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Red Hand Pointing Right

Ephesians 5:21-22
 April 2012 Rev. J. Robinson

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Bible Study

Tradition is good, unless it contravenes the Truth in the Holy Scriptures. The Lord Jesus when questioned by the Pharisees regarding the allegation that His disciples were not keeping the tradition of the elders, replied,

Matthew 1:3

But He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

The account of the creation of male and female in the beginning as God did make the first couple, they were given the command from the Creator in:

Genesis 1:28

And God Blessed THEM, and God said unto THEM, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.

So we encounter for the first time the perfect order of relationship that God expected the first couple to oversee together in perfect unity and equality. It was only when sin entered this new creation that the perfect order that God had established in the beautiful paradise of Eden did the process of corruption begin.

After the couple had been cast out of the garden, (though the descent of mankind is not written in a format that highlights it 'blow-by-blow,'), yet through one interaction after another the perfect God-ordained equal relationship that Adam and Eve had shared, began to degrade into a vertical relationship whereupon the male Adam usurped the God-given authority of the female Adam.

This explains the verse in Genesis 3:16c - "...and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Eve would forever after long for her former partner who now was her ruler and desire once again to be his equal.

Based on this model, each succeeding generation carried on what had now become an accepted practice.

But God.... yes...But God!...

When the time had come for the Lord God Almighty to send His Son, Jesus, into the world, He bought with His suffering, resurrection and ascension, the ability to be fully free for all who choose to follow Him. In essence, paradise restored.

This is why the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians that couples are to submit "one to another" in 5:21-22. However, this has not been the way that this verse has been taught. Again, as a reminder, the original Scriptures were written in Koine Greek and not in English. But Christians who have not been trained to study the Holy Bible in the original languages have not been able to see the grammatical construction in these two verses. This would be a good time to watch the video that is attached to this article.

Ephesians 5:21-22

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

This verse is translated in the King James Version and both of the verses are left together. However, the second 'submit' in v.22 is not there in the original Greek. The first 'submitting' is there in the Greek.

The Greek word is this: 'hupotassomenoi,' a participle that shows a continuing and ongoing action. Bible translations in English should have the second 'submit' in italics to show that it is a word that the translators have added to make the verse easier to read. The second 'submit' if left as it is in the original, i.e. missing, shows that it represents the figure of speech called ellipsis.  This is a literary device which omits a word (or words) and subsequently, the result is that it uniquely ties v.21, which contains the first usage of 'submit' to v.22, where it is omitted. When authors use this literary device, they are assuming that their audience already understands that the portion that is missing is to be filled in by the portion that was written out, which is the first 'submitting' in v.21.

There are problems that arise with these two verses when some Bible translations actually separate v.21 from v.22 and the translational committee puts a man-made paragraph heading or some sort of explanatory comment between the two verses. When this is done, the teaching that has subsequently arisen from this erroneous handling of the Holy Scriptures is this:  It makes it appear that only the wives have to submit to their husbands, when according to the original Greek, both partners in the marriage relationship are to submit one to another.

The grammatical problem that also arises if these verses are separated is this: since the verbal aspect of 'submit' is in v.21, (and if you allow the separation of these verses), then the 'wives' in v.22 technically do not have to do anything. Why?

Because if the translator insists on separating these verses, v.22 does not contain a verbal aspect, therefore, there isn't any action that must be carried out. Also, if the translator still continues to insist on separating these two verses, (if the separation of these verses are being forced), ok, then let them stand on their own!

This indeed will render v.22 void of any commandment. Therefore, wives are indeed free and do not have to submit to their husbands ever again. You can praise God or not, depending on what you think about submission.

However, since v.22 cannot grammatically stand on its own, it must be forever joined to v.21 and we arrive back at the beginning.....therefore....

Ephesians 5:21-22

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives "submit" yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Indeed, so as we look to the original Word of God (at least the oldest extant manuscripts that we do still have), written in Koine Greek, we find that husbands have to submit to their wives, even as wives have to submit to their husbands as well.

Hence, we also arrive back at the Garden of Eden, restored by the Lord Jesus Christ who set up creation so that both the man and the woman could enjoy a bilateral equality within a perfect God-ordained relationship that would allow both husband and wife to become one flesh. Amen.

If you would like more information about learning Koine Greek, go to

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