Submission According to Paul

21 Jun
from Google Images

from Google Images

Paul speaks of submission in Ephesians 5:21-33, and in my opinion this scripture has been both misunderstood and abused for quite some time by many in the Body of Christ.[1] The family, especially the marriage relationship itself, is considered an allegory of a close relationship between those Paul refers to as husbands and wives. But, notice two things before we consider what else Paul writes. First, in Ephesians 5:21 Paul tells us to submit ourselves to one another. In other words, whoever the husband is, and whoever the wife is, they are mutually submissive. This mutual submission cannot take place if one is lording it over the other—such a thing Jesus, himself, forbade (Luke 22:25:26). Secondly, in Ephesians 5:32-33 Paul specifically tells us that his analogy is not about what we understand to be the normal marriage relationship, but, rather, he is speaking of a relationship within the Church—generally Christ and the Church is the example, but the relationships of church leaders and local churches in particular are under consideration.

How are we to relate to our pastors, and how should they relate to us? This is what Paul tells us in this wonderful letter, and he uses the marriage relationship to do it. If Paul was literally referring to men and women who are married, what meaning could we possibly derive from Galatians 3:28? The Galatians epistle was written to counter the abuse of authority, and that against Jews who had come to the Galatians, saying they (the Galatians) must submit to the Law. In other words, the way of Christ was to be with the Jew as the head—Christianity, Jewish style! Yet, Paul says that Christ has set us all free for freedom’s sake alone (Galatians 5:1). In him, that is, in Christ, there is neither Jew nor gentile; there is neither male nor female. None of these are our leaders simply because of birth. What matters, as far as authority is concerned, is what Christ has done in the spirit.

I don’t wish to give much more space in this blog post proving Paul is speaking of church leaders and the local bodies of believers rather than male and female marriage partners, but I do believe it needs to be at least put out there for consideration. There is much abuse of authority going on within the Body of Christ today, and Paul shows us here why such a thing should never occur. Moreover, much abuse has been done to women, because of what I take to be a misunderstanding of this and other scriptures—and that by placing a man, simply because he is male, as the greater authority in the family. Men from Adam to the present have abused this spiritual matter, and it needs to stop, and Christians, not worldly organizations birthed out of frustration and competition, should be showing the way.

Notice that Paul tells the local bodies of believers, wives in his analogy, to be submissive to their pastors, husbands in his analogy, because the pastor is in the position of Christ who is the Pastor of the whole Church (Ephesians 5:22-23). The word savior is used, which can also mean deliverer or preserver. Paul sees himself in this position when he writes to the Corinthians in 1Corinthians 11:2 that he desired to present the Corinthians as a chaste virgin to Christ, preserving her for him, the Husband of the entire body of believers (cp. Revelation 21:2).

On the other hand, husbands (i.e. local pastors) are to love their wives (i.e. the local bodies of believers) as Christ loved the entire church, surrendering himself for its sake, that he might wash it through the cleansing power of the word of God (Ephesians 5:25-26). This is the calling of pastors, that is, to cleanse their congregations of sins through the power of reminding them of their responsibility to Christ by preaching of the word of God each week. The local pastor is to nourish and cherish his congregation (spiritual wife) as he would his own body (Ephesians 5:29), because we are all members of his (i.e. Christ’s) body, of his flesh and of his bones (Ephesians 5:30; cp. Genesis 2:21-22).


[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

1 Comment

Posted by on June 21, 2015 in Kingdom of God


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One response to “Submission According to Paul

  1. Reality

    June 23, 2015 at 03:16

    Ephesians 5:
    21 “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of GOD”.
    22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
    23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
    24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
    25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
    26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
    27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

    I am a simpleton, but it seems to state submit “one to another”, the husband and wife make one, the husband is commanded to love as CHRIST and has absolute referential authority “in everything” and the wife is commanded to submit in subjection and reverence of such great gift. Anything contended otherwise would degrade CHRIST and HIS authority; seems pretty lawyer proof to me.
    t specifically state in Luke 22 that others have authorities placed over them; “But ye shall not be so”. Where is a pastor commanded to love or given the same referential authority as CHRIST? In Galatians 3:28, I thought we were supposed to bring souls to the body of CHRIST; not split them back out as individuals?

    1 Corinthians 14:35 “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church”. Frankly, I would just as soon my wife not learn anything from you.

    Mark 3:
    24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
    25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
    26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
    27 No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.

    We are supposed to be building strong families and Churches; that is HIS command. Go do your job (Rebuke is within Titus 2).

%d bloggers like this: