1. Is it in the Bible?



1Co 16:16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.
2Co 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Ga 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Col 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
Col 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
1Pe 2:13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.


2. What do we believe it means?

This phrase means that every believer must go to church on Sunday and be under the authority of a leader (pastor). Believers must "follow the rule" of the church. If they would like to serve God it must be in submission to another christian leader. "Submit" means to sit down and shut up. Follow the commands of the leadership.

3. What does it really mean?

"Submit" is a word used 19 times in the King James version of the new testament. Let's look at the Greek definition...

hupotasso {hoop-ot-as'-so}

AV - put under 6, be subject unto 6, be subject to 5,
submit (one's) self unto 5, submit (one's) self to 3,
be in subjection unto 2, put in subjection under 1, misc 12;

1) to arrange under, to subordinate
2) to subject, put in subjection
3) to subject one's self, obey
4) to submit to one's control
5) to yield to one's admonition or advice
6) to obey, be subject
A Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".


As we can see, it is a word with 2 distinct definitions. One is "military like submission to commands". The second is cooperation. Given all that Jesus taught us about love and brotherhood and his example of working equally with common people, certainly the second definition of the word must be correct! If we simply substitute the word "cooperate" for "submission" we will have a better, truer understanding of the Bible and the church.

Absolutely we ought to cooperate wi other believers. It is worthy to note that the Bible never says to "submit" to a pastor and it is clear we should submit equally to one another....

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Notice that the same Greek word is used in reference to the younger and elder. the new covenant calls for equal "submission"--which is truly better said as brotherly cooperation between all believers--respecting the ministry in all--seeking to put others ahead of oneself. this is certainly the stuff that Jesus taught and fits perfectly with he picture of cooperation the new testament Bible describes and encourages believers to strive toward.

But, since we have firm, long-standing authoritarian tradition in the church function, we take these examples and "read them into" our experience. We believe the Bible is telling us to submit to authority and rule when in fact it is telling us to cooperate in equity with one another as brothers and sisters in the Lord.

the meeting of Christians in small groups is the place for this cooperation, Biblically. the traditional "congregational" format of a large per--ordained group meeting, makes us believe the Bible is asking us to "submit" to this system. How could this be when this system was invented hundreds of years after the times of the Bible!?

Why is the word translated as "submit" in the King James version?

While the King James version is, in most instances, a very accurate translation of the Bible, it was written in a specific time and place. Study of King James and his era will show that he believed himself to be a king by God's ordination. He thought himself the "head of the church" in England (very much he same way the catholic pope had). He had "subjects" who had to "submit" to his "rule" and "authority". the common people were "under" him and they had to "obey" and "submit" and "be subject" to his rulership.

Many buzzwords come from the pen of the KJV translators, who wrote from their experience and tradition. the church in the days of King James was very much part of human government. the king's hierarchy consisted and worked through congregants under the authority of local pastors who were in turn under the authority of bishops--who operated under the king. This was in fact the hierarchy the catholic church had created and enforced in Europe for over 1,000 years before the protestant reformation. the early reformation kings (very definitely including King James) utilized the church to rule over their subjects and the Bible to verify and enforce their power over the people, very nearly as the popes had.

this is what the KJV translators experience was and certainly why they would choose to use the word "submit" instead of "cooperate".