Biblical Submission

Here we are wives! We have reached the meat and potatoes chapter regarding biblical submission.

Yesterday I listened to an interview with Nancy Leigh DeMoss in which she related her experience as a woman under authority. She was serving a particular ministry as a speaker. In the contract, they stipulated that she could not fly in a single-engine plane at night. Well, low and behold, one evening she ended up in a small town without a large airport and the only plane available was one with a single-engine. The people around her tried to talk her into flying: you’re going to be late for your engagement tomorrow, it’s completely safe, the pilot is one of the best, there’s nothing to be afraid of. DeMoss was most certainly not afraid of flying in that plane at night. She feared God, who put her under this ministry’s authority, which stipulated she could not fly at night in a single-engine plane. More than anything else, she wanted to obey God because she knew that if she went with the demands of the moment, breaking her contract with the ministry, then she would be removing herself from God’s protection for her. Not only that, if she got on the plane, then the other people on the plane would be out from under God’s protection, too. She wanted to obey God and she didn’t want to give Satan an opportunity to attack her and those around her.

In the interview, she was also asked questions about what women with strong leadership abilities and skills should do with themselves. She said something I have never heard a woman say. Just because a woman has a particular skill-set does not mean she has a right to use them in every situation. For instance, a woman may be a strong leader, but that does not mean she is free to use that gift to lead a church. Many times God may ask a woman to put her gifts on a shelf for a season. Just because we have a gift does not mean we are supposed to use it all the time. Our purpose is not to maximize our gifts. Our purpose in life is to glorify God. And I could tell her response baffled the men. It was the first time I realized that some men are just as confused as women when it comes to submitting to authority.

I think Martha Peace would agree. A wife’s submission is the basis of her protection.

In the opening paragraphs, Peace addresses a couple of extreme ideas about submission. She deals with some of the major objections feminists raise against submission. She also refutes the idea that a wife’s suffering at the hands of her husband is biblical. Then, she tackles the egalitarian idea of mutual submission. I say, “tackles,” when she really just mentions it and says that it’s the wrong way of thinking. I agree, but I wish she had given more explanation.

The bulk of the chapter fleshes out Peace’s five biblical principles concerning the wife’s submission.

1. A wife is to be submissive to her husband in all things unless her husband asks her to sin.
MAIN POINT: “The verb “be subject to” in the Greek is the hupotasso, a military term which means to be ranked under in military order. This ranking of the wife under the husband’s authority was sovereignly chosen by God so that there will be order and harmony in the home. She has a different rank or POSITION, she is not an inferior PERSON. Christian wives need to see themselves as God sees them….She is not inferior but her role is different.”

2. A submissive wife is not afraid to do the “right thing.”
MAIN POINT: Overcome fear with love. “She entrusts herself to God, knowing that in difficulty, God will give her the grace she needs to get through it at the very time she needs it.”

3. A wife is to be submissive even if her husband is not a Christian.
MAIN POINT: “When a Christian woman is married to an unbeliever, her responsibility is to live a godly life and respond to her husband with respect. Her attitude should be one of being for him and not against him. She should enjoy him and love him, thinking of him as her husband and the father of her children, not her enemy.”

I’ve seen this lived out beautifully in one woman in particular. She has always been faithful to the church, bringing her children, teaching and serving, but her husband never came with them. She never said anything negative about him; she spoke highly of him. And she always asked for us to pray for his salvation.

4. A submissive wife does not dishonor the Word of God.
MAIN POINT: “Anything other than godly submission is not fitting or proper for a Christian wife since it dishonors God and His Word. A submissive wife honors the word of God when:

  1. Obeying God is more important to her than having her own way.
  2. She has an appropriate reverential fear of the Lord.
  3. She lets the Word of Christ direct her life.
  4. Her life is not an affront to the pattern for marriage given in Ephesians 5, of the Church and its submissive relationship to Christ.
  5. She is submissive whether she feels like it or not.

5. A wise wife will seek training and counsel on submission from a godly older woman.
MAIN POINT: Find a godly older woman who can teach you to be a godly wife. Just make sure she influences you for good and not for evil.

This is a very helpful chapter. I’m certain I’ll return to it to remind me of my responsibility to honor God’s word by submitting to my husband.

Just yesterday I was tested in this area. My husband asked me NOT to do something that I thought I should do. I submitted to his authority. However, we are going to seek the counsel of our pastor for his objective, biblical opinion.

The situation involves my mother. I want to obey God by honoring her, but I also want to obey God by submitting to my husband. Yesterday, I opted for submitting to my husband for two reasons. One, it is unclear how to honor my mother in this situation. Two, I could not ignore his wishes as the father of our children as my involvement would have included our kids (they go where I go).

I want to read what you gleaned from this chapter! Did anyone besides me see herself in that last list regarding ways wives are not submissive to their husbands? The only surprise was that Peace stopped with 10!

Leave a comment, email me, or write a post! As usual, I’ll add a link to you here.

Keep reading! Click for Chapter 14.

6 Comments on “Biblical Submission

  1. This was by far my favorite chapter for several reasons. I love how clear & descriptive Peace is about the subject of submission, along with not sounding “preachy” or unrealistic. She is so dead on about the fact that the understanding of biblical submission is not clear to most men or women & that a proper explanation is necessaryMy favorite line: “…the wife submits herself to her husband so that God’s plan for the family can be carried out.”Puts it all into a beautiful, godly perspective – I love it!I really liked what Ms. DeMoss had to say about our God-given skill-sets & discerning an appropriate time to use them rather than just assuming we have the “right” to use them anytime we wish. Good food for thought!


  2. Great summary as always Leslie! Is that Nancy Leigh DeMoss interview available online? It sounds good.I was especially challenged in this chapter with the list at the end – it was uncomfortable reading because I saw a lot of myself in it but it was and is good to be challenged.Hey “garden gal” – I always smile when I see you here….hope you had a good time with your family. :)Leslie, also still praying for you and all that is going on at this time for you, it can’t be easy.


  3. Wonderful summary, Leslie! Strangely, this was the least ‘stirring’ chapter for me, personally, but very stirring for me in regards to my parents. Not sure what to do with that. I read and reread, but my heart was on my parents through most of it!! I definitely was convicted in some areas that I want to share, but not like usual. I think for 2 reasons 1) the whole book revolves around this so it’s been meaty throughout, but this particular chapter seemed to focus a lot on unbelieving husbands and 2) my dad does not know the Lord, and my mom….if she’s a believer….is VERY young in the Lord with very little fruit. So, I just kept thinking to our conversations throughout the chapter. Thanks for the practical example you gave with your husband recently! Very helpful!!!


  4. I just read your post about Wisdom from a few posts ago. It was very touching to me because my brother and his wife are going through a divorce right now and are putting their children smack dab in the middle. It is breaking my heart. All I can do is pray, they are both so selfish. I just feel so sad.


  5. I like the story at the beginning of your post. It certainly gave me another way to think about submission and all the different types of authority we are under and how God uses them to protect us.I am also going to keep this in mind “Just because we have a gift does not mean we are supposed to use it all the time. Our purpose is not to maximize our gifts. Our purpose in life is to glorify God.”…true indeedMy post is finally up


  6. Hi Leslie,Its just like God to give us a “real-live” example when we are learning something. Its definately a journey.I’m a little late again this week but I’m no less interested. I’ve been keeping up with the reading, just busy.


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