Strangers And Aliens (13c): Living Among The Pagans (1 Peter 3:1–6)

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:
1 Peter 3:1–6
1Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening (ESV).
vv.5–6: Sarah’s Eschatology

As I suggested in the previous post, in our egalitarian, post-feminist culture, the language of verses 5 and 6 is bound to be difficult to accept. My concern is that there is a tendency in too many quarters—even in ostensibly evangelical congregations and institutions where there is a professed devotion to Scripture as God’s inerrant Word—simply to ignore (or mentally delete) such passages. e.g., 1 Timothy 2:12–15 or 1 Corinthians 6:9. The same temptation to bow the neck to prevailing cultural attitudes might tempt us to ignore these verses or to file them as “culturally conditioned.” Frankly, of the two responses, ignoring them is a more honest approach since all of Scripture is necessarily “culturally conditioned.” It is not as if some passages dropped down out of heaven (like the Qur’an or like the Book of Mormon is supposed to have done) and others emerged and were unduly colored by their original context. All of Scripture was given by the Spirit (2 Pet 2:20–21; 2 Tim 3:16), to and through human writers. Those writers used the language and of their time. They were necessarily products of their time. The notion that some parts of Scripture come straight from heaven, without human mediation, without culture is Gnostic, not Christian. There is an analogy between Scripture and the incarnation. God the Son became incarnate. Jesus of Nazareth is God the Son incarnate. He was and remains true man and is nevertheless true God. He is one person in two natures. Jesus had a culture. He did not drop down out of heaven. The eternally begotten Son, who, in the beginning was with God, who is God (John 1:1–3) took on, in the womb of the virgin, a true human nature. He had an umbilical cord. He grew up in an otherwise ordinary household. He spoke the same languages as everyone else. He dressed as everyone else. He used familiar, culturally conditioned, figures of speech. He ate the same food as everyone else in his culture. It was these realities that caused many to doubt that he was or could be the Messiah. They knew his parents. So it is with Scripture. It comes to us by the Spirit, through culture, in culture. It must be read in that light, of course, but it remains God’s Word. We must bow to it and we may no more dismiss it as “culturally conditioned” than we may dismiss our Lord himself. We are not superior to Scripture. We are not the judges of Scripture. God’s Word judges us.

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