Darrow Miller and Friends

Men, We Owe Honor to Our Women

  1. Trafficking: Hideous Fruit of a Global Lie
  2. The Indestructible Value of a Woman
  3. Men, We Owe Honor to Our Women

This is the third in a three-part series. As you read this short series, please remember to pray for the precious women and girls that are trafficked and the men who traffic them. It is into that context of sex trafficking and the demeaning of women that these words of hope are offered.

Some Christians use 1 Peter 3:7 to support the sexist argument that men are superior to women.

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.

Making this an argument for male superiority is a reflection of sexist culture rather than biblical principle. Let’s take a few minutes to unpack what the Apostle Peter is saying about women and how they are to be treated.

First, note that Peter is writing to men, specifically husbands.

honor women for their inner beautySecond, he begins with the word “likewise” which indicates a transition from what he has just written. In the context, Peter was writing about “the holy women … who placed their hope in God,” women whose virtue and character was of more significance than their appearance. This is not suggesting that taking care of one’s external appearance is unimportant. But it is the radiance of inner beauty that makes a woman attractive.

Honor means understanding

Third, husbands are to “live with your wives in an understanding way.” We are to seek not only to know her, but to take time and make effort to “comprehend” her nature and “recognize” her worth. This begins when we “perceive” her presence. Husbands are to recognize their wife’s existence (not ignore them) and perceive who she really is, her wonder, depth and mystery. Quite frankly this is a lifelong endeavor.

A few years ago, my pastor said something that startled me. Pastor Ramon had his PhD in psychology so he knew people. He had known his wife, Lydia, since they were small children. They had been married for over 50 years and were best friends. Ramon told me one day that if he ever wrote a book about marriage, he had the perfect title: “The Stranger in My Bed.” Even though they had known each other since they were three or four years old, were best friends, had been married for over a half century and dearly loved each other, there were depths in his Lydia that were still a mystery to him.

Fourth, showing “honor to the woman.” Men are to show honor to women, husbands are to show honor to their counterparts because of their intrinsic worth as the image of God. The male by himself is incomplete, lacking fullness without his female counterpart. A man’s strength is to be shown by the virtue he manifests in the honor he gives to his wife and not measured by his brute power and ability to intimidate. This honor is manifest in the time and attention he gives to his wife, in his sanctifying and self-sacrificing services he gives to her.

Every woman worthy of honor

The bottom line is that God established every woman’s intrinsic worth when He made them in His image. And Christ reaffirmed a woman’s value when he died on the cross, for the females as well as the males of the world. He calls us to imitate him in this reaffirmation of our wives.

Fifth, “as the weaker vessel.” The Greek word is asthenēs: and here it means “pertaining to being of smaller physical frame.” Women are generally physically weaker than men, though there are exceptions. If physical stature or strength is the measure of our worth, then women are seen as worth less than men. “Men are stronger, and therefore they are superior.” It is here that we find sin and male pride working overtime. It is here that we find sin and male pride working overtime.

This distorted view of value, along with man’s brute strength, allows men to intimidate, threaten and dominate women physically, emotionally and economically. Since when is worth determined by physical strength? If worth is determined by strength, women are superior to men in many ways. Women are strong in ways that men are not.

honor women for the nurturing abilitiesHow are women stronger than men?

Women are more intuitive then men. They are nurturing of babies, children and those who are sick. The have a succoring spirit, their nature is that of guardian, protectoress, patroness, caring for the affairs of others and aiding them with her resources. And they generally have more endurance then men. In this dimension, they are physically stronger then men.

Biologist Dr. Gregg Johnson writes that men may be stronger in their ability for heavy work. Women, however, generally have greater endurance.

Males, on average, have denser, stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments, which allow for heavier work. Difference in metabolism and muscular ability likely give males a push in the more energetic direction.

Women have a thicker layer of subcutaneous fat that acts as insulation and energy reserve. Consequently, they can withstand cold better and have better energy supply for activities requiring extraordinary endurance.

Women generally have more stamina than men to, say, survive the cold. Does this make them superior to men? If a man’s ability to lift heavier objects makes him superior to women, wouldn’t a woman’s superior endurance make her superior to a man? No, on both counts. A woman may be a weaker vessel, in terms of physical size, but she is certainly not an inferior vessel. Let’s stop with this nonsense.

Two reasons to honor women

Then Peter gives two reasons why the man is to give honor to women: “since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

The first of these is principle: “since they are heirs with you of the grace of life.” Like the man, the woman is equally an heir of God’s grace. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, “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 (Gal. 3:28 ESV).

The second is pragmatic: “so that your prayers may not be hindered.” There are consequences for the husband who does not honor his wife. His communion with God has a barrier. If you want God to answer your prayers, then treat your wife with honor and respect.

It should be clear from this passage that a woman is to be honored, even if she is more fragile than a man. The man is to esteem and serve the woman as a fellow image bearer of God.

  • Darrow Miller

Here’s a video Ana has produced to introduce the world to these invisible women. (Go here to see the video online.)


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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).