The Epistle of ROMANS

Chapter Thirteen


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.

Literal: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers or authorities. For there is no power (exousia) or authority but of God or of an act of God: and those that are in authority are ordained or ordered of God.

When you walk with God in the body of the church, God sets the order or arrangement of the leadership in the Body of Christ and we are to subject ourselves to those leaders who are in positions of authority.

2. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation [judgement].

Literal: Consequently, anyone who rebels against authority, sets oneself in opposition to the divine order and arrangement of God Almighty, and those who so resist will receive within themselves judgement, damnation, and punishment.

When you oppose God's set-up, order, and arrangement, you open doors to the enemy in your life. If this happens, you have no one to blame but yourself.

3. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

Literal: For rulers or leaders ordained by God are not a terror to godly works, but to the works of evil. Will you not then have respect for the authorities, that are ordained of God? Then, continue to do right and you will have their approval, for they are God's agents working for your good.

*** Before going any farther, certain figures of speech should be pointed out. In Verse one (1), the last sentence: "the powers that be are ordained of God" is the figure ‘AMPLICATION’ which is the 'Addition of conclusion by way of emphasis'.  This figure is used when a concluding sentence is added to increase the emphasis. In this verse, it is used to explain and augment the force of the previous enunciation.

In verse three (3) is the figure of speech ‘APOSTROPHE’ which is "A turning aside from the direct subject matter to address others."  It is a sudden breaking off in the course of speech, diverting it to some new person or thing. This figure is so called when the speaker turns away from the real auditory whom he is addressing, and speaks to an imaginary one. In verse three (3), the figure can be recognized by the use of the word 'thou' twice. Remember, God is marking important parts in His Word with these figures.

4. 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.

Literal: For these rulers are God's agents working for your good. But if you are doing wrong or evil, then you will have cause to fear them. For he (the ruler) bears not the sword in vain or for no purpose: for he is the minister or agent of God, a revenger executing right and justice and wrath to him that does evil, for retribution on the offender.

When a person speaks the Word and is an agent for God, he allows God to be able to work and get things done. His work is not in vain by any means and those that do evil will fear that leader.

5. Wherefore ye  must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

Literal: Therefore, the believer must be lovingly in reverence and subjection, not because you know you will be corrected by the Word, if not, but build the Word in your life as a habit pattern. Then you will need no correction.

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

7. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due;  custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

**** Explanatory Note: It has been our understanding that the CONTEXT of this chapter is talking about leadership  in the ministry. Although a number of sources refer to these two (2) verses as being in reference to either tax collectors or civil authority, we should know by now that the Bible interprets itself either 1) Right where it is written, 2) IN THE CONTEXT, or 3) Where it is used BEFORE (previous usage). In this situation, the CONTEXT of the chapter is speaking about the leadership in the Body of Christ. Once again, it is not speaking of tax collectors or civil law. However, for this reason, we will not offer a literal translation for verses 6 and 7, but we will let God's Word speak for itself and therefore avoid any private interpretation (guesswork).

8. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Literal: Owe no man anything and leave no claim outstanding against you, except that of mutual love: for he that loves his neighbor has satisfied every claim of the law.

9. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be  any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Literal: For the commandments: Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness (lie), Thou shalt not covet (lust); and any other commandment there may be, they are all summed up in the one commandment: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Leviticus 19: 18 -- Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am  the Lord.

10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Literal: Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

The whole law is made complete by love. The first part of this verse is the Figure Of Speech ‘TAPEINOSIS’ or ‘DEMEANING’. This is a lessening of a thing in order to increase it.  In this verse: "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor" means it refuses to work ill, and not only so, but it works good for his neighbor.  The love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation is not capable of doing something evil to his neighbor.

11. And that, knowing the time, that now it is  high time to awake out of sleep: for now is  our salvation nearer than when we believed.

Literal: In all this, remember how critical the moment is -- that it is high time (a definite, limited and determined time) that we should be roused out of sleep: for our salvation (not only being delivered from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ, but our complete salvation coming with the 2nd return of Jesus Christ)  is nearer than it was when we first believed.

Each day brings you closer to the return of Christ and life in the third heaven and earth. Remember the hope -- it is what motivates you. This life is just the tip of the iceberg. You are closer than you were when you read the last sentence. God will send Jesus Christ back at exactly the right time. It will be at a perfect, definite and determined time.

12. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour [implements] of light.

Literal: It is far on in the night, and the day has drawn near: let us therefore put off from one's self the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour or implements of light.

This word 'armour' means implements of war, arms or tools. Since we are in a spiritual competition, these can be referred to as tools of a spiritual athlete. This, of course, is referring to the Word of God in the renewed mind of the believer. This is the tool, the instrument, the implement that allows us to live the more than abundant life.

13. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

Literal: Let us walk honestly and decently as befits the day; not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery (extreme indulgence in sensual pleasures) and wantonness (excess, vice, lacking moral discipline or sexual restraint -- having no regard for accepted rules or standards), not in quarrels and jealousy or emulation (envy).

We are not to engage in noisy festivities where we are getting drunk; we are not to indulge in sexual pleasures to extremes; we are not to lack discipline in our lives in all areas -- moral, legal, etc. We must abstain from all appearance of evil to be a good witness for God with our example; we are not to be quarreling or having strife with others and we are not to be envying and trying to emulate others because we are jealous of them. By obeying the Word here, people simply cannot find anything bad to say about you and, in time, they will not be able to think evil of you and will finally leave you alone. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. This takes time but as you renew your mind to the Word and do your best to apply it every day, you will see an improvement. The key is not to get impatient or discouraged by what the senses register.  The five senses are not reliable in comparison to spiritual knowledge applied. God will continue to bless you and bring to pass all the dreams and desires of your heart. Trust God's Word, not your feelings or emotions. Mostly all people lack patience because you cannot get genuine patience from the world. Let God teach you how to be patient. It is unlike the patience you have ever known before. It is intertwined with God's timing which is the exact moment something should happen.

14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil  the lusts thereof.

Literal: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision or foresight for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

New English Translation -- Let Christ Jesus himself be the armour that you wear; give no more thought to satisfying the bodily appetites.

Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ means to renew the mind to become more and more like Christ. Never make provision or future plans for the fleshly lusts which war against the soul. You should be motivated by spiritual knowledge and not by what the senses register. One is the way of life and the other is the way of death. This is not a difficult decision but to act on it, you must be renewing the mind. Again, "put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ" is a figure of speech meaning to renew the mind.

Galatians 3: 27 -- For as many of you as have been baptized into [with] Christ have put on Christ.

The renewed mind is the fascinating part of spiritual growth. Everyone has a mind set. This is the reason why we hold certain viewpoints. To renew the mind we must send new or added information via the senses to our minds, according to the accuracy of the Word of God.

Philippians 2: 5 -- Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: