Yesterday we began our discussion on the ever so popular subject of submission. A frightening and controversial subject to some, but one that must be discussed in a study on bettering ourselves as wives.
After some careful research on this topic, it became very clear that almost no one agrees on much of anything when it comes to submitting. I am not just talking about world vs. church, or denomination vs. denomination. No, it is more like Christian vs. Christian. How can this be? How can we, Christians, be on all ends of the spectrum on the same subject?
I believe it is because we have let the world define “submit” instead of looking at how God defines it.
When trying to define a word in the Bible (written in English), most scholars or researchers like to go back to the original Greek word. Once again, depending where you look, there are many different Greek words used for submit. Below are a few common words I found in the majority of my research:
Hoopo-tasso-a greek military term meaning to arrange troop divisions under the command of a leader; in non-military use, it was a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, of sharing a burden.
Hupotasso- to subordinate; reflexively to obey: – be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto) be (put) into subjection (to, under), submit self unto.
hupakouo – to hear under (as a subordinate), this is, to listen attentively; by implication to heed or conform to a command or authority: – hearken, be obedient to, obey.
Like the English language, it appears there are numerous meanings for the same word depending on its usage. I am not a language specialist, so this area is foreign to me. Please read an article at the following site, which I found to be helpful regarding this matter:
With those words in mind for submit, the exact definition or translation gets a little lost, which is one of the reasons so many think this issue is not as cut and dry as it appears.
On the English side of things, Merriam Webster defines submit as:
1. to yield to governance or authority; to subject to a condition, treatment, or operation
2 to present or propose to another for review, consideration, or decision; also : to deliver formally
3 to put forward as an opinion or contention
1 to yield oneself to the authority or will of another : SURRENDER; to permit oneself to be subjected to something
2 to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another.
Some of my readers define submit as:
Reader 1: “My short definition of submission-recognizing authority and relinquishing to it.
Reader 2: “Well, sub means under, so I’m going with being under the authority of another.”
Reader 3: “You have to give somebody something because it is required”
Reader 4: “Fall under the authority of someone else.”
Reader 5: “Submits means to lose the fight to save the marriage. It means not having to win.”
Reader 6: “Submitting means loosing oneself. It means giving all control to someone else.”
Okay, the point I am really trying to make is that there are numerous opinions and even some opinions stated as facts as to what defines submission, but none are necessarily right. The only absolute truth is the word of God, the Bible. Yes, there may be translation issues, but if you read the Bible looking for truth and not loop holes or errors, I believe God will talk to your spirit and allow you to understand it.
It is correct to say there is no definition of submit or submission in the Bible. The only way I know to even try to define it is to look at the scriptures themselves and the passages surrounding said verses. Furthermore, it is my opinion that in order to get the best understanding of submission we not only have to look at it as it applies to marriage but submission as a whole. Therefore, we will be breaking down submission into 5 parts: servant submission, authoritative submission, church submission, Christ submission, and spousal submission.
It is my opinion that the world (and many Christians) view submission as a weakness. After all it is a dog eats dog kind of world. Our status depends on how much money we make and how many people we have beneath us on the corporate ladder. We want what is due us and we want it now. We are constantly fighting to be the greatest. I would like to think this is a relatively new concept, but the truth is this has been going on since the fall of man. You remember Cain and Abel? Jealousy and Pride are sneaky little sins that have the potential to take down each and every one of us if we are not quick to recognize the signs. Even the disciples were jealous of one another.
Mark 9:33-35(NLT): After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” 34 But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.
Mark 10:38-45(NLT): 38 But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?” 39 “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering. 40 But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.” 41 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant.42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
I have stepped into it big time now, huh? Some of us see a wife who submits as a servant, which is not necessarily true, but would that really be such a bad thing if it were true? These two scriptures clearly show that we are called to serve one another. If we are truly going to do great things for his kingdom, we are going to have to humble ourselves before the Lord. We are going to have to put the wants and needs of others above our own. Not because we necessarily want to, but because we are called to and because we love Jesus.
Matthew 25:40 (NLT): 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to me!’
1 Peter 2:13-17 (NLT): 13 For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. 15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters.[i] Fear God, and respect the king.
We must submit ourselves to every law and every authority for the sake of the Lord, because we love the Lord, because it is His will for us to do so. We shut up the ignorant people when we do good and humble ourselves to serve, submit, or to “lower” ourselves. Why? Because we are walking the walk, not just talking the talk. We are putting God’s words to actions. Our actions speak a thousand times more than any words we could ever speak.
I love the saying: Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.
Wow, there is a lot here. I am not saying that the definition of submission is servant hood. No, there is a lot more to it than that, but I believe that submission starts with putting others before ourselves.
I want us all to really thing upon Mark 9 & 10 tonight. I want you to search your heart and see if God is speaking the same to you. Do you believe that servant hood plays any part in submission. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Tomorrow we will take a look at submitting to the laws of the land.