What Biblical Submission IS

In yesterday’s blog post, we learned what it DOES NOT mean to for wives to be submissive to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22). We said that submission

  • Does not mean that a wife must agree with her husband on everything he says, does or thinks.
  • Does not mean that a wife should not try to persuade her husband.
  • Does not mean that every wife must submit to every husband.
  • Does not mean that you a wife can’t think for herself.
  • Is not synonymous with weakness.
  • And should not produce fear.

Today, we want to focus on what biblical submission is. What is God requiring of wives towards their husbands?

Biblical submission means that a wife is to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership. It means that she is to acknowledge God’s order and design of a marriage – where one (the husband) leads, and another (the wife) follows. Thus, biblical submission is not just about submitting to the husband but submitting to God.

Biblical submission is more of an attitude and motivation than it is an action. Sure, behavior can reflect one who is committed to being submissive, but we all know that we can act in ways that are different from what we truly think internally. Thus, submission begins in the heart. A submissive heart will produce submissive actions.

John Piper, who has worked alongside of The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood that biblical submission, “is the disposition to follow a husband’s authority and an inclination to yield to his leadership. It is an attitude that says, “I delight for you to take the initiative in our family. I am glad when you take responsibility for things and lead with love. I don’t flourish when you are passive and I have to make sure the family works.” But the attitude of Christian submission also says, “It grieves me when you venture into sinful acts and want to take me with you. You know I can’t do that. I have no desire to resist you. On the contrary, I flourish most when I can respond creatively and joyfully to your lead; but I can’t follow you into sin, as much as I love to honor your leadership in our marriage. Christ is my King.”

Biblical submission does not “keep women down” but is designed to cause them to flourish. If your wife is not flourishing, you are not leading well.


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