(Part 3)




The verse above says the wise woman is one who builds her house, but the foolish woman is one who tears it down herself. A truly wise woman will receive her instruction from the Word of God, for the Bible itself says, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning”, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”, and “For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding”. (Proverbs 1:5,7, and 2:6)

To be a wise woman, we must find out what the Bible says about marriage, and put it into practice, which will then build our houses (marriages) up. Each of the principles we are studying is a “brick” that we are using to build our houses with. Brick #1 was that of “loving our husbands”, and brick #2 was that of “scriptural submission.” Brick #3 is the principle of “trusting in God”.


Brick #3 is a crucial one, for on it rest all of the others. Yes, trusting in God very well could be the first brick, or the foundation of our houses, for without it we could never build our houses up the way the scriptures tell us to; however, I am choosing to use it in the same context as that in I Peter, within the study on submission. I Peter 3:5 says, “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands”. I Peter tells us that the holy women of old who were in subjection unto their own husbands, did so because they “TRUSTED IN GOD”! That is the only way that a woman can truly be in submission to her husband.

A number of years ago, I had gone with a friend to a Bible study taught by another woman. The woman was teaching out of Eph. 5, about the issue of submission and she was giving her ideas about what it meant. She said that we are to be in submission in the “good” things only, in other words, in just the things the Lord would have us to do. After the study, as my friend and I were walking out the door, I overheard a younger married woman approach the teacher with the question, “but doesn’t the Bible say, ‘in everything’?” The teacher said, “Oh, no, it doesn’t mean that!” I wanted to run back in and tell that young woman, “Yes, just believe God! He means what He says in His Word! The Bible is true! And the story of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, proves the point!” But I didn’t, and I have wondered to this day, if this young woman’s faith in the Word of God was shattered. Needless to say, I never went back to that Bible study to hear that woman teach again.

We saw in Brick #2 that the Lord tells women to be in submission to their own husbands. We saw that the scriptures are abundant with this admonition. Ephesians 5:22-24, says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord...Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” I Cor. 11:3 says, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

However, a number of women cannot see how this can work in some marriages today. They say the times are too evil. In their minds, this concept brings up many fears. This fear is also very understandable. It is a fearful thing to put your well-being into the hands of another person, especially one you consider to be not very competent, or not-so-spiritual, or self-centered, or worse, which is true of all-too-many men. The passage in I Peter 3: 1-6 tells women to be in submission, even to those husbands who “obey not the Word”. Verses 1 and 2 say, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

We “grace believers” know that the passage is written to a future people under a future dispensation, but we also know that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. We are assured, therefore, that we can glean some spiritual applications from this passage.

I, therefore, believe the spiritual application of this passage would be that a woman is told to be in submission to an unsaved husband, if that is her circumstance. Many people do not believe this today. Our flesh detests the thought. But too often, people are ignorant as to what the scriptures say about the subject.

Another application would be that a woman is told to be in subjection to a saved husband who does not obey the Word of God. There might be a single problem in this marriage in which the husband does not obey the Word, or possibly many. Naturally this would include even the things a woman would disagree with. This husband may make wrong decisions, or be selfish in his priorities. He may not love his wife according to Ephesians 5:25, or not discipline the children correctly. The list could go on and on, as most wives know. How then can a woman obey the truth of this verse? After all, as we learned in “Brick #2”, where there is no yeilding of the will, there is no real submission. There is only one way she can really do this in all honesty. Verses 5- 6 of this same passage in I Peter3 reads, “ For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement”. Sarah was not afraid to be in submission to her husband because she trusted in God! It’s as simple as that!

When the passage says, “not afraid with any amazement”, what does the phrase mean? In utilizing the principle of first mention in Bible study, we find the word “amazed” in Exodus 15:14-16. In this passage the word can easily be seen to mean, “great fear, dread, and trembling”. We would call it today, “paralyzing fear”. The Lord says women, who trust in Him, will not have this kind of fear. Sarah obeyed Abraham and was not afraid to do so. Surely we can glean from the passage that the Lord wants women today to believe that if they trust in God, they do not have to fear being in submission to their husbands.

Years ago, as I have mentioned previously, when I turned to the scriptures for help with my marriage, I read this passage in I Peter. While contemplating the concept of being in submission “in every thing”, as Ephesians 5:24 states, I was thinking in my mind, “How can I be in submission in every single thing when I believe some of the decisions my husband makes are wrong?” Because Sara is mentioned in the passage, I studied her story in Genesis. I found that there were times when Sarah did what Abraham told her to do, even though it was clearly wrong. Genesis, chapters 12 and 20 find Sarah in difficult situations brought on by Abraham’s doing. Both times, however, the Lord delivered Sarah. Did Abraham take care of her? The answer is obviously, “No”. In fact, he was willing for her to be taken as a wife to the pagan king of the land, although she was his own wife, and Abraham did this in order to “save his own skin”! Then in the end, he justifies himself, saying, “Well, actually I didn’t lie. She really is my half sister”! If I had been Sarah, I would have been very much afraid, even to the point of “amazement”! I am sorry to say that I probably would not have reacted as Sarah did. Maybe this is why Sarah is listed amongst the “holy women” of “old time”. She had to have had great faith to have done this.

I Corinthians 10:1-13 shows us that the old testament stories are written for examples, even for us, in today’s age, to learn from. Verse 11 says, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” And verse 13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

After studying these passages, I realized that the Lord was saying that a woman must put her trust in HIM to take care of her, not in her husband. Her husband may fail her, but the Lord will not! I believe, when necessary, the Lord will make a “way to escape”, when a woman practices this God-given instruction.

I also believe and have seen in my own marriage, that men grow and learn through these circumstances, in which they may have made wrong decisions. We must realize that our husbands are in a growth stage and God is not finished with them yet. This is so hard to see when a woman is young. She believes her husband is and always will be who he seems to be at the moment. I have heard many women say, “I am not going to live with ....(his fault) the rest of my life.” She believes if she doesn’t or can’t cause him to change then he never will. That is why there are so many divorces in the early stages of marriage. Women think they have married the wrong man and thus want out of the marriage. If only they could see farther down the road. They would know that with the Lord, there is hope for these husbands, and years from now her husband may not be the same person at all. With time, he may become the godly man she dreams of! Who is to say what the Lord can do. Let’s not limit the Lord but have FAITH in Him. With time, her husband may also become her best friend, as my husband is to me now! Just as women grow and become much more mature through the years, we must understand that our husbands are in a growth process, also.

So we see then that if we trust in the Lord, we CAN be in submission to our husbands, trusting in the Lord all the time to work things out for good. Romans 8:28 reinforces this truth, saying, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” I think it is interesting to note here that the Lord is saying that all things work together for good for people who are saved. He does not give this promise to a lost person; but then a lost person would not have the faith to obey God’s Words anyway!

The young women in our Bible study group in Chattanooga, always ask me to tell the “dog story”. While discussing this subject here, maybe it is worth telling again.

When my husband and I were young, and as I have mentioned, our marriage was on the verge of divorce, I was learning through the Word of God to be in submission to him. I was put to a real test, in which I had to decide if I truly believed what I was seeing in the scriptures.

My husband was reading the ads in the paper one day and saw an ad for Basset Hound puppies. He had been wanting to get a dog for our children, but we had absolutely no money to buy one. He decided we would go see the puppies anyway so we packed our two children into the car and away we went. Now, mind you, I was praying all the time, “Lord, you know we have no money. You know I have not been able to buy our children any new shoes in over two years; not even clothing or socks! Please help him to make the right decision.” We were “dirt poor” in those days and were totally dependant upon gifts and hand-me-downs for our children.

The children and my husband both fell in love with the little puppy with long ears and so after writing a check that was supposed to go toward groceries, we brought the puppy home, and named her Sally. By the next day we realized how sick she was and had to take her to the vet, at which time we had to write another check for over $100! This was 25 years ago when that amount of money would have almost made our house payment or bought groceries for a month!

Several weeks later, Sally ran away and this broke our children’s hearts. My husband put reward posters out offering $25 for her return, and the children called her from the back porch every day, but to no avail. A couple of weeks went by and we assumed she would never return. So, I’ll bet you can guess what happened next! My husband began to look in the papers again! We were more broke than before, when my husband announced there was an ad for “champion line,” Basset Hound puppies and he was just going to go “look” at them. We all went, and I prayed all the way that the Lord would keep him from buying a puppy. As it turned out, these puppies put Sally to shame and showed what bad lineage she had, and, needless to say, my husband couldn’t resist. However, these cost three times as much as Sally had! I prayed hard, “Oh, Lord, you know we don’t have the money....I am trusting you to stop my husband. You promised you would take care of me if I am in submission!” Well, I said nothing, and he bought a puppy. A few days later, someone returned Sally, and we had to fork out the reward money, also! There were more vet bills on top of that and two dogs to feed, now. But I zipped my lip, said nothing negative to my husband, and put it all in the Lord’s hands.

To make a long story short, my husband became interested in “Champion line” Bassets, purchased another and better female, and began breeding and showing Champion-bred Bassets at dog shows all over the South and East. The dogs began to pay off for us and not only paid for their own expenses, but kept me from having to go outside of my home to work. On top of all of that, it gave my husband and me a new hobby, something we did together and could talk about that was fun. Our children loved the dogs, too, and were a big help in raising the puppies. It became a family affair and we had many good times going to dog shows together as a family. I know now that this was a beneficial and good experience for all of us. The best thing, of all, though, was that the dogs paid to put our children through Christian School for the next 10 years, something we could have never done otherwise! What I had thought was going to ruin us, actually was our salvation!

Oh, how glad I am that I saw the truth about my role as a woman. I am so very glad now that the Lord convicted me to believe His Word means exactly what it says, that I was to be in submission to my husband in every thing. I am so thankful that I did not stop my husband from buying those first Bassets! How thankful I am, most of all, that I learned I could trust the Lord and Him alone to take care of me. I often wonder where I would be today, if I hadn’t.

How can we conclude anything else, but that a Christian, Bible-believing woman, must put her trust in the Lord to either change her husband, her situation, or (as He did mine) her mind? By trusting in the Lord, a woman CAN, by the grace of God, take her God-given place of submission to her husband.

Prayerfully submitted by

Mary Atwood
Grace Bible Church
Chattanooga, Tn