Wives and Husbands
(Song of Solomon 1:1–17; Ephesians 5:22–33)
1 Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your husbands, so that even if they refuse to believe the word, they will be won over without words by the behavior of their wives 2 when they see your pure and reverent demeanor.
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair or gold jewelry or fine clothes, 4 but from the inner disposition of your heart, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight. 5 For this is how the holy women of the past adorned themselves. They put their hope in God and were submissive to their husbands, 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. And you are her children if you do what is right and refuse to give way to fear.
7 Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as a delicate vessel, and with honor as fellow heirs of the gracious gift of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
Turning from Evil
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded and sympathetic, love as brothers, be tenderhearted and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from deceitful speech.
11 He must turn from evil and do good;
he must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and His ears are inclined to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against
those who do evil.” a
13 Who can harm you if you are zealous for what is good?
Suffering for Righteousness
14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be shaken.” b 15 But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. c Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you. But respond with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who slander you may be put to shame by your good behavior in Christ. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
18 For Christ also suffered d for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit, 19 in whom e He also went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.
In the ark a few people, only eight souls, were saved through water. 21 And this water symbolizes the baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of f a clear conscience toward God—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him.
12 a Psalm 34:12–16 (see also LXX)
14 b Or “Do not fear their threats; do not be shaken.” Isaiah 8:12
15 c BYZ and TR But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. This sentence may also be included with the quotation from the previous verse; see Isaiah 8:13.
18 d NE and WH died
19 e Or in the spirit, 19in which
21 f Or appeal for