In January, I began a series of blog posts summarizing what I'm calling my 52 word journey of Bible study. I'm taking one word from Scripture a week and studying it as part of my personal Bible study. As a means of helping to organize my jumbled notes (and often equally jumbled mind!), I'm sharing my journey of study on my blog. Over the last two weeks, I've studied the words/concepts of submission and persecution.
Submission or some variation of the word appears in the Bible a few dozen times. In the Old Testament, there are specific examples to people submitting to other people (e.g. all of Pharoah's people were to submit to Joseph when he was placed in charge-Genesis 41:40), and there are examples or commands for people to submit to God.
There is a lot of debate, especially in today's American culture, about the idea of "submission", especially in the context of a wife submitting to her husband. However, if you look at what the Hebrew and Greek words that are translate "submit" or some variation, it is clear that if someone is the one submitting, by definition, they are submitting of their own volition. They are choosing to submit; they are not being forces to submit. In Hebrew, the word raphac, often translated submit, means "to stamp oneself down; humble oneself". In Greek, the words "hypeikō" and "hypotassō" which mean to submit one's self. Again, the submissive person, by definition, is choosing to humble themselves. In the New Testament, there are many calls for submission to God or to others. Here are most of them:
- To God (Hebrews 12:9)
- To the political leaders (Romans 13:5, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 3:1)
- To spiritual leadership (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:5)
- Women in the church setting (1 Corinthians 14:34, 1 Timothy 2:11)
- Wives to husbands (Ephesians 5:22, 1 Peter 3:1)
Persecution is another concept that isn't discussed at length in the Old Testament, but it is interesting to note that the author of Hebrews, in the "hall of faith" chapter 11, notes that the great men and women of faith were persecuted. David and other psalmists pour out their hearts about persecution they faced (9:13, 69:26, 119:157, 119:161),
Probably the most challenging verses on persecution is 2 Timothy 3:12 which says that everyone who wants to lead a godly life will be persecuted. I don't know that the reverse is then true too. If we aren't being persecuted, then does that mean we aren't leaving a godly life? I don't know if a lack of persecution means that I'm not living a godly life, or if it's more of a product of living in America where our spiritual lives are far more comfortable than that of Christians in North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, etc.
Regardless, the Scriptures show that whatever persecution we face, good will come through it--we're blessed and rewarded (Matthew 5:11-12). There is also additional guidance for what to do when it comes:
- pray for those who persecute (Matthew 5:44)
- bless those who persecute you (Romans 12:14)
- endure it (1 Corinthians 4:12)
- be faithful unto death (Revelation 2: 10)
Introduction to the 52 Word Journey
Words 1 and 2: Confidence and Peace
Words 3 and 4: Perseverance and Works
Words 5 and 6: Humility and Compassion
Words 7 and 8: Kindness and Faithfulness
Words 9 and 10: Goodness and Pride
Words 11 and 12: Self-Control and Self-Discipline
Words 13 and 14: Joy and Gluttony