Traditional teaching would have us believe I Peter 3:2 commands wives to have chaste conversation coupled with fear, yet four verses later, in I Peter 3:6 they are not to fear. “Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
Q: Why would Peter tell wives to be afraid, and then tell them to not be afraid? (Both fear and afraid are some form of phobos.)
A: He didn't. I Peter 3:2 is the only time “coupled with” is used in the whole Bible.
“Coupled” is in italics, which means it was added by the translators.
If we delete the added “coupled,” the verse reads: “While they behold your chaste conversation with fear.”
That actually makes sense! When a wife becomes a new Christian, and her husband is still following a self-centered and ungodly lifestyle, when she acts Christ-like, he would have good reason to be afraid.
Consider someone from our own culture. The couple goes to drinking parties or worse, uses vulgar and 4-letter words a lot, considers lying acceptable as long as they aren't caught, cheats if they can get by with it, etc. When the wife becomes a Christian and refuses to do those things, the husband becomes afraid because his whole life has turned up-side-down and he has no control over it. To him life looks out of control. He is studying her spirit-filled living and it makes him afraid!
It is not her chaste conversation that has fear attached to it. It is her husband who is afraid. And verse 6 seconds that fact, saying she is Sara's daughter if she does well and is NOT AFRAID.
Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See www.wanetadawn.com A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.
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