1 Peter 3

Spouses and Witnesses

Wives of the Roman World

In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands (1 Peter 3:1).

Livia Drusilla was the wife of the Roman emperor Augustus. After her adoption into the Julian family in AD 14, she was known as Julia Augusta. Livia was known in the Roman world as a faithful and devout wife who was widely respected and loved. This bust was photographed at the Louvre Museum.

External Adornments

Do not let your adornment be external, like braided hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothing (1 Peter 3:3).

The word “adornment” (Gk. kosmos) and the related verb “to adorn” (Gk. kosmeō; cf 1 Tim 2:9; Titus 2:10) originally referred to the arrangement, order, or beautification of things. One skilled in adornment was referred to as a kosmētikos. Julia Titi was the daughter of the Roman emperor Titus. As a woman of high society, her fancy hairstyle and form of dress would have been emulated by women throughout the Roman empire. This portrait of Julia Titi illustrates fashion in the late 1st century AD. In antiquity, this sculpture was painted and included earrings, a necklace, and a diadem, all of which were likely composed of gold and precious stones.

Precious Possessions

But let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a meek and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:4).

Perfume was so precious in the Greco-Roman world that it was kept in small bottles that were often expensive in their own right. The small glass bottles shown in this display were used for perfume and are made of various colors of glass. They are shaped to resemble dates and date to the 1st–4th centuries AD. This display was photographed at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv.


Show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7).

Peter notably refers to wives as co-heirs. Such a view was counter-cultural from the Greco-Roman perspective. Although a woman could be designated as an heir, women often did not enjoy the same privilege of heirship and inheritance as men. The memorial plaque shown here was dedicated to Titus Flavius Fruendus by his heirs, illustrating the idea of inheritance and heirship. This inscription was photographed at the British Museum.

Paul's Example

Always be ready to make a defense to anyone who asks about the hope that is in you. Yet do so with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).

Those who were opposed to Christianity and the message of the gospel likely included many different groups. Among them were Judaizers and Greco-Roman philosophers, pictured here. Paul’s speech to a group of philosophers at Athens, on Mars Hill, in which he referred to an altar dedicated to “an unknown god,” provides a good example of a gentle and respectful defense of the faith (Acts 17:19-33). This mosaic from Pompeii depicts the Academy of Plato and dates to the 2nd–1st centuries BC.

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