God invented and devised this order, that some should rule, and others obey; and he maintaineth and upholdeth it. 2. Such interpretations, however, actually contradict Scripture. It appears that phóros applied to the tribute tax that the people of various nations under the dominion of Rome were required to pay as subjects of the Roman Empire. Others think, that the apostle having spoken in several places concerning Christians’ liberty, lest what he had said should be misconstrued, as if he meant that Christians were freed from subjection to the powers that were over them, he seasonably insists upon the doctrine and duty of obedience to authority; which point is more fully handled in this context than in any other place besides. Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Greek Scripture. ... Romans 13:1(WBS) Verse Thoughts. The general principle will be seen to be, that we are to obey in all things which are not contrary to the Law of God. every person. There may possibly be a conflict of rights and duties, and the lower may have to yield to the higher. In this sense, not only is the human system of society a part of the divinely-appointed order of things, but it partakes more especially in the divine attributes, inasmuch as its object is to reward virtue and to punish vice. Romans 13:1-7, The Christian and Government. As Robert Parham’s recent editorial, “Romans 13 Is Weak Proof-Text for Anti-Immigration Church Members,” illustrates, Romans 13 is often the go-to proof-text for urging compliance with and allegiance to government authority. All that is alleged is that, primâ facie, the magistrate can claim the obedience of the subject. It may only be well to add one caution. It discharges the same functions that God himself discharges, though in a lower scale and degree. Those kingdoms had been generally founded in conquest, and blood, and oppression. Rebellion against the state is mutiny against both God and government, 1:2a. They show us the way to interpret Romans 13 as Peter and Paul meant - if we break an unjust law to highlight and protest its injustice, we should be willing to submit to the punishment for breaking such laws, so that we demonstrate our respect for the role of government in general. (4) nor was the case much different with the "Gentile" converts. I pray that while I am here, You will take my life and use me in whatever way You choose, that I may be a faithful witness and bring glory to Your name, in my small corner of this world. By higher powers, he means the supreme powers; so the word is rendered, 1 Peter 2:13. Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. There is no power.—It is strange that the Apostle seems to go almost out of his way to include even usurped and tyrannical power. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. I pray for the leaders and government of this nation and pray that You would expose and punish the evil-doers and being men and women of integrity to lead our country. Wesley's Notes for Romans 13:1. He was completely innocent and had done nothing wrong—nothing of which He was accused had been part of His conduct. For - The apostle gives a "reason" why Christians should be subject; and that reason is, that magistrates have received their appointment from God. God and the state will punish those who violate law, 1:2b. Brent Kercheville May 23, 2010 Click here to listen to this lesson. of magistrates), for they do not suffer a man to come near them, but in necessity, and then they appear as friends for their own advantage, but will not stand by a man in the time of distress.''. In this section of Christian teaching there was something that was temporary and local, and that had reference to conditions that have now passed away. Every soul: Thi… The government was established, and they were not to seek to overturn it. We sometimes feel that we are surrounded by evil leaders who seem to have an anti-God agenda and we find it difficult to understand why. Clearly, the relations which our Lord assumed towards politics had especial reference to this attitude of the Jews. He was specifically addressing the body of Christ in Rome. IMO. “It is necessary to the very being of society that vices destructive of it should be punished as being so—the vices of falsehood, injustice, cruelty—which punishment, therefore, is as natural as society; and so is an instance of a kind of moral government, naturally established, and actually taking place. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. The word used here does not designate the "extent" of the submission, but merely enjoins it in general. Towards the civil power they maintained an attitude of absolute submission. This does not mean that he "originates" or causes the evil dispositions of rulers, but that he "directs" and "controls" their appointment. The "principles" on which Christians should act are settled in this chapter. Orgh (“wrath”) is mentioned in 12:19 and 13:4, 5. But this still leaves the question open, whether in any particular case tribute is rightfully due or not. Are ordained of God - This word "ordained" denotes the "ordering" or "arrangement" which subsists in a "military" company, or army. This word (as one observes) implieth two things; invention, and ratification. Soon the hands of these magistrates were to be raised against Christians in the fiery scenes of persecution; and the duty and extent of submission to them became a matter of very serious inquiry. How far they should submit, if at all, to heathen magistrates, was a question of deep interest; and there was danger that the "Jewish" converts might prove to be disorderly and rebellious citizens of the empire. In either case a great responsibility is assumed, and it is especially desirable that the judgment of the individual should be fortified by the consent of others, if possible by the suffrages of the majority of those who are in a position to judge. We are to remember that good will overcome evil, Satan and sin have been defeated, Christ has won the victory, and one day every wrong in this world will be put right. Romans 13:1-7 is treated as if it contains all that the New Testament has to say regarding the Christian attitude toward the state. This the Christian religion clearly taught; and in cases like these, it was indispensable for Christians to take a stand. 13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,(A)for there is no authority except that which God has established. Christians professed supreme allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ; he was their Lawgiver, their Sovereign, their Judge. KakoV (“evil”) and agaqoV (“good”) occur in Rom 12:17, 21 and 13:3-4. Romans 13 means, "Remember them which have the rule over you," as you will also find at Hebrews 13:7. Again, "says (u) Rabban Gamaliel, , "take heed of the power" (i.e. God sets them "in order," assigns them their location, changes and directs them as he pleases. '', Nevertheless, they look upon civil government to be of divine appointment. Romans 13:1 Translation & Meaning. Or if he was not wrong—and the verdict of mankind has generally justified his act—what are we to think of the language that is here used by St. Paul? A great example of this was the prophet Daniel. There is therefore a very strong onus probandi thrown upon the person who takes upon himself to overrule what is in itself a clear obligation. Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. He wished to disabuse His disciples once and for all of this fatal confusion of two spheres in themselves so distinct. It would occur also very soon, in circumstances that would be very affecting and trying. What does this verse really mean? I think the issue is crucial because there are many in our churches (many of us) who have not seriously and earnestly asked themselves: Am I more American than I am Christian? (6) in the "changes" which were to occur in human governments, it would be an inquiry of deep interest, what part Christians should take, and what submission they should yield to the various laws which might spring up among the nations. “It is very biblical to enforce the law.” – Sarah Sanders Romans 13 is in the news, and is being abused by the White House to enforce an unjust law. The authorities that exist have been established by God. But supposing the magistrate calls upon the subject to do that which some other authority co-ordinate with that of the magistrate forbids—supposing, for instance, as in the case of Hampden, under a constitutional monarchy, the king commands one thing, and the Parliament another—there is clearly a conflict of obligations, and the decision which accepts the one obligation is not necessarily wrong because it ignores the other. Whatever the persons in authority over us themselves may be, yet the just power they have, must be submitted to and obeyed. Paul shifts subjects with no transition or introduction. The reason given is that every government leader has ultimately been established by God for His own purposes. It is authored by Paul the Apostle, while he was in Corinth in the mid 50s AD, with the help of an amanuensis (secretary), Tertius, who adds his own greeting in Romans 16:22. (1-7) Subject unto the higher powers.—Looking impartially at the passage which follows, it would seem at first sight—and perhaps not only at first sight—that the Apostle distinctly preaches two doctrines, both of which are now discredited, the doctrines of divine right and of passive obedience. The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. The Church at Rome was largely composed of Jews, and these would naturally be imbued with the fanatical spirit of their countrymen. Chrysostom notes, that he rather speaks of our subjection to powers, than persons in power; because, that howsoever their power be abused, their authority must be acknowledged and obeyed. Let every soul; i.e. Romans 13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.. Greek: Pasa psuche exousiais huperechousais (PAPFPD) hupotassestho (3SPPM) ou gar estin (3SPAI) exousia ei me hupo theou, ai de ousai (PAPFPN) hupo theou tetagmenai (RPPFPN) eisin (3PPAI).. Amplified: Let every … Not only so, but when resistance was made on His behalf, He rebuked the disciple who had drawn the sword for Him. Whether it was the cities of Babylon, Rome, Greece, or the nation into which we ourselves have been born, God is in control, "for there is no power but of God and the powers that be, are ordained by God.". He speaks of powers, in the plural number, because there are divers sorts and kinds thereof, as monarchy, aristocracy, democracy: under which soever of these we live, we must be subject thereunto. Since Paul was addressing the saints at Rome, it is logical that he would instruct them to submit to those who look after their souls . (1) The Christian religion was designed to extend throughout the world. 1. It is quite probable, however, that the main danger was, that the early Christians would err in "refusing" submission, even when it was proper, rather than in undue conformity to idolatrous rites and ceremonies. 13:1 St. Paul, writing to the Romans, whose city was the seat of the empire, speaks largely of obedience to magistrates: and this was also, in effect, a public apology for the Christian religion. Any such seemingly direct collision of duties must be at the very lightest a most serious and difficult matter; and though the burden of deciding falls ultimately on the individual, still he must be careful to remember that his particular judgment is subject to that fallibility to which, all individual judgments are liable. The order of magistracy is of God; it is of his ordination and appointment, and of his ordering, disposing, and fixing in its proper bounds and limits. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond-slaves of God. At first glance, Romans 13:1-7 may seem to be out of context. "Let every soul"-"The thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, according to J.W. Let us never forget that it is the Lord Most High Who remains ruler over the realm of mankind... and He uses each one to forward His perfect purpose and plan. Instead, let God take care of it. Paul's instruction to, "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers", can often be resisted by those who recognise the problems and corruption that is often lurking in the corridors of power, but even in those difficult times, we must never forget that, "there is no power except that which comes from God and the powers that are, are ordained by God." And it is observable, that the apostle speaks of powers, and not persons, at least, not of persons, but under the name of powers, to show that he means not this, or the other particular prince or magistrate, but the thing itself, the office and dignity of magistracy itself; for there may be some persons, who may of themselves usurp this office, or exercise it in a very illegal way, who are not of God, nor to be subject to by men. The emphasis of this sentence seems to lie in the word ordained; power and civil authority is not simply from God, as all other things are, but it is ordained by him. In the first verse of the foregoing chapter the body was put for the whole man; here, the soul; and when he says every person, it is plain that ecclesiastical persons are not exempted. Yet it contemplated the rearing of a kingdom amid other kingdoms, an empire amid other empires. We must always remember that the power of every government, whether good or ill, is delegated authority from heaven, and the Lord will often use the effectual fervent prayers of His committed saints to accomplish His plans and purposes, through the good or evil choices of human rule. The powers that be are ordained of God: this passage is an exemplification of the former. Sometimes we can be tempted to wonder if God has lost the plot, as we see evil men triumphing, while the children of God are in the midst of distress, and we wonder if Satan is winning. That which hath God for its author, is to be acknowledged and submitted to; but magistracy hath God for its author: ergo. 2. This is equally true at all times, that the powers that exist, exist by the permission and providence of God. And he who would assert the existence of such an exception must count the cost well beforehand. We live in a generation in which public opinion of those in political leadership is probably at an all time low. Unto the higher powers: though he speaks of things, he means persons; and he calls them rulers in Romans 13:3, whom he calls powers in this verse. This passage has been used to tell people they always have to obey the government. The laws were made by pagans, and were adapted to the prevalence of paganism. The state has its authority from divine establishment, 1:1b. (3) many of the early Christians were composed of Jewish converts. As Christians, therefore, are to be subject to God, so they are to honor "God" by honoring the arrangement which he has instituted for the government of mankind. See on set under authority, Luke 7:8. Romans 13:1–7 describes the responsibility for Christians to live in submission to the human authorities in government. He wished to purify and to spiritualise their conception of the “Kingdom of Heaven,” which He came to found. Since Paul was addressing the saints at Rome, it is logical that he would instruct them to submit to those who look after their souls. They would naturally look with abhorrence on the system of idolatry which they had just forsaken. There are those that object, often justifiably, to Paul's clear directive to be subject to the ruling authorities and higher powers, both in secular governments and the hierarchy of the church, but the apostle Peter clearly emphasises this teaching in his first epistle, "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. It may be said to be more distinctly and peculiarly derived from Him than other parts of the order of nature, inasmuch as it is the channel used to convey His moral approbation, or the reverse. Chapter 13 builds an interesting transition to Paul’s instructions. Higher powers (ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις). (B)The authorities that exist have been established by God. The duty of obedience is grounded upon the fact that the power wielded by the magistrate is derived from God, and that duty itself is stated without qualification. Romans 13:1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the {powers} that be are ordained of God. But the question of political obedience cannot be rightly considered without taking into account the relation of Christianity to political life generally, neither can this isolated passage in an Epistle of St. Paul’s be considered apart from other teaching upon the same subjects in the rest of the New Testament. When He was arrested by the civil power, and unjustly tried and condemned, our Lord made no resistance. Lit., authorities which have themselves over. What are we to understand by this? Generally speaking, human government serves to rein in and punish those who do evil. *The correct ex-pression is “the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” Revelation 19:6. This clause is attested and illustrated by Proverbs 8:15 Daniel 4:32 John 19:11. Many of the monarchs were blood-stained warriors; were unprincipled men; and were polluted in their private, and oppressive in their public character. The several forms of government are of human will and pleasure; but government itself is an order of God. Rather, he was establishing the principle that we should all be subject to the higher powers, in spite of their faults and failings, because there is no authority except that which God Himself has permitted, and the powers that exist do so by God's sovereign appointment. Whether Christians were to acknowledge the laws of such kingdoms and of such men, was a serious question, and one which could not but occur very early. Romans 13:1-7 doesn’t give license to participate or support earthly governments by using the same methods that these governments do. Jesus had every right to rebel. Now that is a powerful verse. "Romans 13:1-6 Subjection to magistrates enforced.Romans 13:7 We must render to all their dues,Romans 13:8-10 only love is a debt we must always owe, and virtuallycontaineth the whole law.Romans 13:11-14 Rioting, drunkenness, and other works of darknessmust be put away, as much out of season under the gospel. 3. See on Mark 2:10; see on John 1:12. Are there times when a Christian should disobey government? They say (x), that, "no man is made a governor below, except they proclaim him above;''. They refused to avail themselves of the elements of fanaticism which existed wherever there were Jews, and at the head of which they might easily have placed themselves. But here is the rub: Romans […] It certainly doesn’t show obligation of the Christian to “protect their country” as many have taught. The word denotes that kind of submission which soldiers render to their officers. Whatever the circumstances of your life or the decisions made in the global corridors of earthly rule, God is firmly and eternally in control, both of your life and over the governments of the world, and He has scheduled a time when He will put all principalities and powers under His feet. Verse 1 reads, "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. be subject unto the higher powers—or, "submit himself to the authorities that are above him.". The powers that be are ordained of God. The passage at hand only makes sense within the overarching context of Romans 12:9-13:10. Instead of this, they chose to suffer and die, and their sufferings did what force could never have done—they leavened and Christianised the world. '', "Heresy cries, bring a sacrifice to the idol; "Civil Power" cries, bring money, and gifts, and revenues, and tribute to the king. In Romans 13, the first thing he says is, we are to submit to government. Although Paul undoubtedly changes topics at 13:1, the thematic links between 13:1-7 and 12:9-21 are difficult to ignore. No power - No office; no magistracy; no civil rule. He has just forbidden taking vengeance and advocated treating with kindness those who mistreat us. Daniel knew life as an exile. Romans 13:1 At the very least, Paul derived this from the example of Christ, who submitted to wicked and corrupt officials and authorities. But in the context, Paul is speaking about how believers are to live in love and to get along peaceably with all people. Chapter 12 concluded with Paul instructing Christians to not repay evil with evil. Here the individual conscience must assume the responsibility of deciding which to obey. We who are His children are also told to be of good cheer, for by His death and resurrection He has overcome the world, and although we will inevitably face difficulties and dangers in this fallen world, the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us - Praise His Holy Name. Devotional Questions – Romans 13:1-14 1. The whole pagan magistracy they regarded as founded in a system of idolatry; as opposed to God and his kingdom; and as abomination in his sight. From exhorting the believers at Rome to a life of entire devotedness to God, and the various duties of brotherly kindness, the apostle now proceeds to inculcate upon them that subjection and obedience which they owed to their civil rulers, and those duties of justice and benevolence which were due from them to all men. (5) there "were" cases where it was right to "resist" the laws. And yet as a general principle, the injunctions of the Apostle entirely hold good. For such is the will of God.. that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. (3) Another argument of great force: because God is author of this order: so that those who are rebels ought to know that they make war with God himself: and because of this they purchase for themselves great misery and calamity. Subject to the governing authorities: The connection between Romans 12 and Romans 13is clear. And there will be the further drawback, that in such cases the individual usually acts as judge in his own cause, where his conscience is pretty sure to be biased. Powers is not in the text, and is supplied from the preceding clause. But of God - By God's permission, or appointment; by the arrangements of his providence, by which those in office had obtained their power. We are to give unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasars and to God the things that are HIS and when we trust Him in every situation of life we will find that His grace is sufficient and that His power is perfected in our weakness. The principles for God’s empowerment of the state are found in Romans 13:1-5: Christians are to submit to the state, 1:1a. And no matter what righteous or ungodly decisions are made in the elected establishment or any unelected shadow administration, God remains in sovereign control, and will only permit men to achieve their objective, when it forwards His perfect plans and purposes in His redemptive programme.Â. Yet the Jews had long been under Roman oppression, and had borne the foreign yoke with great uneasiness. Says Mar Ukba, there are two daughters which cry out of hell, and say in this world, give, give, and they are heresy, "and the civil power". Same Subject Continued—Political and Social Relations—Motives. Romans 13:1-5 does not mean what the words say. Whatever the persons in authority over us themselves may be, yet the just … However difficult we find the circumstances of life, within our family unit, or our national boundaries, we must never forget that God uses the difficulties of life to hone and strengthen our faith, and to draw us into closer fellowship with and dependence on Him. Hence Bishop Butler feels himself justified in taking the principles which regulate civil society as an analogy for those which will regulate the ultimate divine disposition of things. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God." Higher powers.—Authorities, i.e., magistrates, the abstract for the concrete. And, since the certain natural course of things is the conduct of Providence or the government of God, though carried on by the instrumentality of men, the observation here made amounts to this, that mankind find themselves placed by Him in such circumstances as that they are unavoidably accountable for their behaviour, and are often punished and sometimes rewarded under His government in the view of their being mischievous or eminently beneficial to society.” In other words, the machinery of civil society is one of the chief and most conspicuous instruments by which God carries out His own moral government of mankind in this present existence. Romans 13:1-2New International Version (NIV) Submission to Governing Authorities 13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,for there is no authority except that which God has established. There are a number of reasons for this, including what appears to many as a \"crisis in character.\" In any event, this is, generally speaking, the situation. The higher powers - The magistracy; the supreme government. Romans 13 . It would seem as if by some intuitive perception the disciples entered into the intention of their Master. The New Testament alludes to the state in diverse ways. The powers that be.—Those that we see existing all around us. 3. Bible / Our Library / Bible Commentaries / Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete) / Romans / Romans 13; Share Tweet. To them, and to those that are authorized by them, we must submit, for that is all one as if we did it to themselves, 1 Timothy 2:2 1 Peter 2:14. There may be men in power who assume it of themselves, and are of themselves, and not of God; and others that abuse the power that is lodged in them; who, though they are by divine permission, yet not of God's approbation and good will. Erasmus thinks it was inserted by some interpreter, by way of explanation; but it is found in all ancient copies, therefore that conceit of his is without foundation. And going back to the fountain-head of Christian doctrine, we find, indeed, no express statements, but several significant facts and some important intimations. It might be that those in power had not a proper title to their office; that they had secured it, not according to justice, but by oppression; but into that question Christians were not to enter. In the first place it should be noticed that though the duty of obedience is here stated without qualification, still the existence of qualifications to it is not therefore denied or excluded. (b) Be distributed: for some are greater, some smaller. When the didrachma was demanded of Him, which it was customary for the Jew to pay towards the repair and maintenance of the Temple, He, though as Lord of the Temple He claimed exemption, nevertheless, for fear of putting a stumbling-block in the way of others, supplied the sum required by a miracle. So in Luke 12:11, Christ tells his disciples, they should be brought before magistrates and powers; it is the same word, and it is plain he means persons in power. So far as His practice was concerned, our Lord pursued a course of simple obedience; into the theory of political or civil obligation He absolutely refused to enter.