Lesson 22—Understanding Your Wife, Part 2
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:7
Lesson Goal: To gain a better understanding of the God-given roles in marriage.
In verse 7, Peter wants his readers (specifically husbands) to understand their role in marriage. Today, we continue our study by looking at another of Peter’s imperatives to husbands.
“Giving honor to the wife”— In the Roman world, honor was given to the strongest (army, soldier, man). Peter writes that the Christian husband gives honor to his wife because she deserves it. As a wife, she is given a place of honor in the home. The word “honor” carries the meaning of esteem and to count as precious. Apart from a man’s relationship with Jesus Christ, no other relationship is to be given more honor than a husband to his wife. A man’s relationship with his wife should be (again, apart from his relationship with Jesus Christ) the top priority of his heart/mind, words, schedule and actions. In honoring his wife, the husband understands all aspects of her growth and maturity in life. He recognizes her needs emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. He understands that no role in life should be given more priority than his role as husband, as he helps his wife reach her God-given potential as a Christian wife.
“as to the weaker vessel”—We will learn what this phrase means by looking first at what it does not mean. “Weaker” does not relate to inferior or subordinate; it does not mean of less value or worth, or of less importance or less significance. Peter wants us to clearly recognize marriage as a partnership of and between a husband and wife. We can find meaning to this phrase “as to the weaker vessel” by an understanding of the word translated “vessel.” In this context, it refers to the physical strength. Weaker does not imply or mean the wife is weaker in character, intellect, or spiritually to her husband. “Weaker vessel” simply means that women generally possess less physical strength than men.
As I write concerning the weaker vessel, I remember a state trooper friend in another state telling me about the worst whipping he had ever received. One night he stopped a speeding car on the interstate. As he approached the driver’s side, a rather large robust woman, under the influence of drugs, got out of the car and began assaulting him. The brawl finally ended when my friend applied his flashlight to her forehead. It was quite a fight, of which he later said, “That woman whipped my tail.” Again, “weaker vessel” means women generally possess less physical strength than men.
➢ Can you give an example of a role model you have witnessed in the role of husband “giving honor to his wife”?
➢ How did this example testify to his faith in Jesus Christ?
“and as being heirs together of the grace of life”—The Christian husband and wife not only share a special partnership, they share a special companionship. They are fellow heirs sharing in the grace of life. See Romans 8:17.
One last important truth that Peter wants to share with his readers (specifically husbands) is “that your prayers may not be hindered.” A Christian husband’s spiritual relationship with God is directly affected by the way he treats his wife. The husband’s effective prayer life is affected by his treatment of his wife.
Now let’s step back into Peter’s world as we conclude today’s lesson. Peter (and Paul) wrote about an intimate relationship and companionship in marriage that was for the most part foreign to the Greco-Roman culture of their day. Husbands in that culture of were not interested in the emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing of their wives. Women were mostly viewed as household maintainers and child bearers. The writers of the New Testament, especially Peter and Paul, wrote radical words of liberation for Christian wives and women in general.
Questions for Life Focus
Explain how marriage is a work in progress?
What happens when men and women deviate from God’s plan for marriage?
Explain and discuss how honoring your spouse honors God.
List some qualities that should be found in the life of a Christian wife.
List some qualities that should be found in the life of a Christian husband.