December 17. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Eph. 5: 21)
Submit to who???
Most of us don’t want to submit to anyone! We rebel against authority at work, school, with the government…whatever. Some of us only rebel in our mind and spirit, others actually act out. Submission? Are you kidding???
And here comes this verse: Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Some translations actually read “out of fear of Christ! But the Greek word means: Deep respect, honor, high esteem, high regard, great respect, acclaim, admiration, appreciation, estimation, favor. It can mean fear, but it can also mean all the above.
Because of 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” — we know that “fear” is not a valid translation of the word in this instance.
It’s ALL important to know that any submission to God or one another doesn’t come from fear, but from love and reverence.
Now, I want to look at a bigger part of the passage to show you something very important about submission.
The passage literally starts with “be being filled with the Spirit” and then continues to be translated as
Ephesians 5:18-22 …be (being) filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
Then it continues with this famous verse (22)
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
But, in the original text, “be being filled” is the verb for this entire passage. There is not another verb until verse 25. All the English translated verbs were either adverbs or simply not in the original text. It’s against all rules of translation to insert a different verb until the original has a different verb. However the King James translators (and many subsequent translators) seem to have had an agenda!
It should literally read:
“Be being filled with the Spirit
speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
Be being filled with the Spirit, being subject to one another in the reverence of Christ.
Be being filled with the Spirit, wives and husbands to the Lord.”
The verb “Subject” is not in verse 22!)
Rather than mean that wives should subject themselves to their husbands, the original meaning is “Be being filled with the Spirit, wives and husbands to the Lord.”
That changes everything, doesn’t it?
It’s my understanding that the entire passage is referring to us all being filled with the Spirit as we relate to one another. When we are, and when we continually ask the Holy Spirit of Christ in us to do what He wants and say what He wants through us and as us, the whole question of submission is moot and not relevant!
I encourage us all to meditate on this understanding and ask the Holy Spirit of Christ to give us revelation. Christ has a way of turning “bad news” for some into “Good News” for ALL!”
My thanks to Paul Young for his insight and teaching on this passage. ~Paul Gray