Submission to Governing Authorities

13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,(A) for there is no authority except that which God has established.(B) The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted,(C) and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.(D) For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.(E) Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.(F)

This is also why you pay taxes,(G) for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes;(H) if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Love Fulfills the Law

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.(I) The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a](J) and whatever other command there may be, are summed up(K) in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b](L) 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.(M)

The Day Is Near

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come(N) for you to wake up from your slumber,(O) because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.(P) So let us put aside the deeds of darkness(Q) and put on the armor(R) of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness,(S) not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.(T) 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ,(U) and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.[c](V)

The Weak and the Strong

14 Accept the one whose faith is weak,(W) without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.(X) The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt(Y) the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge(Z) the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?(AA) To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

One person considers one day more sacred than another;(AB) another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God;(AC) and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone,(AD) and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.(AE) For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life(AF) so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.(AG)

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[d]? Or why do you treat them with contempt?(AH) For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.(AI) 11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’(AJ) says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[e](AK)

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.(AL)

Footnotes

  1. Romans 13:9 Exodus 20:13-15,17; Deut. 5:17-19,21
  2. Romans 13:9 Lev. 19:18
  3. Romans 13:14 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit.
  4. Romans 14:10 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a believer, whether man or woman, as part of God’s family; also in verses 13, 15 and 21.
  5. Romans 14:11 Isaiah 45:23