Here we will perform Analysis Item #2.
- Is the same Greek word is consistently translated to the same word/clause as used in this verse.
- If it is not consistent, then how often is the chosen English word/clause used in other places as compared to this instance.
- This may also include other relevant analysis related to the translation of the Greek word/clause in question.
In summary, we are analyzing whether the translation from the Greek word to this particular English word is the most valid translation.
We have to work on establishing an understanding of hupeiko in a different manner than what we have been able to do with other words because it occurs only once in the text of the Bible. Fortunately, it is a compound word made up of two other words. This can give us some additional insight. We will also try to look around and see if we can find how this word may have been used in other texts (outside the Bible). We may also be helped by looking back at hupotasso, because it is also a compound word which starts with the same word hupo- as hupeiko
In Laymans Terms
In simple terms this word means to “yield” in the sense of stopping any resistance. It seems the best way to understand this type of yielding is to realize that the need for this yielding is not based just on position or rank, but rather because you have been bested (as in a competition) or convinced (as in a debate). Generally speaking, this is a yielding from one person to another person. The key point to take away here is that this yielding is not because someone is the leader, but because in functioning as a leader you are convinced of whatever it is you are interacting about with them. It seems that it is yielding that comes through an interaction, not just because you consider someone to be functioning as a leader that you will accept anything they say.
A key question in understanding this word is in trying to understand why the author of Hebrews specifically deviated and didn’t use hupotasso. Had the author of Hebrews used hupotasso, this verse would be simple. It would clearly mean to “submit” or “be subject to” those leading because of a positional difference between a non-leader and a leader. Since this didn’t happen and since we know the author of Hebrews knew what hupotasso was and how to use it properly (Hebrews 2:5), we want to review the distinctions between hupotasso and hupeiko.
From Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon
Strong’s 5226 – hupeiko (verb)
From hupo (Strong’s 5259) and eiko (Strong’s 1502)
- to resist no longer, but to give way, yield (of combatants)
- metaphorically, to yield to authority and admonition, to submit.
Consistency and Analysis of the Translation of Hupeiko
There is only 1 occurrence. The consistency of translating hupeiko is moot. There is only one occurrence in the Bible and it is in Hebrews 13:17. This portion of analysis isn’t needed.
Additional Analysis of Hupeiko
For our additional analysis, let’s bring a few additional items for review
- A few uses of hupeiko from other sources than the Bible to see how hupeiko used by others and the meaning it held. We will see that it pretty clearly means to yield.
- The definitions of the component parts of both hupeiko and hupotasso and see if they might help inform us further about hupeiko.
- In this review, we will acknowledge some smaller differences in what these words may be conveying.
From An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon
This is a Greek-English lexicon that includes references to ancient Greek from Homer to the Patristic writings.
- hupeiko – to yield, give way
- τιμαῖς ὑπ. to give way to authority, Sophocles. Tragicus, V B.C., Tragoediae, Ed. A.C. Pearson, Oxford
- ὑπ. τινί Xenophon. Hisroicus V/IV B.C., Ed. E.C. Marchant, Oxford: absolutely to give way, comply, Homer
- τὸ ὑπεῖκον, = οἱ ὑπείκοντες, Euripides. Tragicus V. B.C.:—with infinitive mood, νῶν ὑπεῖκε τὸν κασίγνητον μολεῖν concede to us that he may come, Sophocles. Tragicus, V B.C., Tragoediae, Ed. A.C. Pearson, Oxford
Liddell, H. (1996). A lexicon: Abridged from Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English lexicon (831). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Word Parts for hupeiko and hupotasso
Strong’s 5259 – hupo (preposition)
A primary preposition. 221 occurrences;
- by, under
Breakdown of occurrences
- (74%) 164 of 221 – by
- Representative Selection: Matthew 1:22; 3:3; Acts 13:4; Romans 3:21; 2 Tim 2:26
- (22%) 48 of 221 – under
- Representative Selection: Matthew 8:9 (2 occurrences); John 1:48; Romans 6:14 (2 occurrences); 1 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Peter 5:6
- (1%) 2 of 221 – at the hands
- 1 Thessalonians 2:14 (2 occurrences)
- 7 miscellaneous
Comments on hupo
Hupo is one of about 20 Greek prepositions. Simply put, it means “under” both in a physical and a metaphysical sense. hupo is used as part of a number of compound Greek words. When a preposition like hupo is used as part of a compound Greek word it can alter the meaning and/or it can simply emphasize the word it is coupled with.
Strong’s 1502 – eiko (verb)
Apparently a root word
- to yield
Only 1 occurrence
Galatians 2:3-5 – But not even Titus who was with me, although he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. Now this was because of the false brothers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, in order that they might enslave us, to whom not even for an hour did we yield (eiko) in subjection (hupotage), in order that the truth of the gospel might remain continually with you.
Strong’s 1502 – tasso (verb)
- to put in order, to station
- to place in a certain order, to arrange, to assign a place, to appoint
- to assign (appoint) a thing to one
- to appoint, ordain, order
- to appoint on one’s own responsibility or authority
- to appoint mutually, i.e. agree upon
- to place in a certain order, to arrange, to assign a place, to appoint
Breakdown of occurrences
- (25%) 2 of 8 – place, placed
- Luke 7:8; Romans 13:1
- (25%) 2 of 8 – appointed
- Acts 15:2; Acts 22:10
- (25%) 2 of 8 – designated
- Matthew 28:16; Acts 13:48
- (12%) 1 of 8 – set
- Acts 28:23
- (12%) 1 of 8 – devoted
- 1 Corinthians 16:15
It seems pretty clear that hupotasso conveys more about how you are positioned relative to another person, while hupeiko is about yielding in the case of some difference between two parties. There is enough difference between these two ideas to question the translation of hupeiko into “submit” or “subject” because these English words are used in many other places to convey aspects of a positional relationship between two parties where one is partially or fully positioned over another.
Let’s keep in mind that the additional usage of peitho in this verse actually puts some onus on the one leading to “be persuasive” so that you can “be persuaded” and then based on the persuasion, yield. If you add to this a portion of 1 Timothy 5:1, “Rebuke not an elder, but entreat (parakaleo – Learn about parakaleo here) him as a father; and the younger men as brothers”, then the meaning conveyed here in Hebrews 13:17 is very different than what may first occur to the average person. Timothy is someone that most would agree could be classified as one of “those leading” and this is partially confirmed just before 1 Timothy 5:1 (see 1 Timothy 4:14-16). In 1 Timothy 5:1, Paul instructed Timothy to engage (parakaleo – Learn about parakaleo here) someone older with respect and someone younger more like a peer. Parakaleo, means to call to one’s side for a specific purpose (comforting, entreating, exhorting, etc). So, the idea here is that one who is leading would need to engage others who might be following them. This should be done in a manner that does not include overlording or dictating. The one leading would need to engage the one following with the goal of convincing them and the expectation that the one following would listen and as they were convinced, to yield to the one leading on the matter at hand. The convincing would not be done with an attitude of “I know better, just listen to me”, but rather persuading the one following so they could lay hold of it.
To me, this seems right in every way. The goal is for each of us to fully mature in Christ. As we are individually convinced and coming into full submission to Christ in our lives we become full participants in an intimate relationship with Christ. If the model was for us to follow just because someone else is leading without being convinced then the full and intimate nature of how believers are to relate to one another is stunted.
Amount of Yielding Needed Based on Hebrews 13:17
There is one further point to consider. The scope of yielding is not clear. Is it in everything that one leading might want to do? We can’t answer this based solely on the context of Hebrews 13:17, but the answer is no, with one exception. Let’s consider the exception. If one who is leading was walking perfectly as Christ did, then they would only be acting according to the will of the Father and then you would want to yield to their view and way in all cases. This is the pattern that “The Leader” (Jesus Christ) set. However, we know that only Christ walked in this kind of perfection and that none of the rest of us do (including those leading). As a result, we have all been left with individual responsibility to follow “The Leader”, the only one who followed God the Father perfectly. We should certainly follow the example of those who are really leading (not according to title) among us, because they have come closer to what Jesus did and have learned how to have a better walk with God. We should also be persuaded by them and yield to their point of view (again, assuming they are really leading).