Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Submit! Be Subject!

Pastor Paratus spoke about submitting yesterday. Pastor Paratus is a very good teacher, preacher, and friend, and he didn't even blink when I carried a pillow in to church yesterday. Then again I'm not sure he noticed, it was a smallish pillow.*

The teaching centered around Ephesians 5:5-21 and centered around submission and it tailed into Ephesians 5:22 where we are told that wives must submit to their husbands, which upsets some people, mostly wives. Pastor Paratus made a very good suggestion that we need to take to take this in context because verse 21 tells Christians to submit to each other, so verse 22 telling wives to submit to their husbands is just a reiteration of verse 21.

This may cause someone to raise the question - if husbands and wives are submitting to each other, who is in charge? Answer: God! (duh). But we Americans are so wound around the axle about the subject of submission, probably because the word has so many negative connotations, from slavery to 50 Shades of Gray. The bible version that I read is the NASB which doesn't even say "submit", it says "be subject to" which still has a connotation that Americans don't like. But is that what Paul was saying? Was Paul inferring that we break out the whips and chains and cow-tow to each other? Let's go to the original Greek:
and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
The word that is translated to "be subject to" (or "submit to" in other translations) in verse 21 is hypotassō (ὑποτάσσω). This word was 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". Paul was clearly not talking to a military unit, he was talking to pure civilians who clearly understood that he was calling for mutual cooperation. Cooperation is something that Christ's church needed to survive back then in a new and growing church, and needs now more than as the days grow darker and fewer and Christians around the world are being hunted down and killed just because they love Christ.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22)
The word that is translated to "be subject to" (or "submit to" in other translations) in verse 22 is idios (ἴδιος) which is a much different word than hypotassō. Strong's definition of idios is "pertaining to self, i.e. one's own; by implication, private or separate". To be honest I have no idea how this word came to be translated to "submit to" other than the context of the next verse, Ephesians 5:23. Maybe English is too clunky of a language to get the original meaning of the phrase across. Paul was a very literate man and if he was saying "be subject to" or "submit to" he would clearly say "hypotassō".

Would something like "hold close to your husband" or "follow your husband's lead" be closer? How about "support your husband"? I'm not Greek literate so other than context Strong's doesn't support "submit" because of the connotations in English.

I do get a bit twisted when a "good Christian woman" gets bent out of shape by the words "be subject to" or "submit to" your husband. For one reason, as I mentioned, Ephesians 5:21 requires all Christians to "be subject to" or "submit to" each other, and her husband is a Christian so why is she excluding him? Another reason is that these people tend to ignore the fact that we husbands are required to love our wives so much that we would gladly die for them (Ephesians 5:25), while women have no such requirement.

Men of the church: would you die for your wives?

*the pillow was for my wife, she used it to rest her injured arm.


  1. I thought I'd try to help you out with your "idios" problem. As you note, the word for "submit" or "be subject" is found in verse 21, not in verse 22. The THOUGHT, then, begins in verse 21 and carries into verse 22 (and beyond). Most include a "likewise" -- "in the same way." "Submit (hypotassō) to one another" is followed by something like "In the same way, wives to your own husbands ..." The "idios" is the word connected to "husbands," as in "your OWN husbands."

    The interesting thing is that, yes, submission is commanded for all, but it is not commanded in the same mode for all. Wives submit to their husbands and husbands submit to their wives, but not in the same way. Wives surrender authority ("as to the Lord") while husbands surrender self ("as Christ loved the Church"). The image for wives is "back your husband" rather than "lead the way." Interestingly, the image for husbands is, yes, "be willing to die for your wife," but beyond that it's "give up your life for her" and even, as Christ did, when they don't even support you.