Romans 13:1
New International Version
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

New Living Translation
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.

English Standard Version
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Berean Study Bible
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God.

Berean Literal Bible
Let every soul be subject to the authorities being above him. For there is no authority except by God; but those existing are having been instituted by God.

New American Standard Bible
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.

King James Bible
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Christian Standard Bible
Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God.

Contemporary English Version
Obey the rulers who have authority over you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power.

Good News Translation
Everyone must obey state authorities, because no authority exists without God's permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.

International Standard Version
Every person must be subject to the governing authorities, for no authority exists except by God's permission. The existing authorities have been established by God,

NET Bible
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God's appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God.

New Heart English Bible
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are appointed by God.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Let every soul be subject to the authority of the great, for there is no authority that is not from the same God, and those authorities who are from God are under orders.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Every person should obey the government in power. No government would exist if it hadn't been established by God. The governments which exist have been put in place by God.

New American Standard 1977
Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Let every soul submit itself to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God, and the powers that be are ordained of God.

King James 2000 Bible
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

American King James Version
Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

American Standard Version
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.

Douay-Rheims Bible
LET every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God.

Darby Bible Translation
Let every soul be subject to the authorities that are above [him]. For there is no authority except from God; and those that exist are set up by God.

English Revised Version
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.

Webster's Bible Translation
Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but from God: the powers that are, are ordained by God.

Weymouth New Testament
Let every individual be obedient to those who rule over him; for no one is a ruler except by God's permission, and our present rulers have had their rank and power assigned to them by Him.

World English Bible
Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God.

Young's Literal Translation
Let every soul to the higher authorities be subject, for there is no authority except from God, and the authorities existing are appointed by God,
Study Bible
Submission to Authorities
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God. 2Consequently, the one who resists authority is opposing what God has set in place, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.…
Cross References
Proverbs 8:15
By me kings reign, and rulers enact just laws;

Proverbs 24:21
My son, fear the LORD and the king, and do not associate with the rebellious.

Daniel 2:21
He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and establishes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.

Daniel 4:17
This decision is the decree of the watchers, the verdict declared by the holy ones, so that the living will know that the Most High is ruler over the kingdom of mankind, and gives it to whom He wishes, setting over it the lowliest of men.'

John 19:11
Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed Me over to you is guilty of greater sin."

Acts 2:41
Those who embraced his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to the believers that day.

Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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 Timothy 2:2
for kings and all those in authority, so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity.

Titus 3:1
Remind the believers to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient and ready for every good work,

1 Peter 2:13
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to the king as the supreme authority,

Treasury of Scripture

Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

every.

Deuteronomy 17:12
And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.

Ephesians 5:21
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Titus 3:1
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

there.

1 Samuel 2:8
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them.

1 Chronicles 28:4,5
Howbeit the LORD God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel: …

Psalm 62:11
God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.

ordained.







Lexicon
Everyone
Πᾶσα (Pasa)
Adjective - Nominative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 3956: All, the whole, every kind of. Including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole.

must submit himself
ὑποτασσέσθω (hypotassesthō)
Verb - Present Imperative Passive - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 5293: From hupo and tasso; to subordinate; reflexively, to obey.

to the governing authorities,
ἐξουσίαις (exousiais)
Noun - Dative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 1849: From exesti; privilege, i.e. force, capacity, competency, freedom, or mastery, delegated influence.

for
γὰρ (gar)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 1063: For. A primary particle; properly, assigning a reason.

there is
ἔστιν (estin)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 1510: I am, exist. The first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist.

no
οὐ (ou)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 3756: No, not. Also ouk, and ouch a primary word; the absolute negative adverb; no or not.

authority
ἐξουσία (exousia)
Noun - Nominative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 1849: From exesti; privilege, i.e. force, capacity, competency, freedom, or mastery, delegated influence.

except
εἰ (ei)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 1487: If. A primary particle of conditionality; if, whether, that, etc.

[that which is from]
ὑπὸ (hypo)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 5259: A primary preposition; under, i.e. of place, or with verbs; of place (underneath) or where (below) or time (when).

God.
Θεοῦ (Theou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2316: A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.

[The authorities] that
αἱ (hai)
Article - Nominative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

exist
οὖσαι (ousai)
Verb - Present Participle Active - Nominative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 1510: I am, exist. The first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist.

have been appointed
τεταγμέναι (tetagmenai)
Verb - Perfect Participle Middle or Passive - Nominative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 5021: A prolonged form of a primary verb; to arrange in an orderly manner, i.e. Assign or dispose.

by
ὑπὸ (hypo)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 5259: A primary preposition; under, i.e. of place, or with verbs; of place (underneath) or where (below) or time (when).

God.
Θεοῦ (Theou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2316: A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.
XIII.

(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 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.

What are we to understand by this? Are we to say, for instance, that Hampden was wrong in refusing the payment of ship-money? 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?

1. 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. Tribute is to be paid to whom tribute is due. But this still leaves the question open, whether in any particular case tribute is rightfully due or not. There may possibly be a conflict of rights and duties, and the lower may have to yield to the higher. All that is alleged is that, prima facie, the magistrate can claim the obedience of the subject. 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. There will always be a certain debatable ground within which opposite duties will seem to clash, and where general principles are no longer of any avail. Here the individual conscience must assume the responsibility of deciding which to obey.

We are not called upon to enter into the casuistry of the subject. It may only be well to add one caution. 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. Where the precept is appealed to, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's," one man will say that the particular point in question comes under the first head, another that it comes under the second. 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. It is one thing to say that a conflict of duties may arise, and that the higher is to be obeyed. It is another thing to say that in a certain given case such conflict has arisen, and that the duty which commends itself to the individual is the higher of the two. Whatever the decision arrived at, it ought not to be made in a spirit of levity, nor ought it to be supposed that the dictum of the single conscience bears anything like the same validity as the universal principles of morals. 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. 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.

2. 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. Very similar language, it will be remembered, is found in 1Peter 2:13-17. And going back to the fountain-head of Christian doctrine, we find, indeed, no express statements, but several significant facts and some important intimations. When He was arrested by the civil power, and unjustly tried and condemned, our Lord made no resistance. Not only so, but when resistance was made on His behalf, He rebuked the disciple who had drawn the sword for Him. 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. On another occasion, when a question was asked as to the legitimacy of the Roman tribute, He replied in words already quoted, "Render to Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and to God the things which are God's." And, lastly, when appeal was made to Him to settle a disputed inheritance, He refused, saying to His petitioner, "Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?" Here we have really the key to the whole question. 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. The answer, "Render to Caesar," &c., left matters precisely as they stood, for the real question was, "What was Caesar's, and what was not?" The ambiguity of the reply was intended. It was practically a refusal to reply at all.

The significance of this comes out very strikingly when it is contrasted with the state of feeling and opinion current among the Jews at the same time. With them politics and religion were intimately blended. They carried into the former sphere the fanaticism natural to the latter. Their religious hopes took a political form. The dominion of the Messiah was to be not a spiritual, but a literal dominion, in which they, as a people, were to share.

Clearly, the relations which our Lord assumed towards politics had especial reference to this attitude of the Jews. He wished to disabuse His disciples once and for all of this fatal confusion of two spheres in themselves so distinct. He wished to purify and to spiritualise their conception of the "Kingdom of Heaven," which He came to found. And, lastly, He finally submitted to the civil power, as the instrument divinely employed to inflict upon Him those sufferings which were to be the cause of our redemption. Vicit patiendo.

It would seem as if by some intuitive perception the disciples entered into the intention of their Master. Towards the civil power they maintained an attitude of absolute submission. 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. 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.

3. It is an expression of this deliberate policy (if by that name it may be called) which we find in these first seven verses of Romans 13. At the same time, the Apostle may very well have had a special as well as a general object. The Church at Rome was largely composed of Jews, and these would naturally be imbued with the fanatical spirit of their countrymen. The very mention of the Messiah would tend to fan their smouldering passions into flame. The Apostle would be aware of this. His informants at Rome may have told him of excitement prevailing among the Jewish portion of the community. His experience in Palestine would tell him to what unscrupulous acts of violence this might lead. And he forestalls the danger by an authoritative and reasoned description of the attitude which the Christian ought to assume.

It does not necessarily follow that precisely the same attitude is incumbent upon the Christian now. 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. And yet as a general principle, the injunctions of the Apostle entirely hold good. The exceptions to this principle are few and far between. And he who would assert the existence of such an exception must count the cost well beforehand.

(1) Every soul.--A Hebraism for "every person," though at the same time here, as in Romans 2:9, there is a slight stress upon the fact that man is a conscious and intelligent being, capable of moral relations, and it is especially with reference to these relations that the phrase is used.

Higher powers.--Authorities, i.e., magistrates, the abstract for the concrete.

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. He is, however, evidently speaking of the magistracy in its abstract or ideal form. It is the magistrate qua magistrate, not qua just or unjust magistrate. 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. It discharges the same functions that God himself discharges, though in a lower scale and degree. 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. "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. 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. 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.

The powers that be.--Those that we see existing all around us.

Verses 1-8. - From admonitions to keep peace, if possible, with all men, whether or not within the Christian circle, and to act honourably and benevolently towards all, the apostle now passes to the duty of Christians towards the civil government and the laws of the country in which they lived. It is well known that the Jews were impatient of the Roman dominion, and that some held it to be unlawful, on religious grounds, to pay tribute to Caesar (Matthew 22:17). Insurrections against the government had consequently been frequent. There had been the notable one under Judas the Gaulonite of Gamala (called ὁ Γαλιλαῖος, Acts 5:37), who left followers behind him, called Gaulonites, and to whose tenets Josephus attributes all subsequent insurrections of the Jews ('Ant.,' 18:01. § 1). Recently one had broken out in Rome, which had caused Claudius to order the expulsion of all Jews from the city (Acts 17:2; cf. Suetonius, 'Claud.,' 25; Din Cassius, 60:6). The Christians, being regarded as a Jewish sect, and known for their acknowledgment of a Messiah and their refusal to comply with heathen usages, were not unnaturally confounded with such disturbers of the peace (cf. Acts 17:6, 7; Acts 21:37). It was, therefore, peculiarly needful that the Christian communities should be cautioned to disprove such accusations by showing themselves in all respects good, law-abiding subjects. They might easily be under a temptation to be otherwise. Feeling themselves already subjects of Christ's new kingdom, and regarding the second advent as probably near at hand, they might seem to themselves above the powers and institutions of the unbelieving world, which were so soon to pass away. St. Paul himself condemned resort to heathen tribunals in matters which Christians might settle among themselves (1 Corinthians 6:1, etc.); and many might go so far as to ignore the authority of such tribunals over the saints at all. Peter and John had at the first defied the authority even of the Sanhedrin in matters touching conscience (Acts 4:19); and many might be slow to distinguish between temporal and spiritual spheres of jurisdiction. St. Paul, therefore, lays down the rule that the civil government, in whatsoever hands it might be, was, no less than the Church, a Divine institution for the maintenance of order in the world, to be submitted to and obeyed by Christians within the whole sphere of its legitimate authority. He does not refer to cases in which it might become necessary to obey God rather than man: his purpose here does not call on him to do so; nor were the circumstances so far such as to bring such cases into prominence; for he was writing in the earlier part of Nero's reign, before any general persecution of Christians had begun. Nor does he touch on the question whether it may be right in some cases for subjects to resist usurped power or tyranny, or to take part in political revolutions, and even fight for freedom. Such a question was apart from his subject, which is the general duty of obedience to the law and government under which we are placed by Providence. This is the only passage in which he treats the subject at length and definitely. In a doctrinal and practical treatise like this Epistle, addressed as an apologia pro fide sua to the metropolis of the world and the seat of government, it was fitting that he should express clearly the attitude of the Church with regard to the civil order. But his teaching in other Epistles is in accordance with this; as where (1 Corinthians 7:21) he bids slaves acquiesce in the existing law of slavery, and (1 Timothy 2:1, etc.) he desires especially prayers to be made in behalf of kings and rulers. And he himself notably carried out his principles in this regard (cf. Acts 23:5; Acts 25:8-11). There is a closely similar passage in the First Epistle of St. Peter (1 Peter 2:12-18). Verse 1. - Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of (rather, from) God: the powers that be are ordained of God. It is of God's ordering that there should be human governments and human laws. Without them there could be no order, security, or progress among mankind. Imperfect as they may often be, and in some instances oppressive and unjust, still they exist for a purpose of good, and form part of the Divine order for the government of the world. In this sense all are from God, and ordained of God; and in submitting to them we are submitting to God. 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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