Does a Christian woman have a spiritual covering? In a previous article, I discussed whether a woman needs a spiritual covering. In response, a reader named Hansel asked me about the structure of marriage and the covering of a woman in marriage. The reader also said that I had ignored 1 Peter 2:25-3:7 and asked me to respond from these verses. This article will deal with a few more verses than Hansel suggested as the context of Peter’s instruction should include 1 Peter 2:9-3:17 to get the full context.
Does Peter identify that women have a spiritual covering?
The term “covering” is not found in 1 Peter concerning wives. However, we also need to consider whether a responsibility of leadership over the wife is found in the text without the term covering. Hansel brought up example of a husband and wife arguing:
If it’s true that her husband is to be her covering, then the other half of that teaching is also true, and she’d need to get back under “submission” so as to be “covered”.
The teaching that a husband is responsible for his wife’s behavior because he is a covering for her is not found in the Scripture. In fact, the covering/authority/responsibility teaching has caused great harm to the body of Christ and to many marriages. When a husband enters the marriage believing that he is responsible for his wife’s actions, it can lead to him believe that he is responsible for making her perfect. Many Christian husbands literally believe that God will hold them responsible for her behaviour and so it becomes a huge burden on their shoulders to deal with their own failures…and hers too! …
The Bible records a law that requires men to take the place of sole master in the home. We find this law in the book of Esther chapter 1 verse 22.
Let me first give a little background. King Ahasuerus was a very wealthy and powerful king who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces. In the third year of his reign, he made a huge banquet for his nobles and officials as well as military leaders. Then for 180 days he displayed his great riches and all that went with the majesty of his position. At the end of all this exhibition of the king’s splendor, he threw a seven-day banquet for all the people who were present in his capital city, both the greatest of them to the least of them. It was at that time, after seven days of partying, that the king became joyful from the wine that was served at the banquet, and in a hasty decision to showcase all that he owned that was magnificent beauty, he ordered that queen Vashti be called to appear before the king wearing her crown in order to parade her beauty before the crowd. Vashti refused to have her person put on display and this caused the king to feel great wrath and he called his wise men to find out what could be done by law to punish queen Vashti for refusing to obey his command. In verses 16 to 19 Memucan, one of the wise men said, …
How does 1 Peter 3:5, 6 with the Bible’s use of the word “obey” affect wives and in particular women in ministry?
Some say that wives are to “obey” their husbands in everything and that this makes the husband the “lord” or “master” of the wife. Many hierarchists will reason that it follows then that if a wife is to obey everything her “master” tells her, if she were to be in a leadership position, then the husband would be in the position to control her decisions and her position as he is the wife’s “lord”. But is unquestioning obedience and a role of the husband’s “lordship” what Peter is speaking of in 1 Peter 3:5, 6?
To determine the meaning of these two verses, we must first look at the complete context of the book of 1 Peter. The book starts with a statement by Peter that Christians are chosen to obey Jesus Christ. Obedience is a big part of Peter’s instruction, and it is always ultimately an obedience to Christ.
1 Peter 1:1, 2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens,…who are chosen…to obey Jesus Christ…
Another important theme from 1 Peter is service toward others. In 1 Peter 1:10-12 Peter reveals that the Prophets were not serving themselves, but they were serving us.
1 Peter 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you…
In this service, Peter tells us that we are called to holiness in our behavior.
1 Peter 1:15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
1 Peter 1:16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
We need to note here that all of us are called to obedience to Christ. All of us are called to serve others, and all of us are called to holy living. We are also called to a sincere love for the body of Christ.