The Word on Women: 1 Peter 3:7

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The Word On Women is a chance to explore, not ignore, difficult passages in the Bible regarding women.  Join us as we discover the beauty of Biblical womanhood and see how God’s flawless design for his daughters applies to each generation and culture.

By Laura Adams

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 in the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. -1 Peter 3:7

Many women read this verse and others like it and mentally shift ALL responsibility and weight on the husband to fulfill his role.
After all, it is addressed to husbands, right?
But when we only see Scripture as “his part – her part” we minimize the gospel and reduce our marriage into just another worldly version of “human rights.”

Therefore we feel justified to:
Grumble that they do not understand us.
Demand that they show us honor.
Live in fear that God may not hear their prayers because of disobedience or ignorance and (God forbid) have to deal with the consequences of their sin!

Yet…
This is not a verse out of context.
This is not a letter to be ripped in parts and divided to individuals in order for them to carry out specific duties and obligations.
No…

This is a letter to the church. To us…
A new creation of people who are reconciled in our relationship with God and learning to bring that vertical relationship down into the existing horizontal relationships we already have with one another.
This is the context of everyday life for the Christian believer.
1 Peter 3 1-10 speaks to marriage.
More specifically, he is addressing the joint participants in the “grace of life”.

It is not helpful or biblical to think in terms of isolating verses into merely “his part or her part” when we read any section of Scripture. To think “gospel” is to see God’s overarching, reconciling desire and design in what is written, and then prayerfully consider how we can compliment or align ourselves to accomplish God’s purpose.

For the genuine believer, God (and His will for us) becomes the source and conduit between us and every other relationship we have!

Lets look at 1 Peter 3:7 from this perspective:

  1. Do I make it difficult or confusing for my husband to understand me? Am I hard to live with?
  2. Am I faithfully submitting to my husband’s leadership and respecting the weight of his ordained role in ways that my conduct and conversation bring honor into our home and our marriage?
  3. Do I use my weakness in a way that manipulates my husband’s strengths in order to get my own way?
  4. Do I treat my husband in prayer and in practice as a co-heir with me in the grace of life?
  5. Where do I place mine or my husband’s prayer life in the priority of our responsibility to God and to one another?
  6. Do I view my marriage as a way to fulfill myself, or do I desire to submit and self-sacrifice in order to display the grace I have been given in Christ?

 

To be individualistic in marriage is be contractual and worldly.
(I’ll do my part, but (so help me God) he better do his!)

Gospel marriage is intended to be a container that by covenant reveals chaos being brought into order… not perfectly, but progressively.

In a way, Peter is laying out a recipe for Gospel centered marriage in which there are ingredients. (Ingredients are just how we define and articulate the process of the new creation.) But of course there is more to it than just that…

To be Gospel means there must be some incarnation of God’s Good News into our present reality. We should be able to see the personification of Jesus in both of our roles and responsibilities.

The purpose of ingredients to incorporate; creating One thing out of many things.
In the same way that salt and baking soda and flour can only become bread if they yield themselves to the dough, a man (and his desires) and a woman (and her desires) can only truly unify in the yielding of submission and self-sacrifice that create the new union of gospel centered marriage.

By that very essence of Gospel we need to see how we can help, (and not hinder) the command that our “co-heir” in grace is responsible for!
This is hard- impossible apart from the Holy Spirit.
This is why we need grace daily.

But in the end, his part is OUR part, and our part is HIS. May God give us grace abundant that none of our prayers are hindered!

Amen!

 

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