Provocative Bible Verses: Wives Submit to Your Husbands

Wives submit to your husbands. It used to be those words were heard in nearly every Christian wedding. Today they are hardly ever spoken and in fact are intentionally avoided. Certainly part of the reason for the change has much to do with a renewed sense of equality that women are striving towards. But it also has a great deal to do with the fact that over the years these words have been used as a hammer to get women to do whatever a man says, no matter what. The fact is, these words are avoided today by men and women in large part because most people have no clue what Paul was really saying. So here is your chance to finally get a correct understanding of this very provocative piece of Scripture.

In order to understand what Paul meant we absolutely must get the context. That means ignoring the little “helpful” headings that most publishers put throughout the passages of your Bible. The passage in question is Ephesian 5: 21-33. Let me print is exactly as it is found in the New International Version. Nearly every publisher has done this so I just use this as one example.

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives and Husbands

22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

What usually happens is that people jump right in on verse 22, “Wives submit to your husbands”. Any discussion of submission starts and stops with the wife submitting to her husband. But look just before the start of verse 22. What do you see? There is a little heading that was inserted by the publisher. The intent is to let you know that a new subject is coming. The subject is Husbands and Wives. Paul never wrote those words there. It is not a new subject in verse 22 and the heading only serves to cause huge problems in interpretation. Let’s take out this little helpful heading and read verse 21 in context with 22 to 33. Verse 21 is an instruction for all of us to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. What Paul then does is give examples for people in various life situations on how to submit to one another. He says “wives, here is what submission to your husband means in your life. But then he immediately goes to the husbands and says, this is what submission to your wife looks like for you, “Love your wife in the same way Christ loves the church. Lay down your life for her”.

Yes wives are to submit to their husbands in the same way the church submits to Christ. What does that look like? It means following his lead and serving him out of love. It is not a blind obedience but a following that comes from a relationship of trust and mutual esteem. Husbands are to submit their desires to their wife by serving her to the point of death. Husbands are to “die to themselves” and do all they can to help their wives becomes the beautiful, precious bride, that Christ also has in mind for the church. For most men the idea of laying down their life for their wife will immediately go to fighting off an attacker or pushing her away from an oncoming bus while you take a grill to the chest. The chances of either of those opportunities happening are astronomically slim. What is far more likely is that husbands will be asked to die to themselves and submit to their wives by doing dishes, caring for the kids so she can have a day away, ironing her clothes, or making her lunch. It includes helping her achieve her dreams and become all that God made her to be. It means putting her first.

For wives, submission means putting him first. It means to honor  and respect him. I have seen far too many cases of wives who never have an encouraging word for their husband. They never have an honoring or respectful thing to say about him or to him. In fact in our culture, ridiculing a husband has almost become a national sport. How hard is it to find something nice to say about the person you are married to? Every man marries a woman wanting her to think that he is the greatest guy in the world. When all he gets is berating and ridicule, the relationship is in deep trouble.

Some will disagree with me that Paul is talking about mutual submission between husbands and wives and try to make a distinction between a wife’s submission and a husband loving his wife by laying down his life. I say they are the same thing. The further proof of that is how Paul continues in chapter 5 beyond verse 33. He goes on to tell slaves how they are to serve/submit to their master and how masters are to serve/submit to their slaves. He goes even further and does the same thing in the relationship between parents and children. The bottom line is back in verse 21. We are all to put others before ourselves and serve one another, even submit to one another as Christ serves us. We are all to submit our desires and wants in order to bring out the best in the other person. This is not about being abused or humiliated. Biblical submission is about honoring another person as one made in the image of God and seeking to do all we can for their honor and well being. That is Christ-like submission of wives to husbands and husbands to wives.

119 thoughts on “Provocative Bible Verses: Wives Submit to Your Husbands

  1. Well written Dan!
    Submission is an act of love done out of mutual respect for each other, but primarily to our ultimate authority, Jesus!

    We have an amazing God who blessed us with marriage. In that, a man who follows Jesus, not just in lip service, but lives his life as a Godly husband, a discerning leader, a kind teacher and loving his bride the way Christ loves the church will inspire his wife who is experienceing this type of love to gladly submit to his headship, protection and leading.

    When Roddy and I married, we included this verse and other scripture regarding marriage in our vows. The rewrite caused the pastor at the time to cancel on us at the last minute. In God’s providence, He provided a better choice. It was wonderful, and spirit filled! And we continue to be blessed by being obedient to God’s word, not to the world.

  2. Dan Lacich

    Thanks so much for sharing that and for the encouraging words. I do have a question though. Are you saying that because you included these words in your marriage ceremony that the pastor refused to marry you? That is outrageous! I am shaking my head in disbelief.

  3. Bruce

    Excellent presentation and teaching. I used to participate in another blog from RBC and this was a topic. It became so heated and ugly that it has carried over to other topics and the same “Christian” people who failed to understand then are still spewing and controlling comments today. If you were to present this again on that blog site you would be ripped to shreds with well spoken but mean spirited people who have only their opinion. All telling you that they are better Christians than you.
    I believe you have done a very accurate and concise job of presenting this topic. I left that blog site when they ripped a Christian Mohawk Indian simply because he was an Indian. It is better if folks come out and cuss and spit at you instead of demeaning you because of how you happened to be born or other ethnic differences. This was the very topic that started several people using Christian phrases and a seemingly nice presentation to rip other Christians to ribbons. I think this presentation demonstrates how a topic that potentially can be sensitive can be properly presented. Well done.

  4. Thanks for sharing this Dan,
    One of the greatest books I have read on marriage was “A Severe Mercy,” and I think that story explains the way a marriage is supposed to be better than anything else I have ever read. It is not an abstract “5 principles of marriage book,” but a book written by a man who had lost his wife and was dealing with it through writing. It talks about the closeness they shared.

    I think the reason that many leave these words out of their marriage vows is the datedness of the language. People simply don’t talk like this anymore. Submission has become a word for disgusting perverted porn and other such things to the point that the word talks on a kind of connotation of its own.

    I like thinking in terms of what the couple talks about in “A Severe Mercy,” and that is they do life together within their “shining barrier.” If one person reads a book, they other reads it too. They become so much like one flesh that they are, for all practical purposes, one person. If they are a model of church, they need to be a model of oneness. That is the only way I can think of describing the kind of marriage I someday want.

  5. Lemons

    The christian church was an institution that wasn’t around at the time of Jesus. It’s a little bit of a leap to suggest that Jesus cleansed the church, rather the bible was crafted in a way to suggest this. Anyways good read, it shows how Christianity had seeded the modern moral codex which is still in use although in decline.

  6. Eva

    I sooo agree with what you wrote. We had a ceremony that emphasized both sides. My mother grew up understanding that submission meant obedience. I learned that submitting to my husband as the Godly leader in our household is what Paul meant. Not submission as in “doormat” to trample and beat down. Many women seem to want more than equality. The want superiority. This was refreshing 🙂

  7. Dan Lacich

    Dear kasara,
    It is important that two things happen. One that you find a way to stay connected to other Christians. That does not have to be only at 11am on a Sunday at a traditional church. The Bible says not to forsake the gathering together with believers. You need to find ways to stay connected to other Christians without having that interfere with your relationship with your husband. That might mean through online gatherings, a Bible study at a time that works best, or just having coffee in a regular basis with a Christian friend. The other thing that has to happen is that your husband sees that you respect him as Paul says and that this respect leads him to faith in Christ. Love and honor your husband so that he sees what it means to follow Jesus.

  8. kathy van doren

    “as Christ is the head of the Church….. is definitly not a discription of an abusive relationship, nor of slave and master

  9. Dan Lacich

    Submitting does not mean that you can never give your input or ideas. Part of being a complement to your spouse is to help fill in where he is missing something. If you have an opinion you share it. But you do so within the context of wanting to help him accomplish what he thinks needs to be done.
    My wife often shares her ideas and there are many times when it is a better thought than what I had. I need her to do that. My job is to also submit to her in a way that I lay down my life for her. It is a mutual thing. there is an equality of submission.
    Let me know if that makes sense.

  10. Tom

    You are totally wronr!!

    Look at the entire chapter of Ephesians.

    Verses 1 and 2 is an intro.

    Verses 3 – 18 are a contrast of the world and the church. Specifically 3-14 are aimed at the sinners/world; verses 15 – 21 are to the church as a whole.

    NOW LISTEN TO THIS IMPORTANT TRUTH clearly born out in the scriptures!

    Since the writer just addressed Relationships for Christians as a whole in verses 15-21 and specifically 19-21, he has to clarify known exceptions for sub-groups of Christians. Those sub-groups which DO NOT fall under the “submit to one another” must be clarified as follows:

    Verses 22-33. Husbands and wives
    Verses 6:1-4 Children and Parents
    Verses 6:5-9 Slaves and Masters

    VERSE 21 does not belong to verses 22 – 23, verses 22-33 are one of the three exceptions to verses 19-21!

    This is so clear, why doesnt the church see it. We have bought hook, lone and sinker the lies of modernistic theology. The west is falling because the family is falling and the family is falling because the woman is competing with the man.

    Look at commercials… the man is ussually the goof and the wife has it together. Wake up church and see the lie!

    OK, I have fulfilled my duty per Ezekiel. I have sounded the trumpet now you need to repent and recant these lies or the blood of many marriages will be on your hands!

    Sinserely and regretfully,

    Tom Bonus

  11. Dan Lacich

    Where in the text does Paul indicate that verses 22-33 are an exception to what he said in verse 21? He does not indicate any exception. I stand by what I said, Paul is explaining what it looks like when we submit to one another. Int he case of the Husband, he is to submit his own desires and dreams to that of dying for his wife as Christ died for the church. That kind of Biblical submission has no connection what so ever to modernistic theology. Also, to say that what I have written has any connection to commercials that make the man look like a buffoon is a red herring of an argument.
    Certainly that are many things that I am sure I could repent of, but this is not one of them. You say that I need to repent of these lies. To tell a lie means one must know and intentionally deny the truth. Sorry Tom, I may be mistaken but give me grace as a brother in Christ that I am not intentionally trying to deceive.

  12. Debbie West

    Jesus=Love. You find the biblical description of Love in I Corinthians 13. THAT is how husbands are to treat their wives. Awesome! Sign me up for “submission to Love”! The problem is- husbands are a work in progress… oh – and I forgot to mention: wives are too! Yet no one loves you like Jesus. Take all your marital hurts to Him. “Love is patient and kind.” Boy, if we could just get that part down! Keep on- keeping on brothers and sisters.

  13. JMiahMan

    A great book to read is Love and Respect. You say mutual respect and love, however we are commanded to “Love our wifes” (Ephesians 5:25) there’s no conditions to that,even if she doesn’t respect or honor us. It’s not mutual, it’s not a “you give me something so I will give it to you”, or because you Love me now I will respect you. It doesn’t work that way. Christ is the center we Love our Wives because we Love God and the Gift (helper) God has given us. Wives Respect your husband as you respect Christ’s Authority, the *Should* respect their husbands because they respect Christ. If you’re doing neither of these the answer is your relationship with Christ. Once that is fixed then you will have no issue Loving or Respecting your spouse.

  14. Dan Lacich

    Totally agree it is not intended to be a situation where you give love and respect as long as you get it. However, the BIblical ideal is that both husband and wife love and serve each other. That is what is meant by it being mutual.

  15. Sherri

    Thanks for the writing it did help some, i want to be the submissive wife that i am called to be but apparently i am not understanding what it is to submit and respect, i thought i was and i thought i understood what i needed to do, i try to be encouraging by saying things like you can do it, i have seen you pull off harder things then this, or my favorite dont worry Gods got this or he will get us through, when i am asked to look something up online for his work i do, when i am asked to do something in general it is done immediately or as soon as possible, there are something things that dont seem to have an urgency to them and i might wait a few days, but it always get done, he is on the road a lot so when he is home i enjoy cooking for him or even rubbing his back or feet if he asks, can you possible explain to me me in your opinion and understanding, like i am a 5 yr old what submission and respect is, because it has been brought to my attention that i dont have it right.
    Thank you

  16. I know this is an old post. But, I came via the sidebar list. Excellent! Very well put. Submitting & laying down your life is the same thing. We totally believe this in our own marriage relationship. My guess is, most people who are still really in love after any length of time, believe in mutual submission.

  17. Jo

    Yes, this is EXCELLENT! Thank you! A couple of things….I left a mother’s day service this month nearly in tears. I was told to be submissive and subservient (used in the same phrase) at least twice, taken from I Peter 3. There were a few comments on the 7th verse directed to men, very few. I understand “modesty”, and I understand the issue about the “braided hair” in those days as well as the flaunting of expensive clothing, but the heavy emphasis on submission and subservience was not only NOT a mother’s day message, it left me feeling “put in my place” and not uplifted, not honored as a mother, not honored as a wife. The pastor’s final comments, several times, were, “Moms, we need you.” I thought, “Why?” All I got from it was that I need to be a rubber stamp for a man–yes, dear; no dear; anything you say, dear. To top it off, and this certainly has added to my frustration this week, I have learned within the last 10 days that my husband is heavily into internet porn, and I see sites using words I’ve never heard of. I clicked on one, and it was total filth. The site titles are bad enough. This happens every day. My nightmare is that a huge charge will be on my next phone bill because he has ordered something. Now what do I do? Pray tell me how to honor this? My other nightmare is that he has now gotten involved in gay and/or transgender sex encounters. Some of his “stories” don’t add up. DO NOT REPLY BY EMAIL.

  18. @ Jo. I understand your pain. I had a time in my life and some days still it is hard to respect someone that does not show love and respect to you. My husband has had some twisted beliefs. He thinks that a woman is supposed to “obey” everything a man says. He does not understand true submission is me willingly giving my love to him, because I love him NOT because he demands it. He is to lead and guide me as his wife not dictate! He is much better than he was a couple years ago, but still a work in progress – aren’t we all though?

    After praying and reading many books about marriage. I think Gary Chapman’s book the Sacred Marriage says it best. “Marriage isn’t to make up happy, but to make us holy.” We are to love as Christ loves. And even though your husband is currently involved in some very destructive behaviors, Christ still loves him. Christ hates the sin and loves the sinner. Your husband sounds like he has turned his back on God (I am assuming he is a Christian) and God’s truth. Let God love you through this pain. Only through the power of God has our marriage survived. I clinged to Him and prayed constantly. You can’t change your husband’s heart nor is it your responsibility. Only God can change your husband’s heart. The Power of a Praying wife helped me to change my perspective on my marriage and through much prayer. Pray often. God desires our obedience more than anything. I chose to be obedient to God and really work on my marriage to make it something that brings Him glory. Even if my husband is not following Christ as I would like, it is my responsibility to follow Christ by loving, forgiving and praying for my husband daily.

    Jo, I lift you and your husband up right now to the Lord, and I pray that God will move in a mighty way in your life and heart. Jo the best part of all the pain that I have been through is I have a deep and intimate relationship with Christ. I put my complete trust in Him to help me in all areas of my life. My faith had grown in ways that never would have had my life been rocking along peacefully. May God bring peace in the midst of the storm.

  19. David

    Hi all,

    May God’s love be with all of you today. I do not at all agree with your interpetation.
    Look at the verse here.

    22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

    But where do we see the husband required to submit to the wife as though unto the Lord? Nowhere. You are trying to change the Bible to suit your desires. That is very wrong. Can Christ lead the church if the church does not submit to it? of course not. God does not force His will on people. They are not forced to serve Him. Neither is a wife forced to submit to a man. But if she does not submit to the man as though unto the Lord then how can he lead her? By force? Of course not.

    You truly do not seem to understand the very simple verses and use a lot of words to twist the messages to what suits your desires.

    The truth takes very few words. A lie requires a lot more to make people believe it. You have done a very good job of convincing some of the people here that not submitting to their husbands as though unto the Lord Himself in a Christian marriage is ok. Teachers like you are one of the the reasons that divorce among Christians is just as high as among unbelivers.

    Bad job.

    Anyone can read the very simple message of the Bible for themselves. IF you don’t like then just walk away. Do not try and pervert the truth.


  20. David

    Now as for husbands. They are to LOVE their wives as Chirst loves the church. That means that they do all they can for her. They put her first. They give her all. But does Christ SUBMIT to the church. Of course not. He loves and protects the church. But He submits to God the Father, not to the church.

    Just read the Bible. It is not that hard to understand, just sometimes hard to accept when we do not like what it says.

    Peace and Love to all

  21. Dan Lacich

    You must take all verse of the Bible in context not in isolation. It is actually simple. Paul says Submit yourselves to one another. Then he goes on to say, wives submit to your husbands this way, husbands, your submission to wives take the form of laying down your life for her like Christ did. He goes on, children, submit to your parents this way, parents, you submit yourselves to your children by not doing the things you want to that will exasperate them. Then It even gets to how slaves submit to masters and how masters are supposed to submit to slaves.

    Also if you read what I wrote carefully you will see that I never tell wives not to submit to their husbands. I am telling them how to submit in a Christ-like way and how husbands are to do the same.

    I stand by what I wrote. There is no twisting of scripture to suit my own desires. Instead it is a full reading of the whole counsel of God and not proof-texting with one verse removed from it’s context.

  22. Dan Lacich

    What do you think Paul means when he says, “submit to one another” in verse 21? Who does that apply to? How does it play itself out in everyday life?

  23. Cindy bechter

    Submission in slavery. There is no ands, ifs. or buts about it. The submit means to yield to someone else will. That means if you submit, you do not have free will. Without free will, you have no freedom. So, if you believe in the bible, only men are free.

  24. Cindy bechter

    What is the opposite of submission? it is domination. Don’t insult my intelligence by saying this is equality. As I previously mentioned, it is slavery. If you believe in the bible, you don’t believe in freedom for women.

  25. Dan Lacich

    If I chose to submit, it is my decision, freely made. As a parent I have submitted my desires to the needs of my children on numerous occasions. The Bible call us to care for one another and consider the needs of others before our own. That is also submitting to others. Your view of submission is not a biblical view. It is what sinful people have made of submission in their quest to dominiate others by force and intimidation.

  26. Dan Lacich

    I absolutely believe the Bible and find that it actually promotes freedom and dignity for all people. It appears to me that your understanding of the BIble is tainted by people who have misused it for their own power.
    I do find it fascinating that people who argue for the submission of women and people like yourself who abhor it, both hate what I have said. Maybe what I have said is closer to the truth than you realize

  27. J

    These versus have been a lot for me to swallow even though I am single. I have been looking for guidance on the subject and you have helped me to understand, thank you.

    Also, what about where women should have no authority over men? What about the work force and if a woman has charge over a man? I do not in any fashion desire to control a man but if he is under my charge am I not a good Christian woman? I do not want to give up my career goals but I don’t want to be a cherry picker either.

  28. Dan Lacich

    Dear J,
    When Paul speaks of a woman not having authority over a man he is speaking very specifically in terms of the spiritual authority of a church elder. It does not relate to the business or political world. For instance, Paul worked closely with Lydia in Philippi. She was a business owner and the head of a household. Also in the Bible you see that Deborah was one of the judges in the Bible and was a leader in Israel. A good Christian woman can be a leader in business or family or politics depending on the situation. I would encourage you to press ahead to the the best you can in your career field and if you are the boss over some men, that is perfectly acceptable.

  29. Trish Jelbert

    The only place we are told that wives should OBEY their husbands is in 1 Peter 3.1,2. The only reason for the obedience is that the wife is married to a pagan, who would expect this obedience. The wifely obedience would help to win her husband to Christ without a word. There is a Christian motive for this obedience. Hence wives are to model themselves on Sarah who obeyed Abraham and called him Lord. Once the husband becomes a Christian, the wife never has to obey him again. They act towards each other in mutual submision, exactly as you so ably pointed out, Dan. If we turn to Genesis, we see that the curse on the woman is that she desires to rule over her husband but he will rule over her [teshuqah – desire to rule over and NOT desire]. So when we see a woman ruling over her husband or a man ruling over his wife, they have not moved out from the curse of Genesis into the glorious liberty of Jesus Christ. We are to be guided by the Holy Spirit, so when there is disagreement, both husband and wife need to submit to the Holy Spirit to find not who is right but what is right.
    I enjoyed your article, Dan. Tks
    Trish Jelbert

  30. Bee Iyalla

    Good article Dan . Just a few points

    The marriage relationship as the scripture points out is like the relationship between Christ and the church. Christ models the kind of leadership a husband is supposed to give in his relationship with the disciples where He says ‘You know that the rulers of the gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead whoever wants to be great amongst you must be your servant’ Mat 20:25 and also points out that ‘just as the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many’. Mat 20:27

    It is clear from this passage that Jesus served His disciples and even died for them, yet this does not suggest that his disciples are his equals. The line of authority is clear, Christ is the head of the church and serves the church yet, the church is submitted to Him completely. There is no contest as to who is head and how that head is to be treated.

    In the same way, I believe that the husband should not lord it over his wife but serve her as Christ served the Church, and yet, his wife should reverence him as the Church reverences her Master Jesus.

    Finally, in his summary concerning some questions about marriage, Jesus concludes in Matthew 19:11 that ‘not everyone can accept these teachings except to those to whom it has been given.’ the one who can accept this should accept it.

    May the Holy Spirit lead us as the Lord Jesus gives us grace to follow.

    NB: All quotes from NIV

    Bee Iyalla

  31. A problem with this article is the fact that Paul is using delineation. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ: wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord, children obey your parents in this Lord for this is right, and slaves submit to your masters. The passage explains what Paul means by submit to one another. It is hard to make a conclusive case from this passage for slaves submitting to masters, parents submitting to children, or wives submitting to husbands.

    I am not saying there is no room for the idea of mutual submission. I Peter 5 addresses the elders who are to pastor the flock of God. Then it tells the younger to submit to the elders, ‘yea all of you be subject one to another.’ So if Peter wants all believers to have an attitude of subjection to one another, we still need to be subject to the elders of the church.

  32. Dan Lacich

    Dear Linkh,
    If you go back to verse 21 of Ephesians 5 Paul says we are to be “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ”. You don’t need to go to 1 Peter 5 although you are right it makes the same point. You can’t have Paul saying that Wives are to submit to husbands as an explanation of what he means in verse 21 and then remove the behavior of husbands to wives from the context. The same could be said of children/parents and slaves/masters. The whole point is that we are to consider others as well as ourselves and at times we push our own desires to a secondary role and put the others persons needs ahead of our own. That is biblical submission.

  33. I saw this topic and couldn’t wait to read it! This sums it all up (what you wrote): “We are all to submit our desires and wants in order to bring out the best in the other person.”

    It seems this is easier to do when we consider our actions as part of ministry. But, we forget we are to be ministering to our spouse. If I remember I am a funnel of Christ’s love to my husband, then it’s easier. I am no longer responsible for mustering up love for him. It’s Christ’s love being poured through me to my husband. I am simply a conduit…removing my emotions from the equation.

    For a wife, learning to submit is actually the most liberating moment. And it is a stepping stone in walking closer in submission to Christ.

  34. Dan Lacich

    Cristal, love the idea that learning to submit to your husband is a stepping stone to closer submission to Christ. I would say that is true of all our submitting to one another.

  35. John

    Dan, Please read Gen 3:16. Clearly God has put the man over the woman and has told the woman that her husband will “Rule” over her. And while I agree that men are not to act like brutish bullies toward their wives and are commanded to Love their wives as Christ Loved the Church…I don’t contend that a Husband is to Submit to his wife or to any woman. There is a good reason for this. Refer to 1st Tim 2:11-15 where the word of God says that the woman is not to have “Authority” over a man. The principle behind the Wife being in submission to the husband starts with the first sin and thus carried forward throughout human history. Many will argue that this passage in 1st Timothy is a cultural rule and does not pertain to our modern culture and I would argue that the word of God is perfect and it does pertain….however our culture of women’s libbers has tainted the waters and we have been programmed to believe the lie of the devil through TV, Magazines and other media garbage.
    Your post is an argument that husband and wife are equal in Christ within the context of marriage and the church body and that is simply false teaching. There is absolutely no purpose in using the word “submit” if we are all to submit to each other as you propose. We as Men are to submit to Christ (1Col 11) and then to other men within the body of Christ (This does not mean that we willingly submit to any man who claims to be a Christian) to and women to other women (See Titus 2:3-4).
    The only caveat to this discussion is when it comes to the mans body. The wife has authority over the husbands body. We as men are required to yield our bodies to our wives so as to keep sexual immorality at bay and to give our wives the affection that is due them. This scripture is specific in regards to our duty to each other as married couples to keep each other from sexual immorality.
    We are not to use our bodies for immorality or let ourselves go to the dissatisfaction of our spouse. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and as such we are to honor God with the inner spiritual aspects as well as the outer physical condition….we are to be a witness both physically and spiritually. Work hard at your job….Work hard to stay in physical shape because you Love your Wife and you Love God, Work hard to follow Christ commands because you Love Him.
    Other scripture to reference:
    Colossians 3:18-25 Again…Wive submit to your own husbands, Children to parents, Bondservants to masters.
    1 Peter 3:1-7 Wives are to be submissive to husbands and husbands are to dwell with wives in an understanding way because they are the Weaker Vessel (Weaker vessel implies that a man should not submit to his wife or a woman because they are weaker for this is exactly what happened in Gen when Adam submitted to Eve and ate of the apple without questioning Eve and revealing the truth).
    1 Timothy 3:1-13 Refers to Men as bishops/elders and deacons not women

    I could go on….but my point is simple….We are not required to submit to wive much less any woman but to God and other men who have been proven to be Godly men by their actions within our church society.

    We as men need to live with our wives in an understanding way. We ought to Love them as Christ loved the Church.

  36. Dan Lacich

    Dear John,

    Let me get one part of this out of the way first. You said, “Your post is an argument that husband and wife are equal in Christ within the context of marriage and the church body and that is simply false teaching” Saying that I am spreading false teaching is pretty strong stuff, especially when I contend that you do not understand what it is I am saying. I would say that in fact we are all equal in Christ. We are all made in God’s image and have equal value and relational access to God through Christ. However, being equal does not mean we are identical or even have the same roles and responsibilities. By equating the two you have succumbed to the very feminist lie that you abhor, that being, equal means identical. In the shallowness of how the world views things, we look at the external, things like job responsibility, role, cultural norms, who is in charge, etc and say if those are not identical then we are not equal. The Bible is much more sophisticated than that and recognizes that in Christ there is no more male or female, Jew or Greek, slave or free, but all are one in Christ. So there is an equality of value and a oneness in Christ but that does not mean we have identical roles and that some would not have authority over others in certain situations. It is in light of that truth that Paul says “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” because we are all equally members of Christ’s body. That text and the examples that follow in Ephesians are the basis for what I say.

    I wish you would have dealt with that statement from Paul and explained what you think he means when he says, “submit to one another”. He does not say, men only submit to other men. He says, submit to one another and then gives the specific examples of how that works by talking about the common relationships the Ephesians had, husband and wife, parents and children, salve and master. In my house my wife will tell you that I am the final arbiter of things and she submits to that. But in the spirit of Ephesians 5 and what it means for me to submit to her by laying down my life for her as Christ did the church, there will be times that I will forgo what I want for her sake. In that sense I submit myself to her as a servant. Is a husband supposed to be a servant to his wife? I hope you would say yes. As such that means you are submitting yourself to her for the sake of her betterment.

    What seems to be the issue here is that your definition of submission is limited to a hierarchical model of governance. In that context, submission is all about who tells who what to do, or who has authority over whom. In certain aspects of life, like church eldership, that holds true as you point out in 1st Timothy 2. I have no argument with that. Exercising authority and submitting to it are one aspect of how submission plays out in life.But that is not the only way the Bible understands submission. Submission is also understood as putting the interests of another ahead of my own. Clearly a husband and father is to do this when it comes to his wife and children. You do acknowledge this as it relates to our bodies being given to our spouse in sexual intimacy. So your door is open to understanding submission in a broader sense. What I am saying is that the teaching of the Bible regarding submission goes even further, it is not only about authority, it is also about service to one another and about sacrificing for another out of love for them and Christ. In light of that I would also like to hear what you think Paul means when he says that husbands are to lay down their lives for their wives? To me that is the ultimate act of submission.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


  37. John


    I respect your view but I respectfully disagree.

    You have grossly misunderstood what I have said and have read in way too much to what I wrote in my fist post.

    Let me be clear….

    Paul is not speaking about Mutual Submission. Mutual Submission is relatively new concept and it has been born out of the feminist bias in our American culture.

    You say that I don’t understand you….but I do…I understand your viewpoint very well.

    You say that I am equating equal with identical….nothing could be farther from the truth. We are not equal in Gods earthly hierarchy. Spiritually we are all his children and in that sense we are all equal.

    Wives are as Paul states to Submit to their husbands and that clearly puts the Husband over the Wife… puts the Parent over the child and the Master over the slave or the Employer over the employee.

    Nor are we identical…we are wholly different….as God designed Men and Women.

    So….. NO…… I do not succumb to the feminist agenda in any way shape or form. I’m not sure where or why you would get the idea that I have succumb the feminist lie….

    I don’t think a feminist would like me saying that I believe that God has said she is a “Weaker Vessel”. Nor do I think a feminist would like me saying that God has instructed the Wife to Submit to the Husband!

    I will answer your questions as to the following by directing you to someone who I believe has a concise answer……

    “I wish you would have dealt with that statement from Paul and explained what you think he means when he says, “submit to one another”. ”

    This following is from a web site:

    and as such I take no credit for the writing nor do I claim that any portion of it is my work.

    I should tell you that I did not know about this web page when I wrote my original post…It does however support my belief of submission. I was surprised that writer and I agreed on every point this is very unusual….all that aside…Please read through the following:

    By Paul J Bucknell:

    “A Biblical Study on Mutual Submission
    Ephesians 5:21
    “And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”(Ephesians 5:21)

    There has been a lot of discussion and debate in recent years over the precise meaning and interpretation of Ephesians 5:21.

    This is because an interpretation, better known as ‘mutual submission,’ has become increasingly popular. More importantly, the interpretation of Ephesians 5:21 is used as one of the founding verses upon which a new approach for marriage, self and life are built.
    Let’s look carefully at these two interpretations.

    The standard interpretation states that it is important for Christians to faithfully subject themselves to those in authority around them.
    The popular interpretation states that Christians should kindly treat other Christians in a humble and loving way.

    We probably will not find much problem with these statements, but as we go along, we will discover which is the right interpretation for Ephesians 5:21. The importance of this will also be highlighted for this interpretation has changed many a Christian’s perspective on the way they live out their Christian life.
    Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-6:10)A grammar note on the context

    No one seems to differ in the grammatical observations that the word to submit (upotassw hupotasso) in 5:21 is the fourth Greek participle following the command ‘be filled with the Spirit’ in Ephesians 5:18.

    Some commentators, however, allow the participle in 5:21 to be disconnected from the first three and treated separately as a command because of the similar topics of submission that follow. Others find this separation to interfere with the overall interpretation because they see the exhortation to the church at large and see that this becomes a crucial key to interpreting the rest. We will discuss this more later. We will first look at the standard interpretation and then the popular interpretation.
    Standard Interpretation

    In the standard interpretation, the phrase ‘submitting to one another’ states how one should subject oneself to another person who is in authority over him or her. Following this interpretation, Paul continues on from Ephesians 5:22 onward by articulating at least three contexts which demand a person to subject him or herself to another:

    wife to husband
    children to parents
    slaves to masters (see charts above)

    It appears that the apostle got carried away when he started to talk about wives. He taught about marriage in a much more complete way. He wrote how marriage is representative of God’s love for the church in Christ as well as addressing the problem of mistreatment.

    The apostle, as others, knew full well how a husband can abuse the command for a wife to subject to her husband and so particularly commanded the husband to love their wives. The apostle did a similar thing when he addressed parents and masters in Ephesians 6. He cautioned the father not to mistreat his children and the master to not act improperly toward his slaves (6:9). A Christian cannot be filled with the Spirit of God unless he or she properly responds in his given role in life as from God.
    The meaning of ‘to subject’ (hupotasso)
    Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ (Ephesians 5:21)

    The strength of this interpretation is that it actually focuses on the meaning of the word submit. The Greek word for submit or subject here (hupotasso) was used by a commander telling his soldiers to arrange themselves as commanded. They were to line up. This word, then, is used by one in authority to one who is subject to them, that is, under their authority. This is the reason the Christian is at times called to fear (5:33) and obey (6:1,5) those in authority over them.

    This interpretation requires that the word ‘another’ (allelon) be translated ‘to one another’ rather than having the sense ‘to everyone’ as in the phrase ‘love one another.’ Those who teach this interpretation state that though, in some places it does mean to each other in general, it also can be used in a more limited sense. Galatians 6:2, for example, instructs us, “Bear one another’s burdens.” This does not mean that everyone carries everyone else’s burden, but that those who are able should carry the burden of another person in need.

    This particular approach of Paul to address various groups of people to be subject to those in authority is quite common in the New Testament and even is present in non-biblical texts. Such ‘house-table’ passages include Colossians 3:18-4:1; Titus 2:2-10, 3:1-8; 1 Timothy 2:1-15, 6:1; Romans 13:1-7. 1 Peter 2:18-3:7 is the only non-Pauline list.

    This common pattern helps strengthen the traditional interpretation. We are not surprised by Paul’s commands here. We expect them.
    Another point of support for the traditional interpretation is the use of the word ‘head.’ The man is said to be head over his wife (5:23). This necessitates his authority (though it should be a loving authority) over his wife. He is responsible for the marriage and family.

    Complementing this interpretation, yet even further, is the fact that the husband is not anywhere instructed to obey his wife. The husband, if anyone, would need to hear this command if he was to submit himself to his wife, but he is not commanded to. Not even once. Instead, he is to lead as the head. He is in authority.

    The definition of ‘be subject,’ its NT usage and context all strongly suggest that the traditional interpretation should be used. Since the phrase ‘one another’ can be interpreted either way, the traditional interpretation requires the more limited sense, we should subject ourselves to those who are in authority over us.
    Popular Interpretation

    A more recent and popular interpretation of Ephesians 5:21 is summarized by the phrase ‘mutual submission.’ The idea is that everyone is to live in a spirit of humbleness and care for each other. Each Christian is to respect the other person. Jesus summarized this sense by the phrase ‘love one another.’ We need to point out that no Christian who understands the scriptures would reject this concept including those of the traditional viewpoint. The mark of the Christian is love. We are in many ways exhorted to be kind and gracious. Philippians 2:4 says that we are to treat each other ‘with the humility of mind.’

    It is easy for people to disregard this discussion due to the fact that this viewpoint is thoroughly Christian. This is the danger. The question before us is whether this is what Ephesians 5:21 is teaching us, not whether it is right to humble ourselves before others. When this popular interpretation is accepted, it subtly shapes how one approaches other instructions. More will be said on this later. Let’s first look at why people adopt this popular interpretation.
    A note on grammar and text

    Grammatically speaking, although ‘being subject’ is the fourth Greek participle listed, it is possible that it can begin another section starting in Ephesians 5:21.

    About half of the English translations favor this view by using a command, “Submit to one another” (NIV). See the translation chart below.

    The NASB and KJV, on the other hand, join this verse with the former section with an ‘and’ even though there is no conjunction present (nor does there need to be). John Stott in his commentary cleverly includes Ephesians 5:21 in the section ending with that verse but also uses 5:21 to begin the next section!

    The interpretation of 5:21 can influence the interpretation of 5:22 and the following. The difference is not, however, so much in the structure. Both interpretations can hold to the integrity of 5:18-33 and allow 5:21 to influence the following verses. It has to do more with the interpretation of ‘one another.’ This will be looked at shortly. We need to first finish some observations on the text of Ephesians 5:22. Some manuscripts do not have the verb ‘to submit’ in them. Does this make a difference on the interpretation?

    Various Bible Translations for Ephesians 5:21-22

    Ephesians 5:21
    NAS and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
    ED submitting yourselves to each other in fear of Anointed (Ephesians 5:21)
    GLT having been subject to one another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:21)
    GWV Place yourselves under each other’s authority out of respect for Christ.
    KJV Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
    LO Be subject to one another, in the fear of God.
    NIV Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    NLT And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    Phil And “fit in with” each other, because of your common reverence for Christ.
    RWB Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
    Wes Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

    Ephesians 5:22
    NAS Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22)
    ED the wives to the own husbands be you submissive, as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22)
    GLT Wives, subject yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord,
    GWV Wives, place yourselves under your husbands’ authority as you have placed yourselves under the Lord’s authority.
    KJV Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
    LO Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
    NIV Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
    NLT You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord.
    Phil You wives must learn to adapt yourselves to your husbands, as you submit yourselves to the Lord,
    RWB Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
    Wes Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as unto the Lord;We cannot be sure whether Paul included the verb ‘be subject’ in verse 5:22.

    One’s perspective is largely shaped on what manuscripts he leans upon in arriving at the final text. The NASB italicizes it, suggesting that it is not in the original and is dependent upon the prior verb. The KJV, however, includes it. Even though 5:21 looks like it closes one section, the way 5:22 lacks its own verb (if indeed that is the case) makes it dependent upon the verb from the prior verse which is ‘be subject.’ Originally, there were no verse numbers. The continuation of thought was tighter than it appears in our translations.

    Ephesians 5:21 does not necessarily start a new section. Nor does 5:22. Paul often just continues on without clear breaks. These grammatical notes are not critical to our discussion on whether Ephesians 5:21 has the meaning of mutual submission. These points are mentioned so that one will understand what these two interpretations are and are not dependent upon. I prefer seeing Ephesians 5:22-33 as one of three units amplifying the meaning of the fourth participle, ‘to be subject one to another,’ one of the ways one is filled with the Holy Spirit.
    Meaning of ‘be subject’ (hupotasso)

    More important than where the section starts is the question whether 5:21 means subject to or be kind and humble to one another. The translations clearly use (as they should) the word ‘submit’ or ‘subject.’ They do not translate it to mean ‘one should be humble toward each other.’ This is significant. Let’s look at a few ways people have used mutual submission.

    But when a husband and wife submit to one another, always looking for the best in each other and respecting one another, they are a witness to outsiders about God’s love.

    In the Christian home, husband and wife are to defer to each other in seeking to fulfill each other’s preferences, desires and aspirations. Neither spouse is to seek to dominate the other but each is to act as servant of the other, in humility considering the other as better than oneself.

    In case of decisional deadlock they should seek resolution through biblical methods of conflict resolution rather than by one spouse imposing a decision upon the other..

    Eph 5:21… For, when applied to marriage, it offers a distinctively Christian expression of an ideal which many modern readers of the New Testament will value, the ideal of reciprocity within the marriage relationship. The idea that wife and husband should ‘be subordinate to one another’, or )we might say) ‘defer to one another,’ is–I would like to suggest–a more positive, practical, and more profoundly Christian expression of this ideal of reciprocity than any talk of the ‘equality’ or ‘equal rights’ of women and men.

    The majority of modern believers are so eager to enter the controversy of wives submitting to their husbands in Ephesians 5:22-33 that they miss the verse that I believe is the key to it all: Eph 5:21. This verse teaches mutual submission; from the preceding verses we see that this is church wide mutual submission.

    We are driven to ask, “Where do people get this meaning of mutual submission?” There seem to be two places this thought derives from.
    The meaning of submission in Ephesians 5:21

    It appears that this interpretation of mutual submission is largely dependent upon translating hupotasso as ‘having a heart of submission’ rather than simply ‘submitting to.’ The connection of thought is obvious. When a person is submissive, he then needs to be humble and focus on what the other wants. It appears, then, that this misinterpretation ‘to have a heart of submission’ largely comes about by a misdefining of a word rather than some complicated hermeneutical phrase. We have already stated what the term means and supported it through how it is used in the New Testament. There is another aspect to this interpretation.
    The inclusive usage of ‘one another’

    We have already stated how ‘one another’ can have two interpretations/usages (one word in Greek).’ The term ‘one another’ must be used consistently in its context. That is, we are to look at the three prior participles and see that Paul is speaking to the whole church. They therefore insist that Ephesians 5:21 also be a charge to the church at large telling them to submit to one another in the fear of Christ. We do not have a problem with this. We do have a concern, however with what Paul supposedly charges the church in 5:21.

    Those espousing the modern interpretation suggest that everyone in the church, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, etc., are to submit to each other regardless of their sex and calling. This calling to submit to each other, therefore, in their understanding, arches over individual roles and choices in life. Husbands and wives are to submit to each other. This means that whatever else is written must be interpreted in light of this one command. In this case this law, like the law of love, becomes a master law.

    But is this the only interpretation? Hardly. The traditional interpretation agrees too that Paul charges the church to submit to one another. Everyone that has an authority above them must need subject himself to that authority. We all have someone over us, whether it be husband, master, parent, elder, pastor, government or Christ. Each is to discern his place and submit.

    The usage of ‘one another’ cannot change the definition of the verb ‘to subject.’ It only clarifies the object to whom we are to subject. It is rather the definition of the verb that shapes the understanding of ‘one another’ as mentioned above. Mutual submission then only has its one slim support for its comprehensive and revolutionary concept. We should be much more cautious in adopting this view.
    What about mutual submission?

    This modern concept of mutual submission has spawned a number of changes in the way Christians live out their lives. This concept popularized a new and supposedly higher way of interrelating with others. Most who believe in this sense of mutual submission believe that instead of the old paradigm, where wives submitted to husbands and husbands ruled over their wives, the gospel inaugurated a new way to relate to others. This new approach would supposedly eliminate the abuse found in the traditional approaches.

    In this interpretation, there is no true authority except perhaps God. The wives and husbands are equal and therefore have no authority over each other. As a result, they are expected to treat each other properly as a person. This is considered a better and more ideal way than the traditional way. This mindset makes this interpretation most dangerous because it portrays the old interpretation as inferior. The problem is that the traditional way is the ideal way. This popular perspective is leading God’s people away from God’s His Word. They are being led away like lambs.

    Although the standard interpreters can appreciate the sense that we should love one another including their wives, the newer interpretation disdains the standard interpreter’s perspective. In their eyes, it is a lowly interpretation and sets itself up for abuse. When a clear authority is not apparent, it is much easier to have fights. One opposes the other. The two thoughts become hostile toward each other. The new interpretation then is not just an interpretation but a whole different way to relate, handle problems and approach life. We need to keep looking and see if Paul is really teaching this new teaching. Is it consistent in this context and in other places that he speaks? Have we missed the right interpretation for thousands of years?

    In his study of the history of the interpretation of Ephesians 5:21, Daniel Doriani has demonstrated that a number of earlier writers thought that there was a kind of “mutual submission” taught in the verse, but that such “submission” took very different forms from those in authority and for those under authority. They took it to mean that those in authority should govern wisely and with sacrificial concern for those under their authority. But Doriani found no author in the history of the church prior to the advent of feminism in the last half of the twentieth century who thought that “be subject to one another” in Ephesians 5:21 nullified the authority of the husband within marriage.

    We need to take a more closer look at this word ‘subject’ for much is at stake here.
    The usage of ‘be subject’ (hupotasso)

    A clear understanding of the meaning of Ephesians 5:21 could clarify these various views. What does ‘to submit’ here mean? The connection with the military is obvious but does the word have other meanings? How is it used in the New Testament? We will look at these two questions.
    The meaning of the Greek word hupotasso (to submit)

    Thayer’s Greek lexicon gives six meanings.
    1) to arrange under, to subordinate
    2) to subject, put in subjection
    3) to subject one’s self, obey
    4) to submit to one’s control
    5) to yield to one’s admonition or advice
    6) to obey, be subject

    “A Greek military term meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” In non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.”
    Robertson’s Word Pictures only speaks of it as a military term meaning to line up under and refers to Colossians 3:18.

    The actual word, hupotasso, is derived from two roots. Upo means ‘of’ or ‘under.’ Tasso has a sense of ‘appointing,’ ‘setting’ or ‘ordaining.’ The one under authority then is required to meet the expectations of that particular appointment.

    TDNT says of hupotasso New Testament usage,

    Originally it is a hierarchal term which stresses the relation to superiors. But one should note that the subordination expressed may be either compulsory or voluntary. … In the NT the verb does not immediately carry with it the thought of obedience. To obey or have to obey, with no emphasis, is a sign of subjection or subordination.

    So whether it is compulsory or voluntary, we still need to recognize that the word means to submit. The one who was appointed a certain post is responsible to fulfill the expectations. The word hupotasso does not mean to sympathize with or treat tenderly but to submit to the control of another. It appears that the standard interpretation is much more compatible with this meaning than the newer one which reads into the meaning of the word. Let us look at how the word hupotasso is used in the New Testament before making final conclusions.
    New Testament Word Study on hupotasso

    A search for the word “upotas*” in the Greek text (Byzantine) brought out 20+ usages of the verb to submit. They are listed below.

    Luke 2:51 And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
    Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
    Luke 10:20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
    Romans 8:7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;
    Romans 13:1 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
    Romans 13:5 Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
    1 Corintians 14:32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets;
    1 Corintians 14:34 Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says.
    1 Corintians 16:16 that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors.
    Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
    Ephesians 5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
    Ephesians 5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
    Colossians 3:18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
    Titus 2:5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.
    Titus 2:9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,
    Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,
    1Peter 2:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.
    1Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,
    1Peter 3:5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.
    1Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

    Just a casual glance at the above verses will reveal that the word ‘to submit’ is consistently used and translated as ‘be subject’ or ‘be submissive to.’ The sense of ‘be humble toward’ is not at all used. The meaning is not wrong. It is part of being subject to another, but it is not what it means! In each case, we see that those being called to subject themselves are under the authority of the one mentioned whether it be Jesus to his parents (Luke 2:51), the spirit of the prophet to the prophet (1 Corinthians 14:32), slaves to their masters (Titus 2:9) or wives to their husbands (Colossians 3:18). Grudem concludes his study,

    So my question is this: Why should we give hypotasso a meaning in Ephesians 5:21 which it is nowhere else shown to have? But if hypotasso always means “be subject to an authority,” then it is certainly a misunderstanding of Ephesians 5:21 to say it implies “mutual submission.”

    The NT usage of hupotasso does not mean to have a humble attitude in Ephesians 5:21, 22 or 24. It does not strip away the sense of authority but instead firms it up in support of the traditional viewpoint. The wife is charged by God to subject herself to her husband’s wishes. Her husband is in authority over her, and she is obligated to listen to his wishes. This does not at all give permission for the husband to hurt his wife. Abuse stems not from the presence of authority but despite it. Abuse comes from a person’s willingness to manipulate others for their own selfish purposes.
    Conclusions on Mutual Submission

    Let us now make some conclusions on this popular teaching of mutual submission. This teaching asks all Christians to be submissive to each other. Please remember we have no problem with the fact that we are to humbly and kindly treat others. We are not told, however, to submit to each and every person. (It is hard enough just to submit to our parents!)

    We see the results of this teaching already eroding the Biblical concept of family, marriage and society. If we do not turn about, surely we will face a devastation much worse than any typhoon or major earthquake. Several teachings make the popular teaching of mutual submission untenable and as mentioned above very dangerous. We will summarize them below.
    The greater context of authority in scripture

    The scriptures are filled with teaching about authority. Mutual submission has as its subtle companion teaching that there is no authority. Either this is a wholly new revelation of God or it goes against the teaching of scripture. What do we find in the scriptures?

    God is the chief authority. Christ is an authority. In Ephesians 5:21 it says that we all should fear Christ because we will stand before Him for judgment (we get a hint of it in Revelations 2-3). Adam was head over Eve. God strongly rebuked Adam for listening to Eve when she proposed to do something different than God had ordained, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife…” (Genesis 3:17). Jesus obeyed his parents. “And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51).

    God has purposely put authorities in place to rule the world, society, family and the church. To abolish authority on earth is not a new revelation from God but a worldly philosophy that thinks it has a better way to do things then the Lord has ordained. It is for this reason God’s people are regularly exhorted to subject themselves to the authorities over them whether it be ruler, parent or husband.

    Instead of lifting up this notion of an utopian society characterized by the absence of authority, God rebukes those who reject authority, “Yet in the same manner these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties” (Jude 1:8). There are specific authorities that we should all respect and be subject to. The teaching of mutual submission subtly removes any real appreciation of authority and therefore becomes an opposing teaching to it. This is what we have found that has happened in the church and the society as a large where authority is rejected.

    The very intention of Ephesians 5:21 to have people acknowledge and submit to authority is rejected for a man-made teaching cultured by the world.
    The definition of ‘be subject to’ (hupotasso)

    The Greek lexicons clearly state that this word with hierarchal implications (i.e. Connected to authority) means ‘to be subject to.’ We appreciate the emphasis of the heart required to be submissive but this is not how ‘to be subject’ is defined.

    To line one’s self up under, to submit. Used in a military sense of soldiers submitting to their superior or slaves submitting to their masters. The word has primarily the idea of giving up one’s own right or will, i.e., “to subordinate one’s self.”

    Notice how the heart of submission requires a subordination. We are not speaking here only of a heart of submission but actually the subjection of oneself to another. By subtly shifting the meaning of this word, the popular interpretation now has wives and children not subjecting themselves to the authorities above them in direct disobedient to Ephesians 5:21.
    The New Testament usage

    We carefully examined the usage of this word hupotasso in the New Testament. The twenty or so usages require and list those certain individuals are to subject themselves. Slaves are to be subject to their master.

    This is not a situation where the word is only used once, and the meaning needs to be guessed from the context. The verses are consistently clear as to its meaning. In Ephesians 5:22, for example, wives are to be subject to their husbands. They are not only to feel humble toward and kind but to actually do what the husband asks.

    Some modernists perhaps are put off by this usage because it has the sense of a slave. The fact is, whether we like it or not, our lives are part of a web of complex relationships. Ephesians 5:21 instructs us that our choices are in many cases defined by the choices of another. If we are to use the modern interpretation, we would have to change the meaning of many scriptures. We must ask if we are seeking to understand God’s Word or trying to live out our lives the way we wish by interpreting God’s Word other than stated.
    The incomprehensible sense of mutual submission

    If we use ‘one another’ in an inclusive sense to include everyone, there is no longer any authority to subject oneself to. Everyone other than myself would become my authority. If we were consistent with the word’s meaning, we would need to say that a brother has authority over a sister or that a sister has authority over a brother. Are brothers and sisters to submit themselves to each other as one in authority? Clearly this is not the case.

    Instead, there are certain people that each person is to be submissive to. Getting advice and submitting to a person is quite a different matter. People have problem enough submitting to elders let alone every brother or sister. Mutual submission does not practically work out in life and interferes with other authorities such as our parents who are in authority over us.
    Imagine the situation where a brother says to another Christian brother, “Don’t worry what your parents want. You should go out this evening and have a break instead. You need to listen to me.”
    The immediate context defines the head and authority

    If there is any sense of “mutual submission” found in the husband/wife relationship, it would be found in this context addressing the husband and wife’s roles. We would expect to find a verse instructing man to subject to his wife and work with her in forming opinions. But what do we find? In indirect opposition to the popular tradition, it speaks of the husband as the head (not the wife).

    Ephesians 5:23 starts off by explaining why the wife should submit. An explanative ‘for’ starts Ephesians 5:23. “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church…” Nowhere is a husband asked or told to submit to his wife. Nowhere. Instead we are told that the husband is head. This is just what we are to expect if the wife is to submit. The distinct structural roles remain in place.

    Some have suggested that the term ‘head’ might have a softer connotation than the term ruler. This is possibly true, or at least can be true. We will learn in the next verses that the husband is to be gentle toward his wife. He needs to love her. This is true, but he is not told to submit but to lead his wife like Christ the church. I seek help from my wife. She is my helpmate, but in the end I must lead. I am the appointed (tasso) head, the one in authority and responsible that the decisions as a married couple are pleasing to God.

    The teaching of mutual submission fails at this critical point. All its associated egalitarian teachings that stem from its teaching also fail: mutual submission in a marriage, family, church or society. Feminism, a form of egalitarianism, as a whole has caused great consternation in the family and society because it rejects the duty and calling of the wife to obey her husband.

    The sin in the garden occurred when man submitted to his wife. Man failed to lead according to God’s Word and instead listened to his wife. We respect women and acknowledge her special position in creation, but she is still to live under her parent’s authority until she gets married and that authority is transferred over to her husband. God put this authority of the husband in place. When it is frustrated, problems result. This is exactly what we find in many marriages today.
    Disdain proper teaching

    Mutual submission sounds good and is therefore easily accepted. People do not want to think that they need to subject themselves to others. They want to make their own choices. This teaching helps them justify their disobedience. Something worse, however, is happening with this movement. Again, we must note its subtleness.

    The greater danger is that such teaching causes us to despise what God really does teach. Once we accept a more ideal of handling relationships that denies any form of authority, the church becomes open to an invasion of worldly teachings that destroy the family. This is precisely what we see today in all its aberrant forms. Today, we find parents who disdain their parental authority and treat their children as equal in authority. These parents are astonished to see how bratty their children are but believe that this is ideal. These families are small because as they commonly say, “We couldn’t handle more than one.”

    Divorce has become common because people are living by this supposedly more ideal way. Mutual submission implies that the husband and wife’s decision are of equal importance. They have no way to handle their frustrations but end up being more divisive and bitter. Divorce is the result. The focus (and tension point) becomes on what each person wants and values instead of obedience. Mutual submission might seem that it focuses on humility and giving in but because of its sister teaching that each of our opinions are as important as the other, a deluge of personal battles result.

    God knows how to think about ourselves, life and each other. If the teaching of mutual submission in a marriage or family was ideal, the Lord would have taught this. It is not ideal. Nowhere in the scriptures is it taught. Instead a verse is hijacked and used to control the interpretation of many other verses that do not each anything like mutual submission. Mutual submission counters God’s Word and, as a result, the family is racing into ruin. God teaches the better way of authority and subjection.

    Mutual submission seems like it brings us to a higher ideal, but in fact, it is based on an errant translation and sets forth teaching that counters what is so clearly taught in the scriptures. We need to repent as a church. We have not subjected ourselves to our head, Christ, and instead created teachings where each person can follow their own desires causing many to fall into ruin.
    “But as the church is subject to Christ,
    so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”
    (Ephesians 5:24)

    Instead of causing us to subject ourselves to one another, the popular interpretation of Ephesians 5:21 teaches us not to subject ourselves to anyone. This is a great difference in translation. Readers beware!”

    Dan….I hope this clears up any misunderstandings you may have about what I think….I still maintain that you are not teaching the word as God has designed regarding this subject….There is no such thing as Mutual Submission. There is hierarchy within marriage, family, church and society….without it or with Mutual submission there is no authority at all….

    Wives are to submit to their husbands in Everything. That means that they follow they do not lead….they do the will of their husbands regardless of what they want to do.

    I Love my wife in the way God designed me to Love my wife….I unconditionally take care of her needs….I am there for her through the thick and the thin…..sometimes I do the dishes….sometimes I do the laundry….sometimes I vacuum the floors….I hug her, Kiss her and hold her. But this has nothing to do with me submitting to her……I do it because I want to….I do it because I see she needs my help…not because she asks me to do it. I make dinner many nights….I also run a business…work 8 to 12 hours a day…..I that because I need to provide for my family and I love them as Christ Loves the Church.

    Please also see:


  38. Dan Lacich

    I still maintain that your understanding of submission is too limited. You are supporting that hierarchical aspect of submission that is found in a husband over his wife or a government over it’s people. I agree that is biblical and have taught as such in many places. With that said, I contend that the love you show for your wife is exactly what Paul meant when he said submit to one another and then used the three examples in couplet of husbands/wives, parents/children, and masters/slaves. That context must be taken into account when exegeting that passage, not just what lexicons say about word meaning in isolation.

    The article you quote has some great points but also makes some serious errors. Chief among them is that it also views submission in strictly a hierarchal, who is in charge, motif. The article contents that mutual submission means that no one is in charge and therefor everyone is free to make their own decisions. That may be what some hold to but not me and not what I think the Bible holds to. Rather, as the husband I must make the final decision and my wife would submit to that. But in submitting to her I am going give great weight to her ideas and thoughts and at times I will go with that, even if I would prefer something different. Let’s put it in the mundane. I really want to go see a certain movie and my wife doesn’t but would rather see something else. I have a choice to make. Do I insist that she go to the movie I want to see because I am the husband and I am in charge? Or do I defer to her, because I am willing to lay down my life for her? If I defer to her in that case I am in fact submitting to her desire. That’s all I am saying. Submission is broader than who has final say. Another way to put it is when Jesus said that leaders are not to lord over others as the gentiles do. Instead leaders are to serve. When you serve someone, you are submitting to them, not in terms of who is in charge and is the decision maker, but rather in terms of who is being honored and raised up and who is lowering themselves in service.

    The fact that you want to serve your wife as you do does not mean that you are not submitting your time, energy, talents, etc to her needs and best interest. In fact you are. You are doing it out of a Christ-like motivation of laying down your life for her. I would however say that if you did not want to serve your wife in this way, that you would still be required by scripture to do so and as a result would be submitting your desires to her best interest. In all honesty I doubt there is very little difference in how my wife and I function and how you and your wife function. I just see it as fulfilling what it means to submit to one another. You cannot love someone if you do not at times defer to them and submit to what they want or need. You grant that it is expected in sexual relationships. I think that is just one example of what it means that my body is not my own and that I give it in service to her because I love her.

    BTW, sorry it took a few days for your post to appear. Apparently WordPress did not like either the length or the fact that there were multiple links included so it was blocked until I approved it.


  39. Chris Faulkner

    That John guy is certainly advocating slavery for wives. I wonder if he is a nice master to his slave. He certainly thinks of women as inferior creatures/slaves. Although I don’t believe in the bible, Dan is at least nice about his “biblical” superiority over women/slaves. If a police officer is a woman, John, do you not think that you have to obey her. Good luck with that. I am so glad that we have secular laws that give all people-not just men-rights and freedom. People like john would gladly take away any freedom women have. While the purpose of my visiting this site is to understand christianty, I think I understand it now, and realize it is not for me (or for any woman). Thanks John, you’ve shown me that all the bible wants to do is take every thread of freedom I have, and wants me to be a slave to men. Not gonna happen!!! Dan’s comments were nice, and other than his comment of being the master in his house, in a way advocated mutual submission and love. John advocated complete freedom for men, and complete slavery for women. All I can say is-thanks, John. Thanks for showing me how awful and misogynistic the bible (and in effect, christianity) is. Thanks for pointing out that the bible god hates me, and all women. And any being who hates does not deserve to be worshipped. I still believe in God, just not bible god. Goodbye for good, christianity.Best to you, though, Dan.

  40. Chris Close

    That this is a matter of great and contentious debate is clear. Our faith is patriarchal. Men are command to lead their families. Women are commanded to submit to their husbands. These are not suggestions. Men and women who have a problem with this have a problem with God. The world definitively has a problem with this. Satan from the beginning attacked the family God had created and he attacked at the weakest link. From Genesis forward women have been commanded to submit to their husbands. Many will try to enter the kingdom but few will arrive. This is where the first cut will be made. God bless you all.

  41. Bob P

    Dan: thank you for addressing this sometimes misunderstood or contentious issue. I am a husband and have been contemplating the meaning of Paul’s words for many years. Over time I have come to the same conclusions as you did. As I read many of the comments of others I am struck by one item that I think is very important. I think people are hung up on this concept of authority. If as Paul says I have authority over my wife, fine… but what is missing is with that authority comes significant RESPONSIBILITY. Paul is saying that I must love my wife just as Christ loves his church to make her holy. Think about that… think of the awesome responsibility I have. As Christ loves his church then I must treat my wife with the utmost respect, dignity, love, compassion, devotion; to never falter in thought, word or action and to act as the perfect example to make her holy; to lead the way in understanding and wisdom and truth; to act with mercy and kindness and forgiveness; to serve, to humble myself just as Christ did by washing the apostles’ feet; to in fact give my very life in the perfect example of humility. THAT is what Paul is asking husbands to do.

  42. Weary

    Wow! Interesting comments to a well-written commentary on Ephesians 5: 21 – 33. I have been married to my husband for 41 years. We have, in this order, lived through 1 year of seminary, 10 years in the USAF, and 2 more years of seminary. We have served at 9 different churches, and moved 14 times, only 4 of those were military moves. If I count all the moves from smaller quarters to larger quarters or get out of church provided house to apartment, then it’s 17. That is 14 different cities, on city twice.

    If you are wondering what this has to do with your article, it is the effect all this has had on my life; and as you can probably guess, I am talking about more than moving. Anyone married for 41 years has had many joys and many stresses. Although, I sometimes feel we have had more than most. I have not shared all the stressors here: I am not sure that is appropriate. However, we had so many stressors that my body could no longer cope, even though I strived to do the things that are healthy for one’s body way past the time it began to fall apart. Sometimes, I feel imprisoned in our marriage, even though I love my husband more than life itself. There are many times I think I would be happier and healthier if I left.

  43. Mrs. Hodge

    Weary, Oh my God! You have endured hard trials as good soldier and have probably set positive examples for more wives than you can imagine to keep on keepin’ on even when times are hard. Please don’t leave. The devil always want to make you think the grass is greener on the other side. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. I will be praying for you.

  44. This is a spirit-filled, beautifully, and responsibly written article. I did want to point out to some of the people that didn’t like the article, that using Genesis 3 as proof that women were always intended to be ruled by men is a gross misunderstanding of the entire story of scripture. The statements made in Genesis 3 are curses — and Jesus came to release us from those curses. When the fall of humanity occurred, we entered into a type of humanity separate from God’s design. At that moment, a fundamental shift happened for all humans: women would no longer be be defined by their relationship with their creator, instead they would seek approval from men for their value and men would in turn rule it over them. If you read the history books, that is exactly what happened. Men would be no longer be defined by their relationship with God either and instead would be defined by the work they would spend their lives doing — and in the end would accomplish nothing except for returning to the ground as dust. But God set in motion a plan to regain what was lost. The rest of the NT is the story of that plan coming to fruition. When Jesus, the Messiah, comes he brings the good news that an eternal kingdom is coming — a kingdom where things were different, upside down even. Things in this kingdom don’t work the way they do in the cursed, fallen world. And if you look at the ministry of Jesus, He did some pretty bold things to challenge the first century viewpoint of women: the woman at the well, the woman with the perfume, and the woman caught in the act of adultery. He even called women to be His disciples. If you study the first century Jewish mindset, He was quite radical in this way. I’d argue that Jesus made a pretty solid point throughout His ministry to showcase that the way the Jews at the time viewed women was wrong. Jesus came to set all people free from the curses that govern the world we live in and accomplished His work by conquering the ultimate curse laid out in Genesis 3, death.

    In Christ, there is no distinction between a man and a woman, slave or free, Jew or Gentile. And in Christ, there is complete freedom to live in a redeemed state of humanity, the way we would live if God were King over all things — because through the death and resurrection of Jesus, He was given authority over all things and thus established His kingdom for His children to live in, even here and now.

    Also, for those of you that disagree with this article could you please explain your answer to this question: why are you so obsessed with having women submit to you? I mean, what does that look like in real life that you feel so passionate about not being mutually submissive to your wives? Isn’t the model of Jesus giving completely of Himself in humility as the head of the church the most incredibly submissive attitude and action imaginable?

  45. Maureen Gardiner

    How much more submissive could one be than to allow your totally innocent self to be brutally massacred on a rough wooden cross – lifted up high so all could see. Just so He could be obedient to His Father.
    How many husbands do you know who are capable of that, without the loving grace of the indwelling Holy Spirit? MG

  46. Frank

    Your reading the NIV version where it appears that you would be correct that it could belong to the husband and Wives section.

    But in the King James Version its clearly part of the previous section:

    20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

    21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

  47. Dan Lacich

    Verse 21 is a bridge text between 20 and 22. By that I mean it relates to verse 20 by saying that we give thanks to God in part by submitting to one another. Verse 22 and following then describe in detail how we submit to one another. The sense of it in the Greek which originally had no chapter and verse designations, shows the overall context being that the three pairs of Husbands/wives, parents/children, and slaves/masters, are the practical application of submitting to one another.

  48. g

    why does it not say husbands should also submit to their wives which is a truly egalitarian partnership, also slaves submitting, that’s sick and utterly outdated. so many translations, so many interpretations, you can apply any meaning you want to a bible verse and proclaim to those who follow with blind faith that your version is the correct way, obey is explicit in it’s meaning and reduces only the women to a child father relationship.

  49. Shannon

    I think this was wonderfully written, Im a Liberty student and i also have a reply to John About unequal submission as the church we are all brides of Christ no matter our gender and He puts us first just as we put Him first (foot prints in the sand) so what’s not to understand? Jesus is the bride/groom also a marriage is of three Christ, the husband and the wife submission to each other is a Christ like manner and by doing so we are submitting to Christ (not I but Christ) it’s a selfless act of love kinda like the passion 🙂

  50. Dan Lacich

    Thanks for your comment and question. As to why it doesn’t explicitly use the word submit for husbands, I would say that what I wrote about the context and that verse 21 sets the meaning for the following 3 pairs of submissions makes it explicit. We are to submit to one another, no exceptions. The way it works in the real world is given examples in the pairs or husbands/wives, parents/children, slaves/masters. I also understand your concern about the slave issue. Before jumping to conclusions about how sick that is, you need to understand that slavery in biblical times was nothing like what it was in pre-civil war USA. The closer parallel would be the indentured servanthood of pre-colonial days that brought many people to America. What the Bible is teaching followers of Christ who are slaves is how to respond to their master in the way that has the greatest chance of leading that master to faith in Christ. The Letter to Philemon gives a further teaching on slavery and makes a call for the master, Philemon, to reconsider his relationship to the slave Onesimus and to treat him as a brother in Christ and not as a slave.
    Certainly a person could apply any meaning they want to a Bible verse. That does not make it the correct understanding of the meaning of the original author. You could also apply any meaning you want to the newspaper or a book by any author. But there is a meaning that the author intended and there are rules of interpretation that are to be applied. I believe I have done that and have given the accurate sense of what Paul intends to teach here.
    I take it from what you have said that you disagree with my interpretation yet you don’t like what you think Paul says because it is demeaning. Is that correct?

  51. ColdFusion

    Ms. Faulkner, there’s no need to ditch Christianity on the basis of one guy’s opinions! There is a lot you will be missing out on just because an individual you’ll never meet has dragged in his own biases!

    …Okay, I guess that’s kind of hypocritical of me to say after renouncing the label of “woman” on the mere basis of what a handful of feminist bloggers and one U.S. president believe that word means. ^_^;
    But in my case I get to keep the ovaries and the hair ribbons no matter what words are taken or left; the selection of a spiritual path has much more serious repercussions.

  52. Calliste

    I disagree with the sentiment of mutual submission. I do absolutely everything my husband orders and I expect nothing in return, and this is how I feel a wife is supposed to act. If he were to order me to commit suicide I would, and I believe I would be committing a sin if I didn’t.

  53. Dan Lacich

    Dear Calliste,
    I have read your comment a number of times hoping to find sarcasm in it but I have come to the sad conclusion that you really mean what you have written. I have to strongly disagree with your understanding of submission. If a human being, any human being, tells you to do something that is clearly against the Word of God, then you must disobey that human being. The Apostles made this clear in the Book of Acts when they were ordered to stop preaching the Gospel and said, “we must obey God rather than man”. What if your husband ordered you to murder someone else? Would you do that? I hope not. Because it is wrong. If your husband tells you to commit suicide, he is the one who is sinning not you. You are not compelled to obey anyone who tells you to sin. I cannot say this strongly enough.
    You say you disagree with the sentiment of mutual submission. Could you please tell me then what Paul does mean when he says to submit to one another?

  54. “Provocative Bible Verses: Wives Submit to Your Husbands
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  56. random reader

    After reading through the most comments, thank you Dan for sharing with us your proper understanding of the Scripture.

    Some people think that to love wife as Christ loved the church = to not abuse your wife’s submission. They should read their Bible again.

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  60. tiredme

    What will i do if i alone is doing two jobs just to put food on our table and to pay all the bills including tuition fees of our 2kids? My husband is a photographer and seldom have work. We’ve discussed this many times way back 8 yrs ago we only have 1 kid during that time. Told him to think of somethin or to look for job that he thinks can help me earn for our daily needs. But nothing happned till now… nem tired for this kind of set up… Im about to give up.

  61. To Tiredme: For you husband – 2Th 3:10-12 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.

    For you – 2Th 3:13-16 As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister. Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

  62. tiredme

    Im the one working for my family. Actually got two jobs. Tired and im about to give up. Its been 8 years, i had enough.

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  65. dawn

    This is a great article everyone should have this in their marriage vows it would probably save a lot of divorces

  66. Nisha88

    I truly appreciate this passage for breaking down the word of God. These days life is full of ignorance and people that lack the desire or hunger for God’s knowledge. Wisdom is even lacked,THANK YOU.Nisha88

  67. michelle

    I believe there is a God given hierarchy that needs to be followed. God and His people, government and the people, masters and the slaves (now employers over the employees), and parents over the children. When that gets muddled up you have, people telling God he is wrong and making up their own rules, people ignoring the laws of the land-practicing lawlessness, employees telling their bosses what to do, kids throwing tantrums until their parents give in to their wishes, and wives running the show. Men and women divorcing over disagreements because neither one would come to an agreement. Sound familiar? This is from a nation largely turning away from God’s ordinances. I believe why we should submit to our husbands as we are more easily deceived by our emotions. I will admit it, we tend to react to our emotions-rather than responding (not all the time). God made us emotional creatures and also created us as help mates for our husbands, not the other way around. We also were the first to go against God and eat the forbidden fruit in the garden and then lead our husbands to sin as well. However, I like how one of the commenters put it which each of these positions comes with great responsibility. And if you love your wife you will listen to what she has to say, carefully make decisions which include her input because I believe a woman can offer a great deal of insight to a situation, and may even put your will aside for her best interest or for God’s best interest because He is still over the husband. Our God is not a God of confusion. If there is no authority, there is no order. He has given us a clear defining of the order and we should be sure we keep in order. Submitting to one and another is our fellowship within the church, between brothers and sisters and I believe that is another thing altogether. I will not be submitting to my children as I need to ensure their well being and teach them right from wrong. And if we have husbands which are being governed by God’s authority, we can be confident they will not lead us astray or treat us unfairly. All that being said I still sometimes have to work on this, especially if I feel my husband is not in the will of God. But I should submit to him anyways because I trust if I am honoring to God’s word he will provide insight to my husband, protection for me and my family, or a way out of a possible bad decision.

  68. michelle

    Now, I don’t mean I should murder if he told me to murder. I will give an example. My husband and I started following the Lord, I was walking very close to Him…my husband…not so much. I was appalled when he said we should take the kids trick or treating, seeing this as sitting at the table with devils. I tried to reason with him that I did not want to do this and why, but to no avail, that was what he wanted. Well, God gave me a wonderful idea…since we were going door to door and dressing up I was going to dress as an angel and hand out “Get Out of Hell Free Cards” (not necessarily how I would choose to evangelize but it was fitting for the night). God gave me a way of honoring Him and my husband. I choose to “eve-angelize” instead of partaking in the events of the night. This may not work for everything and so don’t think I would jump off a building just because he said so. If I can submit in a way that is still honoring to God, that’s is what I would do. He never asked me to take the kids trick or treating again.

  69. michelle

    Just been think about this one thing I want to change about my above comment….I said submit to one another means with in the church family…I actually believe it means submit one to another as in submit to the authority that Paul then specifies through out the rest of Ephesians. Never the less God does not give us these specifics to be tossed around and interchanged. Wives submit to husband…visa versa….children to parents….visa versa, anyway you get the idea. If that is what he meant that is what he would have said. But he says:

    Genesis 2:18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
    3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. (Consequences for going against God in garden)

    1 Timothy 2:11-13
    11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
    12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

    1 Chronicles 14
    33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
    34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.

    If we can find reasons to cast out or revise all of those scriptures as well, then we should maybe check to see if we should be teaching the bible verses to others.

  70. Emily

    Hi Dan,

    You said “this is what submission to your wife looks like for you”. It does not say in these verses that husbands are to be submissive to their wives. Look at verses 23 & 24. It clearly states that the husband is the HEAD of the wife, as Christ is the HEAD of the church, and that the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives should be subject to their husbands. Christ isn’t subject to us; we are subject to Him. Love does not always equal submission. Christ loves us but He doesn’t submit to us. There is no equal submission happening. If equal submission were true, why do the verses show husbands being like Christ and wives being like the church??? Please do not distort the Bible and mislead people.

  71. Dan Lacich

    Dear Emily
    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to share them.
    First let me say that I do not believe I am distorting the Bible. Rather I think I am correcting a distorted view of what the Bible says that has been held by many people. The reason for the distorted view many have is that they only view submission as obeying the commands of another person. In that regard you are right that Jesus is not subject to us, but that we are subject to Him. But biblical submission is not only about obeying. If it was, what could Paul possibly mean in verse 21 when he says to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”? How could we all possibly submit to each others commands?
    There is another way in which we submit to one another. That is we place their needs ahead of our own. Jesus did this in Philippians 2 when it states that for our sake he took on flesh and became a servant, even to the point of death. When he calls us to serve on another he is calling us to submit our will and desires to the needs of another. When Paul says we are to submit to one another that is what he is talking about. How do husbands submit to their wives? Not by obeying them but by serving them. They put their wives ahead of themselves. This is absolutely necessary in order to avoid having husbands who rule over their wives in an ungodly way. Jesus was very concerned about that kind of lording over people. That is why he so strongly warned the disciples to be leaders who serve others and place the needs of others before their own.
    Likewise husbands are to place the needs of their wives ahead of their own. The husband is there to serve the wife. When the husband makes a decision about something the wife is to submit to that. But the husband should make the decision not based on his own wants or desires, but submit those to the needs of his wife by laying down his life for her.
    I believe that is thoroughly biblical.
    It comes down to this. Submission is multi-faceted. There is obedience to the commands of one who is over us, like Christ to us and a husband to wife. But there is also submission as a servant from the one who is the head to the one who is to follow.
    I hope this clarifies this for you and look forward to hearing from you again.

  72. michelle

    Paul in verse 21 “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”? is simply saying submit to one another- the authorities I am about to lay out in the following verses. The “to one another” is described in the rest of his teaching . Yes I understand what you are saying but again the husband will submit to Christ, not the wife, by allowing her to decision to precede his and it is because Christ says love your wife that he will consider her will over his. Not because He is submitting to her per say but to Christ. I want to say again Christ was submitting to His Father’s will to serve us not our will to put Him to death. Remember He asked the Father not Pilate to take the cup from Him.

  73. michelle
  74. michelle

    I am sorry I really typo-ed to death that last sentence. It should read: “I hope this will make sense to other readers”

    The last sentence probably made no sense. I have a couple trigger fingers when I am typing. I will try to be a better proof reader.

  75. michelle

    Ok I was lead to these scriptures today…

    Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

    Paul states he is a servant of God

    Phillipians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

    Again servant of Jesus Christ.

    Never says he is a servant to man or to the saints. He does serve them because Jesus is His Master and leads us to a life of service to Him. In that we serve others. Just as any servant would serve others as their Master deems.

    Titus 2 again Paul tells the women to be obedient to husband…never the other way around…

    3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

    4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

    5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

    Then again tells slaves to be obedient to their own masters

    9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;

    10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

    Now if those verses in addition to all the other verses in the Bible about the subject doesn’t change your perspective on the matter then I am afraid nothing else will. I am concerned only because you are teacher Dan. I do appreciate you don’t want husbands lording over their wives and being unfair or unloving towards them, but if they are in the proper rank under the Lord Jesus they will not and be sure to love them, by giving the due respect and honor they deserve. Same with parents over kids. This is the part that should be emphasized in your teachings.

    Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

    This comes at the end of Titus 2
    15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

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  77. Rodney

    We kill trees to justify the easy path; but the word is the word.

    It is blasphemy for the older women “not” to teach the younger to love and obey their husbands (Titus 2). This is to be instilled as a child. When I was a child I thought as a child; time to grow up.

    Others are not assigned job roles and responsibilities; while we kill trees to justify or remove the countenance of other jobs. This again is blasphemy of the word.

    I am only the messenger; don’t wait for the “cruel messenger” (Proverbs 17).

    The Husband is the father and savior of the “one body” and flesh in Ephesians 5:23 that submits itself to others in verse 21. Do not relate the unrelated.

    Do not relate the mutually exclusive and absolutely demanding role of the husband to be as Christ is to the Church. Do not diminish those responsibilities within ignorance or justification with mutually exclusive situations or examples.

    Is society or the Church smarter than GOD or His word? Look around you for disproof of such. Go create your own universe and minions; then come back and we can talk about such concepts as LOVE and ultimate plans. But remember I am but a servant; by that time you should probably be able to talk to HIM.

  78. Dan Lacich

    So you think it is an easier path for a husband to submit himself in love to his wife by laying down his life for her? No the easier path is to be someone who lords over others like the Gentiles do, which Jesus clearly forbids. Verse 21 is essential for understanding verse 23. It is taking 23 out of context that has led to such misunderstanding of Ephesians 5.

    You use the word blasphemy very freely and without understanding. There is a huge difference between doing something wrong and blasphemy. Is it wrong for older women to fail to teach younger women? Of course it is. But that is not blasphemy. You say that we kill trees to justify or remove the countenance of other jobs and this is blasphemy of the word. I have no idea what you mean by this and what you are referring to in the blog. What other jobs? What countenance?

    I understand that you are saying you are just the messenger but you message is not clear and what seems to be clear has missed the point of Ephesians 5

  79. Rodney

    Dan the message was not intended for you; but since you respond and present the original:

    I quote the bible and lack understanding? I admit I “am” a simpleton and not much of a teacher; without ability to even attempt to understand GOD’s plan; but I can read and defend by HIS Grace through the Word.

    Do you content that Christ’s path was easy? I thought HE said to take up your cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24). Maybe you can bring up the use of the word blasphemy in Titus 2 to HIM; HIS word and use. Blasphemy of the word is not only the failure to cherish and teach; it is also the resulting actions of those not taught at youth.

    Submission and Love have nothing to do with each other. One is to yield authority; the other to sacrificially provide when and what is needed.

    We have two distinct, yoked and mutually exclusive jobs defined in the Bible; two acting as one, a great mystery (verse 32 and 33). These job roles are instilled in Covenant and privileged in Grace. Blasphemy of the word is attempting to modify, merge or remove such requirements; only condoning the leaching of Grace without the associated works of assigned duties in the Word. Otherwise marriage is only a contract of the world; outside the bounds of GOD’s sanction and Grace. There are only 2 people involved in a marriage; the union and the Trinity. Maybe we should cover 1 Peter 3:1-7 in the bigger picture of order and why we are here.

    The husband is the head and saviour of the one body (verse 23). Verse 21 deals with the submission of that one body to others. Verse 22 -24 is separate and deals with “submission” to the “subjection” of the wife in everything; to the husband that guides that one body (KJV and Greek). Otherwise Verse 21 would be all that was needed. Chapter 6 says nothing about submission; it says to do only “good things”. How can the husband submit to both Christ and the wife within such role, unless the wife is within unison; using the world and not abusing it (1 Corinthians 7:31)? The husband has to give account to GOD (Hebrews 13:7, 17); maybe Hebrews 12:6 can help you understand LOVE in such respect. Do not consider a dictated job role from the Word as Lording; do not make such a sacrificial job more difficult.

    I do not suffer that woman Jezebel (Revelations 2:14), nor anyone creating, arboring or sanctioning such path to destruction as Ahab; I cannot. Maybe we should separate out the individual roles and work on the root problems in Society? Is the world or man so smart? Do we build Society on the solid rock of structure; or is the Word discarded and blasphemed in such? Have you looked around you lately; the answer is there. The message has existed for countless eons and is very clear. Maybe we should stop interpreting, deconstructing and reconstructing or attempting to fit such into Society? Maybe we would be better off just to stick to GOD’s plan (2 Timothy 3:16)? It is much easier to kill trees and derive you own little universe to justify shunning dictated responsibilities.

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  81. michelle

    Rodney, who are you referring to because you are hard to follow. I do agree we should not be justifying what we want to hear in the Bible by creating our own path. Are you referring to my comments?

  82. Frankie

    I have read the explanation given at the beginning, and in my simple understanding people at times deliberately miss the rubric, they omit verse 21 and begin at 22 only where it mentions the submission. However, the reason I am writing on this blog is because I got my landlord reading this verse to me after I experienced some challenges in life with my husband who is an alcoholic. I have been with this man 8yrs now and they have been the very worst years of my life particularly the last two when he lost his job. He brings me so much fury that I become so agitated and bitter with him,and at any given time I get I then become vengeful and lash out at him that he is useless and lazy and cannot provide for me and our children. When the landlord read this verse to me I then said maybe I should change and have respect for him, I should not judge him, I should encourage him. But honestly how does one do that does anyone know. At this moment as I write he has gone out to the bar promising he would be back in an hour when he went out but now it is almost three hours from the time he said he would be back. If he gets any money he rushes off and spends it on drink, he might or might not come back home till the following day. How then do you submit yourself in such a situation. What do I do. I could go on and on about all the things he has done to push me to the edge but I do not want to bore you all with the details.
    I need God’s hand in my life. I constantly pray but it seems my prayers are not answered and I do not know why. Is it that I do not pray enough? At times I feel that I shall lose my faith, when I go through so much hurt in my life. Please anyone, hel me.

  83. Dan Lacich

    Dear Frankie,
    Submission does not require that you allow him to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Your husband has a serious problem. You need to find some people near you who can help you deal with this. It is not something to be done in isolation. It sounds like your husband is possibly dealing with both an addiction and depression. He needs help. That means people who will help him deal with both. Do you have a local church or pastor you can go to for help and support? Does he have any friends who can be of assistance in helping him overcome these issues?
    It is not judging to point out that your husband has these struggles. Please read this post on judging. It may help.

    I look forward to hearing from you. Praying for you.

  84. Glen Olsen

    Dear Egalitarian Friends,
    We know that many of you within the evangelical world hold your views because you have been convinced that egalitarianism is what the Bible teaches. You tell us that our differences on male and female roles are just differences in interpretation, and that Bible-believing Christians can honestly and fairly interpret the Bible to support complete equality in most or all roles for men and women in the family and the church. You say that you are sincere in adopting your views not because of modern cultural pressures but because you think that the Bible itself supports your position. In response to this, we want to say that we appreciate your sincerity in these matters and we believe that you are telling us the truth about your motives.
    There are, nevertheless, certain questions of fact that come up frequently in your writings. We focus on these specific questions in this letter because they do not involve detailed arguments about interpretation, but involve only matters of factual data. We are simply asking to see the evidence that has convinced you about certain key interpretations of Scripture passages. If you can point out this evidence to us, then we will be able to understand more fully how you have come to your understanding of key passages. But if you cannot point out this evidence, and if no one among you can point out this evidence, then we respectfully ask that you reconsider your interpretations of these passages.
    Here are our questions:
    1. kephal: Where the Bible says that the husband is the “head” (kefalh) of the wife as Christ is the “head” (kefalh) of the church (Eph. 5:23), and that the head of the woman is the man (1 Cor. 11:3), you tell us that “head” here means “source” and not “person in authority over (someone).” In fact, as far as we can tell, your interpretation depends on the claim that kefalh means “source without the idea of authority.”
    But we have never been able to find any text in ancient Greek literature that gives support to your interpretation. Wherever one person is said to be the “head” of another person (or persons), the person who is called the “head” is always the one in authority (such as the general of an army, the Roman emperor, Christ, the heads of the tribes of Israel, David as head of he nations, etc.) Specifically, we cannot find any text where person A is called the “head” of person or persons B, and is not in a position of authority over that person or persons. So we find no evidence for your claim that “head” can mean “source without authority.” Can you show us any evidence?
    We would be happy to look at any Greek text that you could show us from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD (a span of 12 centuries). In all of that literature, our question of fact is this:

    Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “head” (kefalh) is used to say that person A is the “head” of person or persons B, and means what you claim, namely, “non-authoritative source”?
    If you can show us one example, we would be happy to consider your interpretation further. But if we cannot, then we suggest that you have no factual basis for your interpretation of these key verses, and we respectfully ask that you stop writing and speaking as if such factual basis existed. We would also respectfully ask that you also reconsider your understanding of these verses.

    2. hypotass_: Where the Bible says that wives are to “be subject to” to their husbands (Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5; and implied in Eph. 5:22, 24), you tell us that the verb “be subject to” (hypotass_, passive) is a requirement for both husbands and wives — that just as wives are to be subject to their husbands, so husbands are to be subject to their wives, and that there is no unique authority that belongs to the husband. Rather, the biblical ideal is “mutual submission” according to Eph. 5:21, “be subject to one another,” and therefore there is no idea of one-directional submission to the husbands authority in these other verses (Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5; and Eph. 5:22, 24).
    But we have never been able to find any text in ancient Greek literature where hypotass_ (passive) refers to a person or persons being “subject to” another person, and where the idea of submission to that persons authority is absent. In every example we can find, when person A is said to “be subject to” person B, person B has a unique authority which person A does not have. In other words, hypotass_ always implies a one-directional submission to someone in authority.
    So our question is this:
    Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “be subject to” (hypotass_, passive) is used to refer to one person in relation to another and does not include the idea of one-directional submission to the other persons authority?
    If you can show us one example, we would be happy to consider your interpretation further. But if we cannot, then we suggest that you have no factual basis for your interpretation of these key verses, and we respectfully ask that you stop writing and speaking as if you did, and that you also reconsider your understanding of these verses.

    3. “or” (Greek h): In 1 Cor. 14:36, some of you argue that the Greek word h (“or”) shows that the preceding verses are a quotation from the Corinthian church which Paul denies. Therefore you say that Paul is not really telling the Corinthian church,
    the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church (1 Cor. 14:34-35),
    but the Corinthians are saying those things, and Paul is just quoting them. You tell us that Paul’s response might be paraphrased as “Are you crazy?” This, you tell us, is the force of the tiny Greek word h, which is usually translated “or.” You tell us that h, “or,” is used in Greek to deny what has just been said.
    Our problem is that when we look at other examples of h used in constructions like 1 Corinthians 14:36, it functions in just the opposite way to what you claim. In fact, h is used in rhetorical questions to affirm what has just been said, and we can find no examples where it is used to deny what has just been said. This is also what all the Greek lexicons tell us as well.
    So our question is this:
    Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “or” (h) is used in rhetorical questions to show that the writer is denying what has just been said?
    If you can show us one example, we would be happy to consider your interpretation further. But if we cannot, then we suggest that you have no factual basis for your interpretation of this key verse, and we respectfully ask that you stop writing and speaking as if you did, and that you also reconsider your understanding of these verses.

    4. authente: In 1 Tim. 2:12, Paul writes, “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men.” Many of you claim that the word translated “have authority” (auyentein) means “misuse authority” or “domineer” (or even “instigate violence”) in this sentence, so that Paul is not prohibiting women from having authority over men, but he is prohibiting women from misusing authority or domineering over men.
    Our problem is this: we have never seen any clear example in ancient Greek literature where auyentein means “domineer” or “misuse authority.” Whenever we have seen this verb occur, it takes a neutral sense, “have authority” or “exercise authority,” with no negative connotation attaching to the word itself. We are aware that a related noun, authent_s, has several different meanings, but that is not the word Paul used, and we are interested in the word that Paul actually used.

    So our question is this:
    Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where the verb authente means what you claim, namely, “misuse authority or domineer” (or even “instigate violence”)?
    If you can show us one example, we would be happy to consider your interpretation further. But if you cannot, then we suggest that you have no factual basis for your interpretation of this key verse, and we respectfully ask that you stop writing and speaking as if you did, and that you also reconsider your understanding of these verses.

    5. “neither X nor Y”: In 1 Tim. 2:12, where Paul says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man” the grammatical structure in Greek takes the form, “neither + [verb 1] + nor + [verb 2].”
    Regarding this verse, many of you tell us that the phrase “to teach or to have authority” means “to teach in a domineering way,” or “to teach in a way that usurps authority.” You base your understanding on the idea (already mentioned above) that the verb authente_ has a negative sense such as “domineer” or “usurp authority.”
    But we have a second problem with this: when we look at other examples of this Greek construction, in the form “neither + [verb 1] + nor + [verb 2],” only two patterns occur: (a) verb 1 and verb 2 are activities or concepts that are both viewed positively, such as “neither sow nor reap,” or “neither eat nor drink,” or (b) verb 1 and verb 2 are activities or concepts that are both viewed negatively, such as “neither break in nor steal” or “neither leave nor forsake.” (In fact, Andreas Kestenbergers research found 52 examples of this structure in the New Testament, and 48 more examples in Greek literature outside the New Testament (from 3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.), and the pattern was the same in all 100 examples. So we wonder how your interpretation can claim that verb 1 (“teach”) is a concept that is viewed positively but verb 2 (“have authority”) is a negative concept (“domineer, usurp authority, or instigate violence”).

    So our question is this:
    Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where the pattern “neither + [verb 1] + nor + [verb 2]” is used to refer to one action that is viewed positively and one action that is viewed negatively?
    If you can show us one example, we would be happy to consider your interpretation further. But if we cannot, then we suggest that you have no factual basis for your interpretation of this key verse, and we respectfully ask that you stop writing and speaking as if you did, and that you also reconsider your understanding of these verses.
    6. Women teaching false doctrine at Ephesus: In 1 Tim. 2:12, where Paul says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man,” many of you say the reason for Paul’s prohibition is that women were teaching false doctrine in the church at Ephesus (the church to which 1 Timothy was written). Our problem in understanding the basis for your claim is that we see no evidence inside or outside the Bible that tells us that any women were teaching false doctrine in the church at Ephesus. More than that, since Paul’s prohibition applies to all women, it seems to us that your position really needs to show that all the women at Ephesus were teaching false doctrine. So we are wondering if there is any text that tells us that all (or any) Christian women were teaching false doctrine in the church at Ephesus.
    We recognize that some women were gossiping at Ephesus (1 Timothy 5:13), but that is not the same as teaching false doctrine — we all know people who gossip but who don’t teach false doctrine! We have read evidence about people teaching false doctrine at Ephesus, but they are not women, they are men. So, for example, Paul talks about “Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by holding that the resurrection is past already. They are upsetting the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:17-18). He also speaks of “Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Tim. 1:20), but these are men, not women. Similarly, Paul warns the Ephesian elders, “from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:30), but here he says these false teachers will be men (Greek andres), not that they will be women.So our question is this:

    Will you please show us one reference in all of ancient literature, whether inside or outside the Bible, that states that all the Christian women at Ephesus (or even that any Christian women at Ephesus) were teaching false doctrine?
    If you can show us one example, we would be happy to consider your interpretation further. But if we cannot, then we suggest that you have no factual basis for your interpretation of this key verse, and we respectfully ask that you stop writing and speaking as if you did, and that you also reconsider your understanding of these verses. We know that there are many other questions of interpretation on which we may differ, and we realize that these matters do not solve all of those questions. But we thought that these matters might be the simplest to resolve, since they just involve questions of factual evidence.
    Thank you for considering our questions. We look forward to hearing a response from you.

  85. Beth

    Bravo. I know this is an old article but I searched the web for something that made sense and I found it here. I don’t deny men and women are made differently but it pains me how often this verse is used in justification of female inferiority. Submitting out of respect and love I can do, submitting because I was made a lower life form I can’t. Thank you for the context.

  86. Rodney

    Michelle, your guidance and wisdom comes from GOD. My rebuke is for those that fail to understand we are here; both for and because of HIM. There is no room for self or itchy ears in that picture (2 Timothy 4:3). Matthew 7:21-23 is very explicit in the results of such.

    Glen: I would not expect a response; when wisdom shines the LIGHT.

    Beth: I assume you have a husband; otherwise you would have no place in this subject matter. If you would learn anything; go ask him (1 Corinthians 14:35). He was provided sufficient knowledge, instilled with wisdom and has grown through the trials in providing for, protecting and sanctifying you; he can also teach you, your job is to ask.

    I see a lot of people out there, arm chair warriors at best and profiteers at worst, that offer nothing and are not there to help with the fallout. When works are required; they are nowhere to be found or capable of understanding how help. Have you opened your eyes and looked around at the need lately? Reality is always there.

  87. Gael


    Does a wife still have to submit to her husband even if he makes a decision that affects his wife’s well being since the Bible says wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. My husband wants to relocate to our country of origin. I am not keen as work in my home country is very competitive with a great deal of pressure and stress. I am the main breadwinner in our family. Surely God gives me some choice where I want to work and how I earn income for the family.



  88. Faith

    I’m thinking that a lot, if not all of these arguments could be solved if anyone could find what the original meaning of “husband” and “wife” are. I don’t believe that alcoholics, controllers, manipulators, liars, cheaters, abusers, etc. make neither a husband or a wife so that would throw and submission and respect out of the picture to begin with. If people could stop seeing marriage as something that happens when you sign a certificate or state vows recited by a pastor and see what God intended it to be, LOVE given by both people freely, they’d stop “marrying” the wrong people, wait for the right one and submission and respect would be something they’d give freely and without wavering as Christ did with the church!

  89. Carol

    First, isn’t it fascinating that a discussion can go on for so long? Second, why is no one talking about who he was speaking to or what was going on at that time? I mean, he was trying to corral some crazy society and bring together some very diverse peoples – he needed some Christianity 101. You gotta start somewhere. Women also couldn’t very well provide for themselves then or just go about praying in church like women can now. Some women may have done well then to have some instruction of submission for functional and survival purposes. I say – read the Bible and ask God to speak to how that should play out in my individual life today…. then I should listen and heed, but I do not need to judge or convince others who may hear a different answer than me when the answers are truly from God. They may have different needs and circumstances, and I believe God wants to address each of us in the way that is best for us and the way He created us. You know – love and communion in a relationship with God and with our selves and with others.

  90. Donna

    Is there a book on this subject for the husband to read??? My husband throws that verse in my face everyday and calls me disobedient! I told him I am not a slave and he is taking that scripture out of context. I do so much for my husband because I want to and when he asks but when he demands things rudely with an attitude it makes me not want to do what he asks. Please let me know!

  91. Gods child

    Too bad step parents dont have to follow those that dad dies and his wife gets all.Nothing for his children but a bad memory.Thank God i realize he gives me all i need.

  92. Like that you have the courage to bring this up in a culture that would deny our roles. I would take this further to the realization that husbands are called upon to love – sometimes the unlovable and wives to submit – sometimes to the cantankerous and poor in judgement. How free are we (if we obey this) to characterize what we don’t like as ‘abuse’ and go our own way?

    We tend to add to it the thought “as long as it is fairly easy or reasonable.” Their is spiritual wisdom to the command even if it means to suffer abuse that the flesh cannot reconcile. This is not an easy command. Neither, I suppose, was it easy for Christ to say, “Father forgive them.”

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