Elisabeth Elliot on Submission

Like so many other women, I have been tremendously shaped by the writings of Elisabeth Elliot. Her wisdom, honesty, and biblical faithfulness has grown me in ways I probably don’t even know fully yet. God has used her life and ministry to help me establish convictions and passions that I am so grateful for (and grateful to my mom for giving me my first Elisabeth Elliot book!).

I just finished reading Keep a Quiet Heart, and just like her other books, it did not disappoint. This particular book is a collection of her lead articles from her former newsletter. I only wish I had known about this newsletter when it was still published!

The book covers every topic possible: sanctification, discipline, child rearing, womanhood, marriage, singleness, patience, cultural issues, and the list could go on. There is hardly a topic left untouched. Each chapter is about 2-3 pages, making it very easy to read as a devotional book. I have a feeling that this is a book I will keep coming back to again as seasons of life change and grow.

There were many things that struck me while reading this book, but I will leave you with one particular section she wrote about: submission. It is such a weighty and controversial topic, and I think she says it quite clearly and biblically.

“Christians—both men and women—recognize first the authority of Christ. They pray ‘Thy will be done.’ They set about making an honest effort to cooperate with what He is doing, straightening out the kinks in their own lives according to his wishes. A Christian woman, then, in submission to God, recognizes the divinely assigned authority of her husband (he didn’t earn it, remember, he received it by appointment). She then sets about lending her full strength to helping him do what he’s supposed to do, be what he’s supposed to be—her head. She’s not always trying to get her own way. She’s trying to make it easier for him to do his job. She seeks to contribute to his purpose, not scheme how to accomplish her own.

If this sounds suspiciously like some worn-out traditionalist view, or (worse) like a typical Elisabeth Elliot opinion, test it with the straightedge of Scripture. What does submission to Christ mean? ‘Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as to the Lord,’ Compare and connect.”