Subordination Within The Godhead
Subordination of Christ proven from the Bible

Biblical subordination

Jesus Christ is the creator, not a creature and will always be equal to the Father in this sense. Jn 1:1 says, "and the word was [uncreated] God". However, sometime around the incarnation, Jesus made a choice to submit to the Father as His head. We call this choice, the subordination (or down-ranking) of Christ to the Father. Jesus did not give up being God, He merely began to obey the Father as though He were a creature. This is called "Biblical subordination". Bible evidence seems to support the view that the Holy Spirit submits to both the Father and the Son, but it is not a strong case.


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Subordination of Christ Timeline:

(Compare corresponding numbers 1-6 on above graphic with table below)

1: Jn 1:3

From all eternity Jesus was equal in rank to the Father: (eternity to creation)

  • John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
  • John 1:3 "All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."
  • Colossians 1:16 "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him."
  • Hebrews 1:8-10 "But of the Son He says, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee With the oil of gladness above Thy companions." And, "Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Thy hands"

2: Phil 2:6

Before the incarnation Jesus was equal in rank to the Father: (creation to incarnation)

  • Philippians 2:5-6 "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped"

3: Jn 14:28

The subordination of Christ to the Father during his earth life: (birth to cross)

  • John 14:28 ""You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I."
  • Philippians 2:5-8 "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
  • Mark 14:36 "And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt."
  • Luke 22:27 "For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves."
  • John 5:19 "Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner."
  • John 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."
  • John 7:16 "Jesus therefore answered them, and said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me."
  • Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are downtrodden"
  • Matthew 20:23 "He *said to them, "My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.""

4: Jn 20:17

The subordination of Christ to the Father after resurrection before ascension: (cross to ascension)

  • John 20:17 "Jesus *said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'"

5: 1 Cor 11:3

The subordination of Christ to the Father now: (ascension to present)

  • "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." 1 Cor 11:3
  • 2 Cor 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"
  • Acts 4:27,30 "For truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus."

6: 1 Cor 15:28

The subordination of Christ to the Father after the second coming:

  • "Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all." 1 Cor 15:28

  By Steve Rudd


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