1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear- 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
1 Peter 3:1-2
"Why would a wife still have to submit to her husband if he’s not obeying God’s word?"
The answer is in the first verse. It’s a call for the wife to live in such a loving, pure way that her husband is convicted of his error and repents. If a husband treats his wife poorly and she responds in kind, he’ll feel justified in his behavior. But if she responds with love and pure conduct, it will eventually become obvious to him that he’s in the wrong. The call of every believer, both men and women, is to live an upright life by treating others as better than they deserve (1 Peter 2:11-12, 15). God will deal with all injustices. Our job is to extend grace to others the way Jesus extended grace to us.
1 Peter 3:1-2
"Does this mean wives have to endure abuse from their husbands?"
Absolutely not. A husband’s authority doesn’t include abusing his wife since it goes against the higher authority of God’s moral law (Colossians 3:19, Ephesians 5:22). Peter himself made it clear that when any earthly authority contradicts God’s authority, we must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). The previous chapter tells us to submit to governing authorities, yet Jesus and the apostles fled when those authorities tried to abuse them (Matthew 12:14-16,10:23). Likewise, wives are completely justified in protecting themselves or fleeing when husbands overstep the boundaries of their God-given authority.
1 Peter 3:3-4
"Is this passage teaching that women can’t wear braided hair, gold jewelry, or nice clothes?"
No. Peter was simply saying that a woman’s beauty shouldn’t be grounded solely in superficial things such as fashion. She should have the inner beauty of a strong moral character that never fades. The phrase "gentle and quiet spirit" speaks of humility in contrast to loud fashions meant to compensate for lack of character. External beauty is a blessing, but it should never be what defines a follower of Christ.
1 Peter 3:5-6
"Is this passage teaching that wives should call their husbands 'lord' the way Sarah did?"
No. Sarah was simply used as an example of someone who showed honor to her husband. The text only mentions her calling him lord as evidence that she submitted to and respected him. ‘Lord’ is a title of authority that made sense in Sarah's culture, but would give the wrong impression in ours.
1 Peter 3:6
"What does it mean for a wife to ‘not fear anything frightening?"
This refers to the fear and uncertainty that comes with submitting to someone, not knowing exactly where it may lead. But as stated earlier, a wife’s submission doesn’t include enduring abuse or coercion, since these things contradict the higher authority of God’s moral law.
1 Peter 3:7
"It's sexist to call women the ‘weaker vessel’".
By "weaker vessel" Paul was simply talking about physical strength. Obviously there are exceptions, but it’s undeniable that most men are physically stronger than their wives. The entire purpose of mentioning this fact was to command husbands to honor and protect their wives. This is a command that promotes love and respect for women, not sexism.