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1 Peter 3:7 You husbands, in like manner, live with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor to the woman, as to the weaker vessel, as being also joint heirs of the grace of life; that your prayers may not be hindered.
The Author of this article has a different view of what some seem to target on when people speak of the weaker vessel.
So we’ll follow a little tangent before answering your question. Notice this verse’s context. Peter was urging Christian wives to recognize their husband’s headship. He encourages them to do so even if their husbands are unbelievers. In such circumstances, Christian wives weren’t to give in to the fear that their unbelieving husbands will abuse their headship. Left unspoken is the confidence Christian woman have that the Lord knows how to protect his own.
Peter now continues by urging Christian husbands to let no such sinful abuse of headship be found among us. Peter urges Christian husbands to be considerate as they live with their wives. Then comes the phrase we’ll discuss which lists one reason a Christian husband shows such consideration.
The verse above says that men and woman are CO-HEIRS to God's grace. Since women are equal in that way she should be treated with loving consideration. The verse also says if men ignore this fact that their prayers will be hendered. Pretty darn good reason to NOT abuse your headship wouldn't you say?
Peter closes by warning Christian husbands who may be tempted to ignore this encouragement. If we neglect such consideration, we don’t just damage our relationship with our wife. We damage our relationship with our God. We "hinder [our] prayers." If I live as an inconsiderate head towards my wife, I am asking my Head to treat me that same way! That’s enough to send all Christian husbands to Christ’s cross to confess our lack of consideration. Only there in forgiving grace do we find the power to treat our wives as the co-heirs of grace they truly are.
The author says that the husband's don't just damage their relationship with the wife, but they also damage their relationship with God. If I treat her "LESS THAN" I will be asking God to treat me as so! OUCH! The author is correct when mentioning its a pretty darn good reason to make sure you treat your spouse as God would have you treat them!
Why ask Christian husbands to be considerate toward their wives? As far as our bodies are concerned, the wife tends to be at a physical disadvantage. Peter appears to be warning Christian husbands not to abuse their physical strength so as to cause in "the weaker partner" the fear unbelieving husbands often cause. We don’t have to read too many headlines to understand this warning!
It seems the weaker vessel means the women's physical makeup, and it doesn't mean "weaker" in a derogatory manner as some attempt to spin that. It would make sense also! Why would God wish his co-heirs in Grace to be abused just because their physical strength is not there compared to man's? It doesn't mean women are LESS THAN, but made differently! Its says in scripture in many different places to help those in trouble, sick, hungry, and weak both in body and spirit! We are not to help them in this LOFTY way, as in we are BETTER, BIGGER, STRONGER than you! We are to be doing that because of consideration, respect, and love that God wishes us to show towards all! Why would God mean it differently towards wifes/women just because of their physical strength? I feel sorry for the men I hear out there speaking of this differently. Peter warned in this passage what happens to them. If people would feel the spirit of the words, instead of taking things so legalistically they would be much better off! I see so much talk of how woman are LESS THAN, and as we can see that meaning seems to have got a bit twisted!
The author ends by saying:
But I’ll finish by pleading with all who read this verse not to get "stuck" on its "weaker" part ("weaker" only by our mis-perception). As Christian men and women see the beauty of a passage that exalts us as "heirs together of God’s gracious gift of life."
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