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  • PARALLEL BIBLE - Romans 13:1


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    King James Bible - Romans 13:1

    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.

    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.

    Douay-Rheims - Romans 13:1

    LET every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no
    power but from God: and those that are, 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.

    Greek Textus Receptus


    πασα
    3956 A-NSF ψυχη 5590 N-NSF εξουσιαις 1849 N-DPF υπερεχουσαις 5242 5723 V-PAP-DPF υποτασσεσθω 5293 5732 V-PMM-3S ου 3756 PRT-N γαρ 1063 CONJ εστιν 2076 5748 V-PXI-3S εξουσια 1849 N-NSF ει 1487 COND μη 3361 PRT-N απο 575 PREP θεου 2316 N-GSM αι 3588 T-NPF δε 1161 CONJ ουσαι 5607 5752 V-PXP-NPF εξουσιαι 1849 N-NPF υπο 5259 PREP του 3588 T-GSM θεου 2316 N-GSM τεταγμεναι 5021 5772 V-RPP-NPF εισιν 1526 5748 V-PXI-3P

    Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge

    VERSE (1) -
    De 17:12 Eph 5:21 Tit 3:1 1Pe 2:13-17 2Pe 2:10,11 Jude 1:8

    SEV Biblia, Chapter 13:1

    ¶ Toda alma se someta a las potestades superiores; porque no hay potestad sino de Dios; y las que son, de Dios son ordenadas.

    Clarke's Bible Commentary - Romans 13:1

    Verse 1. Let every
    soul be subject unto the higher powers.] This is a very strong saying, and most solemnly introduced; and we must consider the apostle as speaking, not from his own private judgment, or teaching a doctrine of present expediency, but declaring the mind of God on a subject of the utmost importance to the peace of the world; a doctrine which does not exclusively belong to any class of people, order of the community, or official situations, but to every soul; and, on the principles which the apostle lays down, to every soul in all possible varieties of situation, and on all occasions. And what is this solemn doctrine? It is this: Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. Let every man be obedient to the civil government under which the providence of God has cast his lot.

    For there is no power but of God] As God is the origin of power, and the supreme Governor of the universe, he delegates authority to whomsoever he will; and though in many cases the governor himself may not be of God, yet civil government is of him; for without this there could be no society, no security, no private property; all would be confusion and anarchy, and the habitable world would soon be depopulated. In ancient times, God, in an especial manner, on many occasions appointed the individual who was to govern; and he accordingly governed by a Divine right, as in the case of Moses, Joshua, the Hebrew judges, and several of the Israelitish kings. In after times, and to the present day, he does that by a general superintending providence which he did before by especial designation. In all nations of the earth there is what may be called a constitution-a plan by which a particular country or state is governed; and this constitution is less or more calculated to promote the interests of the community. The civil governor, whether he be elective or hereditary, agrees to govern according to that constitution. Thus we may consider that there is a compact and consent between the governor and the governed, and in such a case, the potentate may be considered as coming to the supreme authority in the direct way of God's providence; and as civil government is of God, who is the fountain of law, order, and regularity, the civil governor, who administers the laws of a state according to its constitution, is the minister of God. But it has been asked: If the ruler be an immoral or profligate man, does he not prove himself thereby to be unworthy of his high office, and should he not be deposed? I answer, No: if he rule according to the constitution, nothing can justify rebellion against his authority. He may be irregular in his own private life; he may be an immoral man, and disgrace himself by an improper conduct: but if he rule according to the law; if he make no attempt to change the constitution, nor break the compact between him and the people; there is, therefore, no legal ground of opposition to his civil authority, and every act against him is not only rebellion in the worst sense of the word, but is unlawful and absolutely sinful.

    Nothing can justify the opposition of the subjects to the ruler but overt attempts on his part to change the constitution, or to rule contrary to law.

    When the ruler acts thus he dissolves the compact between him and his people; his authority is no longer binding, because illegal; and it is illegal because he is acting contrary to the laws of that constitution, according to which, on being raised to the supreme power, he promised to govern. This conduct justifies opposition to his government; but I contend that no personal misconduct in the ruler, no immorality in his own life, while he governs according to law, can justify either rebellion against him or contempt of his authority. For his political conduct he is accountable to his people; for his moral conduct he is accountable to God, his conscience, and the ministers of religion. A king may be a good moral man, and yet a weak, and indeed a bad and dangerous prince. He may be a bad man, and stained with vice in his private life, and yet be a good prince. SAUL was a good moral man, but a bad prince, because he endeavoured to act contrary to the Israelitish constitution: he changed some essential parts of that constitution, as I have elsewhere shown; (see the note on Acts xiii. 22;) he was therefore lawfully deposed. James the Second was a good moral man, as far as I can learn, but he was a bad and dangerous prince; he endeavoured to alter, and essentially change the British constitution, both in Church and state, therefore he was lawfully deposed. It would be easy, in running over the list of our own kings, to point out several who were deservedly reputed good kings, who in their private life were very immoral. Bad as they might be in private life, the constitution was in their hands ever considered a sacred deposit, and they faithfully preserved it, and transmitted it unimpaired to their successors; and took care while they held the reins of government to have it impartially and effectually administered.

    It must be allowed, notwithstanding, that when a prince, howsoever heedful to the laws, is unrighteous in private life, his example is contagious; morality, banished from the throne, is discountenanced by the community; and happiness is diminished in proportion to the increase of vice. On the other hand, when a king governs according to the constitution of his realms and has his heart and life governed by the laws of his God, he is then a double blessing to his people; while he is ruling carefully according to the laws, his pious example is a great means of extending and confirming the reign of pure morality among his subjects. Vice is discredited from the throne, and the profligate dare not hope for a place of trust and confidence, (however in other respects he may be qualified for it,) because he is a vicious man.

    As I have already mentioned some potentates by name, as apt examples of the doctrines I have been laying down, my readers will naturally expect that, on so fair an opportunity, I should introduce another; one in whom the double blessing meets; one who, through an unusually protracted reign, during every year of which he most conscientiously watched over the sacred constitution committed to his care, not only did not impair this constitution, but took care that its wholesome laws should be properly administered, and who in every respect acted as the father of his people, and added to all this the most exemplary moral conduct perhaps ever exhibited by a prince, whether in ancient or modern times; not only tacitly discountenancing vice by his truly religious conduct, but by his frequent proclamations most solemnly forbidding Sabbath-breaking, profane swearing, and immorality in general. More might be justly said, but when I have mentioned all these things, (and I mention them with exultation; and with gratitude to God,) I need scarcely add the venerable name of GEORGE the Third, king of Great Britain; as every reader will at once perceive that the description suits no potentate besides. I may just observe, that notwithstanding his long reign has been a reign of unparalleled troubles and commotions in the world, in which his empire has always been involved, yet, never did useful arts, ennobling sciences, and pure religion gain a more decided and general ascendancy: and much of this, under God, is owing to the manner in which this king has lived, and the encouragement he invariably gave to whatever had a tendency to promote the best interests of his people. Indeed it has been well observed, that, under the ruling providence of God, it was chiefly owing to the private and personal virtues of the sovereign that the house of Brunswick remained firmly seated on the throne amidst the storms arising from democratical agitations and revolutionary convulsions in Europe during the years 1792-1794. The stability of his throne amidst these dangers and distresses may prove a useful lesson to his successors, and show them the strength of a virtuous character, and that morality and religion form the best bulwark against those great evils to which all human governments are exposed. This small tribute of praise to the character and conduct of the British king, and gratitude to God for such a governor, will not be suspected of sinister motive; as the object of it is, by an inscrutable providence, placed in a situation to which neither envy, flattery, nor even just praise can approach, and where the majesty of the man is placed in the most awful yet respectable ruins. I have only one abatement to make: had this potentate been as adverse from WAR as he was from public and private vices, he would have been the most immaculate sovereign that ever held a scepter or wore a crown.

    But to resume the subject, and conclude the argument: I wish particularly to show the utter unlawfulness of rebellion against a ruler, who, though he may be incorrect in his moral conduct, yet rules according to the laws; and the additional blessing of having a prince, who, while his political conduct is regulated by the principles of the constitution, has his heart and life regulated by the dictates of eternal truth, as contained in that revelation which came from God.


    John Gill's Bible Commentary

    Ver. 1. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers , etc..] The apostle having finished his exhortations to this church, in relation to the several duties incumbent upon both officers and private Christians, as members of a church, and with reference to each other, and their moral conduct in the world; proceeds to advise, direct, and exhort them to such duties as were relative to them as members of a civil society; the former chapter contains his Christian Ethics, and this his Christian Politics. There was the greater reason to insist upon the latter, as well as on the former, since the primitive saints greatly lay under the imputation of being seditious persons and enemies to the commonwealth; which might arise from a very great number of them being Jews, who scrupled subjection to the Heathen magistrates, because they were the seed of Abraham, and by a law were not to set one as king over them, that was a stranger, and not their own brother, and very unwillingly bore the Roman yoke, and paid tribute to Caesar: hence the Christians in common were suspected to be of the same principles; and of all the Jews none were more averse to the payment of taxes to the Roman magistrates than the Galilaeans; (see Acts 5:37 Luke 13:1). And this being the name by which Christ and his followers were commonly called, might serve to strengthen the above suspicion of them, and charge against them. Moreover, some Christians might be tempted to think that they should not be subject to Heathen magistrates; since they were generally wicked men, and violent persecutors of them; and that it was one branch of their Christian liberty to be freed from subjection to them: and certain it is, that there were a set of loose and licentious persons, who bore the name of Christians, that despised dominion, and spoke evil of dignities; wherefore the apostle judged it advisable especially to exhort the church of Rome, and the members who dwelt there, where was the seat of power and civil government, so to behave towards their superiors, that they might set a good example to the Christians in the several parts of the empire, and wipe off the aspersion that was cast upon them, as if they were enemies to magistracy and civil power. By the higher powers, he means not angels, sometimes called principalities and powers; for unto these God hath not put in subjection his people under the Gospel dispensation; nor ecclesiastical officers, or those who are in church power and authority; for they do not bear the temporal sword, nor have any power to inflict corporeal punishment: but civil magistrates are intended, (see Titus 3:1); and these not only supreme magistrates, as emperors and kings, but all inferior and subordinate ones, acting in commission under them, as appears from ( 1 Peter 2:13,14), which are called powers, because they are invested with power and authority over others, and have a right to exercise it in a proper way, and in proper cases; and the higher or super eminent ones, because they are set in high places, and have superior dignity and authority to others. The persons that are to be subject to them are every soul; not that the souls of men, distinct from their bodies, are under subjection to civil magistrates; for of all things they have the least to do with them, their power and jurisdiction not reaching to the souls, the hearts, and consciences of men, especially in matters of religion, but chiefly to their bodies, and outward civil concerns of life: but the meaning is, that every man that has a soul, every rational creature, ought to be subject to civil government. This is but his reasonable service, and which he should from his heart, and with all his soul, cheerfully perform. In short, the sense is, that every man should be subject: this is an Hebraism, a common way of speaking among the Jews, who sometimes denominate men from one part, and sometimes from another; sometimes from the body or flesh, thus all flesh is grass, ( Isaiah 40:6), that is, all men are frail; and sometimes front the soul, all souls are mine, ( Ezekiel 18:4), all belong to me; as here, every soul, that is, every man, all the individuals of mankind, of whatsoever sex, age, state, or condition, ecclesiastics not excepted: the pope, and his clergy, are not exempted from civil jurisdiction; nor any of the true ministers of the Gospel; the priests under the law were under the civil government; and so was Christ himself, and his apostles, who paid tribute to Caesar; yea, even Peter particularly, whose successor the pope of Rome pretends to be. Subjection to the civil magistrates designs and includes all duties relative to them; such as showing them respect, honour, and reverence suitable to their stations; speaking well of them, and their administration; using them with candour, not bearing hard upon them for little matters, and allowing for ignorance of the secret springs of many of their actions and conduct, which if known might greatly justify them; wishing well to them, and praying constantly, earnestly, and heartily for them; observing their laws and injunctions; obeying their lawful commands, which do not contradict the laws of God, nature, and right reason; and paying them their just dues and lawful tribute, to support them in their office and dignity: for there is no power but of God ; God is the fountain of all power and authority; the streams of power among creatures flow from him; the power that man has over all the creatures, the fowls of the air, the beasts of the field, and the fishes of the sea, is originally of God, and by a grant from him; the lesser powers, and the exercises of them, in the various relations men stand in to one another, are of God, as the power the husband has over the wife, parents over their children, and masters over their servants; and so the higher power that princes have over their subjects: for it is the God of heaven that sets up kings, as well as pulls them down; he is the King of kings, from whom they derive their power and authority, from whom they have the right of government, and all the qualifications for it; it is by him that kings reign, and princes decree justice. The powers that be are ordained of God . The order of magistracy is of God; it is of his ordination and appointment, and of his ordering, disposing, and fixing in its proper bounds and limits. The several forms of government are of human will and pleasure; but government itself is an order of God.

    There may be men in power who assume it of themselves, and are of themselves, and not of God; and others that abuse the power that is lodged in them; who, though they are by divine permission, yet not of God's approbation and good will. And it is observable, that the apostle speaks of powers, and not persons, at least, not of persons, but under the name of powers, to show that he means not this, or the other particular prince or magistrate, but the thing itself, the office and dignity of magistracy itself; for there may be some persons, who may of themselves usurp this office, or exercise it in a very illegal way, who are not of God, nor to be subject to by men. The apostle here both uses the language, and speaks the sentiments of his countrymen the Jews, who are wont to call magistrates, powers; hence those sayings were used among them; says Shemaiah f235 , twrl [dwtt la , be not too familiar with the power. that is, with a magistrate, which oftentimes is dangerous. Again, says Rabban Gamaliel, twrb yryhz wyh , take heed of the power (i.e. of magistrates), for they do not suffer a man to come near them, but in necessity, and then they appear as friends for their own advantage, but will not stand by a man in the time of distress.

    Moreover, after this manner they explain ( Proverbs 5:8), remove thy way far from her, this is heresy; and come not nigh the door of her house, twrh wz , this is the power. The gloss on it is, magistrates, because they set their eyes upon rich men to kill them, and take away their substance.

    And a little after it is observed, the horse leech hath two daughters, crying, give, give, ( Proverbs 30:15): it is asked, what is the meaning of give, give?

    Says Mar Ukba, there are two daughters which cry out of hell, and say in this world, give, give, and they are heresy, twrhw , and the civil power.

    The gloss on this place is, Heresy cries, bring a sacrifice to the idol; Civil Power cries, bring money, and gifts, and revenues, and tribute to the king.

    Nevertheless, they look upon civil government to be of divine appointment.

    They say f238 , that no man is made a governor below, except they proclaim him above; i.e. unless he is ordained of God: yea, they allow the Roman empire to be of God, than which no government was more disagreeable to them. When R. Jose ben Kisma was sick, R. Chanina ben Tradion went to visit him; he said unto him, Chanina, my brother, my brother, knowest thou not that this nation, (the Romans) hwkylmh ymh m , have received their empire from God? for it hath laid waste his house, and hath burnt his temple, and has slain his saints, and destroyed his good men, and yet it endures.

    Nay, they frequently affirm f240 , that the meanest office of power among men was of divine appointment. This is the apostle's first argument for subjection to the civil magistrate.


    Matthew Henry Commentary

    Verses 1-7 - The grace of the gospel teaches us submission and quiet, where prid 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 genera course of human affairs, rulers are not a terror to honest, quiet, an good subjects, but to evil-doers. Such is the power of sin an 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 direct 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, in rebellion against the express command of God. Thus honest neighbour 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.


    Greek Textus Receptus


    πασα
    3956 A-NSF ψυχη 5590 N-NSF εξουσιαις 1849 N-DPF υπερεχουσαις 5242 5723 V-PAP-DPF υποτασσεσθω 5293 5732 V-PMM-3S ου 3756 PRT-N γαρ 1063 CONJ εστιν 2076 5748 V-PXI-3S εξουσια 1849 N-NSF ει 1487 COND μη 3361 PRT-N απο 575 PREP θεου 2316 N-GSM αι 3588 T-NPF δε 1161 CONJ ουσαι 5607 5752 V-PXP-NPF εξουσιαι 1849 N-NPF υπο 5259 PREP του 3588 T-GSM θεου 2316 N-GSM τεταγμεναι 5021 5772 V-RPP-NPF εισιν 1526 5748 V-PXI-3P

    Vincent's NT Word Studies

    1. Every
    soul. Every man. See on ch. xi. 3.

    Higher powers (exousiaiv uperecousaiv). Lit., authorities which have themselves over. See on Mark ii. 10; John i. 12.

    The powers that be (ai de ousai). Lit., the existing. Powers is not in the text, and is supplied from the preceding clause.

    Are ordained (tetagmenai eisin). Perfect tense: Have been ordained, and the ordinance remains in force. See on set under authority, Luke vii. 8.


    Robertson's NT Word Studies

    13:1 {Every soul} (pasa yuce). As in #2:9; Ac 2:43. A Hebraism for pas anqrwpos (every man). {To the higher powers} (exousiais huperecousais). Abstract for concrete. See #Mr 2:10 for exousia. huperecw is an old verb to have or hold over, to be above or supreme, as in #1Pe 2:13. {Except by God} (ei me hupo qeou). So the best MSS. rather than apo qeou (from God). God is the author of order, not anarchy. {The powers that be} (hai ousai). "The existing authorities" (supply exousiai). Art ordained (tetagmenai eisin). Periphrastic perfect passive indicative of tassw, "stand ordained by God." Paul is not arguing for the divine right of kings or for any special form of government, but for government and order. Nor does he oppose here revolution for a change of government, but he does oppose all lawlessness and disorder.


    CHAPTERS: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
    VERSES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

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