Colossians 3:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Colossians 3:18, NIV: Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Colossians 3:18, ESV: Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Colossians 3:18, KJV: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Colossians 3:18, NASB: Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Colossians 3:18, NLT: Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.

Colossians 3:18, CSB: Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

What does Colossians 3:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse begins a new section extending through chapter 4, verse 1. Here, Paul gives specific, practical instructions for those living in a Christian home.

First, Paul addresses Christian wives. Much controversy has surrounded the understanding of the word "submit." This is from the Greek term hypotassesthe, which has slightly different meanings depending on whether it is used in a military or non-military sense. When used in reference to the military, this word means to arrange forces under the guidance of a leader. Outside of warfare, the word means a voluntary attitude of cooperating, assuming responsibility, and obedience. In the Bible, wives are not called to be inferior minions of their husbands, rather they are to be cooperative helpers. Husbands are likewise given spiritual obligations towards their wives. This includes demonstrating the same selfless, sacrificial love and concern shown by Christ for the church (Ephesians 5:25).

This type of commitment, from a wife towards her husband, is considered "fitting" to God. In other words, it is appropriate for a Christian woman to live in a caring relationship with her husband—and this includes allowing him to lead the family. Sadly, there are many examples of Christian men who have not led their family well. However, in the context of how God intends the family to operate, the "fitting" picture is that of a godly husband who loves his wife and is gentle with her (Colossians 3:19). She, in turn, offers similar kindness to him and supports her husband's role as the leader of the family.