Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Weaker Vessel

1 Peter 3:7, "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."

I have been reading through 1 Peter for my own personal reading time. We are also starting up our study of 1 Peter in my Bible Study. I read through it a couple times and decided to take it slow through the roles of men and woman. Rick Holland, the pastor of Crossroads, our college ministry at Grace Community Church, went through a series on biblical feminity and masculinity. So I decided to listen to the sermons that would follow along with my text. For right now, I would like to dig in a big on the section of this verse stating that women are the "weaker vessels". Let's shine some light on this, since it is the title of my blog in greek: "ασθενεστερω σκευει."

The term “vessel” is used several time in Scripture. Let's take a look at a couple...

1 Thessalonians 4:4 "that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor..." Paul seems to use the term vessel in reference to the human body.

2 Corinthians 4:7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;" Again, referring to the human body and its capabilities.

Both men and women are “vessels” and while the man is “weak” the woman is the “weaker” of the two.

Alright, now let's dig on. What is this “weakness” which Peter refers? Peter does not precisely tell us how the woman is the weaker vessel.
The term “weak” is used often of physical sicknesses and infirmities which weaken the body, and generally speaking, women are not physically as strong as men, but this doesn't seem to be Peter’s only meaning.

Consider these texts and the ways "weak" is used:

"but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong," 1 Corinthians 1:27

"And the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you'; or again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.' On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked," 1 Corinthians 12:21-24

"We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone." 1 Thessalonians 5:14

"For they say, "His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible." 2 Corinthians 10:10

“Weakness” can be looked at a couple of way in this text.

One, being the role or position of weakness to which she submits, in obedience to the Word of God. To be weak is to lack power and prominence. For a woman to submit to her husband, to be silent and have a gentle and quiet spirit (as taught in 3:1-6) is to be weak in the eyes of the world. The husband is to honor his wife because she has been divinely appointed to assume the “weaker” role.

Another, being weakness in its physical abilities. Women are more fragile. I quote Rick Holland saying, "It literally means a fine piece of china. Something very precious and very valuable...fragile..cared for with the ultimate care."

I could go on more, but not right now...I'll leave it at this for now. I just wanted to let you all know what the title of my blog is about.

There will be more to come, I'm sure.

No comments: