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Submit...What does that word mean?

A booklet for the Christian Wife on the meaning of submission by Mrs. Jennifer Kearns

“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
Ephesians 5:21-24


When I got married to my husband, I knew that a Christian wife was supposed to submit to her husband. I tried for the longest time to do such, but there was only one problem. I did not truly know what it meant to “submit”. I would listen intently when a pastor or evangelist would preach on the subject but I still was not clear as to what the word meant. The sermons were good and truthful sermons from the King James Bible! I was too embarrassed to ask anyone so I didn’t do a very good job.

One day, I was desiring to start a study on a certain topic and submission came to my mind. I thought why don’t I just study it myself and allow God to show me through His Word the meaning of this word. Through that study came this booklet.

My prayer is that someone will read this booklet and will understand what they are supposed to do when they think of submitting to their husbands.

- Jennifer Kearns


The first step we need to take is to define the word submit.

To “submit” or “be in submission to” is to obey, to be under obedience, to be put under, to subdue unto, to be or make subject unto, to be put in subjection, to subordinate, to commit to the discretion or decision of another or of others, to yield or surrender to.
That is a lot of words to define such a little word! In order to understand that meaning a little better we need to define some words from the definition. To “obey” means to follow the commands or guidance of authority or to comply with. “Subdue” means to bring under control, to vanquish or bring into subjection. “Subordinate” is to make oneself of lower class or rank inferior to, submissive to authority, or dependent.

Now that we’ve done that let’s look at that definition one more time!
To “submit” or “be in submission to” is to obey (follow the commands or guidance of authority), to be under obedience, to be put under, to subdue unto (make oneself under control of) to be or make subject to (obedient to), to be put in subjection (obedience), to subordinate (make oneself inferior to or of lower class to), to commit to the discretion or decision of another, and to yield or surrender to.
Basically what that definition is telling us is that we are to obey, follow the commands of, make ourselves inferior to, and put ourselves under the control of our husbands.

When the Bible talks about submitting to our own husbands that is what it is talking about. Let’s look at a few examples from the King James Bible.

Ephesians 5:22 says,
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

Here God’s Word is telling us that we are to submit to our husbands as unto the Lord. If the Lord asked or commanded you to do something would you do it? Of course, no questions asked right? At least you would try. Well here the Lord is telling us that we are to obey our husbands like we would the Lord.

As Christians we desire to follow the commands of the Lord. The same desire should be felt toward our husbands. If our husbands ask or tell us to do something or even not to do something we should follow that command or request because we are told to.

By the way, if our husband is the Christian he ought to be he will not ask you to do something that is against God’s Word.

With that said, we will take another look at this verse. It says to submit ourselves unto our “own” husbands. That means not someone else’s. First of all, adultery is a sin. Adultery does not just mean with the physical body. It also means with our minds, thoughts, and hearts.

We are not submitting to our husbands if we do what another man tells us to do instead of our husband. That man may even be a person we respect, like our own father. However, when we got married our father was no longer able to be the head of our household. Our husbands took that role. When we get married we are to become one flesh with our husbands according to Ephesians 5:31, which says,
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”

I realize that this verse talks about a man but I believe the same principle applies to a woman. So, our husbands are the first earthly person we should obey.


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