Amplified: Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: And "fit in with" each other, because of your common reverence for Christ. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: putting yourselves in subjection to one another in the fear of Christ. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: subjecting yourselves to one another in the fear of God.
AND BE SUBJECT TO ONE ANOTHER: hupotassomenoi (PPPMPN) allelois: (Eph 5:22,24; Ge 16:9; 1Chr 29:24; Ro 13:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 1Co 16:16; Php 2:3; 1Ti 2:11; 1Ti 3:4; Heb 13:17; 1Pe 2:13; 5:5)
And - Note that this verse clearly ties the truth about submission to the instructions on being filled with the Spirit. Paul is teaching that if one is filled with the Spirit, he or she will willingly submit themselves to whatever authority God has placed over them. The corollary truth is that genuine submission from the heart is not possible apart from the Spirit’s empowering. Finally, in this verse it is clear that there is to be a mutual submission between believers apart from the line of authority.
Ironside writes that…
Be subject to one another - This instruction to maintain an orderly arrangement was based on the fact the foundational truth that these were Spirit filled believers, which Paul goes on to discuss in three groups, husbands and wives (Eph 5:21-33), parents and children (Eph 6:1,2,3, 4-note), and masters and servants (Eph 6:5, 6, 7, 8, 9-note). The primary underlying truth in each of these groups is recognition that they are to be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. This submission does not preclude submission of wives to husbands, children to parents, or slaves to masters, as all are necessary to maintain an orderly arrangement in society. A basic principle of submission on every level is not asking whether we can trust the one we are submitting to but whether we can trust God to work through the leader?
Remember that Paul's charge to the saints in Ephesians 4 was that they should be
Here in Ephesians 5 Paul's instructions to Spirit filled husbands and wives to be arranged in an orderly manner toward one another would serve to facilitate the preservation of the unity of the body of Christ. By nature, we want to promote ourselves, but the Holy Spirit enables us to submit ourselves.
Lawrence Richards explains that…
Be subject (5293) (hupotasso [word study] from hupó = under + tasso = arrange in orderly manner) means literally to place under in an orderly fashion. In the active voice hupotasso means to subject, bring under firm control, subordinate as used in (Ro 8:20-note)
H C G Moule - The primary point in the Gospel is humiliation; self is dethroned as against God, and consequently as against men. Here the special, but not exclusive, reference is to fellow-Christians. "[The precept] seems to have been suggested by the humble and loving spirit which is the moving principle of thanksgiving." [Ellicott] Special applications of this great principle now follow, in a study of the relative duties of the Christian Home.
Hupotásso means to submit (to yield to governance or authority), to place in subjection. It is important to note that many of the NT uses are in the passive voice with a middle voice which signifies the voluntary subjection of oneself to the will of another. Husbands and wives both need to understand the voluntary nature of the submission called for in the marital relationship lest it be misapplied.
Hupotásso was a military term meaning that troop divisions were to be arranged in a military fashion under the command of the leader. In this state of subordination they were now subject to the orders of their commander. Thus, it speaks of the subjection of one individual under another. Hupotasso was also used to describe the arrangement of military implements on a battlefield in order that one might carry out effective warfare!
Be subject (hupotasso) is in the present tense (continual action called for) and the middle voice (reflexive) which calls for the subject to initiate and then participate in the action of putting one’s self in subjection to or under the authority of another. In this context the middle voice stresses the voluntary or willing nature of their submission. The reflexive sense of the middle voice could be translated "submit yourselves" (it's in the plural in this verse) or more paraphrased in context as "place yourselves in order under the authority of" another.
In other words, Spirit filled believers are to continually voluntarily place themselves in under the authority of each other. Stated another way, Spirit filled believers are the only ones who truly have the supernatural desire and power to submit! They are to submit to each other not necessarily because the spouse is personally merits the submission, but because by submitting to them they were obeying God's Word and thus honoring God.
Paul writes that God the Father
This is a quote from Psalm 8:6 indicating that God has exalted Christ and granted Him universal dominion, over His body the church, over men and angels and over all the rest of His creation, animate and inanimate. Christ is clearly the authoritative Head because all things have been placed under His feet.
In First Corinthians Paul elaborates on the order of God to man and man to woman writing…
How is it possible to submit or surrender one's rights to another? Paul gives us the answer In Ephesians writing that believers should
Henry Alford says:
Subjecting one’s self to another is the opposite of self assertion, the opposite of an independent, autocratic spirit. It is the desire to get along with one another, being satisfied with less than one’s due, a sweet reasonableness of attitude.
Paul then goes on to give instructions that
The Greek is literally
Wayne Barber notes that here in the context of marriage hupotasso
Dr. Barber goes on to explain that
In all of these verses in Ephesians 5, submission represents an act of faith. We are trusting God to direct in our lives and to work out His purposes in His time. After all, there is a danger in submitting to others - they might take advantage of us—but not if we trust God and if we are submitted to one another! A person who is truly yielded to God, and who wants to serve his fellow Christian, would not even think of taking advantage of someone else, saved or unsaved. The husband who demands his wife’s submission to him but does not recognize his own obligation to submit to her and thus distorts God’s standard for the marriage relationship and cannot rightly function as a godly husband. Parents who demand obedience from their children but do not recognize their own obligation to submit in loving sacrifice to meet their children’s needs are themselves disobedient to their heavenly Father and cannot rightly function as godly parents. To reiterate, biblical submission is ONLY possible in those who are filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Ray Stedman comments that submit
One another (240) (allelon) means each other and speaks of a mutuality or sharing of sentiments between two persons or groups of persons. Allelon is a reciprocal pronoun which denotes that the encouragement and edification is to be a mutual beneficial activity. As each one submits, encourages, loves, etc the other member, they both benefit. This is the God's description and prescription for a healthy marriage.
One another is a common NT phrase (especially in Paul's letters) with most uses relating to the building up of the body of Christ. As such the "one anothers" in the NT would make an excellent Sunday School study (or topical sermon series), taking time to meditate on each occurrence, asking whether it is being practiced (in the Spirit-note) in your local church and seeking to excel still more (cp Php 1:9, 10, 11 -notes; 1Th 3:12-note, 1Th 4:1-note, 1Th 4:10-note). Below is a list of the NT uses of one another (be sure to check the context [which you can do by clicking the links below] for the most accurate interpretation). As an aside, note that many of these "one another's" are issued as commands and not suggestions!
THE ONE ANOTHERS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Fear of Christ - Is really a reverential awe of and respect for His Lordship and Headship (and add the certainty of the truth of 1Co 3:13, 14, 15, 2Co 5:10, cf Paul's behavior in light of this truth in 2Co 5:9!). This principle of mutual submission based upon shared reverence for Christ as Lord is (in context Ep 5:18, 19, 20) one of three evidences of the Spirit-filled life and in context is critical to maintain harmony and order not just in the marriage between husbands and wives but in the family between children and fathers and in the workplace between slave and master. The theme of mutual submission addressed how these Gentile believers were to deal with authority in the main social institutions. Paul's position was that Spirit filled believers could be in submission to one another even though the prevalent social customs expected submission only of women, children, and slaves. Christianity radically altered the social order of the ancient world, turning it right side up!
The fear of the Lord is a good thing. A right reverence for our Lord will motivate right conduct (Job 1:1, 8, Ps 112:1-note, Ps 119:168-note, Pr 8:13). Peter speaking to believers emphasizes the vital importance of a healthy fear of God writing…
John Eadie… comments that this speaks of…
Ray Stedman has the following thoughts on this verse in his devotional entitled The Cure For Conflict…
Submissive Leadership - A mild-mannered man was reading a book on being self-assertive and decided to start at home. So he stormed into his house, pointed a finger in his wife's face, and said, "From now on I'm boss around here and my word is law! I want you to prepare me a gourmet meal and draw my bath. Then, when I've eaten and finished my bath, guess who's going to dress me and comb my hair." "The mortician," replied his wife.
Submissive leadership requires
Amplified: Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: You wives must learn to adapt yourselves to your husbands, as you submit yourselves to the Lord, (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: The wives, be putting yourselves in subjection with implicit obedience to your own husbands as to the Lord, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: The wives! to your own husbands subject yourselves, as to the Lord,
WIVES, BE SUBJECT TO YOUR OWN HUSBANDS: Ai gunaikes tois idiois andrasin: (Eph 5:24; Genesis 3:16; Esther 1:16, 17, 18,20; 1Corinthians 14:34; Colossians 3:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25; 1Timothy 2:11,12; Titus 2:5; 1Peter 3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
The Phillips paraphrase ("You wives must learn to adapt yourselves") is an unfortunate attempt to make this verse more palatable. In Colossians Paul clearly issues this same instruction as a command…
Paul now discusses marriage which he uses as a picture of the church, the mystery of Jews and Gentiles in one Body, the Bride of Christ. The secret of harmony in the home is two Spirit filled believers! Warren Wiersbe adds that…
Wives be subject - The verb hupotasso [word study] is not present in the Greek text used to translate the NAS (in the NAS words in italics are added by the translators. Hupotasso is present in the Textus Receptus used for the KJV) but is clearly to be assumed when one compares this sentence with the preceding sentence (and Ephesians 5:24-note) that describes submission. The spiritual dynamic that operates in a Spirit filled wife is that when she submits to her Lord, she will have no difficulty submitting to her husband. This verse does not say that the wife is inferior in any way to her husband, not does it say that she is to be his slave, for as stated in verse 21, the husband is also to submit to the Lord. It follows that if both Spirit filled spouses are voluntarily submitting to the Lord, their will be a oneness, a unity and a harmony in the marital relationship. As an aside, one can clearly see why a believer is clearly prohibited from marrying a non-believing spouse (2Cor 6:14, 15, 16, 17, 18).
John Eadie has an intriguing thought writing that…
Wayne Barber emphasizes what the verb hupotasso does not mean stating…
It is important to understand the cultural context in which Paul (and Peter see below) was calling for wives to submit to their own husbands. In the first century, there were 3 converging cultures, Jewish, Greek and Roman, and in each culture, women had no rights or at most minimal rights.
In the Jewish culture a woman was treated not as a person but as a thing; and was owned by her husband in exactly the same way as he owned his sheep and his goats. She was absolutely her husband’s possession to do with as he willed. On no account could the wife leave the husband, although he could dismiss her at any moment. The more liberal Rabbis, headed by the Hillel interpreted Deuteronomy 24:1 to say that a man might divorce his wife if she spoiled his dinner by putting too much salt in his food, if she walked in public with her head uncovered, if she talked with men in the streets, if she spoke disrespectfully of her husband’s parents in her husband’s hearing, if she was a brawling woman, if she was troublesome or quarrelsome! For a wife to change her religion while her husband did not was unthinkable. The Jews had a low view of women as evidenced by their morning prayer in which a Jewish man gave thanks that God had not made him “a Gentile, a slave or a woman.” The Jewish woman had no legal rights whatsoever.
In the Greek culture the duty of the woman was "to remain indoors and to be obedient to her husband." It was the sign of a good woman that she must see as little, hear as little and ask as little as possible. She had no kind of independent existence and no kind of mind of her own, and her husband could divorce her almost at caprice, so long as he returned her dowry. It is fascinating to read some of the lofty ideals regarding marriage in the classic Greek literature (stress on monogamous marriage, Plato's promotion of equality in various offices, etc) and yet observe the obvious disconnect of these ideals from the frank reality of a culture that had a popular pun that if a woman runs a house it dies!
William Barclay, whose commentaries often provide a wonderful source for cultural and historical context, adds these notes concerning women in the Greek culture…
In the Roman culture, the law provided no rights for a woman. In law she remained forever a child. When she was under her father she was under the Roman law of patria potestas, the father's power, which gave the father the right even of life and death over her; and when she married she passed equally into the power of her husband. She was entirely subject to her husband and completely at his mercy. Cato the Censor, the typical ancient Roman, wrote
Roman matrons were prohibited from drinking wine, and Egnatius beat his wife to death when he found her doing so. Sulpicius Gallus dismissed his wife because she had once appeared in the streets without a veil. Antistius Vetus divorced his wife because he saw her secretly speaking to a freed woman in public. Publius Sempronius Sophus divorced his wife because once she went to the public games. The whole attitude of ancient civilization was that no woman could dare take any decision for herself.
Barclay adds his insights on the role of women in the Roman culture noting that…
In the context of family relationships, it is notable that the wife is not called to submit not to obey (see word study hupakouo) her husband, as children are to obey their parents and slaves their masters. In other words, a husband is to treat his wife as an equal and not as his servant or as if she were a child. The husband is not to order the wife about, calling on her to respond to his every wish and command. A wife is not a slave, awaiting commands such as: “Do this! Get that! Fix me that!, etc, etc. That is not what submission means.
Wives… to your own husbands -
Believer's Study Bible notes that…
Peter also emphasizes the role of the wife in submission writing that…
That submission does not imply inferiority is made clear by Paul in First Corinthians…
So even in the Godhead, wherein there is equality, we see that Christ is subordinate to His Father and in the same way wives are subordinate to their husbands. The man is not superior to the woman, as the Father is not superior to Christ, for they are of the same essence. However, as there is divine order in the relative functions of the three persons of the Trinity, so it is fitting for God to ordain a divine order in the functions of the family (husband, wife, children). God established this pattern in the very beginning when Adam was first formed, then Eve, Paul recording that
Genesis also emphasizes the spiritual equality of man and woman Moses recording that…
This spiritual equality is emphasized in the New Testament by Paul who writes…
Believer's Study Bible writes that…
Morris adds that equality in personhood and distinction in function…
Warren Wiersbe has a pithy statement regarding Christian homes writing that…
Wives (1135) (gune/gyne - gives us our word "gynecology" - branch of medicine dealing with health care for women) in context of Spirit filled, this designation refers to all believing wives. As one ponders the word gyne and gynecology, in a sense all husbands should be "spiritual gynecologists" (where -ology means the study of). In other words all husbands would do well to study their wives that they might practice good "preventive" medicine in their marriage!
Own (2398) (idios) means belong to one in a private sense, in contrast to public property. Husbands, you belong to your wife! Too many husbands live their lives, especially their work lives, as if they belonged to the public! And then they wonder why their wife feels a bit estranged!!! Note also that the Greek word "idios" does not mean "idiot", which is how some wives treat their husbands (and is how some husbands deserve to be treated!)
Husbands (435)(aner) refers first to the male sex and in the marital context to the husband.
AS TO THE LORD: os to kurio: (Eph 6:5; Colossians 3:22,23)
As to the Lord - "As" is a term of comparison (simile) which raises this instruction to as Phillips says to "a higher, holier, and more heavenly plane. What woman in all the world who has met and fallen in love with Jesus would not willingly do anything for Him? Never in the Gospels do we find a woman treating Him badly, speaking against Him, or doing anything to harm Him. The women of the New Testament loved and honored Jesus. He was so manly, so honorable, so attractive, so thoughtful, and so kind. It is the men in the Gospels who opposed Him, not the women."
And thus the order of submission is critical. (First) A wife's submission to Christ her Lord should motivate this Spirit filled wife to be willing to submit to the headship of her husband (which is aided if the husband is Spirit filled!). Family members who are right with the Lord will be right with each other.
This clause also protects the wife so that her submission "as to the Lord" is within the bounds of what is in the will of the Lord.
Wayne Barber comments on the phrase as to the Lord…
For Better Or Worse? - Within a chip shot of our house is a golf course. When I stand in my backyard, I see ponds waiting hungrily for my next errant shot. At times I can imagine sandtraps and trees joking about my bad days.
Marriages may be made in heaven,
Work At It - If your marriage isn't working, take heart. Neither is anyone else's. In every healthy marriage, it's the people who work, not the relationship. A newspaper featured two headlines shouting from adjacent pages: In Japan, "Battered Wives Begin To Rebel," and "Britain Tries To Shore Up Marriages." Different countries and distinct cultures, but the same problems. Why?
"For better or for worse," we pledge,
><> ><> ><>
Realism And Romance - Good marriages have a balance. The practical realities of daily living are enhanced by the joy and spontaneity of continually falling in love with each other.
Despite the faults that partners have,
><> ><> ><>
When To Speak Up - Good communication is essential for a happy marriage. Poet Ogden Nash seems to have hit on a formula to help us remember how to communicate effectively. Nash, in his witty style, wrote:
If you want your marriage to sizzle
There's some immensely helpful truth in that four-liner--truth that is supported by Scripture.
Let's look at the two major points. First, if we are wrong we need to admit it. Not only marriage, but all relationships benefit from this kind of honesty (Pr 12:22). Protecting ourselves when we're wrong makes resolution impossible.
On the other hand, we can be equally hard to live with if we insist that we're always right--and afraid to let our spouse know that we are fallible. According to 1Corinthians 13:4, "[Love] does not parade itself, is not puffed up." No one likes to be around someone who always seems to be patting himself on the back.
Two simple guidelines for a marriage that pleases God: Admit wrong and keep quiet about being right. It's a good way to keep the relationship strong. --J D Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Button up your lip securely
><> ><> ><>
Avoiding The Greener Grass - Nancy Anderson says she grew lukewarm in her faith and thus believed the world’s lie: “I deserve to be happy.” This led to an extramarital affair that nearly ended her marriage. She wrote her book Avoiding The Greener Grass Syndrome to help keep her painful story of infidelity from “becoming someone else’s story.”
The grass on the other side of the fence may look greener, but faithfulness to God and commitment to your spouse alone bring peace of mind and satisfaction.
When you avoid the greener-grass syndrome by loving and respecting your spouse, your marriage will be a picture of Christ and His church to those around you (Ephesians 5:31, 32). —Anne Cetas (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
When you look at someone else’s life,