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Women, Stop Submitting to Men

Those of us who hold to so-called “traditional gender roles” are often assumed to believe that women should submit to men. This isn’t true.

  • russell d. moore
Indeed, a primary problem in our culture and in our churches isn’t that women aren’t submissive enough to men, but instead that they are far too submissive.

First of all, it just isn’t so that women are called to submit while men are not. In Scripture, every creature is called to submit, often in different ways and at different times. Children are to submit to their parents, although this is certainly a different sort of submission than that envisioned for marriage. Church members are to submit to faithful pastors (Heb. 13:17). All of us are to submit to the governing authorities (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17). Of course, we are all to submit, as creatures, to our God (Jas. 4:7).

And, yes, wives are called to submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22; 1 Pet. 3:1-6). But that’s just the point. In the Bible, it is not that women, generally, are to submit to men, generally. Instead, “wives” are to submit “to your own husbands” (1 Pet. 3:1).

Too often in our culture, women and girls are pressured to submit to men, as a category. This is the reason so many women, even feminist women, are consumed with what men, in general, think of them. This is the reason a woman’s value in our society, too often, is defined in terms of sexual attractiveness and availability. Is it any wonder that so many of our girls and women are destroyed by a predatory patriarchy that demeans the dignity and glory of what it means to be a woman?

Submitting to men in general renders it impossible to submit to one’s “own husband.” Submission to one’s husband means faithfulness to him, and to him alone, which means saying “no” to other suitors.

Submission to a right authority always means a corresponding refusal to submit to a false authority. Eve’s submission to the Serpent’s word meant she refused to submit to God’s. On the other hand, Mary’s submission to God’s word about the child within her meant she refused to submit to Herod’s. God repeatedly charges his Bride, the people of Israel, with a refusal to submit to him because they have submitted to the advances of other lovers. The freedom of the gospel means, the apostle tells us, that we “do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).

Despite the promise of female empowerment in the present age, the sexual revolution has given us the reverse. Is it really an advance for women that the average high-school male has seen images of women sexually exploited and humiliated on the Internet? Is it really empowerment to have more and more women economically at the mercy of men who freely abandon them and their children, often with little legal recourse?

Is this really a “pro-woman” culture when restaurant chains enable men to pay to ogle women in tight T-shirts while they gobble down chicken wings? How likely is it that a woman with the attractiveness of Henry Kissinger will obtain power or celebrity status in American culture? What about the girl in your community pressured to perform oral sex on a boyfriend, what is this but a patriarchy brutal enough for a Bronze Age warlord?

In the church it is little better. Too many of our girls and young women are tyrannized by the expectation to look a certain way, to weigh a certain amount, in order to gain the attention of “guys.”

Additionally, too many predatory men have crept in among us, all too willing to exploit young women by pretending to be “spiritual leaders” (2 Tim. 3:1-9; 2 Pet. 2). Do not be deceived: a man who will use spiritual categories for carnal purposes is a man who cannot be trusted with fidelity, with provision, with protection, with the fatherhood of children. The same is true for a man who will not guard the moral sanctity of a woman not, or not yet, his wife.

We have empowered this pagan patriarchy. Fathers assume their responsibility to daughters in this regard starts and stops in walking a bride down an aisle at the end of the process. Pastors refuse to identify and call out spiritually impostors before it’s too late. And through it all we expect our girls and women to be submissive to men in general, rather than to one man in particular.

Women, sexual and emotional purity means a refusal to submit to “men,” in order to submit to your own husband, even one whose name and face you do not yet know. Your closeness with your husband, present or future, means a distance from every man who isn’t, or who possibly might not be, him.

Your beauty is found not in external (and fleeting) youth and “attractiveness” but in the “hidden person of the heart” which “in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Pet. 3:3-4). And it will be beautiful in the sight of a man who is propelled by the Spirit of this God.

Sisters, you owe no submission to Hollywood or to Madison Avenue, or to those who listen to them. Your worth and dignity cannot be defined by them. Stop comparing yourselves to supermodels and porn stars. Stop loathing your body, or your age. Stop feeling inferior to vaporous glamor. You are beautiful.

Sisters, there is no biblical category for “boyfriend” or “lover,” and you owe such designation no submission. In fact, to be submissive to your future husband you must stand back and evaluate, with rigid scrutiny, “Is this the one who is to come, or is there another?” That requires an emotional and physical distance until there is a lifelong covenant made, until you stand before one who is your “own husband.”

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as unto the Lord. Yes and Amen. But, women, stop submitting to men.

Adapted from Russell D. Moore's weblog at

Dr. Russell D. Moore is the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He also serves as a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church, where he ministers weekly at the congregation’s Fegenbush location. Dr. Moore is the author of The Kingdom of Christ and Adopted for Life.

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Yes Submit=give respect,value.

Your beauty is found not in external (and fleeting) youth and “attractiveness” but in the “hidden person of the heart” which “in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Pet. 3:3-4). And it will be beautiful in the sight of a man who is propelled by the Spirit of this God.

Only this part is interesting though. because so many men seek physical beauty before dating or marrying a girl.... men too got to look for the inner beauty of the girl's heart....? that where it beats a lot and that where God finds it precious... which is in good accordance, with one and all.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder...


Thanks for that Sarah at last am a bit relieved 

I do appreciate your post Sarah, thank you. 

I have always wondered what we women (and powerless) really do (I mean REALLY DO) submit too...

I have often felt we are actually submitting to some attitude I am not happy promoting, or SOMETHING! 

For example: to submit to my abusive husband was to accept and even promote abusive behavior!  And he was not held accountable for his behavior. 


Putting my introductory thoughts asside.. I have always been amazed/puzzled about why people of Western society have such an issue with women's lib and Christian's attitude of women's submission to their husbands and men in general. 


I did notice that the Bible is written from a patriarchal society, and  it contrasts sharply from the matriarchal society of my people.  It is not that women had 'power' in the sense that people of Western society see or understand it.  But women had great powers (and believe it or not, STILL DO.  But I do see that many today misuse their powers, and many do not even realize they HAVE it).  They were highly respected and honored.  Women also respected this power within themselves and did not misuse it. 


Traditionally the respect the two genders of aboriginal peoples held for each other is unmatched as far as I know.  Is it any wonder that it is hard for Native peoples to be culturized?  And to be converted to any Christian denomination?   What they had was so much better then what is being offered today.  Two or four hundred years ago is not that long ago for us Natives, we have a collective memory of what it was like; and don't forget that our societies had and still practice a very oral history [as opposed to written history].  Although many clans, tribes and nations are struggling to keep it alive.  It is not as it was before we got displaced and put on reservations and became culturized [yes, most Natives are what we might consider Urban, today].  But it is still alive among the Aboriginals today who value our traditional ways. 


Traditionally our societies we had no stealing, no hungry, no poor, no prisons [and an economy that never crashed]. 

This topic has resurfaced quite a bit lately....Inge, I hope that you find this helpful to tio the points you have been making....THANK YOU!  =)

Yeah, i do agree that Woman has to submit their lives to God, husband and children. No other man, its only her husband. Totally devoted to him. In facts, there is many men out there is not devoted to their ladies. Meaning to say, man has to submit himself also to the only woman which is his wife right?.

Yes, both the husband and the wife are commanded as Christians to submit to EACH OTHER FIRST....

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:   --Ephesians 5

Thank you Sarah for the beautiful verses. I have seen that many women are not treated well by the men. What do you say to this, " Man and woman should be equally treated".

That is what the Bible says....and I agree.  It is where we began in Eden and where we must be as Christians to fulfill the Work of the Gospel until Jesus' returns.

Amen Sarah...


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