1 Peter 3:7
A Challenge for Men…
The first job for all husbands is to honor and be understanding of their wives:
“Likewise, you husbands should live with your wives in understanding, showing honor to the weaker female sex, since we are joint heirs of the gift of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” -1 Peter 3:7, NAB
First of all, I know many women may not be happy with this verse, but I am simply sharing what is in Scripture. If you disagree with it, take it up with St. Peter; he is the one who wrote it. While his writing may seem chauvinistic, after studying it, we may feel slightly different. Anyway, let’s continue.
The real message here is for men. Peter understood the shortcomings of many men, and he challenged them against the social norms of the time. In the early Church, women were definitely not held in the same esteem as they are today. When Peter challenges the men to be understanding of their wives, he is being somewhat counter-cultural. At a time when religion, politics, and economic systems were ruled by men, Peter is challenging men not to forget their wives.
Many people of that era focused on how God impacted the lives of men, but Peter reminds them that the “gift of life” is for women too. So, while men may hold many of the leadership positions in the Church, that does not mean that they take a more important role in salvation. Quite to the contrary, in fact. Peter explains that women have an equal part in salvation, and men must share in this with their wives. It is beginning to look like Peter is not too chauvinistic.
Yesterday, we learned how women should act towards their husbands. Today, we learn how men should act towards their wives. In both lessons, the message is aimed at some of the specific challenges we face as members of the opposite sex, but the goal is the same. Husbands and wives should love and respect each other. The path to salvation is a road that they should walk together, not alone. By sharing their love of God together, husbands and wives come closer to God.
When we first read this passage, it automatically turns off some women to what is being said. If we can look past the language of the times, we can see the real message that Peter is trying to share with us. Sometimes, we have to look past our biases to see the real truths of what is being taught.