Below are two outlines, one on the concept of "obedience," and the other on the concept of "submission." Though written in English, these outlines are based on two separate New Testament Greek word groups. (A word group will contain various words - nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc. - all based on the same "root word." An example in the English language would be this word group: obedience, obey, obedient, obeisance, disobey, etc.)
In many respects, these two N.T. word groups have overlapping meanings. At times, translators will use the same word "obedience" for words from either group. But there are instances in which a distinction does seem to exist. And in such cases, the concept of "obedience" may have a greater focus on the action, whereas the concept of "submission" may include not only the action, but also the relationship of the one person to the other. (As seen in the definitions below, "submission" has the idea of "ranking under" an authority. This would include not only "non-authorities" - such as slaves - ranking under someone, but even authorities themselves, who may have higher authorities over them.)
The definitions, below, are based on the way the New Testament Greek words are used. Note, however, that these definitions will not match the way most people today use the English words. Even though, years ago, the English concepts may have been much closer to the N.T. Greek concepts, meanings have changed, as influences have changed (and have become more opposed to God's Word). Today, many people, use the word "submission" only in a way that implies a brutal mistreatment of the person being "subjugated." This idea is not part of the N.T. concept - which condemns the mistreatment of others.
Dennis Hinks © 1990, 1999
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