is light.
Favored as the Jew of old was, compared with the heathen (no matter how civilized or refined as in Greece and Rome), Christianity gave an immense advance. But as one apostle, who had inwardly all knowledge beyond such as boasted, insisted that if he had not love, he was nothing, so here our apostle implies its necessity for the husband's “dwelling together” with his wife. Hence to love their wives has the first and great place in the Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians. To fail in such love is a breach of the relationship, and unworthy of a Christian. Alienation is a practical denial of the husband's place. Faults there may be, haste, forgetfulness, shortcomings; but love as elsewhere, so here in a position so near and tender and peculiar, should have long patience and be kind; be not emulous any more than insolent and rash, nor be puffed up, nor behave in an unseemly way, neither quickly provoked nor imputing evil, and rejoice not at iniquity but rather with the truth. Love does not change nor weary; but we need not here say more. Only we must bear in mind, in thus “dwelling together,” the need that it be “according to knowledge.” The vanity of our knowing, which puffs up, is contrasted with love which builds up.
And what a source of instruction is scripture for the difficulties of the home as well as of the way! Christ Himself, as the other apostle pointed out, is the Standard.
But a few words follow which deserve every attention. The husband, as having the place of authority, is exposed to the danger of presumption and lack of consideration. Hence the force here of “awarding honor as to a weaker vessel, the female.” The very fact that such is her nature as compared with his own is the ground of the Spirit's appeal to him who is given to be her protector. Has he never learned his own weakness before God, and proved that in the sense of it by faith is his power through the grace of Christ? His therefore it is, never to despise, but to guide and cherish her and this in no suspicious spirit but the watchfulness of love, and the grace that pays her honor. But to apply this definitely to “allotting an honorable subsistence” to the wife, as Dr. Doddridge contended, has no more claim to be God's mind than his similar use of 1 Tim. 5:1717Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. (1 Timothy 5:17) for the elders.
Another consideration consists of a still higher plea— “as also fellow-heirs of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered.” Though the married estate is essentially of the earth, yet those here in view were the redeemed of God, His children. “And if children, heirs also; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” Husband and wife, being Christians, are appealed to as in a relationship by grace which shall never pass away. When Christ our life shall be manifested, then shall they exchange the present exposure to sorrow and suffering in which we give God thanks, for that exceeding weight of glory, into which Christ has entered as our fore-runner, whilst we are waiting for Him. O dear brethren, recognize your blessedness, and count the heaviest trial but light affliction and momentary. Look not at the things that are seen but at the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are for a time, but those that are not seen eternal.