Courteously Reverent

All over the blogosphere lately I keep seeing posts on marriage, submission, roles of husband and wife.  I’ve even written on the topic of practical submission.  In fact, I have an eBook all about submission in marriage.

So, you might be asking at this moment, “Why, TL, are you writing on this topic again?”

Because I can’t escape this one verse … especially the way Peterson writes it in The Message:

Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
Ephesians 5:21

You may be more familiar with the NIV translation:  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

But that phrase, courteously reverent, has resounded in my soul.  I looked up the definitions.

Courteously:  Having or showing good manners; polite.
Reverent:  Deeply respectful.

If you are familiar with the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians you know this verse immediately precedes the instructions to wives and husbands, parents and children, employees and employers.  This idea is the foundation for all our human relationships.

Courteously reverent.  If I were writing my own paraphrase of this verse it would be something like this:

Because of who Christ is we must be deeply respectful of one another, revealing this respect through good manners and common courtesy.

We’ll spend some more time looking at what this idea of courteously reverent looks like over the next few weeks.  And as we lay that foundation, we’ll explore how to apply that to our marriages, parenting, and other relationship.

What does this concept of courteously reverent mean to you?

Seeking more of Him,

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. This is too good for there to be no comments. But I can't think of a better paraphrase than the one you came up with. It occurs to me that reverent is an attitude of the heart, and courteously is how it is outwardly expressed.

    Looking forward to more about this.

  2. This is lovely… I, too, have seem a lot on submission – godly and otherwise – in marriage. Actually, PB Wilson has a great book on the subject. My fiance adn I strive, however, to meld that message with the one to be courteously reverent… I love that term. I'll have to share that version of the verse with him!

  3. Excellent post, Teri Lynne! I believe that if we are not being courteously reverent, then we are not truly submitting to our husbands. If we "submit" in our actions without being courteously reverent, it shows a lack of submission in our hearts. I look forward to reading more!

  4. Love this topic and that phrasing, Teri Lynne – and heartily agree with Erin: "If we "submit" in our actions without being courteously reverent, it shows a lack of submission in our hearts."

    Thanks for being willing to take on this topic!! 🙂

  5. I love your paraphrase of this verse. It definitely needs to penetrate ALL of our relationships, not just our marriages, but especially our marriages. Too often, I am "courteous" without being "reverent". I need to be both!


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