The Value of “a Weaker Vessel”
“YOU husbands, continue dwelling [with your wives] according to knowledge,” wrote the apostle Peter, “assigning them honor as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one.” (1 Peter 3:7) Does this Scriptural reference to a woman as “a weaker vessel” belittle women in any way? Let us see what the inspired writer originally intended to convey.
The Greek noun rendered “honor” means “price, value, . . . respect.” Thus, a Christian husband is to treat his wife with tenderness, showing her due consideration as a delicate, precious vessel. This is not demeaning at all. As an example, consider the Tiffany lotus lamp. This exquisitely fine lamp can indeed be considered delicate. Does the lamp’s fragile nature diminish its value? Far from it! In 1997 the original Tiffany lotus lamp sold at an auction for 2.8 million dollars! Its delicate makeup served to enhance its value, not diminish it.
Likewise, assigning a woman honor as to a weaker vessel does not devalue or demean her. Dwelling with his wife “according to knowledge” means that a husband takes into account her strengths and limitations, likes and dislikes, outlook and feelings. A caring husband recognizes and respects personality differences between him and his wife. He shows due consideration for her “in order for [his] prayers not to be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7) A husband who fails to respect his wife’s feminine virtues endangers his own relationship with God. Clearly, God’s Word does not belittle women. Rather, it dignifies and honors them.
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