For your obedience has become known to all…” (Romans 16:19).

Two Greek words—peitho and hupakouo—are primarily associated with the English word “obedience”.

Peitho encapsulates the idea of compliance which is the result of persuasion. Most often, it is translated into English with such words as “convince” or “persuade”. This word reveals the taproot of Biblical apologetics, which seeks to persuade people to believe and obey God based upon the evidence (i.e., proof) and sound reasoning (i.e., common sense).

Embedded in hupakouo is the idea of compliance which issues from recognition of another’s (superior) authority. It results in trusting obedience on the basis of “it is written” in the authoritative will of the One who has all authority in heaven and earth and thus ought to be obeyed in all things (Matthew 28:18-20).

These two words are not antagonistic to one another in any way. Both are essential to a healthy, dynamic faith and loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Both arrive at the same destination—joyful trust in God which results in compliance to His will.

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Author: jchowning

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