Are Wives Really the Weaker Vessel (2) By Babatunde Olugboji
Last week, we started exploring the issue of what Peter meant in 1 Peter 3:7 when he said wives are the ‘weaker vessel.’ We will conclude the mini-series this week.
Paul linked the matter of sexual purity to the human body in 1 Thessalonians 4:4. That verse says each believer should know how to control his or her own body in holiness and honor. The word translated here as ‘vessel’ is the Greek word ‘skeuos,’ meaning a vessel or implement or some kind of tool. When skeuos is used as a metaphor for our bodies in the New Testament (NT), it refers to both men and women, establishing the idea that our bodies are vessels to be used by God, able to be cleansed and used for good works. (2 Timothy 2:21)
The only difference between a man and woman’s vessel is that the man’s vessel may be physically stronger than the woman’s, and therefore he should treat her with honor and understanding. This verse does not put women in any lower position before Christ. There is no distinction between the value of men and women in the Bible. Galatians 3:28 says there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
The Bible teaches that both men and women are made in God’s image. Genesis 1:27 says, so God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. The Bible also says that both are sinful and in need of God’s grace and that all (male and female) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
The way of salvation for both men and women is through Christ, and in Him both men and women are inheritors of God’s grace. In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through Me. Acts 4:12 points out that there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Men and women are equally called by God and capable of living out that calling for his glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, ‘And we all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ‘
Again, Peter does not say women are less valuable because they are weaker. In fact, he does not even necessarily say that women are weaker. Rather, he tells husbands to treat their wives with special honor as the weaker vessel, meaning to honor and care for her as something more fragile than himself. Peter goes on to say women “are heirs with [men] of the grace of life,” there is no difference between them in standing before God. 1 Peter 3:7: says, 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.
God even builds in protection for women as the weaker vessel. When a husband is not living with his wife in understanding or honoring her, his prayers are hindered before God. Having fixed a woman’s worth as a recipient of His grace, God expects a husband to recognize that worth and treat his wife accordingly.
Husbands, are you treating your wife with honor?
Have a great week.
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