3:1 Likewise, wives, be subject. The word “likewise” refers back to the general principle of submission in 2:13 and is not intended to equate the wife’s submission to the husband with that of a slave to a master. The word “likewise” recurs in v. 7, establishing that just as the wife submits to her husband, so also the husband must give understanding and honor to the wife (cf. Eph. 5:25). The relationship of men and women involves both spiritual equality (“heirs with you,” v. 7; cf. Gal. 3:28) and some differentiation of roles and functions in the home and church (Eph. 5:22–33; 1 Tim. 2:8–15).
without a word. In ancient Roman culture the wife was expected to adopt the religion of her husband, and some of the Christian women in the Asian churches apparently had unbelieving spouses. Peter urges these Christian wives not to rely on argument, which might be seen as insubordination by the already suspicious husbands. Rather, the wives’ gentle responsiveness will recommend the gospel to their unbelieving spouses. The enduring principle involved in this statement is not silence (v. 15), but a sensitivity to the concerns of the unbelieving husband so that the gospel may be presented in the best light.