“Wives, Submit to your Husbands.” It Doesn’t Mean What You Think. 

​Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.

Colossians 3:18‭-‬21 NLT

Much is made of the verse that says “wives, submit to your husbands”. It’s one of the verses that non Christians actually know, unfortunately they say those five little words and then try to educate us on the Bible. 

Taken out of context just about anything anybody says can be turned around and used against them. So it is with the Bible. 

When you take a look at the whole passage you see that there are more instructions in there for men than there are for women – men, love your wife – men, do not provoke your kids to anger. Given, the latter is harder to do. Have you ever tried to discipline your kids without them getting angry? And the biblical definition of love isn’t like it is today, you don’t just love her when she’s being submissive, you don’t just love her when she’s being lovable. You love her all the time! For better or for worse, remember? 

Take notice of something else here as well, when the apostle Paul wrote this he addressed those around the man, and then he addressed the man directly. “Wives, submit to your husbands” is not a ticket for husbands to be misogynistic jerks, because right after he says that he says “husbands, love your wives” and I like to think that Paul’s tone here is strict, giving wise counsel to the men not just a “hey guys, be nice to your women, OK?” 

My ESV study bible’s commentary section has several good points. First, notice the use of the word ‘submit’ this is important because Roman culture would’ve preferred they use ‘obey’. Paul’s instructions aren’t restricted to how the Christian household treats each other, his wording suggests that they, as a family unit are to be different than the culture that surrounds them, “…as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.” 

Culturally speaking, Roman men had a tendency to rage bitterly against their wives. Paul leaves no room for this type of treatment in his letter to the Colossians, men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, laying down their life for her if necessary. 

Secondly, disciplining children is a responsibility placed on both parents but the instruction to Fathers is not to provoke them to anger when they do so. As I mentioned already that’s hard to do, tell a kid no and expect them not to be angry This only emphasizes the fact that parenting isn’t a job to be taken lightly and that you can’t spank your kid into behaving. 

So, these are my thoughts on this passage, I pray you have a great day and that to God goes the glory.

Thanks for reading. 

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