Romans 13:4
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.

New King James Version
For he is God’s minister 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 minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him 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.

Christian Standard Bible
For it 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 it is God's servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.

Contemporary English Version
After all, they are God's servants, and it is their duty to help you. If you do something wrong, you ought to be afraid, because these rulers have the right to punish you. They are God's servants who punish criminals to show how angry God is.

Good News Translation
because they are God's servants working for your own good. But if you do evil, then be afraid of them, because their power to punish is real. They are God's servants and carry out God's punishment on those who do 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.

New Heart 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 does not bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil.

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.…
Cross References
1 Thessalonians 4:6
and no one should ever violate or exploit 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 those who do wrong and to praise those who do right.

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 ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

1 Kings 10:9
Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.

2 Chronicles 19:6
And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment.

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: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul…

revenger.

Romans 12:19
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

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

Joshua 20:5,9
And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime…







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

he is
ἐστιν (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.

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

servant
διάκονός (diakonos)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 1249: Probably from an obsolete diako; an attendant, i.e. a waiter; specially, a Christian teacher and pastor.

for
εἰς (eis)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 1519: A primary preposition; to or into, of place, time, or purpose; also in adverbial phrases.

your
σοὶ (soi)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Dative 2nd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 4771: You. The person pronoun of the second person singular; thou.

good.
ἀγαθόν (agathon)
Adjective - Accusative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 18: A primary word; 'good'.

But
δὲ (de)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 1161: A primary particle; but, and, etc.

if
ἐὰν (ean)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 1437: If. From ei and an; a conditional particle; in case that, provided, etc.

you do
ποιῇς (poiēs)
Verb - Present Subjunctive Active - 2nd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 4160: (a) I make, manufacture, construct, (b) I do, act, cause. Apparently a prolonged form of an obsolete primary; to make or do.

wrong,
κακὸν (kakon)
Adjective - Accusative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 2556: Bad, evil, in the widest sense. Apparently a primary word; worthless, i.e. depraved, or injurious.

be afraid,
φοβοῦ (phobou)
Verb - Present Imperative Middle or Passive - 2nd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 5399: From phobos; to frighten, i.e. to be alarmed; by analogy, to be in awe of, i.e. Revere.

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

he does not carry
φορεῖ (phorei)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 5409: To carry, wear, bear constantly. From phoros; to have a burden, i.e. to wear as clothing or a constant accompaniment.

the
τὴν (tēn)
Article - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

sword
μάχαιραν (machairan)
Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 3162: A sword. Probably feminine of a presumed derivative of mache; a knife, i.e. Dirk; figuratively, war, judicial punishment.

in vain.
εἰκῇ (eikē)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 1500: Without a cause, purpose; purposelessly, in vain, for nothing. Probably from eiko; idly, i.e. Without reason.

He is
ἐστιν (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.

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

servant,
διάκονός (diakonos)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 1249: Probably from an obsolete diako; an attendant, i.e. a waiter; specially, a Christian teacher and pastor.

an agent
ἔκδικος (ekdikos)
Adjective - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 1558: From ek and dike; carrying justice out, i.e. A punisher.

of
εἰς (eis)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 1519: A primary preposition; to or into, of place, time, or purpose; also in adverbial phrases.

retribution
ὀργὴν (orgēn)
Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 3709: From oregomai; properly, desire, i.e., violent passion (justifiable) abhorrence); by implication punishment.

to the
τῷ (tō)
Article - Dative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

wrongdoer.
κακὸν (kakon)
Adjective - Accusative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 2556: Bad, evil, in the widest sense. Apparently a primary word; worthless, i.e. depraved, or injurious.
(4) The sword.--Not apparently the dagger worn by the Roman emperors, but, in a strict sense, "the sword." "To bear the sword" seems to be a recognised Greek phrase to express the power of the magistrates. It was carried before them in processions, and on other important occasions.

It is clear from this passage that capital punishment is sanctioned by Scripture. At the same time its abolition is not excluded, as the abolition of slavery was not excluded, if the gradual development of Christian principle should seem to demand it. Whether or not capital punishment ought to be abolished, is a question for jurists, publicists, and statesmen. The theologian, as such, has no decision to give either way.

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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