Does Submitting to Husbands in Everything mean EVERYTHING?

Does Submitting to Husbands in Everything mean EVERYTHING?

Written By Ken Alexander

“Wives should submit to their husbands in everything” is a fundamental command for all those who want to do marriage God’s way. One can never arrive at a point where two have truly become one flesh until the two are in union and harmony with each other. This is not to say that a wife leaves wisdom behind once she takes her vows, nor does it mean she is to follow her husband into sin. Submission is to be the natural response of a godly wife to a loving husband, and when he is not loving her as he should, submission is still the response of the wife who desires to obey her Lord and Savior in everything.

God’s Word is very plain and straightforward but each verse of the Bible is informed by its immediate context and the Bible as a whole. So what are some of those times that in everything” does not mean “EVERYTHING?”

For the few Christians who are bent on taking a wooden literal approach to this passage, it is important to understand that language and literature are intended to be understood as the common reader would understand it. Imagine all the qualifiers the apostles under the influence of the Spirit would have to give in order to communicate if they were not free to assume that the readers would be reasonable and informed in their understanding of what they were writing.

Should Paul have said “in almost everything”? Then you would ask, so in what things shouldn’t a wife submit? Or does “almost everything” mean that I can pick and choose what to submit to so long as it is most of the time I submit? No, Paul made it clear that the intent was that wives should indeed submit “in everything,” but he naturally assumed his readers were believers who know God’s Word, and thus would easily qualify the few exceptional exceptions to the command.

The beauty of God’s Word is that one can almost always understand the necessary qualifiers directly from the immediate context.  The context says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). So a wife’s submission is not in a vacuum, but as she would first submit to her Lord. If her Lord’s commands are clear and indisputable, she is under no obligation to submit to any sin demanded by her husband. This includes submission to abuse as any abuse of another is unlawful both civilly and in Christ.

Can we now agree here that the “in everything” does not mean to submit to a husband who is asking his wife to forsake Christ and adopt his religion? Wives have been brutally beaten, whipped and killed by husbands upon learning of their conversion to Christianity. These wives refused to submit and recant their relationship with Christ precisely because they have a higher authority than their husband in their lives. Their Lord and Master is the Lord Jesus. Jesus says, “Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:3).

Jesus is Lord over a wife with the big “L” as compared to a husband who may be considered lord with a small “l”. Christ’s authority comes first and foremost as the Ruler of this universe and certainly has reign over a husband’s demands for a wife to submit to any sin. “You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always” (Deuteronomy 11:1).

It seems that here lies the fear of those who want to make wifely submission to a husband in EVERYTHING, including sin. They fear the slippery slope of a wife finding her way around submission by setting herself up as the ultimate authority as to what God desires for her life and marriage. It is not such a far-fetched notion to find a wife who is learning from any number of Christian women teachers who has now declared a personal relationship with God, so personal that God speaks directly to her. Or she begins to interpret the Word to her advantage so that anything a husband asks her to do that she finds to be “unloving” she can be excluded from submission because “God says that my husband is to ‘love me as Christ loves the church’ before I need to submit.”

The twists and excuses that many Christian wives, and too often Christian pastors, use to get around the clear instructions for a wife to submit in everything, often consign the Christian marriage into a structure that God does not intend for marriage. In these marriages, a husband leads only so far as the wife allows him to lead, and he must relegate his decision making to his wife’s final authority as to whether he is being loving towards her or meets her test of how she feels about God’s leading her on the matter. Both of these concepts clearly violate the intent of “in everything.” So the fear that any exception to the rule will be turned by a wife into rendering the passage meaningless is not without merit, nor without common day practice in many Christian marriages today.

Even recognizing the proclivity of women to twist and turn a clear passage like this one into meaninglessness, Lori and I are not going to insist that the “in everything” means EVERYTHING when it clearly does not endorse following a husband into sin or abuse. Our job as teachers is not to wrestle wives into a box of submission because it is best for them, especially when married to godly guys, but instead to try and lead Christian women to choose to willingly submit to the one they chose to marry, to love and to lead them. This fear of “give a wife an inch and she will take a yard is not what should dictate our understanding of God’s Word.

Instead, love demands that a husband patiently wait on his wife to grow up into a marriage where is she is willing to follow him into everything he leads her in so long as it is “as to the Lord” and without sin. She must learn that unless the Bible is clearly against what her husband desires of her she is to submit if she wants to do marriage God’s way. If she is unsure as to whether she should submit or not, she should not rely on her own individual interpretation of the Word, nor on her feelings of what God is telling her, but test if it is sin or not by speaking to an older godly woman or an elder’s wife.

The question to ask any counselor on this subject is a simple one. Is what my husband is asking of me clearly taught against in God’s Word? If the answer is “no,” then there should be no other qualifier. If you need help understanding where God is clearly against abuse, contact us, or your elders to understand that no wife should be subjected to physical harm or behavior that puts her or her children in danger.

Apart from this narrow set of exception of “as unto the Lord,” the Christian wife is to submit “in Everything.” This was the apostle’s intent as inspired by God, that Christian wives everywhere allow their marriages to be the model for the church. That children being raised in such marriages could see what it means to be obedient to the Lord in a real and tangible way. Mom willfully submitting her will to her loving husband, even when she strongly disagrees with him, or he asks her to do things that go beyond her comfort level. It is false teaching by many Christian women teachers that a wife has to feel comfortable in her spirit that what a husband asks is okay, or good for the family, before she submits. God’s intent is to have only one leader in the home, just as the Church is completely subject to Christ. Christ would never ask us to sin but regularly asks us to grow up outside of our natural comfort level that is too often informed by the flesh and not by His Word.

A year or so before Lori discovered Debbie Pearl’s book “Created to Be His Helpmeet,” the Lord showed me the biggest challenge I had in winning over my wife to a marriage of oneness and intimacy that Lori and I both longed for. Years of my wife demanding an intimate relationship had finally shown me that there was nothing I could do for her to achieve this goal as she was trapped in her fear of letting go and allowing me to be a loving husband to her. She had every excuse in the book as to why she only had to submit to me in the things that made sense to her, or did not violate her feelings of what a loving husband should do. I began to challenge her in ways that she once considered unloving, but now laughs about, precisely to help move her to a place she feared greatly in life: Vulnerability.

The reason why a wife often desires to control is because she is afraid not only of following her husband, but afraid of letting him into her own personal space where her deepest desires and fears reside. God has had the answer from the beginning of time to intimacy. The key to unlocking a wife’s heart comes only by her allowing her husband into every part of her life: her hopes, her dreams, her fears, her love, and her inner most being. Vulnerability is the necessary key to entering into a woman’s heart just as it is if we want God fully into our hearts. To be able to trust our God or one’s husband fully is the bond that will blossom in a marriage until fully opened into a crazy love where two shall become one. No hesitations, no buy backs, no excuses, and no blind following, but rather allowing a husband to take his wife on a journey of love through vulnerability to fully give herself to the man she says she loves the most in this whole world… right after Jesus.

If you want this crazy love God offers to those who vulnerably follow Him into a one flesh, sold out marriage, then you have to do things God’s way. God’s ways often defy logic, and certainly defy the flesh and how mankind would do things. Yes, a wife is fully equal to her husband, just as Jesus is equal to God. And as Jesus tested the bounds of love by fully submitting to God, so too a wife will find the true love God has in store for her without full surrender and submission to her husband, while never leaving wisdom behind. Follow along so far as it is not sin and find God’s promise that the “two shall become one flesh.” Also, a prescription given for dealing with a disobedient husband.

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ,
so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Ephesians 5:24

52 thoughts on “Does Submitting to Husbands in Everything mean EVERYTHING?

  1. For other women out there on the fence about this, I want to share my experience. It was hard for me to submit, I am a very hard-headed, need to be in control person. I know best, so there is no point in trying to tell me differently. I can run my life better than anyone else and I know what is best for me.—– This is how I thought and felt. As I have said many times, especially on this blog, I read CTBHH, and it actually made me mad, but it stirred something deep in my soul, something that I KNEW was right, but was too stubborn to admit.

    I began reading with a better attitude and then the book actually made me happy and proud. That probably doesn’t make any sense, but it did. It made me proud that God chose me to be a helpmeet. So, I began submitting to my husband and things started to get better. Then I realized I needed to submit Joyfully, trusting him, and not second-guessing him. Boy, things really turned around then.

    For a long time, I submitted because I was supposed to, it is only when I realized I needed to submit joyfully and without reservation, without wondering if by submitting to this decision, things would turn out bad that things really got so much better. Now, I trust my husband even more. It has taught me that he does have my best interests at heart and in his decisions. Yes, there are times I wish he would do things differently, but when that happens, I just have to stop the negative thinking and trust.

    My favorite thing in CTBHH is when she talks about being your husband’s personal holy spirit. That’s not my job, that is God’s job and I just have to remember that if it is something that needs to be changed (as opposed to something I want changed, there is a big difference), then God will do the convicting. Often times, later when I look back on a situation, I realize how right my husband was and that I was emotional about it because, well for whatever reason (I guess I just tend to be more emotional).

  2. Dave answer these questions for me: When Peter writes what you quoted: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; to governors” (I Peter 2:13-14)… when the government of your country or state or municipality comes to ask you to recant your faith … are you going to be so obedient to this one word EVERY Ordinance and recant your faith? When they ask you to send your kid to school a day that all teens are required to watch the sex video displaying multiple positions with multiple partners will you obey this verse?

    Here is Matthew Henry’s comment on the matter, and I venture to say that ALL commentators hold this view that the obedience of a wife extends only as far as a husband’s authority over her, and his authority does not exceed that of the Lord Jesus: “So it follows, Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ (Eph. 5:24), with cheerfulness, with fidelity, with humility, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing—in every thing to which their authority justly extends itself, in every thing lawful and consistent with duty to God.”

    Don’t play this game of “all or nothing” black and white and allow language to be understood in a natural manner. If I say to my kids I have given you everything I could as a parent to raise you well in the Lord, don’t come back at me and say, “No you didn’t.” You were not with them every moment of the day, or teaching them all day long. There were times you failed.” Of course everything in this case does not mean everything, but it communicates the overwhelming gift of my life invested in theirs.

    Tell me how you would have a wife treat a husband who has mental illness. He wants her to jump off the bridge with him, or wants to molest one of their children. Does your EVERYTHING still pass the test of your own definition anymore? Of course not. It does not pass the test of reasonableness, nor the test of following Christ Jesus.

    There is a higher truth to this commitment of a godly wife to submit to her husband in everything, and that is that her first priority is to submit to her Lord Jesus in everything. Keep first things first and recognize that a husband has no authority to make a wife sin.

    Show me any Bible commentator who does not have qualifiers to the word everything in this passage… and rightfully so. It is common sense in the use of language and our understanding of the whole of God’s Word. And what are you fighting for on this? You actually want to ask wives to follow their husbands into sin?

  3. Dave there no one is disputing that a wife is to respect the authority structure that God has placed over her in her life, by way of her husband.

    No one is disputing that a wife indeed fulfills the glory and work of God when she willfully and joyfully submits to her husband. Just this alone is foolishness to the world that wants wives to be equal in authority with their husbands.

    None of these things are in dispute. The only thing is dispute is should a wife follow a husband who is asking her to blatantly sin? I know you know the correct answer and yet you want to argue over it?

  4. Definitely agree with the paragraph about vulnerability! It’s so difficult for me to allow people into the corners of my mind. i wasn’t allowed to speak my mind when i was a child, if we didn’t agree with our parents and basically recite what they told us, it wasn’t going to happen. so i learned NEVER to speak my mind. this just created a nightmare when entering adulthood and trying to have relationships. i think people equate “submission” to “doormat”. And they are not the same thing. Of course you need to have your opinion and of course it matters. but i’m pretty sure submission is not “i get to decide what, where, how, when, and how much and you have absolutely NO say in it” for a womans entire life. its stepping up, being the man, working as hard as possible to provide, and leading his family (if you are a believer) in a Godly home. i’ve always wanted this kind of relationship and for the most part, my boyfriend is this type of man. i’m very lucky to have that going for me! he doesn’t “control me”, rather he leads and i follow. we do decide things together- like food menus, where to go out, who to see, what to do. and he gives me financial advice and helps where it’s needed. and he has corrected my behavior when i “stress shop” (a very bad habit i have just about broken) or get into a depressed state (by reminding me i am loved, i am needed, i am worth it, and to shake it off). but hes never controlling or forceful about things like this. and i think thats what people believe about being submissive. the man is “the boss”. and yes he is, but he doesn’t pick your underwear color out for you every morning or tell you the TV channels you are allowed to watch and nothing else. he loves you enough to ensure you are cared for and loved and that you are still doing good things with yourself.

  5. Dave,
    It seems to me that you have left NO instance where a wife can refuse to submit to her husband. I understand and believe the Bible just as it is written in individual verses but I also understand it as it is written in chapters and books and as a whole.

    Is their not one single instance that you can envision, that would justly allow a wife to not submit to her husband?

    Should she submit to her husband physically beating her? Giving her a concussion? Breaking her bones?

    Should she allow her husband to physically beat (not talking about spanking here) their children? Is it OK for him to break their bones? What if he breaks his sons arm and then demands that the boy not be taken for medical treatment for fear of punishment by our criminal justice system? Does she just sit by and watch as her sons arm does not heal properly and he is crippled for life?

    Should she submit to her husband and be silent while he sexually molests their children?

    Should she submit when her husband wants to swap sexual partners with another man?

    Dave, would ANY of the above situations really please and glorify the God you serve?

  6. I am confused and a little concerned at the direction this blog has taken. I read here to learn from Lori. Because she encourages us to take heart of what men have to say, I have read Dave’s comments and tried to understand his meaning.
    Now, though, Ken is clearly teaching something very contrary to what Dave has been writing for several days. I must say I tend to agree with Ken.

    Lori, what are we, your loyal readers, to take from all of this? There seems to be discord between your husband and some of your most frequent commenters, who happen to be male. It is very distressing.

    I am going to seek my husband’s guidance on this when he gets home. Until then, I will simply pray for all involved.

  7. Trey- some women DO “allow” things like this to happen. this is straight up ABUSE. i dont understand it. “Allow” is in quotes because there are women who are so abused that they feel like they deserve this treatment. how horrific is that??

  8. Yes acm, you are correct on your views on submission. God’s intent for the husband is not to control his wife’s every move, just as an employer would be hard pressed if he had an employee that needed micro management. What good is it having such an employee around if they cannot be a help to you and you are always having to correct them and direct them to their nest step?

    The problem faced in some marriages is that the wife wants to be the judge of what it means for a husband to lead and she takes offense of his corrections and leadership often. “You’re a terrible leader… because of x, y, z,” may simply mean that the wife does not want to follow. “I will let you lead me so long as I agree with you” is the modern day Christian wife’s typical thinking.

    This verse shows us that a wife does not get to pick and choose, nor determine her husband’s leadership style. I lead for many years by example, but not by command, because commanding my wife is not something I believe should be necessary if she is willing to to be considerate of me. But in order to move her from where she was stuck in her bad thinking and behaviors, to where she needed to go, I adopted a more direct approach to my leadership in telling her what I needed from her. She was not happy about it, and felt that my requests were either too small or two big, or not loving or patient or kind. Or she just told me I could not make her do them. Yes, that is the same Lori who posts here :).

    What I discovered is that for a time I needed to step up and help move her from comfortable place of being the final arbiter of what is right or wrong, when to follow and when not to follow, to a place where she simply followed out of obedience. The obedience turned to love and sacrificial giving, and now she would laugh at the things I have asked her to do in the past and find them so small, yet back the in her rebellion and desire to be in control, these things were considered unkind or too difficult.

    My point is, you are married to a good man who loves you and is not asking you to do much outside your comfort zone, but maybe you, and millions of other wives should be asking their husbands the question, “Honey, if the sky were the limit with our relationship to make it the very best it could be, what is it you would have me do differently or better for you? Recognizing my love to be comfortable in our relationship but not necessarily move it forward, would you be willing to take a month to hold me accountable for those things you think could really help move us to more joy, intimacy and oneness in our marriage?”

    Now you are getting to heart of “in everything.” A true desire in the part of a wife to follow her man’s lead even into the things she disagrees with, so long as it is not sinful. To test the bounds of vulnerability and intimacy by fully trusting that your husband is right, even if you cannot see it or agree with it… and you will jump in willingly, even if it fails. Because even in the failures your trust will cement the bonds of oneness and unity of mind and spirit.

  9. Thanks for the comment Mary Esther. I would ask you not to make too much of Dave’s comments and allow some to disagree with us. We expect that the women here will not be too confused by Dave’s desire to honor God’s Word fully in all it says. We too have the same goal and ideal, but we simply disagree that any verse was ever intended to be taken in a way that does violence to the clear teaching of the rest of the scriptures.

    Discuss it with your husband and try to sort through your distress. It doesn’t sound like you are really confused by the meaning of “in everything” but if the tension of disagreement gets you distressed we can take that into consideration when Lori moderates comments.

    Please keep mind two things… First, Dave is a godly man who really is trying to honor the Lord in his life and views of the scriptures. Second, Lori has had a general policy to allow all commentators, even those who disagree with her (us) so long as they are polite, and have a desire to back their beliefs with the Word.

  10. acm,
    I do know that things like this happen, in this country, every single day and it is indeed a horrific situation. It is even more horrific that some men would try and use the Bible to force their wives to be silent or even participate in their sin with them.

  11. Thank you very much, Ken. I admire your gracious attitude toward Dave. I will try to stop worrying about the “disagreements” and take what good I can from each post. My husband has advised me to step away from any blog that seems to cause me distress. I don’t want this to be one of these blogs so I will hang in there a bit longer. Thanks again.

  12. I think you will find that Lori controls the disagreements quite well, but tends to let more of it happen on posts she asks me to write for her on a point of clarification from previous posts. We are all on the same team here and have to be sure we are forbearing one another in love. Dave has good things to contribute, but we see him as extreme in his views at times… while he is trying to be 100% faithful to the Word.

    “I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, and with diligence to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 1:1-6)

    Don’t we have a great faith and a God who teaches us by His Word all good things!

  13. We really do have a glorious faith. Praise God! I don’t know where I would be without my faith.

    My husband and I agree that some commenters here seem rather extreme but you are always so reasonable. I would count you right up there with my dear husband among fair minded and lovely men. And Lori? Well it goes without saying what her readers think of her as a teacher. Just indescribable! I do hope she is not ill today. I have not seen a response from her. I will be in prayer for her.

    Thank you for the polite feedback. I have always been too timid to comment before but now feel much more comfortable. Perhaps I will join the discussion more often. Blessings!

  14. Thank you, Mary Esther!

    I have had a week full of family staying in my home and babysitting the grandchildren so I am a bit worn out but that is all. After last week’s post that I did on submission, I asked Ken yesterday if he would write a post on this topic to let those who read my blog know our views since I don’t like to debate men. I don’t feel it is my place but I don’t mind other views being shared by godly men. Some of them have challenged me for good concerning views I once held but when held up to the light of Scripture, I have changed my mind. There are others I will probably never agree completely with. I also like Ken to write once in a while to show that he is supportive in what I write and “checks” up on what I am writing often. 🙂

    Many blessings to you!

  15. You cannot miss the verse that says as to the Lord. If the Lord would not ask us, his children to sin, then why would he ask a husband to have her follow him into sin or sin on her own? You are placing meaning to this verse where it shouldn’t be placed. I agree with Ken. You are saying that a wife should act in sin when you use the phrase EVERYTHING. You are applying the word in a wrong way to the passage. God would never ask us to sin so therefore he would never will a husband to tell his wife to do, “likewise”. To put it simply, if a husband says that his wife is to obey him by sinning, then she has the right to refuse, because she is to follow and obey God FIRST before her husband.

  16. I love what you said HappyHomemaker! It has been beautiful to watch the blessings of being submissive to my husband unfold. I lack the words to describe the power of God’s Word and what it means to me.

    My husband has become a wonderful, godly man; which I find exceptionally attractive! When I ignored properly submitting to him, he was too busy running the world’s race to give God anything more than a mental acknowledgement. I had to change first, and that piece of humble pie tastes horrible, but what follows is so sweet!

  17. Trey,

    I’m only reading the scriptures. That is my God. Scripture is Jesus. What are you reading? Please show me where a WIFE is to disobey her husband. I’ve not seen an example of a wife commanded to disobey her husband or speak up. Just look at the comments of Happy Homemaker and Holly. There husbands ‘changed’ when they did elected compete obedience.

    What would you have told Abraham when he was lifting the knife over the throat of Isaac?

    We have to stop thinking carnally and let the spirit work as we have faith by acting on His word.

  18. It is not carnal thinking, Dave, to understand that “as to the Lord” is the prequalifier for a wife’s submission. If a wife cannot please the Lord by her submission then she cannot submit as the Lord is the one she owes highest allegiance to.

    Remember, the term submission comes from a military term to be obedient as arranged under a leader. God, Christ, Elders, Husbands, Wives, Children. Just as obey your parents does not mean listening to Mom if Dad says otherwise, so too listening to husband does not mean violating the ultimate command in God and Christ Jesus. To not follow this chain of command is to not follow the term Hupotasso… submission in the line of order of command.

  19. “Thou shalt not kill” is a commandment from God. My husband cannot tell me to contradict that (nor would he) yes, he can ask me how to raise and care for our children, he expects me to follow his lead, but he cannot ask me to kill one of them. The particularly part where Abraham has his faith tested by God is not relevant to the discussion on wife’s obeying husbands. God was testing Abraham for a particular purpose. God states “thou shall not kill” not “thou shall not kill unless your husband tells you to, then it’s ok”…

  20. Absolutely! I remember being so ashamed when I realized how I was so far from my God-given role as my husband’s helpmeet. Love your quote about humble pie, and I especially love how true it is!

  21. You’re right Dave, my husband did change, but he NEVER has asked me to do something that goes against God’s word.

  22. I would challenge to Dave that if a man truly loves his wife, he will seek to cover her in all areas of her life. This does not include asking her to sin or to participate in his sin.
    i wont go into too many “what if’s” because we are all aware that there are some things that are just too grave and horrific to submit to.
    in a perfect world, none of this would happen because none would sin.
    but the expectation of a loving husband is to care and protect for his wife. not for him to expect her to obey him NO MATTER WHAT. That is essentially what you are saying. submission in EVERYTHING, is different than NO MATTER WHAT.

  23. Dave, just to clarify. You do not believe a wife has the right to disobey ever? Even if her husband commands her to have an abortion, or stand by idly while he molests their children or even commands her to participate?

  24. I always found that wives submit to your husband in everything is a very good test to see if a future spouse is a worthy of marriage. If you have any fear of submitting to a man than maybe that is not the person to marry. When it came time to get married submitting to my husband was and is easy becuse I know that he would never put me in harms way or cause me to sin. Will he lead me to a place that is uncomfortable or correct me when I need, yes absolutely but cause harm or sin, never.

  25. Ken,
    ‘Obey as unto the Lord’ means that a wife obeys her husband as if he was the Lord Himself. It does not mean she bypasses her husband’s authority. The Lord places His authority over the wife in the husband. Explicitly; unconditionally. A wife is not responsible for her actions at the command of her husband. Yes, I know the church and world have changed this. We don’t see this; even in the military … I have friends there that say authority has been dismantled.

    The church has no idea what authority is. Here is what it is: The centurion … “I say come and he comes…” and Jesus Himself says there is not greater faith in His kingdom than that — blind faith and respect for authority. That is Abraham starting to kill his son at the request of his Authority. Crazy, YES, to the CARNAL MIND. We do not know the greatness of God without blind faith. We may gain some blessing from some new step of faith but if we keep trying to see with our eyes we not only reject Him but we miss His greater blessing.

  26. Hi Louise.

    No, she does not have any right. She has a responsibility to obey her husband. I read nothing else in scripture.

    God works through all kinds of things that are horrible to our minds. He restores all things.

  27. Contentious? Does it show. Good, then I am modeling Jesus, for He was the ‘Rock of Offense.’
    He did not come to bring peace but a sword — the Word of God. That’s all I’m trying to do, against arguments that raise themselves up against Him.

    The church has made Jesus into a long haired [blasphemy to a man] handsome [He “had no comeliness or beauty that we should desire Him”] pansy.

    There is fire in His mouth. We cannot understand Him as Savior until we understand Him as Lord.

  28. If I understand Dave’s position it is much like what Michelle just expressed. At least within a Christian marriage a husband would not ask his wife to sin. Some see this verse as consistently doable if God asks the wife to do it, and the husband who asks his wife to sin is a hypothetical that muddies the passage and not a reality.

    I must say that in my 30 years of counseling I cannot recall a husband asking a wife to sin, but I have seen a wife telling her husband to sin. I am not saying it doesn’t happen as it surely does, but the big problem of interjecting the “what ifs” into the scriptures is that once exceptions are made too many will want to broaden the exception of “for sin only” to “and I get to decide when it is sin or not sin.

    I have tried to walk the right path of truth by emphasizing that the passage clearly says submission is “as unto the Lord” and the Lord would never ask us to sin. Beyond sin I see no exceptions to the verse. But did God intend for us to take this verse to the extreme when things are abnormal? A bipolar husband in a manic or depressed state? A husband who is taking drugs and no longer himself? I don’t think so, but others may say that God would enter into that moment to rescue the wife based on her faith.

    My view of the Lord and His Word is a sensible one as we have a sensible faith. God may test us at times but we don’t have to handle snakes or carry out the Word to a nonsensical point to prove our faith. Wives, submit to your husbands in everything, but if your submission puts you or the kids in any danger, remove yourself from the situation and seek wise counsel. The Word is written not to deal with every abnormal circumstance, but intended for our overall edification. I believe in the exceptional times God asks us to check in with the Spirit inside of us, and with our spiritual leaders who have watch over our souls.

  29. The problem, Dave, is what you are challenging, not that you have a heart to accept all of the Word of God as it is written. We are of the same mind, but to not understand that the Word itself gives its truths qualifiers is to not understand how one of God’s truth informs other truths.

    Also, the degree of your desire to find “in Everything” to mean “EVERYTHING” is concerning because you were already given “everything except sin” and that was not good enough for you. Would you not agree that their is no practical issue if a wife chooses to submit to her husband in everything except sin? What benefit can come from a wife following her husband into viewing an X-Rated video? Can that godly wife proclaim that somehow she will win her husband to the Lord by following him into sin or is he more likely to find her faith weak?

    You desire for the complete obedience to God’s word is admirable, and you want to be perfect in your obedience to Christ? So Jesus says, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    I don’t mean this to be mean, just to say that context does play a large role how we understand God’s Word, both context of the immediate passage “as unto the Lord” and the context of the whole Bible which repeatedly tells us not to sin. Would not a wife sinning by the request of her husband be committing the very thing you are so against in not keeping all of God’s Word?

  30. This is a really great post. Our pastor always puts it this way: God first, then husband. Meaning, if your husband asks you to do something that goes against scripture, you should not do that. We are not free from the sin just because it’s something our husbands asked of us. I respect and submit to my husband in everything. He has never asked me to do something against scripture, and I don’t believe he ever would.

    I will also say, and this has been mentioned a lot through blogs and FB. If a husband says something is going to be one way, (not a clear sin) wives submit to that, but ‘pray against it’. Wouldn’t that be not actually submitting? Falsely submitting while in your heart and your prayer life asking for him to change his decision? Submission is more than just an outward obedience, it’s an obedience of the heart. We have to fully trust that our husband’s our following God, and TRUST his decisions. Praying against it, is not true submission.

  31. If Jesus was standing infront of you when you told your wife to sin, do you believe Jesus would turn to her and say obey your husband? So if God gave a direct comman d to your wife and you gave her one against Gods command is she to submit to you over God? Remember God gave Abraham the command to kill Issac Abraham did not decide this on his own, which ultimately means Sarah was submitting to God not her husband. You cannot use that story to support your arguement. Also God stopped the sacrafice of Issac before any harm came upon him and provided a ram for Abraham in place of Issac, because our God is a God of love and compassion at the same time as He is just and powerful. Yes it is agreed that in current times the church has made Him out to be “liberal” by taking many portions of scripture out of context and structuring them to be accepting of all. In my home we read and believe the KJV, every word in it, thus i dont believe God would smile upon or find it acceptable for a wife to go against his commandments, because her husband, who i remind you is lesser than God, told her to.

  32. I need guidance. I’m newly married, but my new husband and I are having trouble with intimacy. I’ve read Corinthians 7 4 and I understand that sex is a very important part of marriage.

    I was sexually abused for years by a family member as a child, and have suffered effects for years after. And now being with my husband is causing my stress and making me uncomfortable. And because I’m uncomfortable it’s painful for me too. I’ve asked him to be patient with me and he has, but he really wants to be with me maybe 4 to 5 times a week so he’s upset and now he’s starting to pressure me and I don’t know if I can do that right now.

    Does this situation fall into the “submit in everything” box?

    Lori, I really like your blog.

  33. I encourage you to listen to Michael Pearl teach through Romans at The Door on Facebook and learn who you are in Christ and that He died to free you from your sin and those committed against you. You are a new creature in Christ and can find your healing in renewing your mind with truth. It may take time but it is well worth the effort!

  34. Can a husband command his wife to submit? Is this commanding her to sin? Does she have to submit to this?

  35. Hi Jeff, I wish I had more clarity as to what you are asking, but I will respond and you can come back to me if I missed part of your question.

    First question, can a husband command his wife to submit?
    As each wife is different and has different needs, each husband has to lead her as he feels Christ would lead her. So a command to submit from a husband is conceivable in some scenario, but he does not need to make the command and God has already made it. All a husband has to do is to remind his wife of God’s commands given to her in multiple places in the Bible.

    Husbands should not be about trying to command their wives or controlling them but bringing them into a place of harmony and this means desiring their input. After all, both spouses should be about pleasing each other. But when agreement cannot be reached, God says the husband is to lead and the wife is to follow by her submission.

    Second question: Is this commanding her to sin? I have no idea how this would be commanding her to sin. How can she be sinning if she submits? Do you mean that then a husband sets her up to sin if he demands submission and then she will not obey? If that is the case she already sins against God when she does not submit to her husband. The husband is not causing this. It is her disobedience to God’s Word that causes it.

    Third question: Does she have to submit to it? If she is a believer, then she should want to please God and in turn submit to her husband in every area except sin. She can choose to stand before God some day and explain why she felt justified in not submitting when God made it abundantly clear that this was her responsibility in marriage. But if she is wrong in her choice after God telling her many times to submit, she will lose out on some of the best of this life that God has in store for those who will walk in obedience. Why do any Christians submit and obey God? Because we love Him and want to please him. So why would she not want to submit, unless again he is asking her to sin?

    I think people make submission to complicated and unattractive. When done right with two spouses who want to please God, submission works beautifully and harmony and the oneness and intimacy that God desires for marriage is achieved. When a husband desires to control his wife by demanding submission on the smallest of nonsense, or a wife refuses to submit on anything, God’s best is wasted and now all you have is a flawed partnership that cannot achieve God’s best, or His blessings. Then couples go through life wondering why they, as a couple, and the children, end up with lives that are subpar with their walk with God, and in the blessings of God.

  36. Let me add Jeff, I have never commanded Lori to submit to me, but there came a point after 20 years of being in a difficult Christian marriage, and feeling that a Christian man was not “manly” if he asked his wife to submit, I finally one day said to her, “You know Lori, God does tell you to submit to me.”

    Her response was, “I know, but you can’t make me.” I said “I know, but you need to go discuss this with God as it is his desire for your life.”

    Within a couple months of asking her to consider God’s command, Lori found that in her desire to please God she could indeed please me. Then she quickly came to realize that all those years of not submitting had given us a very common, but unfulfilling marriage, and she became very disappointed by what she called the wasted years. Wasted in the sense that God had so much more in store for our love and intimacy than she could ever have imagined and it was only out of her obedience that she was able to discover it, and we have a most awesome marriage now. No arguing, no snide remarks and put downs, no upsets… just peace, harmony and oneness that make us both love to be together… because we are together in mind and purpose trying to please each other and God. The aloneness we feared when the kids were leaving home has been filled and overflowing with joy and love for each other. God’s ways are always best.

  37. Ken,
    If you read someone’s comment in Lori’s latest article you will notice someone said feminists use extreme examples to excuse themselves.

    We see this with women who claim to be Christian’s too. Even some who comment here.
    Romans 14:23.

    I have been preached to regarding this passage, and if a wife feels something is against her conscience, she can claim her husband is making her sin. Of course your comments to Dave and other women to Dave are all extreme examples. Thus feministstic examples of why a woman doesn’t have to submit in everything.

    In my case my wife didn’t want to attend X church and a pastor said I was commanding her to sin by wanting to go there and not the church she wanted to go.

    Fortunately we have bounced 3 churches since. God does amazing things so I cannot say I will never attend a church again, but studying the Bible for a very long time, I don’t intend to go to another Church listening to a pastor lie to me or my family for the sake of his pocket. We Bible study twice weekly and break bread as a family.

    I think Dave is correct. More and more long term church attenders I have talked to are doing the same thing. God is starting to prepare many for the coming persecution. Who knows. It could be me teaching my son who will teach his son who will teach his son, and the great tribulation begins and that lineage will persevere. Just $.02

  38. Thanks Jeff,
    I find that those who struggle with having exceptions do not understand how God’s Word works as pertaining to truth. All of God’s Word is truth, but truth is not black and white and linear all the time. And it is certainly not woodenly literal.

    One may understand this better in an illustration. Christians in Nazi Germany would hide Jews and care for them. which is against God’s comnads to obey those in authority over you, and submit to your governing authorities. This is an example of how truth is not so black and white, but instead the Believer must weigh all of God’s truth to know the mind of God.

    These times that truth is not black and white are somewhat rare, but truth is held in a tension by other truths. To be obedient to God is to stand firmly and consistently on God’s Word, and one who is regularly appeasing to conscience over a clear command in the Word is just following themselves. On the other hand, the command to appeal to one’s conscience is given for the few instances that indeed require it.

    A husband is not going to be able to box his rebellious wife in by appealing to the clarity of God’s Word. Your wife proves this. You want something from her that her heart can’t give, and until she gets her heart right with her Lord and desires to follow his truth she will always find an excuse.

    You seem to want clarity of truth for all circumstances which is not God’s intention with His written Word. The Word is a remarkable book, but it is limited by its number of pages to address all circumstances, and limited by language. Anyone who wants to know God’s truth on any matter can pretty easily find it, assuming they have the Spirit inside of them. Apart from the Spirit no man can fully understand the heart of God as revealed in His Word.

    A husband asking his wife to submit to going to the church of his choice is not causing his wife to sin. She is choosing to sin by not desiring to be submissive in this area.

    I will say that to me, not attending church regularly violates the verse, “Do not forsake assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:25). So you seem to be selective in your approach to this verse, unless you are using other truth to qualify this verse and justify why you are not attending church regularly. And I don’t see any way to qualify or excuse this verse even when we have imperfect churches around us, which has been the case since the beginning… filled with yet imperfect Christians.

  39. Ken,

    I agree, you can’t “really” make a wife submit unless punishment is the result of disobedience and I cannot image doing it, but you prove my point. The lives of Jews is an extreme example.

    You ever hear the joke about the guy asking his wife where she wants to eat? She says she doesn’t care it’s his decision, but after exhausting a list of ethnic foods as she says no, but still says it’s his decision…. That is christian wives. They will follow their husbands as long as it’s the direction she wants to go.

    Also, your verse Heb 10:25 is used out of context, which proves my point even more. I had the same pastor that defended my wife’s conscience use the same verse to which I opened the book and read the whole context and we talked about it. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place because NO ONE had ever challenged him on it. The result? He conceded that indeed the passage doesn’t mean what you and he both used it to mean.

    The proper interpretation was directed directly to the Hebrews (those Judahites who converted to the Way) who were turning away from the Hope we have in Christ, going back to the traditions from which they came, forsaking Hope and going back to works/law.

    The word faith in 23 is actually elpidos in the Greek and used in every other place is translated hope. That hope is for the promises made in Christ. His resurrection and our glorification at His return. 10:25 “the assembling of ourselves together” is episunagoge (noun) in Greek. Used only in one other verse 2 The 2:1-2 referring to being gathered to Christ. Episunago is a verb and used in several places. As a verb it is always used as a gathering to Christ only.

    Forsaking this Hope of our glorious gathering to Christ is to forsake the thing of which our salvation poists to. It would be willful sin to forsake the truth. We are not to forsake the promise and hope.

    I don’t mean to be argumentative. I do not command my wife to submit or sin. The question was really trying to show how not only do these women not want to submit to God through their christian husband, but obeying him would require submission. Something they will not do

  40. Interesting interpretation Jeff, and not without some consideration. But first, there are Christian women obedient to God, HIs Word and in turn to their husband’s. Lori has a few boatloads of them in her chat room and thousands others who read her and agree with her each day. I think there woudl be far more if the godly women could hear the truth. It seems that many who hear it instantly fall in love with it because it hits their Spirits as indeed of God.

    But you are correct that unfortunantly, too many Christian women understand being submissive as not saying “no” instead of understanding that the true heart of submission is to seek to serve and please one’s husband. Avoiding the negatives is like the Christian who claims not to sin, but then rarely does anything postive to serve God or please Him with their lives.

    As far as your interpretation of Heb. 10:25 I can see your god use of context up to the verse, but then you stop applying context to the rest of the verse. You seem to imply that the word often trnaslated as “assemmbling” means “our glorious gathering to Christ .” OK… it is true the church is comprised of many members, and gathered together we form the local church. It is within this local “episunagoge” that the rest of the context is fulfilled. “how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” all sound like local church functions to me. Beyond that, one would have to say that almost all Christians have gotten it wrong when it comes to the local church, elders and deacons are really community organizers, and what about Paul’s plea to order in the church service if no church service is a necessary part of the CHristian life? Wemon are to be silent in the church … that has to be a service of some sort as we don’t believe women are to be silent whenever they get together with other believers.

    So question: How do you justify not being apart of a regular church group… at least a home church with other families? Maybe you are part of one. I am not a big fan of the larger churches, but every bliever must be interconnected with a local group of believers or they are violating a set of fundemental precepts of the Word.

    Matthew Henry on the subject: “IV. We have the means prescribed for preventing our apostasy, and promoting our fidelity and perseverance, Heb. 10:24, 25 He mentions several; as, 1. That we should consider one another, to provoke to love and to good works. Christians ought to have a tender consideration and concern for one another; they should affectionately consider what their several wants, weaknesses, and temptations are; and they should do this, not to reproach one another, to provoke one another not to anger, but to love and good works, calling upon themselves and one another to love God and Christ more, to love duty and holiness more, to love their brethren in Christ more, and to do all the good offices of Christian affection both to the bodies and the souls of each other. A good example given to others is the best and most effectual provocation to love and good works. 2. Not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, Heb. 10:25. It is the will of Christ that his disciples should assemble together, sometimes more privately for conference and prayer, and in public for hearing and joining in all the ordinances of gospel worship. There were in the apostles’ times, and should be in every age, Christian assemblies for the worship of God, and for mutual edification. And it seems even in those times there were some who forsook these assemblies, and so began to apostatize from religion itself. The communion of saints is a great help and privilege, and a good means of steadiness and perseverance; hereby their hearts and hands are mutually strengthened. 3. To exhort one another, to exhort ourselves and each other, to warn ourselves and one another of the sin and danger of backsliding, to put ourselves and our fellow-christians in mind of our duty, of our failures and corruptions, to watch over one another, and be jealous of ourselves and one another with a godly jealousy. This, managed with a true gospel spirit, would be the best and most cordial friendship.”

  41. I do not disagree with anything you wrote. Church or eklesia is ” the called out ones”. You do know we are the church right? When Paul wrote to the churches he named the city because they gathered in homes and in squares etc. No where does it say it’s a duty to attend a building with believers. We are to encourage one another to continue in our hope. As a doctor, I see brothers and sisters in Christ on and off all day and I can tell the short visit is very encouraging. We socialize and dine with friends who are believers, edifying one another. Using pastor’s sacred cow to guilt believers into attending one of the franchises or independent business is false teaching. In Hebrews some were forsaking exhorting each other and forsaking what they should do to continue in helping others keep the faith.

    It also says to encourage to continue doing good works, but you will not here a pastor say we are saved by works. That could be manipulated right there too.

    Think about some of those sacred cows that pastors use. Should there be order? Absolutely. If you go to church you will probably notice everyone quietly listening. Then attend a Bible study. Order goes out the window. Women talking, asking questions to whoever making comments on interpretation. that is a real church setting from of old. More informal. The pastor standing up on stage etc was passed down from philosophical type teaching that evolved into a priest, then to Protestant style today. If read the history of the church up to Martin Luther they were still meeting in barns and homes and being chased and persecuted. No one was getting paid and they didn’t have multiple ministries.

  42. House Churches

    Charles Haddon Spurgeon

    Excerpted from “Additions to the Church” (based on Acts 2:47: “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved”) preached 5 April 1870

    I want you to notice this, that they were breaking bread from house to house, and ate their food with gladness and singleness of heart. They did not think that religion was meant only for Sundays, and for what men now-a-days call the House of God. Their own houses were houses of God, and their own meals were so mixed and mingled with the Lord’s Supper that to this day the most cautious student of the Bible cannot tell when they stopped eating their common meals, and when they began eating the Supper of the Lord. They elevated their meals into diets for worship: they so consecrated everything with prayer and praise that all around them was holiness to the Lord. I wish our houses were, in this way, dedicated to the Lord, so that we worshipped God all day long, and made our homes temples for the living God. A great dignitary not long ago informed us that there is great value in daily prayer in the parish church; he even asserted that, however few might attend, it was more acceptable than any other worship. I suppose that prayer in the parish church with nobody to join in it except the priest and the usher is far more effectual than the largest family gathering in the house at home. This was evidently this gentleman’s idea, and I suppose the literature which he was best acquainted with was of such an order as, to have led him to draw that inference. Had he been acquainted with the Bible and such old fashioned books, he would have learned rather differently, and if some one should make him a present of a New Testament, it might perhaps suggest a few new thoughts to him. Does God need a house? He who made the heavens and the earth, does he dwell in temples made with hands? What crass ignorance this is! No house beneath the sky is more holy than the place where a Christian lives, and eats, and drinks, and sleeps, and praises the Lord in all that he does, and there is no worship more heavenly than that which is presented by holy families, devoted to the fear of the Lord.

    To sacrifice home worship to public worship is a most evil course of action. Morning and evening devotion in a little home is infinitely more pleasing in the sight of God than all the cathedral pomp which delights the carnal eye and ear. Every truly Christian household is a church, and as such it is competent for the discharge of any function of divine worship, whatever it may be. Are we not all priests? Why do we need to call in others to make devotion a performance? Let every man be a priest in his own house. Are you not all kings if you love the Lord? Then make your houses palaces of joy and temples of holiness. One reason why the early church had such a blessing was because her members had such homes. When we are like them we will have “added to the church those who were being saved.”

  43. Does submission to your husband mean ,also in outward appearance. As in, they grew up with very conservative views,like not wearing jewelry or nail polish,or wearing pants,etc.Well ,they have since moved and attend a church where those things are done (in moderation).So ,the wife does not have conviction that it’s wrong to do those things,but
    the husband still has those beliefs,that you shouldn’t. So what is each ones responsibility here? Should the husband command the wife to do what he wants in those areas,and the wife needs to submit? Or should it be up to each one as to how they dress,etc as long as it’s reasonable and modest?

  44. My husband and I are going through a trial . I wanted to move from where we lived 200 miles away to help care for my elderly mother he said no that he would take me to visit her 2 days a month we couldn’t agree so I moved anyway we separated for a little while but are together now but my husband is very unhappy we argue a lot. I feel like I’m doing the right thing and my mother has improved since I’ve been here. Husband says I’m an unsubmissive wife he wants to move 1200 miles away and I just can’t I promised my dad before he passed away that I would help take care of Mom.

  45. I was wondering if the last paragraph has some grammar or typing errors? I think I know what the author is trying to sum up, but it is awkward to read. Also, the last sentence seems incomplete.
    Can we get a clarification on the last paragraph?

  46. As long as he isn’t asking you to sin, yes Obey/Submit in everything. Those things aren’t clear sin so defer to your husband (your head).

  47. I’ve been married 11 years, and about 6 years ago was when I realized this “wasted” time. and it is an awful feeling to live with. to live with the memories of living as an unsubmissive wife. but im grateful i was able to choose submission and live in a better way. our marriage went from difficult to great. because i chose to obey God in my marriage. but, there is still a better way. i feel regret everyday because my husband hasn’t let go of the reputation i made for myself years ago. and though he’d say im different, he’s let go of certain expectations because i failed him time and time again. so occasionally it’ll come up that I’m a certain way but he won’t give me opportunity to show him otherwise. it’s like he gave up on me. but like i said we have a good marriage. i just know it’s good because he let go of “great things” … because i was so resistant to his authority in the beginning. it’s not a topic he will talk to me about. he just likes as it is. but im hopeful over the years, he’ll try again. not just for good but for great. and… I’ll have opportunity to show my respect for him in those difficult times. but I can relate to wasted years. it’s my deepest regret. to have resisted what i knew in my heart. i don’t blame him for walling up in areas of his life.

  48. My husband and I have been married for 8 months,we been together since December 2015 ,there was a situation that just occurred with his kids and the mother of his children, his kids ages 7,&5 whom I had since they were younger they lived with me for 3 years ,the mom had took them back my first time seeing them was this September 2019 now she tells my husband she believes I was mean to her kids and Didn’t want them around me ,my husband told me I got upset ,I shut down i,was hurt I said I took care them since I met u and I have 2 kids of my own who are now 13,and 11 I always treated the kids the same ,my husband and I then got into a heated argument and when I came in from work his bags were packed and he changed his phone number and quit his jobs,he left November 22,2019 and has not yet come home,I have his new number I got it from my sister in law but now my husband is saying he has to be there for his kids and the mom doesn’t want the kids at our house so she made a notarized letter and signed the kids over to my husband’s bestfriend and his wife and my husband is also staying with his bestfriend and his wife with the kids,I have not seen my husband but 2 times and he has no plan to come back,what should I do??

  49. “Tell that women and that child to go” Abrahams wife Sarah and God told Abraham to obey his wife because she was right. Abraham had to kick out his son because his wife told him to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *