(1-7) Peter sees husbands as leaders in the home, and wives can have a big influence on them. It goes back to what he said earlier: “that they may see your good deeds and glorify God when He appears” (2:12). Being beautiful and pure on the inside is much more important than being beautiful on the outside, and that inner beauty helps draw others to God. Husbands are to act properly in marriage as well, recognizing as the stronger partner that they need to be gentle and caring. After all, husbands and wives are joint heirs of God and of equal worth in His sight! Either one acting improperly will affect their relationship with God.
(8-12) Peter uses Psalm 34:12-16 to remind us that God blesses those who obey Him. And He wants us to be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, humble, and kind to others.
(13-16) We will be blessed if we do good, even if we experience earthly suffering for it. We are to put Christ first, and always be ready to tell others about Him in a way that is winsome. We should never give others the opportunity to slander us.
(17-22) And even if we suffer, it should be because we are doing good, not evil. Christ also suffered for doing good. He was put to death for our sins (not His own), and was raised to sit at the right hand of God the Father!
What about the phrase, “preached to the spirits in prison“? Peter already talked about the “Spirit of Christ” preaching through the Old Testament prophets, and also calls Noah a “herald of righteousness” in 2 Peter 2:5. It seems best to see Christ speaking though Noah to proclaim the truth, and the disobedient are now the “spirits in prison” because they would not listen. Only 8 souls were saved through the flood, and this flood becomes a precursor of baptism, which is physical representation of what happens spiritually when we are saved. We have our sins washed away and we now have the “pledge of a good conscience to God.” We couldn’t possibly be good before, but we now have the power to be good living inside of us through the Holy Spirit, and it’s the resurrection reveals that power!