x464.....Submit--Over and Under

Whether we realize it or not, much of what we function by or operate by within the tradition of church is based on small words--words which have been given the connotation of time and tradition over the centuries. Some are simply words which were perhaps mistranslated by translators living hundreds of years ago, in a time of Christians kings--kings which supposedly had God-given rights to be the head of the church--to be absolute rulers--to have absolute authority--and openly by the tradition of the day, used the church and the word of God as their vehicle to justify their monarchy.

Let's look at some of these words--


upotassw hupotasso {hoop-ot-as'-so} v

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; 40

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".

This is the Greek meaning of this word. As we can clearly see it has 2 meanings--one which is a military like submission to leadership--and the other which represents "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".

Given all that is taught by Jesus and by the word of God about cooperation amongst ourselves--about, bearing one anothers' burdens--about voluntarily assuming responsibility--why should we ever have any kind of connonataion to the word "submit" which means otherwise?

Much of what we traditionally function by within the church comes from the wrong meaning of this word--which clearly was translated as a fearful submission to lordship in the church of centuries ago.Hundreds of years ago "submission" meant complete and total giving in to the orders of the king--and his supposed hierarchy within the church. This tradition still lingers in our churches today.


1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

This one verse in the Bible seems to say that amongst Christians there are some that are "over" others. WE should notice that it is speaking of those who "labour"---this is speaking of the concept of ministry being service and labour--NOT rulership over. The bible does not ever say that anyone within the body of Christ "has authority" over another. The word once again is translated hundreds of years ago to create the impression that God wants a king to rule--to persuade people that a king has the right to be "over" others in a nation and within the nation of the church--meaning authority over or rulership over.

But again this is not the case--if we simply look at the place in the Bible where Jesus spoke of the meaning of "over"--

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; (Matthew 20:25-26, KJV).

25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. (Luke 22:25-26, KJV).

These statements of Jesus preclude authority over others within the church. They define the concept of rulership over others---or authority over others as to be the defining aspect of human government--and specfically NOT the way it should be within the new covenant church.

When we go back to the verse in 1Thessalonians 5 and understand along with the balancing scriptures of Luke 22:25-26 and Matthew 20: 25-26 as well as Mark 10:42-45--we see the full picture. Ministry is authority (specifically authority or "power to rule over" sin sickness and Satan) but not authority one over another amongst ourselves. The people who labour among you are not "ruling over" you--they are the servants of God--whom you should cooperate with and help and seek to be like--NOT God-given monarchs--or rulers who "have authority" over you.

The word translated as "over" in 1Thessalonians 5:12 is in fact a Greek word "proestemi" which has the meaning of protecting or caring for another. It is not the same Greek word used in Matthew 20:25 or Luke 22:25, which is "katakurieuo"--a word meaning to rule over or exercise authority over another. Jesus rules out this type of leadership within the Christian church--and the Greek bible is in complete agreement with His word.


It is often said by Christians within the system of church that they are "under" another person in the church. It is interesting to note that there is absolutely no verse in the Bible which says this in any way. The Bible tells us rather that we are not under the law--but under grace--

Ga 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Ga 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

Ga 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

And that the Person who has all things under His feet--and who therefore is the one sole Head of the church is-......

Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!

Christ the Head of the church---amen!