A Short Note on Submission…

I’ve had an issue come up several times in the past that I’ve wanted to say something about, but seeing that life is such a hurricane, I’m only going to touch briefly.

The issue has to do with the word “submit”.  It’s a word that comes up in the scripture in certain verses that deal with how wives relate to their husbands (1 Cor. 14:34, Titus 2:5, 1 Peter 3:1, 5) and due to that connection, the term is highly a highly unpopular.    The whole male/female relationship has been absolutely blundgeoned by sin and I frequently find people attacking the idea of “submission” out of negative experiences one way or another, usually manifesting in something like a physically or verbally abusive spouse or a domineering or authoritarian church leader(s).  I recently lead a bible study through 1 Corinthians 14, and when we got to 14:34, I shared the following study on the Greek term hypotasso , which is the word translated “submission”:

  • What does “submission” mean?
    • the Greek term is hypotasso and is a military term for referring to how troops fall into line.  In military parlance it carries the idea of arranging in an orderly fashion (i.e. “falling into line” under an authority), but in biblical literature it is used to describe how:
      • The demons related to Christ (Luke 10:17) and Christ’s disciples (Luke 10:20)
      • Christ related to his parents (Luke 2:51)
      • Children should relate to parents (Heb. 12:9)
      • Christians should relate to government (Rom. 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13)
      • Christians should relate to their leadership and each other (Rom. 16:16, Eph. 5:21; 1 Pet. 5:5)
      • Christians should relate to God (Heb. 12:9; James 4:7)
      • Wives should relate to their husbands (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1, 5)
      • The Church should relate to Christ (Eph. 5:24).
      • Christ relates to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:27-28)
      • Slaves should relate to their masters (Titus 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:18)
      • All creation relates/will relate to Christ (1 Cor. 15:28; Eph. 1:22; Phil. 3:21; Heb. 2:8; 1 Pet. 3:22)


    • Submission (hypotasso) should be a characteristic of all Christians; the only difference is the sphere in which a Christian manifests their submission (hypotasso).
      • The church should manifest it in their submission to the government.
      • The church should manifest it in their submission to Christ.
      • The men of the church should exemplify it in their submission to the leadership above them, in church and the workplace.
      • The women of the church should manifest it in their submission to their husbands (if married) and the leadership of their church (in general).
      • The children of the church should manifest it in their submission to their parents.
      • There is no such thing as a Christian who doesn’t manifest submission.


    • note– In 1 Corinthians 14:34 this verb is reflexive: “(they) should subject themselves”.
      • This instructs us that submission (hypotasso) is something that wives must do by themselves.  It is not something that can be brought out of them by any external force.
      • This suggests that any husband who ever tries to enforce or demand submission, either actively through things like direct command or passively through things like guilt, is a fool.
        • An unsubmissive wife is almost always following the leading of an unsubmissive husband and whether the wife is unsaved or not, the solution is the same: set an example for her in how you submit to those to whom you’re required to submit (i.e. submit to Christ who commands you to lay down your life for her like he laid down his life for the church – up to and unto death – Eph 5:25-33) and pray for the softening of her sinful heart.  An foolish and angry husband may break a wife’s spirit, but he’ll never make her hypotasso.

Tough words that many may not like.  Tough words for many men out there who don’t realize that they’re the reason for their biggest headache.

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “The Armchair Jencyclopedia” Unger


4 thoughts on “A Short Note on Submission…

  1. Pingback: Addressing the Dressing V (Part 1): The “Other” Modesty Text | Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely…

  2. Pingback: Addressing the Dressing V (Part 2): 1 Peter 3:5-6 | Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely…

  3. Pingback: Addressing the Dressing VI: That Other Modesty Text | The Cripplegate

  4. Pingback: Addressing the Dressing VII: That Other Modesty Text (ctd.) | The Cripplegate

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