Posted in theology

Culture calls this a dirty word

By Elizabeth Prata

There are two worlds. The seen and the unseen. The world and the heavens. The devil’s kingdom and the Messiah’s. That’s it.

We will never get an unsaved person to believe this, because these things are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, But a natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)

It is nonetheless true. Other truisms come with this knowledge, such as the fact that the world systems vs the heavenly kingdom each have its own unique vocabulary. Nowhere is this more spelled out than in Isaiah 5:20, which reads,

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Matthew Henry says of the Isaiah verse,

"They are daring in sin, and walk after their own lusts; it is in scorn that they call God the Holy One of Israel. They confound and overthrow distinctions between good and evil. They prefer their own reasonings to Divine revelations; their own devices to the counsels and commands of God."

One of the words that the world hates is the word submit. Submit is in the Bible where wives are concerned, and according to feminists and others, you would think that is the only time or place we ever read about any person submitting to anything.

–Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22 ESV)
Women are to be silent in the churches. They are not permitted to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says (1 Corinthians 14:34),
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18)

Feminists particularly hate this word submit, declaring it offensive. They say that it’s from ‘the patriarchy’, “a hierarchical-structured society in which men hold more power.” They say it’s demeaning and ugly. It’s not, but let’s take a closer look at why not, and define our terms.

Firstly, if the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible writers to pen the above verses, it is from God. If it is from God, it is good. All that God does is good because He is good. (Luke 18:19).

My Sunday School class went over wifely submission recently, I’m paraphrasing the elders taught which itself is a paraphrase from Wayne Grudem’s book. Here is what submission doesn’t mean:

  1. It does not mean agreeing with the husband about everything,
  2. It does not mean seeking to avoid influencing her husband,
  3. It does not mean following him into sin,
  4. It does not mean the woman is less valuable than the husband.

Here is what submission, according to God, does mean. The word in Greek is hupatasso, which is defined by Strong’s, to place or rank under, to subject, mid. to obey.

It simply means acknowledging the husband’s authority in the marriage as head of the household. For people who writhe under that definition, just think of all the times the Bible calls people to submit, not just women. Husbands are to submit to Christ. The Church submits to Jesus. Demons submit to Christ and to the disciples. (Luke 10:17). Children submit to parents. (Colossians 3:20). Slaves to their masters. Jesus submitted to his own parents. (Luke 2:51). We submit to the government authorities. (Romans 13:1). We submit to church elders. (Hebrews 13:17).

Their argument is illogical because even in secular life we submit all the time. We submit to police. We submit to bosses. Military men submit to commanders. Cadets to the Admiral. Sailors to the captain. Citizens submit to laws. Did you put your seat belt on? You submitted. Did submitting to laws make you less valuable? Of course not. Submission is not about value. It’s about order. Do we let kids run the house and do whatever they want? Of course not, they have to obey the parents, who know better than to stick a screwdriver into the plug or touch a hot stove. Submitting in secular life makes for an orderly life.

Here is what submission DOES mean, in the biblical sense. Many of the comparisons I made above, such as sailor to captain or cadet to Commander are rulers wielding authority. This is more than the Bible calls for. Biblical submission is a mutual submission, and it means for wives:

  1. Submission is voluntary (husbands are not the ones to enforce submission with repercussions for not submitting, as chiefs or bosses do),
  2. Submission is to your own husband, not every man,
  3. Submission is beautiful to God,
  4. Submission means gladly supporting your husband’s vision for your family,
  5. Submission is to be done with a pure, respectful, quiet demeanor.

Both the husband and the wife model Christ in their mutual submission, husbands by leading, wives by submitting. Below please find my elders and teacher explaining biblical submission in our recent Sunday School lesson. Meanwhile, I hope this helped clear the air regarding wifely biblical submission. This week I’m looking at marriage. Yesterday I posted a testimony about a young couple’s difficult early start in marriage and how the Lord smoothed those rough waters. Tomorrow I’ll look at marriage to a difficult man.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.