The Septuagint uses this term to translate ten different Hebrew words.  Its basic Hebrew meaning was "to order" or "the right of command."  This is picked up in the Septuagint (LXX).

1. God commands (cf. Lev. 10:1; Jonah 2:1; 4:6-8)

2. Moses commands (cf. Exod. 36:6; Deut. 27:1)

3. kings command (cf. 2 Chr. 31:13)


In the NT this sense continues as in Acts 10:48, where an Apostle commands "submission."  However, new connotations are developed in the NT.

1. a voluntary aspect develops (often middle voice)

2. this self-limiting action can be seen in Jesus submitting

a. to the Father (cf. 1 Cor. 15:25)

b. to His earthly parents (cf. Luke 2:51)

3. believers submit to aspects of culture so that the gospel will not be adversely affected

a. other believers (cf. Eph. 5:21)

b. believing wives (cf. Col. 3:18; Eph. 5:22-24; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1)

c. believers to pagan governments (cf. Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13)

Believers act out of motives of love, for God, for Christ, for the Kingdom, for the good of others.

Like agapaō (love) the church filled this term with new meaning based on the needs of the Kingdom and the needs of others.  This term takes on a new nobility of selflessness, not based on a command, but on a new relationship to a self-giving God and His Messiah.  Believers obey and submit for the good of the whole and the blessing of the family of God.


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