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Obey?

“The aged women
teach the young women
to be obedient
to their own husbands,
that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
Titus 2:3-5 excerpts

I am confident that none of us wants to be guilty of blaspheming God’s Word!

As a disciple of Christ, a woman, and a wife, I cannot overemphasize the importance to me of accurately understanding exactly what the passage teaches so that I may properly obey the teaching!

to be obedient

In order to accurately teach others “to be _____”, one must first establish exactly what ____ means.  In this case,  it is necessary to look back into the Greek words of the original autographs of scriptures, lest one be led astray by a fatal misunderstanding of the meaning of this passage (as I was for many years).

The word translated “obedient” is the Greek Word “hupotasso” < 5293> which means “submission”.  There is another Greek word which means “obedient”.  That is the word  <5219> ” hupakouo” ( the linked Strong’s numbers go to the BLB concordance which contains the definition and all the occurances of the word in the Bible)

One of the most significant lessons I have learned is that “submission” is NOT the same thing as “obedience”.  Walking in “obedience” was death to me.  Walking in godly submission is LIFE!

When I believed that my husband was “in charge” of me and I attempted to walk in obedience to him, I was committing the sin of idolatry.
I was rendering lordship and masterhood to my husband instead of God.
I confused obedience and submission. I thought obedience to my husband = submission. So I obeyed my husband and in so doing
-sinned against God
-enabled husband’s sin
-lied to the Holy Spirit

-could NOT maintain a good attitude,
ie despite my obedience in every matter, I was resentful and bitter.

Ultimately, in my attempt to “serve two masters” I came to despise my husband.

Lu 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.

I find that genuine submission “as unto the Lord” is incredibly freeing and powerful! Because I am looking to the LORD for my guidance and instructions, not to my husband. The Lord has entrusted me with gifts, talents, abilities, and responsibilities and HE has given me wisdom, a conscience, and HIS Holy Spirit as counselor. Allowing myself to be run like an appliance from the outside was an affront to the God who made me and gave me good gifts. Not only that, I really know far more about running the household than my husband does and his micromanagement wasted many many hours of my and my children’s time on less efficient routes.

Woman can never be matured as a useful instrument in God’s hands, or an efficient servant of His Church, until she comes to understand that “she is not her own; she is bought with a price,” and it is neither her duty nor her privilege to give herself away to any human being,¾in marriage or in any other way….There is no social redemption for woman until…she maintains the inviolability of free will, as her sustained attitude towards every human being, including her husband. There is no method of moral improvement remaining, after the loss of a free will” from link

In giving myself away to be treated
in marriage
as a child or a slave (who MUST OBEY),
I gave up my free will,
and I remained immature.

It took me quite awhile-years- to untangle my mind from the idea that “husband is master”. When I believed that way, and confused the concept of “submission” and “obedience”, I would “obey” my husband’s every whim, but I was very unhappy about it! I was resentful and bitter. Which it turns out, is not submission at all! None of the teaching in God’s Word on a wife’s submission robs her of the right and freedom to say “no” (or “yes”).

Abigail in 1 Sam 25 is a submissive wife who disobeys.
Esther is a submissive wife who disobeys.
Sapphira (Acts 5) is a wife who should have told her husband “no” but instead goes along with him agreeing to “lie to the Holy Spirit”.

5 Comments
  1. December 8, 2007 5:03 pm

    Wow. This is GREAT!

  2. December 8, 2007 8:13 pm

    Stated so well, Charis (grace). I’ve been making the “as unto the Lord” argument for 17 years now, and I increasingly feel like a voice crying in the wilderness. It’s nice to hear some harmony.

  3. December 8, 2007 11:53 pm

    Those are incredible insights. Thank you.

  4. Charis permalink*
    December 9, 2007 1:49 pm

    Thank you all for your generous encouragement!
    May the Lord help us all to continue to grow in Him!

  5. Shirley permalink
    May 8, 2009 5:37 pm

    Hmm…yes, I was quoted the Titus passage about women…and found v5 difficult to digest!.., ‘obedient to their husbands’…it seems a little out of step to Jesus approach to women. He came to give them equality not more slavery and blind obedience to a master..came accross your study and makes so much more sense..there has be free will involved, otherwise we’ve gained nothing in this life from the liberty Christ died to bring us! Thank you for your diligence!

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