In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7 NLT
Tim Fall’s recent blog post has really got me thinking. In response to a faulty understanding and application of 1 Peter 3:7, Tim writes about the error of husbands treating their wives as possessions. But what piqued my interest is what he writes in regard to husbands elevating wives in efforts to honour them.
I’ve come across the concept of men elevating, or raising, women a few times and it has never sat right with me. It has usually sounded condescending and patronising, even stifling, rather than encouraging and empowering.
This is what Tim writes,
What does it mean for a husband to elevate his wife to a place of honor?
Husbands can’t elevate wives. It’s not only not their role; it’s impossible. Women are already raised higher than any husband could ever hope to accomplish. It’s true of all who are in Christ.
God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6).
Elevate my wife to a place of honor? I’m blessed that God has raised me to the same place of honor he’s already given my wife: seated with Christ in heaven.
In 1 Peter 3:7, Peter tells husbands to treat their wives with honour, and he gives the reason why: because, in Christ, husband and wife are co-heirs, or equal partners, of God’s gift of new life.
In the first century, wives were usually considered socially inferior to their husbands. So both Peter and also Paul encouraged husbands to elevate their wives. Peter wanted husbands to honour their wives; Paul wanted husbands to genuinely love their wives treat them as their own (male) bodies (Eph. 5:25ff). The apostles wanted a levelling of status between first-century husbands and wives
However, by now we should fully realise that In Christ, men and women are equal partners. So, instead of trying to reach down to elevate wives as a form of honouring them, husbands today should simply acknowledge that their Christian wives (and sisters) already share the same status and honour as themselves, and treat women as such. Likewise, wives should regard and treat their Christian husbands (and brothers) as having the exact same high status and level of honour that they have been afforded in Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:10 NLT).
Men do not have the responsibility of raising women, but people in more powerful or privileged positions — and that often includes men — do have a responsibility to help those who are weaker or less fortunate. This means helping, encouraging, and empowering people, and opening doors of opportunity in real, practical ways. It does not mean offering a condescending, feeble, or false kind of honour.
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The Status of Christian Women, in a Nutshell
The Meaning of ‘Weaker Vessel” in 1 Peter 3:7
Protecting the Weaker Sex
Submission and Respect from Wives in 1 Peter 3:1-6
Submission and Respect from Husbands in 1 Peter 3:7-8
Extra Honour for Underdogs (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)
Unity and Equality in Ministry – 1 Corinthians 12
Galatians 3:28: Our Identity in Christ and in the Church