I’ve been trying to read the Bible more lately and I’ve been failing miserably. I have however been able to check out the words of Peter a bit. I was not surprised to find that I didn’t like what I was reading. I will share a couple of verses I take issue with below.
1 Peter Chapter 2 Verses 13-14 (NIV):
“13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority,14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”
I want to preface the rest of this blog by saying that I am trying my best not to take anything out of context. I have read the chapters in their entirety so if you believe that something doesn’t sound right, please read the other verses and correct me. Also, if I am missing some sort of historical context, please enlighten me.
Perhaps I don’t like verses 13 and 14 because I am a skeptic. I don’t think everything should be taken at face value. Perhaps my rebellious nature also has something to do with. I find it much more rewarding when I challenge a proposed idea, learn about it, and test it myself. In the end, if the proposed idea is still standing after my tests, I will gladly adopt it. Simply by looking at history, we know that authority figures have not always been right. Yet Peter tells us that we should submit to these leaders and that Yahweh has sent them to punish wrong. Did Yahweh send Hitler to murder all those people? If so, Yahweh is no leader I want to follow. Imagine minorities submitting to every establishment. Imagine how far behind our societies would be if we had no one challenging the norms. The Earth would still be flat and the sun would still revolve around us.
1Peter Chapter 2 Verse 18 (NIV):
“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”
What would America and the world be like if we told this to African-American slaves and they all accepted it? We certainly wouldn’t have had a Rosa Parks, a Martin Luther King Jr., or a Barack Obama.
1 Peter Chapter 3 Verse 1 (NIV):
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.”
The level of misogyny in the Bible is something I immensely detest. The world back when Peter was around was primarily a man’s world. Women having a voice in our world is sadly a very recent occurrence. Although we have come a long way, I would still argue we live in a world that is created by men. I feel like the world would be very different, and in my opinion better, if the world and history were shaped by women. Therefore, I very much disagree with Peter when he tells women to submit to their husbands.
Oh, but wait!
1 Peter Chapter 3 Verse 7 (NIV):
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives…”
Verse 7 might completely negate my criticism and justify verse 1. However, if we continue reading:
“…and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
We learn that Peter does in fact look at the female counterpart as “weaker”. He almost had something nice to say.
Again, at face value, the words of Peter sound nice. Be nice to your king, your president, your god, your leader. Respect your husband and respect your wife. However, when you dig deeper and really think about the words of Peter, you begin to see how dangerous blindly accepting his ideals are. We begin to understand that these ideas would derail the progression of living creatures.