Romans 13:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.

New Living Translation
For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you.

English Standard Version
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,

Berean Study Bible
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the one in authority? Then do what is right, and you will have his approval.

Berean Literal Bible
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Now do you desire not to fear the authority? Do the good, and you will have praise from him.

New American Standard Bible
For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;

King James Bible
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval.

International Standard Version
For the authorities are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you like to live without being afraid of the authorities? Then do what is right, and you will receive their approval.

NET Bible
(for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation,

New Heart English Bible
For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For judges are not a fear to the good doer, but to the wicked. Do you wish, therefore, to be unafraid of the authority? Do good, and you shall have praise from him.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
People who do what is right don't have to be afraid of the government. But people who do what is wrong should be afraid of it. Would you like to live without being afraid of the government? Do what is right, and it will praise you.

New American Standard 1977
For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same;

Jubilee Bible 2000
For the magistrates are not a terror unto those who do good, but to the doer of evil. Is thy desire therefore to not fear the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same;

King James 2000 Bible
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same:

American King James Version
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same:

American Standard Version
For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. And wouldest thou have no fear of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise from the same:

Douay-Rheims Bible
For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same.

Darby Bible Translation
For rulers are not a terror to a good work, but to an evil [one]. Dost thou desire then not to be afraid of the authority? practise [what is] good, and thou shalt have praise from it;

English Revised Version
For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. And wouldest thou have no fear of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise from the same:

Webster's Bible Translation
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power; do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise from the same:

Weymouth New Testament
For judges and magistrates are to be feared not by right-doers but by wrong-doers. You desire--do you not? --to have no reason to fear your ruler. Well, do the thing that is right, and then he will commend you.

World English Bible
For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same,

Young's Literal Translation
For those ruling are not a terror to the good works, but to the evil; and dost thou wish not to be afraid of the authority? that which is good be doing, and thou shalt have praise from it,
Study Bible
Submission to Authorities
2Consequently, the one who resists authority is opposing what God has set in place, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the one in authority? Then do what is right, and you will have his approval. 4For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not carry the sword in vain. He is God’s servant, an agent of retribution to the wrongdoer.…
Cross References
Romans 13:2
Consequently, the one who resists authority is opposing what God has set in place, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

1 Peter 2:14
or to governors as those sent by him to punish evildoers and praise well-doers.
Treasury of Scripture

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same:

rulers.

Romans 13:4 For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that …

Deuteronomy 25:1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come to judgment, …

Proverbs 14:35 The king's favor is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against …

Proverbs 20:2 The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoever provokes …

Ecclesiastes 10:4-6 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against you, leave not your place; …

Jeremiah 22:15-18 Shall you reign, because you close yourself in cedar? did not your …

Wilt.

1 Peter 2:13,14 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: …

1 Peter 3:13,14 And who is he that will harm you, if you be followers of that which is good…

(3) To good works.--Literally, to the good work, as if it were personified. Human law can only take account of that which is actually done, not of the intention.

In this and the following verse it is clearly the ideal aspect of the magistracy that the Apostle has in view. So Bishop Butler, in the paragraph next to that just quoted, continues: "If it be objected that good actions, and such as are beneficial to society, are often punished, as in the case of persecution and in other cases, and that ill and mischievous actions are often rewarded, it may be answered distinctly: first, that this is in no sort necessary, and consequently not natural, in the sense in which it is necessary and therefore natural, that ill or mischievous actions should be punished; and in the next place, that good actions are never punished considered as beneficial to society, nor ill actions rewarded under the view of their being hurtful to it. So that it stands good . . . that the Author of Nature has as truly directed that vicious actions, considered as mischievous to society, should be punished, and put mankind under a necessity of punishing them, as He has directed and necessitated us to preserve our lives by food." Occasional failures of justice on the part of the executive do not make the strict administration of justice any the less its proper duty and office.

For rulers are not a terror to good works,.... That is, to them that do good works in a civil sense; who behave well in the neighbourhoods, towns, cities, and countries where they dwell. The apostle seems to anticipate an objection made against governors, as if there was something very terrible and formidable in them; and which might be taken up from the last clause of the preceding verse; and which he removes by observing, that governors neither do, nor ought to inject terror into men that behave well, obey the laws, and keep a good decorum among their fellow subjects, not doing any injury to any man's person, property, and estate. The Jews (a) have a saying,

"that a governor that injects more fear into the people, than is for the honour of God, shall be punished, and shall not see his son a disciple of a wise man.''

But to the evil; to wicked men, who make no conscience of doing hurt to their fellow creatures, by abusing their persons, defrauding them of their substance, and by various illicit methods doing damage to them; to such, rulers are, and ought to be terrors; such are to be menaced, and threatened with inflicting upon them the penalty of the laws they break; and which ought to be inflicted on them by way of punishment to them, and for the terror of others. R. Chanina, the Sagan of the priests (b), used to say,

"pray for the peace of the kingdom, for if there was no "fear", (i.e. a magistrate to inject fear,) one man would devour another alive.''

Wilt thou not then be afraid of the power? of the civil magistrate, in power and authority, to oppose him, to refuse subjection to him, to break the laws, which, according to his office, he is to put in execution.

Do that which is good: in a civil sense, between man and man, by complying with the laws of the land, which are not contrary to the laws of God; for of doing good in a spiritual and religious sense he is no judge:

and thou shalt have praise of the same; shall be commended as a good neighbour, a good citizen, and a good commonwealth's man; an honest, quiet, peaceable man, that does not disturb the peace of civil society, but strengthens and increases it.

(a) T. Bab. Roshhashana, fol. 17. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 25. sect. 1.((b) Pirke Abot, c. 3. sect. 2.3, 4. For rulers are not a terror to good works—"to the good work," as the true reading appears to be

but to the evil.13:1-7 The grace of the gospel teaches us submission and quiet, where pride and the carnal mind only see causes for murmuring and discontent. Whatever the persons in authority over us themselves may be, yet the just power they have, must be submitted to and obeyed. In the general course of human affairs, rulers are not a terror to honest, quiet, and good subjects, but to evil-doers. Such is the power of sin and corruption, that many will be kept back from crimes only by the fear of punishment. Thou hast the benefit of the government, therefore do what thou canst to preserve it, and nothing to disturb it. This directs private persons to behave quietly and peaceably where God has set them, 1Ti 2:1,2. Christians must not use any trick or fraud. All smuggling, dealing in contraband goods, withholding or evading duties, is rebellion against the express command of God. Thus honest neighbours are robbed, who will have to pay the more; and the crimes of smugglers, and others who join with them, are abetted. It is painful that some professors of the gospel should countenance such dishonest practices. The lesson here taught it becomes all Christians to learn and practise, that the godly in the land will always be found the quiet and the peaceable in the land, whatever others are.
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