Saturday, March 31, 2007


Greek Word Pronunciation: hoo-pa-KOO-oh
Strong’s Number: 5634
Goodrich/Kohlenberger Number: 5219
Key Verse: “He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” -- Hebrews 5:9

The two words, obey and submit, are also two different words in Greek, each with subtleties of meaning. The word most often translated as submit or subject is hupotasso. It is a military term, meaning literally “to rank under.” The emphasis is on voluntary submission by believers to God (Hebrews 12:9; James 4:7), to authorities (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13, and 5:5), and to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21-24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1) according to their various roles in the body of Christ. Submission does not imply inferiority of the person. God Himself entered the world in the person of Christ, and He Himself willingly chose to submit to a parental authority (Luke 2:51) that was appropriate to His condition as a child.

The common Greek word translated as obey is hupakouo. It is a compound word that means literally, “to listen under.” The sense is of understanding and responding. Obedience is the outward expression of a heart that has turned to God (Hebrews 11:8). Obedience can be spoken of as an attitude (2 Corinthians 2:9; Philippians 2:12) and most particularly as a faith-rooted disposition. In many contexts, obedience to Christ or the gospel has the same meaning as faith in Christ and a faith response to the gospel (Romans 15:18; 16:26; 2 Thessalonians 1:8).

[Note: Hebrews 13:17, "obey your leaders and submit to them ..." In this verse, two different Greek words are used here. Obey is peitho, and submit is hupeiko. Both of these words have the sense of being “yielded” or “to win over,” not by submission to authority, but resulting from persuasion.]

HEBREWS 5:7-10 speaks of Jesus learning obedience and His being made perfect through it. His suffering makes Him perfectly suited to be the author (source, cause) of our salvation. This is the strongest incentive for a believer’s obedience to Him, just as God’s perfection and office were the all-sufficient reasons for Christ’s obedience to Him.

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