Today I was at a celebration of women’s history and it leads me to some deep theological thought on the matter and how crucial women are to Christianity. The great thing about these celebrations is you not only see the unjust struggle some of the pioneers went through but it leads you to appreciate the wonderful women in your life. I was in a group of guys who were not necessarily sensitive to the matter, and what really troubled me is they were using bad doctrine to prove their point. One of the speakers made a Biblical reference of how a woman was created from the rib of a man to walk at the side of the man, not in the back, but on the side as an equal. This is absolutely true, I firmly believe that there are a number of strong references which show that a man and a woman each have crucial roles in life. While I appreciated this reference, another person from my group took it as an opportunity skew the message. First and foremost, this event was going to be oriented towards women as it was a woman’s history celebration, I don’t know what he was expecting. Secondly, he spoke of 1 Peter 3:7 as a counter, but I really don’t think he took it in the right context, and he’s not alone. We are trained to see things as they are and assume that’s where it ends, but I will make the argument this is wrong, and as disciples of Christ we should all examine what the author is trying to convey here.
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. -1 Peter 3:7 (ESV)
Alright, folks here is the verse which he mentioned. What was said was that the speaker was paraphrasing, while technically that may be true, he took this verse out of context. The controversy of this verse is that it calls women the weaker vessel. This makes a lot of people cringe here. A few years ago before I really began to look at the Bible deeper I may have made the same mistake, but Peter is not at all being sexist. This first and foremost is a reference to Adam and Eve, Eve was the one who collapsed. Not to mention women are simply wired differently than men, the average man’s emotions are much different than the average woman’s. That’s the beauty of it all when a man and woman together they are designed to complete each other in a partnership. Man and woman are supposed to fill the gap which the other lacks essentially. Men get upset over different things than women, and this is a common fact. If you disagree with this you’re struggling with reality. My wife and I are two different people with different ticks. While we have a great deal in common it’s the differences which truly make marriage beautiful. Likewise, there is an elegance, sensitivity, and just a general nature men do not have. The truly blessed among us have a strong mother, strong grandmother, and aunts who think the world of us. It’s that caring nature every truly blessed person who has walked this earth has. For men who extremely blessed we will separate from our original family unit and expand upon it and find a wife, a life-long partner, and someone to shower with love for the rest of his existence. The point I am getting to nowhere in this verse does this say women are not your equal. They belong at your side in partnership and on a side note if you’re walking down the street with the one you stand towards the traffic. I digress, by the “weaker” vessel is a basis for a man to treat the women in his life with understanding, tenderness, and patience.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. -Galatians 3:28
We are all one in the eyes of God. This verse above is not a contradiction to anything the Bible says. When you begin to see what the author meant you begin to see the Bible does not contradict itself, but people are reading it wrong. Not every verse is pertaining to the same situation, not every verse is mean to be taken literally I.E. metaphors, there are parables, biographies, historical references, genealogies, and poetry just to name a few styles in the Bible. So take this verse above from the Apostle Paul, we are all equal in the eyes of God. To think one is better than the other or one is not an equal is unbiblical.
Now I think the point is clear here and I hope I get the point across here. Women have a very prominent role within the household, the world, and the Kingdom of God. To minimize their role because you want to paraphrase the Bible and take it out of context then you are walking a dangerous line. Don’t get me wrong we all will fall victim to this, but we have to be open to expanding our faith every chance we get. The Bible teaches you a lot about how to treat the women around you and every one of them will point you to love and respect. When you get down to it you will see we are to be equals. Let me remind you to those want to cling to this stone aged theology as well it was Mary Magdalene who first saw Jesus Christ after the resurrection, and there are countless other women in the Bible who had a crucial role. Many women within the church have had prominent roles throughout time Saint Theresa, Phoebe Palmer, Susanna Wesley, and the list can go on and on. We are the body and we all have a role. Peace and Good Will to you all my brothers and sisters in Christ.