Prepare to be offended.
But as for you [Titus], teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
I think my readers know what is meant by “not slanderers” and “or slaves to much wine”, but “reverent in behavior” means what for people in our society? Towards the end of his post (and him with no knowledge my post was in the works) Dalrock translated the specific Greek words used in Ephesians for fear and reverence.
Fearing women, however, is not something that the Bible teaches. Christians are to fear God, and wives are to fear their husbands. As every Christian feminist’s favorite verse in Ephesians 5 explains, Christians in general are to submit to one another in fear (also translated as reverence) of God:
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
A bit later, in Ephesians 5:33, Paul explains that a wife is to fear (also translated as reverence) her husband (ISV):
33 But each individual man among you must love his wife as he loves himself; and may the wife fear her husband.
Interestingly in some translations fear is used in verse 21 while reverence is used in verse 33***, as is the case with the King James version:
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
…33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Other times we see it the other way around as is the case with the International Standard Version:
21 and you will submit to one another out of reverence for the Messiah.
…33 But each individual man among you must love his wife as he loves himself; and may the wife fear her husband.
Translation is a necessary and noble endeavor, but it is one I am happy to trust to professionals and my friends.
My process is much simpler. I performed a Google search of every blog recommended to me for the word knee because kneeling is the gold standard of submission and reverence. That (should have) found even comments with knee and its derivatives. Then I bookmarked each result. Of them all, only one post contained a reference of one spouse kneeling to another. It was at “A Peaceful Wife”, by April Cassidy
It came from an email from a reader which April posted for mutual inspiration. She wrote:
I finally found out what he meant by “arguing” by reading your blog. I seriously had NO IDEA!! I didn’t understand why he would get mad when I “shared my feelings” with him until reading your blog. I felt absolutely baffled by it! He also notoriously calls me “negative” and tells me I “complain” a lot, which would make me furious! And so I would defend myself thinking that he would then see that he was hurting me and fall on his knees to apologize.. I had no idea that I was actually perpetuating the disrespect by defending myself. This is still the hardest thing for me because I hate being wrong and being the person who needs to apologize, etc.
She knew that the right thing to do when asking forgiveness was assume a humble posture, but when she realized it was herself who should apologize: She didn’t kneel as she had wanted her husband to do. Instead she took April’s advice and walked out of the room. Later she told her husband he’s a very good boy:
One other huge break through, I have tried many times in the past to tell him things I do respect about him but he has never believed me and he knew I was just doing an exercise I read in a book or something. However, after reading your blog and comments on there, etc, I realized that he has never withdrawn from me or our boys and he has never stopped leading, even in the face of my disrespect and attempts to control.
- So I told him that I was very impressed that he still continues to lead, to tell me my sin, and to try to engage in the family even when I’m wrong and even when most men do the opposite.
April posted this to her own blog as an example of a submissive wife. That–walking out of a room, and saying what a good boy a husband is– is not a picture of submissive wife. That is a picture of a doting mother. I must assume she knows the difference. Remember: This woman wanted her husband to give her the gold standard in submission. She knows that standard is kneeling.
In fact none of the female Christian blogs I searched ever mentioned a wife assuming the posture of submission; of her kneeling. There are admonitions for tone of voice, and silence, and just about any other vagaries of action which are only nonchalance disguised as submission. This lack shows in a couple ways. First, you can see it in wordiness and meandering of posts on submission by otherwise well-meaning women. (One has to shovel a lot of vagaries to fill the hole left by kneeling.) Second, even women who are trying to be submissive leave comment after comment about “running out of ideas” on how to make their submission apparent to their husbands; as if men hadn’t the eyes to see submission. I’m sorry to say that is often the charge leveled at husbands. If a wife kneeled, could her submission be in question? No.
This topic makes me uncomfortable. I don’t think I’m alone in that. Dalrock’s post continues:
This is not to say that Christian wives are to worship their husbands as Christian men today so often worship women, but clearly there is a healthy reverence wives are instructed to have for their husbands in line with headship and submission.
I know I’ve said the same. While it is murmured elsewhere that I am an oppressive dolt, the fact is you can’t keep me from tripping over myself to make clear my haste to demonstrate my lack of need for submission…which is a lie that I’ve been telling myself since I began thinking about submission. I do need my wife’s submission if I want a wife at all!
The truth is that I I had been overlooking it forever. And–in my defense–I’ve been warned away from female submission my entire life. In the post this series corrects, I erroneously wrote:
Submission is the absence of rebellion. Wives don’t have to learn “how to be submissive”; they just have to decide not to rebel.
It’s true that one way to define submission is the absence of rebellion, but I was wrong in that women do have to learn to submit. And I do have to learn how to accept it. My mind has put forth to me every kind of excuse against kneeling, but–discomforting or not–the fact is irrefutable that the gold standard of submission is kneeling. Therefore, can we say of anyone who disdains (or even merely eschews) kneeling, that they are in submission?
I’m a bit timid of this line of thinking. There is some sickness in me that wants my wife to find me…what? Equal? Unworthy? Something. At the same time: The sickness makes me bitter when it gets its wish! It is a stupid sickness of the Old Adam and it must be crucified within me. Healthy marriage is too important.
Here’s why: I see the ships of those who pilot for Biblical Marriage repeatedly crash on the shoals of questions like this:
- What if my husband asks me to sin?
- What if my husband won’t follow-through on (church, praying, controlling finances, etc.)?
- What if my husband ignores me?
- What if my husband won’t forgive me for my mistakes?
- What if I really need (food, clothes, etc.) but my husband won’t provide it?
- What if I’ve tried everything and nothing works?
Here’s my response from now on: After you tried smiling sweetly, and doting on him, and the silent treatment, and standing up for yourself, and going behind his back, and taking matters into your own hands, and bringing in the pastor: Did you try kneeling before your husband in submission?
Are Christian female bloggers aware that kneeling is the gold standard of submission? Yes. In fact, the more “spiritual” the blogger wants to sound, the more she mentions kneeling submissively in prayer. “Hit my knees!” “Fell to my knees!” “Knelt right there on the linoleum!” They know submission during prayer is important.
As I said: Not one of the Christian female bloggers suggest kneeling to her husband. To be reverent to their husbands, and to teach young women to be submissive, they must start.
 I’m looking at you, Deep Strength, Jonadab, and others!
 Who is not 60, nor a grandmother, nor post-menopausal. In no way do I find her to be an elder woman.
 Emphasis in original