Romans 13:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
For the one in authority is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

New Living Translation
The authorities are God's servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God's servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.

English Standard Version
for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

Berean Study Bible
For 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.

Berean Literal Bible
For he is God's servant to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For He is God's servant, an avenger for wrath to the one doing evil.

New American Standard Bible
for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

King James Bible
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For government is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God's servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.

International Standard Version
For they are God's servants, working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for it is not without reason that they bear the sword. Indeed, they are God's servants to administer punishment to anyone who does wrong.

NET Bible
for it is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God's servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For he is the Minister of God to you for good. But if you have done evil, be afraid, for he does not wear the sword for nothing, for he is the Minister of God and a furious avenger to those who do evil.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The government is God's servant working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid. The government has the right to carry out the death sentence. It is God's servant, an avenger to execute God's anger on anyone who does what is wrong.

New American Standard 1977
for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.

Jubilee Bible 2000
for he is a minister of God for thy good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain, for he is a minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil.

King James 2000 Bible
For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil.

American King James Version
For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that does evil.

American Standard Version
for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For he is God's minister to thee, for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is God's minister: an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil.

Darby Bible Translation
for it is God's minister to thee for good. But if thou practisest evil, fear; for it bears not the sword in vain; for it is God's minister, an avenger for wrath to him that does evil.

English Revised Version
for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil.

Webster's Bible Translation
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou doest that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Weymouth New Testament
For he is God's servant for your benefit. But if you do what is wrong, be afraid. He does not wear the sword to no purpose: he is God's servant--an administrator to inflict punishment upon evil-doers.

World English Bible
for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn't bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil.

Young's Literal Translation
for of God it is a ministrant to thee for good; and if that which is evil thou mayest do, be fearing, for not in vain doth it bear the sword; for of God it is a ministrant, an avenger for wrath to him who is doing that which is evil.
Study Bible
Submission to Authorities
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. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to authority, not only to avoid punishment, but also as a matter of conscience.…
Word Study

For. A primary particle; properly, assigning a reason.

I am, exist. The first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist.

A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.

Probably from an obsolete diako; an attendant, i.e. a waiter; specially, a Christian teacher and pastor.

You. The person pronoun of the second person singular; thou.

A primary preposition; to or into, of place, time, or purpose; also in adverbial phrases.

A primary word; "good".

A primary particle; but, and, etc.

If. From ei and an; a conditional particle; in case that, provided, etc.

(a) I make, manufacture, construct, (b) I do, act, cause. Apparently a prolonged form of an obsolete primary; to make or do.

Bad, evil, in the widest sense. Apparently a primary word; worthless, i.e. depraved, or injurious.

From phobos; to frighten, i.e. to be alarmed; by analogy, to be in awe of, i.e. Revere.

For. A primary particle; properly, assigning a reason.

he does not bear
phorei (V-PIA-3S)
To carry, wear, bear constantly. From phoros; to have a burden, i.e. to wear as clothing or a constant accompaniment.

The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

A sword. Probably feminine of a presumed derivative of mache; a knife, i.e. Dirk; figuratively, war, judicial punishment.

in vain.
eikē (Adv)
Without a cause, purpose; purposelessly, in vain, for nothing. Probably from eiko; idly, i.e. Without reason.

For. A primary particle; properly, assigning a reason.

I am, exist. The first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist.

A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.

Probably from an obsolete diako; an attendant, i.e. a waiter; specially, a Christian teacher and pastor.

From ek and dike; carrying justice out, i.e. A punisher.

A primary preposition; to or into, of place, time, or purpose; also in adverbial phrases.

From oregomai; properly, desire, i.e., violent passion (justifiable) abhorrence); by implication punishment.

to the [one]
tō (Art-DMS)
The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

To do, perform, accomplish; be in any condition, i.e. I fare; I exact, require.

Bad, evil, in the widest sense. Apparently a primary word; worthless, i.e. depraved, or injurious.

Commentary
Matthew Henry Commentary
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.
Cross References
1 Thessalonians 4:6
and no one should ever exploit or take advantage of his brother in this regard, because the Lord will avenge all such acts, as we have already told you and solemnly warned you.

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

For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that does evil.

he is.

Romans 13:6 For for this cause pay you tribute also: for they are God's ministers, …

1 Kings 10:9 Blessed be the LORD your God, which delighted in you, to set you …

2 Chronicles 19:6 And said to the judges, Take heed what you do: for you judge not …

Psalm 82:2-4 How long will you judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah…

Proverbs 24:23,24 These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect …

Proverbs 31:8,9 Open your mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed …

Ecclesiastes 8:2-5 I counsel you to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard …

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the …

Jeremiah 5:28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yes, they overpass the deeds of the …

Ezekiel 22:27 Her princes in the middle thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, …

Micah 3:1-4,9 And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and you princes of …

be.

Proverbs 16:14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.

Proverbs 20:2,8,26 The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoever provokes …

revenger.

Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: …

Numbers 35:19-27 The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meets …

Joshua 20:5,9 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not …

Ezekiel 25:14 And I will lay my vengeance on Edom by the hand of my people Israel…

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