Dr. Joel Albert, Maharashtra

Submission is a word disliked by many in today’s post-modern times. It is a word that generates a lot of controversy. In times like these, words like freedom and liberty are misconstrued to a point where a person thinks, “I can and I will do what I want”. In a predominantly ‘free world’, this is a word that is often overlooked in several spheres of our lives such as our family, workplace, society, and even assembly.

As we look into the topic of submissiveness in the family, it is important for us to revisit the Greek word for submission- ‘hupotasso’ - which means, “To put under or arrange under.” Of course, there is a military connotation when we look into its meaning, but through a general perspective, there is the idea of acknowledging authority and being in order under the same authority, so as to fulfill God’s will in our lives and glorify His name.

In the family, it is clearly evident that ideally and scripturally there is submission at the following levels:

A. Submissiveness within the family:

1. The children submit to their parents (Eph. 6:1-3)

2. The wife submits to her husband (Eph. 5:22-24; 32-33)

3. The husband submits to Christ (Eph. 5:25-33)

B. Submissiveness with the family

1. Mutual submission (Eph. 5:21)

2. Submission to Authority (Eph 6:5-9)

3. Submission to the Lord




1. Children

Ephesians 6:1 may be one of the most common verses that children learn in Sunday school, but as believers, we need to understand that we mirror Christ when we as children remain submissive to our parents. If we want to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29), we should ?rst walk in His footsteps, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, eventually demonstrating His obedience even to the point of death on the cross.

There is a common notion among the young generation of all times that their decision-making capabilities are much better than their parents. It is when they become parents themselves that they realize how ignorant they are no matter the vastness of their knowledge, the degree of their understanding, or simply their education which is never a substitute for experience.

A boy, until he leaves his parents and cleaves to his wife and until in the new role, is supposed to be in complete submission to his parents, and a girl until she forgets her father’s house and takes up her new role as a wife needs to submit to the decisions and directions as children in the family. Only then do they fulfill the purpose of their calling by con?rming themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. The wife

One of the main tenets of modern-day feminism is not equality with men in the family context but the power to make independent choices in the family and to be the decision-maker.

Let us be clear that when a man and a woman cleave to each other, irrespective of their roles, they are not independent decision-makers, rather they are interdependent entities of one unit, that is, a godly family. When we see the Lord Jesus Christ, being God the Son, is positionally equal with the Father (John 5:18), but in his role as the Son, He submitted to Father’s will completely, (Lk. 22:42).

Being submissive does not mean being a mute spectator, rather it is to align oneself with their husband’s decision after a mutual conversation regarding any decisions pertaining to the family.

Dear sisters, the Lord has made us equal positionally. Nevertheless, in our roles as husbands and wives, the wife submits to her husband, thereby mirroring Christ and the church and also glorifying the Lord by maintaining the order set by Him.

Yes, she is in a position of authority in relation to her children, but at the same time, she ought to be submissive to her husband even in situations where she may think she would make better decisions than him!

It may not be as easy as it seems, especially when the husband is not godly. That is why a submissive wife needs to be a prayerful wife because the Lord who is in authority over her husband can give him the wisdom to take the right decision as an answer to her prayers.

3. The Husband

The words ‘chauvinism’ and ‘patriarchy’ are thrown around frequently these days and for good reason. The man is the head of the family for sure but the extreme misappropriation of that role has been very rampant in many families.

 Man’s authority as the head of the family does not mean he can be dictatorial, abusive, and overly controlling the minutest of things. Instead, authority is intertwined with love as we read in Ephesians 5, that the husband fulfills his role by loving, nourishing, and cherishing his wife.

 Loving her as he loves himself shows us how a husband should let down his pride and replace the sel?sh thoughts with love towards their spouse and be a decision-maker and caretaker instead.

 The important part of the husband’s role is that he is not the ultimate authority in the family. He has to be submissive to the will of God for every single decision made in the family. A godly husband always goes out of his way to take care of his family by leading them in the ways, the word, and the worship of the true and living God. He is answerable to God for every decision as well and that completes the perfect order in the family where everybody fulfills their role and the ultimate authority of God is acknowledged.




1.      Mutual Submission:

What does it mean to be mutually submissive? You see if we are all believers in a family then as the church which is the body of Christ, we need to show a submissive attitude in our service as individuals no matter what our roles and responsibilities are.

 When we are individually submissive to the word and the will of God, we ?nd it easier to be submissive in our roles in the family. When we esteem fellow brethren more than ourselves we learn submission in the family sphere as well.

 2.      Submission to authority:

As a family, we need to learn submission to authority in society as well as in the local assembly. Our dining and our driving especially should not be ?lled with rants against authorities but rather a submissive and healthy attitude should be seen and heard through our attitude and words.

 Our children mimic our behavior towards authority in their own lives as well. 1 Peter 2:13-25 beautifully explains to us with the example of Christ at the forefront, how we should even be ready to su?er for Christ’s sake and be in submission to authorities over us knowing that He is the ultimate authority.

 3.      Submission to the Lord:

Finally, when we individually align ourselves by submitting to the Lord as believers we fulfill our service. When we are submissive in our respective roles in the family, we show forth our standing in the order created by God and by submitting to the authorities we show our readiness to su?er for the sake of the glory of God

 When we fulfill all these levels of submissiveness in the family we ultimately glorify God and then He being the ultimate authority fulfills His will through our lives by using us as vessels for the Master’s use.

  • Dr. Joel Albert


Related topic:  Mutual Submission   



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