Romans 13 English Standard Version (ESV)

Submission to the Authorities

1¬†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.¬†2¬†Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.¬†3¬†For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you¬†will receive his approval,¬†4¬†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.5¬†Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also¬†for the sake of conscience.¬†6¬†For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.7¬†Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Fulfilling the Law Through Love

8¬†Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for¬†the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.¬†9¬†For the commandments,¬†‚ÄúYou shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,‚ÄĚ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word:¬†‚ÄúYou shall love your neighbor as yourself.‚Ä̬†10¬†Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore¬†love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.


Romans 13 is a short chapter. Yet I can already see how it could be abused by any self-appointed authority if not understood correctly. Nevertheless the lesson is about putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, make no provision for the flesh. For without Christ, I can be self-centered and all about living for the moment. But to love your neighbor as yourself is quite a strong commandment. For the rebellious heart will say “who is my neighbor that I’ve to be neighborly to?”. So yeah. The longest journey is between the mind and heart.