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Obedience and Submission in 1 Peter

In this article and series of videos, I explore what the terms “obedience” and “submission” mean in the biblical book of 1 Peter. 1 Peter applies these terms to spiritual experiences and to various human relationships; political, economic, marriage and church.

The academic article

Abstract: Obedience and submission are pervasive concepts in 1 Peter, but are often misunderstood. This article examines the meaning of these terms in the ancient world generally and in 1 Peter in particular. “Obedience” means “heeding” the gospel message—i.e., conversion. The verb often translated “disobey” refers to “being unpersuaded” by the gospel. To “submit” means to voluntarily place oneself in an ordered relationship/arrangement. This involves preserving the integrity of the relationship and honouring the person in authority. It does not imply grudgingly following specific orders, suppressing one’s will in favour of another’s, or tolerating abuse. This exploration leads us to question the adequacy of prevailing postcolonial interpretations which focus on strategies for surviving and resisting systemic injustice in human institutions (e.g., empire, slavery, patriarchy). The postcolonial focus too easily obscures Peter’s focus on Christ’s redemption and on God as creator and judge of all.

The Global Anglican 136/2 Cover showing Windsor article

This article was published in the journal The Global Anglican as: Lionel J. Windsor, “Obedience and Submission in 1 Peter,” The Global Anglican 136/2 (2022): 126–144. The original article is available at churchsociety.org .

Accessible videos

I’ve also produced a series of videos making the research a little more accessible.

Part 1: What’s the Issue?
Part 2: What does it mean to “obey” Jesus Christ? (1 Peter 1:1–2:10)
Part 3: What does it mean to “submit” in human relationships? (1 Peter 2:13)
Part 4: Why does 1 Peter instruct Christians to “submit”? (1 Peter 2:13–17)
Part 7: What does it mean to “submit” to church leaders? (1 Peter 5:1–5)
Part 8: Summary

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  • Lionel J. Windsor, "Obedience and Submission in 1 Peter", The Global Anglican 136/2 (2022): 126–144

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