Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Rom. 13:1a (Holman) “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities,”
Good Christians will be good citizens. This emphasis is needed because Christians have a strong reason to hate governments–one crucified our master.
The situation was made worse in the first century by the fact Israel hated to submit to Rome’s heathen authority. Israel was always in an uproar, stirring up trouble against their Gentile rulers. The Jews, expecting their Messiah to be a political ruler who would overthrow the yoke of Rome, were seeking to be subversive, not submissive. Rebellions were always breaking out among them.
Jews at Rome were especially notorious troublemakers. In 49 A.D., Emperor Claudius expelled Jews from Rome. Suetonius, a Roman historian, said this banishment was due to agitations centering around a certain “Chrestos,” probably a misnomer for Christ. They evidently argued among themselves about Christ.
Claudius’ successor, Nero, relaxed the edict. As Jews, some of whom were Christians, re-entered Rome, Paul knew they had to be careful in their dealings with government. Therefore, the directive, “Submit to the governing authorities.”
Rom. 13:1b “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.”
Government is a permanent institution created by God for the regula