1. Is it in the Bible?
2. What do we believe it means?
Anyone who has made it into ministry, has had a leader--an authority--whom they submitted to and obeyed and followed--before God placed them into their position.
3. What does it really mean?
This teaching is completely about experience. It verifies the fact that a system of human authority is firmly in place within the Christian church. In order to attain a position of authority in the church, one must first "submit to authority".
This seems to be a true statement, since it is the experience of nearly every leader in the church. But it is a false system which demands such ridiculousness. Biblically, ministry is for anyone to function in, as God ordains.....
Mt 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
Jesus clearly tells us not to have human authority and specifically "spiritual fathers".