Ephesians 5:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ephesians 5:21, NIV: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21, ESV: submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21, KJV: Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Ephesians 5:21, NASB: and subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.

Ephesians 5:21, NLT: And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21, CSB: submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.

What does Ephesians 5:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verses 19 and 20 gave several practical ways in which Christians can express being filled with the Spirit. Here, Paul brings out another, which is mutual submission. Submission in the context of a Christian relationship includes the idea of putting someone else, and their needs, above ourselves. This is not for personal benefit, but rather out of "reverence for Christ." When we serve others, we serve the Lord (Matthew 25:35–40).

This approach stands in stark contrast with worldly wisdom. In business, the principle is often taught to either put ourselves first, or to help others so that you can benefit. Yet Paul offers a better and higher way, noting that our service to others is service to the Lord. This is an important principle in the church, in the workplace, and, as the following verses will show, in the context of marriage (Ephesians 5:22–33). This is an important part of following the example of Christ, who submitted to the will of the Father and gave Himself as a sacrifice for us.