An Exposition of Romans 13:1-7

4378 WordsNov 28, 200518 Pages
AN EXPOSITION OF ROMANS 13:1-7 THE CHRISTIAN AND CIVIL AUTHORITIES INTRODUCTION This exposition is designed first to set out the Apostle Paul's teaching on the relationship between Christians and civil authorities, and then to examine its contemporary application for Christians using the clearest New Testament text, Romans 13:1-7. This passage contains general commands for both Christians and non-Christians. Paul reasons that obedience is required as civil authorities have been ordained by God (13:1b-2) and because civil rulers are responsible to maintain civic order (13:3-4). Two motivations for obedience are the avoidance of wrath and the maintenance of a good conscience (13:5). Finally, the obligations of obedience are discussed…show more content…
A few interpreters have argued that the one referred to here is, at least, partially a spiritual being. The main argument for this latter view is that elsewhere Paul uses the word "authorities" to describe angelic powers. There are four reasons that require the rejection of the spiritual beings' view. First, when Paul uses this word to refer to spiritual beings, he always combines it with the word "powers." That is not the case here. Second, other terms in this text that are parallel with "authorities" are not capable of this double meaning. They are called rulers in v. 3 and servants to whom taxes and tribute are due in v. 4. Throughout this passage, Paul uses terms that are taken from Greco-Roman government and administration, and there is no reason to think otherwise here. Third, nowhere does Paul speak of the redemption and conversion of these authorities. An appeal to Colossians 1:19-20 is tenuous since Jesus triumphs over them (Col 2:15), though they remain hostile (Eph 2:1-2). In view of 1 Corinthians 15:24 which tells of the destruction of all dominion, authority, and power at the return of Christ, it should be clear that, even if we give Colossians 1:19-20 the most general meaning possible, this reconciliation is yet future. Fourth, Paul never commands his readers to submit to such angelic beings. Quite the contrary, he counsels that believers should resist and oppose them. Thus, the "governing authorities" spoken of here are in reference to

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