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Chapter 13

Obedience to Authority.[a] Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God.(A) Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves.

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Footnotes

  1. 13:1–7 Paul must come to grips with the problem raised by a message that declares people free from the law. How are they to relate to Roman authority? The problem was exacerbated by the fact that imperial protocol was interwoven with devotion to various deities. Paul builds on the traditional instruction exhibited in Wis 6:1–3, according to which kings and magistrates rule by consent of God. From this perspective, then, believers who render obedience to the governing authorities are obeying the one who is highest in command. At the same time, it is recognized that Caesar has the responsibility to make just ordinances and to commend uprightness; cf. Wis 6:4–21. That Caesar is not entitled to obedience when such obedience would nullify God’s prior claim to the believers’ moral decision becomes clear in the light of the following verses.

This is why you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.

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