1 Peter 3:7 and Weaker Vessel?
Last Sunday at CrossHope Chapel we looked at Genesis 3:1-8 and the account of Satan approaching Eve, but not Adam. We talked about the probability that Satan had studied these new creatures, man and women, and apparently he saw reason to approach Eve first or at least initially.
While I don’t exactly remember how it came up in that discussion, but a reference of Peter referring to women as the “weaker vessel” did arise as we looked at this account of the serpent and Eve.
We find Peter’s reference in 1 Peter 3:7 when he says, “…giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life…”
I know this verse came up late as we were wrapping up our study together but I thought it may be helpful to take a quick look at this as we will most likely reference it while going through the remainder of Genesis 3.
Allow me to simply make mention of three points about what the Apostle meant by calling women the “Weaker Vessel” and how that fits with the Genesis 3 account of the serpent and Eve.
First, the context of 1 Peter 3:7 and “weaker vessel” is all about the marriage relationship, and 1 Peter 3:1 starts this chapter off by telling wives to be submissive to their husbands. To wives, Peter mentions being submissive with your words toward your husband, because words have a great impact on a man.
Second, in 1 Peter 3:7 the Apostle is primarily telling husbands to be submissive to their wives through “understanding” and identifying a wife as a “weaker vessel.” This is not derogatory but descriptive in highlighting a difference between a male and a female. The husband is to be submissive through a sympathetic ear and response to his wife. A man may joke harshly, even physically, with a male friend but you can not treat a women identically, and especially in a marriage relationship. Yes, you can and should be each others closest friends, but while a wife may submit to the husband by refraining from verbally belittling him, a husband must submit to his wife by being intentionally sensitivity to her feelings and to subordinate his needs to hers.
Third, the word translated in 1 Peter 3:7 as “weaker” has a primary meaning of weaker in strength or comparative in difference, and even sometimes translated “feeble” so one can not use this verse to point to a women’s intelligence or spiritual weakness. Women are not weaker intelligently (ask any teacher) and they are not weaker spiritually (ask any pastor). Women are simply different than men physically and that does include personalities and the way that the sexes process things. It is a good thing because in companionship there is complimentary fulfillment when two opposite people become one.
When we go back to thinking about how it all went down in the Garden it is not a far reach to suspect that Satan likely chose to approach Eve and not Adam because of what he saw by studying the two and how they interact. He may have seen how Eve was submissive in her dealings with Adam, and in Satan’s scheming mind he may have seen that as a weakness he could take advantage of. It is also possible that Satan saw how decisive Adam may have been and how Eve seemed to take everything in while talking about it all.
If you think of it, Adam named the animals and he must have been pretty quick and determined about it because he did it in one day. It’s possible that if Eve named the animals, it may have taken several days for her to name them. It would have been like shopping and going back over animals once named just to see if they looked good with the other animals that she may not be certain about the exact name, yet, and possibly changing the names of previous ones.
What we do know is that Peter did not call women a “weaker vessel” because of worth in God’s eyes and they ought not to be in man’s eyes either. Galatians 3:28 is clear that in Christ there is not a difference in male and females’ position in matters of salvation.