Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

How would “Submit(ting) to one another” (Eph 5:21) look in real life? Should pastor Jim and elder Pete and saved 10-year old Eric obey Sunday School teacher Jane, while Sunday school teacher Jane obey pastor Jim, and Pete and Eric too, while Pete also obeys Jim and Eric and they obey him, while Eric and pastor Jim obey one another? And what if Pete and Jane give conflicting messages – who should pastor Jim submit to then?

It is obvious that submitting, in Bible language, does not mean obeying everything that other people say. Submission is for all believers towards one another, and all believers cannot obey all others. It could not mean putting the other one in a hierarchy where he has the right to lord it over you, because Jesus said that those who want to be great in his kingdom has to be servants, and his followers should not be like the worldly kings who “exercise authority”.

As such, submitting as to Christ (Eph 5:22) simply cannot mean “obeying every order as you obey the orders of Christ.” If it did, Paul would have contradicted both Jesus, and his own train of thought, in Eph 5.

Here is what I think it could mean.

What submission to Jesus is like:

Jesus came to earth as a human, and people (some of them, at least), submitted and followed him when they saw that Jesus

a) is superior in power and wisdom


b) had their best interest at heart/ loved them and gave His life to save them.

What male/ female relations in the ANE was like:

In the world the New Testament was written to, women had fewer opportunities to learn, and fewer opportunities to earn money, than men. Men married at about age 25 to 30 after they were established financially, women as teens. As such, men were richer and knew more than their wives.

What submitting as to Christ would mean, to such a wife:

When your husband knows better and asks something out of love, co-operate. It is sensible to co-operate with love, wisdom and power, and foolish to go against it.

After such a statement to wives, the passage seems to be written from the assumption that the husband already has knowledge and power (two things Jesus have more of than us). The passage tells husbands to have the other thing Jesus has in abundance, love. The husband should love his wife as much as his own body, that places her needs as highly as those of himself.

The start of submitting to Christ is seeing what Christ is. The start of submitting as to Christ should then be seeing Christ in who she is asked to submit to.

(In today’s Western world, of course, the situation is not as unequal, and women are as likely as men to have more knowledge and not that unlikely to have power or money. Which means that husbands, too, will often be wise to submit as to Christ.)

Comments on: "Perhaps this is what “submitting as to Christ” means" (4)

  1. Very good. As always, we should only submit “as to the Lord”. If someone ask for you to do something that the Lord would NOT do, then you should NOT submit to that. But if they ask a good thing, then yes – voluntarily uplift them, which is what ‘submit’ means.


  2. You mention many of the “one” bodies, with GOD instilled individual authorities; CHRIST, the Church, the married couple and governance. GOD within absolute love and wisdom places different commands on those in authority; as well as commands on those within such authorities.

    The command to love as CHRIST is very different from the command of subjection or to submit. Do not mix the two or confuse the responsibilities assigned in such. I would not degrade anyone with the same referential authority as CHRIST; we are here for and because of HIM. If we do well and place our trust in HIM, we are not afraid with any amazement and our testimony shines.

    This articles content has nothing to do with GOD.


    • “This articles content has nothing to do with GOD.”

      I talk of “Jesus came to earth as a human”, “Jesus… is superior in power and wisdom”, Jesus “loved [people] and gave His life to save them.”
      Does Jesus have nothing to do with God? No Christian would say that.

      “I would not degrade anyone with the same referential authority as CHRIST”

      Firstly, I would not degrade anyone – male or female, child or adult, pastor or layperson, Christian or Hindu or atheist. But except for the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, it is idolatry to think anyone else has “the same referential authority as CHRIST”. ”

      8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant.


  3. (Comment deleted by blog owner: See the “If you comment here” guidelines. You have the right to free speech. I have the right to not borrow you my podium or my mic.)


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