What Does Submit Mean in The Bible?

Submission is a concept deeply rooted in the teachings of the Bible. It carries profound significance and offers valuable insights into the nature of our relationship with God and with one another. In this article, we will explore what submission means in the biblical context and how it relates to various aspects of life, including marriage, interpersonal relationships, and our walk with Christ.

What You Need to Know about the Meaning of Submission in the Bible:

What does submission mean?

Submission, in the biblical context, refers to willingly yielding or surrendering one’s will to God or to those in authority. It is an act of humility, obedience, and reverence that acknowledges God’s ultimate sovereignty and authority over our lives. It involves recognizing our role as created beings and submitting ourselves to God’s divine order and purpose.

The human problem with submission

As human beings, we often struggle with the concept of submission. Our innate desire for independence and self-determination can make it challenging to submit ourselves to God’s will or to the authority of others. This struggle with submission can be traced back to the fall of humanity, where the desire to be “like God” led to disobedience and rebellion.

What submission is not

It’s important to clarify what submission is not. Submission does not imply inferiority or the loss of personal identity. It does not justify abuse or oppression. Instead, biblical submission is a voluntary act that operates within the framework of love, respect, and mutual submission.

What Submission Looks Like in Different Areas of Life

What Does Submit Mean in The Bible
What Does Submit Mean in The Bible?

What Does Submit Mean in The Bible?

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. 1 Peter 5:6

What submission looks like in marriage

In the context of marriage, the Bible instructs wives to submit to their husbands. This submission is not about blind obedience but about willingly supporting and respecting one’s spouse. Husbands, on the other hand, are called to love their wives sacrificially, as Christ loved the church. This mutual submission creates a harmonious partnership where both spouses prioritize each other’s needs and honor God’s design for marriage.

Submission in interpersonal relationships

Submission extends beyond the marital relationship. The Bible encourages believers to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. This mutual submission fosters an atmosphere of humility, cooperation, and mutual respect in all types of relationships. It involves considering the needs and interests of others, prioritizing harmony, and striving for unity within the body of Christ.

Challenges and Misconceptions Surrounding Submission

Some may perceive submission as a sign of weakness or passivity. However, biblical submission is not about surrendering our power or losing our voice. It is a deliberate choice to align our will with God’s and to exercise strength in obedience. True submission requires courage, faith, and a deep trust in God’s faithfulness.

While submission is a biblical principle, it is important to note that it should never be used to justify abuse or manipulation. God’s design for submission is rooted in love, respect, and mutual submission. If submission in any context becomes harmful or oppressive, it is crucial to seek guidance and support to address the issue and ensure safety.

How Should Christians Submit?

Biblical submission

To understand how Christians should submit, we must look to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the ultimate example of submission, willingly submitted to God’s will, even to the point of death on the cross. As followers of Christ, we are called to emulate His humility and obedience. Our submission should reflect a heart transformed by God’s love, characterized by selflessness, and guided by His Word.

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The role of prayer and reliance on the Holy Spirit

Submitting to God’s will requires a deepening relationship with Him. Through prayer and reliance on the Holy Spirit, we can seek guidance, discern His will, and find strength to submit when faced with challenges or difficult decisions. Prayer cultivates intimacy with God, aligns our desires with His, and helps us surrender our will to His perfect plan.

What’s Required of You?

1. Trusting in God’s wisdom and guidance

When we submit ourselves to God, we acknowledge His wisdom and sovereignty over our lives. We trust that His plans are better than our own, and we surrender our desires and ambitions to His divine purposes. In doing so, we find peace and assurance in knowing that God is in control and that He works all things together for our good.

2. Cultivating humility and selflessness: Submission requires humility, as it acknowledges that we are not the ultimate authority. By humbling ourselves before God and others, we learn to prioritize the needs and interests of others above our own. It cultivates selflessness and fosters an environment of love, compassion, and service.

3. Strengthening relationships and promoting unity: Submission plays a crucial role in building strong relationships and promoting unity within the body of Christ. When we submit to one another, we create an atmosphere of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation. It allows us to work together harmoniously, embracing our differences and focusing on our shared purpose of glorifying God.

The Benefits of Submission in the Christian Walk

1. Peace

When we submit to God’s will, we find peace in our lives. This is because we know that He is in control and that He has our best interests at heart. Psalm 37:4-5 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will do this: He will make your righteous path shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

2. Joy

We experience joy in our lives when we submit to God’s will. This is because we know that we are fulfilling our purpose and that we are living in accordance with His plan. Romans 14:17 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

3. Strength

When we submit to God’s will, we are given strength to overcome challenges and difficulties. This is because we know that He is with us and that He will never leave us or forsake us. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

4. Protection

When we submit to God’s will, we are under His protection. This means that we are safe from harm and that He will watch over us. Psalm 91:1-2 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3)

5. Guidance

When we submit to God’s will, He guides us in the way we should go. This means that we can be confident that we are making the right choices in life. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

6. Growth

When we submit to God, we are opening ourselves up to His love and grace. This can lead to spiritual growth and maturity.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)

7. Clarity

When we submit to God, we are aligning our will with His will. This can bring clarity to our lives and help us to know what He wants us to do.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Living Out Submission in Daily Life

1. Surrendering to God’s will through daily surrender: Submission is not a one-time event but a continuous process. Each day, we have an opportunity to surrender our plans, desires, and decisions to God. Through prayer, meditation on Scripture, and seeking His guidance, we can align our hearts and minds with His will and experience the joy and peace that come from living in obedience.

2. Practicing submission in our interactions with others: Submission is not limited to our relationship with God but extends to our interactions with fellow believers and the world around us. We can practice submission by actively listening, valuing others’ opinions, and seeking unity in our conversations and decisions. It requires humility, empathy, and a willingness to prioritize others’ well-being.

Scriptural References on the Word “Submit”

The word “submit” in the Bible comes from the Greek word “hupotasso” which means to put oneself under the authority of another. In the biblical context, submit is used to describe the act of willingly submitting to the authority of God, as well as to the authority of other human beings. Key scriptures that demonstrate the meaning of submit in the Bible include Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18-20, and 1 Peter 2:13-17. In these verses, the Bible instructs Christians to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ and to live in peace and unity.

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Submit in the Bible refers to yielding to the authority or control of another. In a biblical context, this means submitting to God and to those in positions of authority, such as husbands, leaders, and elders.

To get a better understanding of submit, let’s look at some key scriptures that demonstrate its meaning. For example, Ephesians 5:22-24 instructs wives to submit to their husbands, while 1 Peter 5:5 instructs all believers to submit to those in authority.

Examples of Submission in the Bible

Submission is a common theme in the Bible, and it can be found in various contexts, including the family structure and the church. In the family structure, the Bible instructs wives to submit to their husbands as the head of the household (Ephesians 5:22-24), and children to submit to their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3). In the church, the Bible instructs elders to submit to their leaders (Hebrews 13:17) and members to submit to the church (1 Corinthians 16:15-16). These examples show how submission is not just about submitting to authority, but also about living in harmony and obedience to God’s will.

The Purpose of Submission in the Bible

The purpose of submission in the Bible is two-fold. First, it is meant to promote peace and unity among Christians. By submitting to one another, Christians can live in harmony and avoid conflicts that can arise from disunity and disobedience. Second, submission is meant to foster personal growth and spiritual development. By submitting to God’s will and to the authority of others, Christians can learn to trust in God’s plan for their lives and grow in their faith. In addition, submission plays a key role in furthering God’s will and kingdom by allowing Christians to serve and obey God in all aspects of their lives.

Challenges and Misconceptions about Submission in the Bible

Despite its importance, submission has been the source of much confusion and misinterpretation in the Christian community. Some people have misconstrued the meaning of submit to mean a subservient or inferior role, leading to its misuse for personal gain or oppression. This is a far cry from the biblical meaning of submit, which is meant to be a voluntary act of obedience and respect. It’s also important to note that submission in the Bible is never meant to be a one-way street. Husbands are also called to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25), and leaders are called to lead with love and humility (1 Peter 5:3).

Submission in our daily lives

Submission can also be misused for personal gain or to justify oppressive behavior, but this is clearly against the teachings of the Bible. It’s important to have a proper understanding and application of submission, taking into account the context and teachings of the Bible as a whole.


To summarize, submit is a central concept in the Bible that plays a key role in promoting peace and unity, personal growth and spiritual development, and furthering God’s will and kingdom. Reflecting on the importance of submitting to God and others highlights just how significant this biblical principle is in our lives. By having a proper understanding and application of submit, we can live lives that honor God and reflect His will.

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