If you have not yet read my last two posts on Ephesians 5, I would encourage you to read them before digging into this tough verse.

Ephesians 5:33 “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

My dear husband with our four kiddos on his 39th birthday
My dear husband with our four kiddos on his 39th birthday

When you see the word “phobeo” what do you think of? Phobia? Me, too. What does that mean to you? Fear? Me, too.

In my trusty Blue Letter Bible app, it defines PHOBEO (G5399) as:
* to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away)
* to put to flight, to flee
* to fear, be afraid
* to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm
* of those startled by strange sights or occurrences
* of those struck with amazement
* to fear, be afraid of one
* to fear (i.e. hesitate) to do something (for fear of harm)
* to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience

The KJV translates Strongs G5399 in the following manner: fear (62x), be afraid (23x), be afraid of (5x), reverence (1x), misc (2x).

Phobeo occurs 97 times in 91 verses in the Greek concordance of the NASB.

In looking through the concordance for this Greek word, many of the times this word is used is when Jesus says “FEAR NOT” or “DO NOT BE AFRAID.” It is also used three times in Revelation – Rev. 14:7, 15:4 and 19:5 – encouraging man to fear God and give Him glory.

But in THIS verse? “Phobeo?”

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

We are told to RESPECT our husband, to PHOBEO, to FEAR?? our husband. WHAT????

I can get fearing God, reverencing Him as HOLY, being struck with amazement at the GLORY of the Lord. But, my husband???? How can this be?

The Lord brought 1 Peter 3 to mind, to see if that same word was used there …. and YES, it is.

But, that’ll have to wait until another time. My household and familial responsibilities call.

Maybe you could read 1 Peter 3 for yourself while you’re waiting. Try out Blue Letter Bible for yourself.

Heavenly Father, please speak to us. Open our eyes to Your truth. Teach us Your ways. Show us how to reverence and honor and fear our own husbands in a way which brings You honor and glory. You alone are worthy. Amen.

One thought on “Phobeo

  1. Hello, I am glad you noticed this translation instead of just taking “respect” as being what automatically comes into our understanding of that word. I don’t know where you landed on this, but I am wrestling with this before the Lord, it opens up a whole new thought process. I wonder, was Paul wanting to get us to understand that when our husbands are sacrificing themselves for us as Christ did for the Church (HUGE concept) that it would elicit (- not require) a response in us (as their wives – the recipient of such sacrifice) a sense of fear (not bad) …if we didn’t respond to such love with obedience.


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