Women are weaker vessels. We know that because the Bible tells us that it’s true in 1 Peter 3, but we also know it just by looking at our bodies. We’re weaker because God made our bodies to be weaker than men’s bodies and that’s what Peter’s talking about in 1 Peter 3.
I don’t think he’s saying that women are dumb or less valuable than men, but I think he’s rightly recognizing that there is a real vulnerability that comes with having less muscle mass. It’s a reality—there is true vulnerability that comes from that. That’s why I think we can really love that God acknowledges that, points it out, and then makes provision for it.
He doesn’t just say, “You’re weaker, hang in there. Hope it goes okay!” He says, “You’re weaker and because of that I want husbands to honor you and to make provision for that—to treat you in a very special way because of that.” It’s a beautiful passage in 1 Peter where God is really protecting women as something valuable.
Women are weaker vessels. We know that because the Bible tells us that it’s true in 1 Peter 3, but we also know it just by looking at our bodies.
I like to use an analogy about being weaker: I think it’s helpful to think of a woman like a glass chandelier—not because a woman actually is like a glass chandelier. It’s just an analogy.
But a glass chandelier is incredibly valuable. It’s beautiful, it refracts light, it has form and function. It’s really wonderful and we would not be mad at the maker of the chandelier if he wrote “fragile” on the box that it’s being shipped in. We would say, “Well that's really important to do because if you don’t write “fragile” on the box the whole thing could be broken in transit. It’s important to write “fragile” on the box.” That’s helpful for me to think about.
The other thing we wouldn’t do is say, “Well, I have this sturdy wood frame over here and compared to the glass chandelier, the sturdy wood frame can hold a lot more weight and so I don’t think the chandelier is valuable because it can’t hold as much weight as the sturdy wood frame.”
That is kind of a faulty way to make a comparison. They both have value based on what they’re made to do. We wouldn’t also look at the glass chandelier and say, “Well look at how great it refracts light. It’s wonderful. That sturdy wood frame can’t do that, so it doesn’t have any value.”
They both are valuable, they both have different jobs that they’re trying to accomplish—different ways of bringing glory to God. I don’t know what’s not to love about understanding women as that kind of a weaker vessel. That’s a beautiful picture that God's given us and it's not any kind of a doormat experience. It’s not demeaning—it upholds us as both wonderful and valuable.
We won’t be able to say everything in one conversation, and we certainly won’t say everything perfectly.
Disciple-making is helping others to see Christ for what he is
Being a woman means being human. And this is good news.