Reverence

What does it really mean?

This is a post I wrote some time back on one of the CDD Forums in response to a question regarding the meaning of "reverence" and "fear".

We find the first word in Ephesians 5:33: Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband...

And the meaning of "fear" in 1 Peter 3:2:While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear...

Since this is not something I've studied a lot about in the past, I went to the concordance and the Greek dictionary to see if I could make heads or tails of it.

The Greek word used in Ephesians 5:33 is PHOBEO, which means "in awe of" or "frighten" according to Strong's. The Greek word translated "fear" in the KJV in 1 Peter 3:2 is PHOBOS, which means "to be put in fear", again according to Strong's. Both words are used to describe how a wife should feel toward her husband, and both are used in other areas of scripture, some relating to true fear and others seeming to refer to something closer to awe.

For example, PHOBEO is used in Matthew 14:5 to describe the fear of the Jews that kept Herod from immediately executing John the Baptist and in Matthew 14:30 to describe Peter's fear of drowning when he walked to Jesus on the water. However, it is used in Mark 5:15 to describe awe when Jesus cast out the legion of demons and in Mark 16:8 when the disciples saw the angels guarding the sepulcher.

PHOBOS is used in Matthew 14:26 to describe the true fear the disciples felt when they saw Jesus walking on the water and thought He was a ghost. It is also used in Revelation 18:10 to describe the Whore of Babylon's fear of her torment. On the other hand, it is used to describe the awe the disciples felt for Jesus' power when the sea obeyed His command (Mark 4:41) and again when He healed the lame man (Luke 5:26).

(Side note: One word that is not used to describe the husband/wife relationship is EKPHOBOS which means "frightened out of one's wits".)

Then there is the scripture that seems at first glance to contradict that a wife should fear her husband: There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love... 1 John 4:18

From what I can understand using Strong's concordance, this could also be stated as: There is no fear in love, that is MATURE love casteth out fear...

So what is "mature" love?

Well, over and over again in scripture the idea of loving God is associated with keeping His commandments ...

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. John 14:21

And since the scriptures compare the relationship between Christ and the Church to the husband/wife relationship, maybe mature love in that instance would be a woman's obedience to her husband. And this would, in a sense, cast out fear since she would have nothing to fear from him if she is obedient.

What I really got out of this study was the fact that regardless of whether this means a wife should truly fear her husband or merely to be in awe of him, is that in today's world, we're falling short of both.

In order to be in awe of someone, they have to have the power to produce this feeling. What power does a man have over his wife that would cause her to be in awe? This just gives me one more reason to believe CDD is Biblically acceptable.