The Scope of Romans 13

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By Jonathan Michael Jones. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Discussions of Romans 13 have arisen significantly considering the vast manifestations of executive orders that have been offered during the prevalence of COVID-19. I dare suggest that Romans 13, along with a few other passages and verses of Scripture, is one of the most misused scriptures in the entire biblical canon. Submission to authorities is vital to godliness; yet, the scope of Romans 13 is perhaps not what many understand. In the time Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, government was corrupt and even persecuted Christians. Paul, however, instructs believers to submit or be subject to the governing authorities. The Greek word for “be subject” is hupotasso, which literally means to place or rank under. The term implies an intentional effort. It is similar to what Paul commands believers in Philippians 2: to have the same mind as Christ Jesus, namely a mind of humility considering others better (Phil 2:5). These instructions do not mean that one certainly is less than another person but that Christians are to act as if that is the case, as Jesus did in his earthly ministry; no greater example of humility may be found except that of Christ Jesus. To be subject to the authorities then is to consider the governing bodies God ordained to be higher in rank. Understanding that being subject to the authorities is an explicit instruction given to God’s people, Romans 13 must be interpreted. Are Paul’s instructions part of a blanket command to blindly obey the governing authorities, or is the scope narrower? To answer this question, there are four primary elements to consider. I will examine these elements here and then determine the scope of Romans 13.

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