Copyright © February 7, 2017
Romans 13:3-4: “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: 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.” In these verses, God defines the jurisdiction of civil government. After all, God is the highest power. God, the highest power, ordained the powers that be (the lower powers) (Romans 13:1). Can the laws of a lower power take precedence over the laws of a power above? When one is faced with obeying a lower power or a higher power, whom is one to obey? Is one to obey the lower power when the laws of the lower power are contrary to the laws of the higher power? Whom is one to fear more, according to the Word of God? “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Romans 13:8-14 lays out the responsibility of man under lawful civil government, to keep the last table of the Ten Commandments which deal with man’s relationship to man.
Other resources which cover the Romans 13 issue include:
- Online version of Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (booklet)is updated and more complete than the PDF linked to below.
- PDF of Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (booklet)
- A Short Treatise on Romans 13 (052720)
- More On Romans 13.1-2: The Powers That God Has Ordained (091614)
So, you see, Romans 13:1a, when correctly interpreted within the context of the entirety of Romans 13, and within the context of the entirety of Scripture, does not teach unlimited obedience to unlawful civil government. In other words, Romans 13.1a, when correctly considered, is consistent with Romans 13 and with the teachings of the entire Bible. God’s Word is never inconsistent. These matters are addressed in much more detail in the materials below.
Exodus 1:15-17: “And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.”
Exodus 1:20-21: “Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.”
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The material on this page is also on the “Books by Jerald Finney” page. This page makes it more convenient for one who specifically wants to go to teachings on Romans 13 and related verses.
“Iron Sharpeneth Iron” TV interview of Pastor Jason Cooley and Christian Attorney Jerald Finney.
Host is Pastor Brandon Teague of Old Paths Baptist Church in Paris, Texas.
Romans 13 Do We Obey Government over God?
The Biblical Interpretation
Other teachings by Jerald Finney
March 24, 2013: Romans 13 – What every 501c3 Pastor and Church Member Needs to Hear (Youtube message preached at Gateway Anabaptist Church.)
Relevant sermons by Pastor Jason Cooley follow. Left click to listen to sermon. Right click link, then left click “Save link as…” to download.
Article: “American Abuse of Romans 12.1-2 and Related Verses.” This is an audio teaching series by Jerald Finney.
Book: Render unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses:
- Introduction to “Render unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses” (Chapter 1 of Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses. This material was also covered in less detail in God Betrayed, Section III, Chapters 5, 6.)
- Doth not your Master pay tribute? Matthew 17.24-27 (Chapter 2 of Render Unto God the Things that Are His)
- Render unto Caesar…? Luke 20.25, Matthey 22.21, Mark 22.17 (Chapter 3 of Render Unto God the Things that Are His)
- Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers? Romans 13 (Chapter 4 of Render Unto God the Things that Are His)
- Submit to every ordinance of man? 1 Peter 2.13 (Chapter 5 of Render Unto God the Things that Are His)
- Pray for all rulers? 1 Timothy 2.1-6 (Chapter 6 of Render Unto God the Things that Are His)
- Conclusion to “Render unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses” (Chapter 7 of Render Unto God the Things that Are His)
The above online version of the book Render unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses is also on “The Biblical Doctrine of Separation of Church and State” page of this blog.
Click the following link to view the PDF of the book: Render unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses.
Joshua 2:3-4: “And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:”
Joshua 2:8-15 “And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.”
Daniel 6:10-11: “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.”
Daniel 6:16: “Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.”
Daniel 3:8-11: “Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
Daniel 3:16-18: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
Acts 5:17-20: “Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.”
Acts 4:19-21: “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.”
Acts 4:23-31: “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”
Acts 5:27-29: And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
The above is only a small sampling from the Bible. See Render unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (reproduced above) for comprehensive biblical coverage.
Information on Books and other writings by Jerald Finney
All books, except An Abridged History of the First Amendment which is available only in online form, by Jerald Finney are available free in both PDF and online form. See, Order information for books by Jerald Finney.
God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed)(PDF; online form) may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Amazon.com or from Barnes and Nobel by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Barnes and Noble. All books by Jerald Finney as well as many of the books he has referenced and read may also be ordered by left clicking Order Information for Books by Jerald Finney or directly from Amazon by going to the following links:
Companion website: “Church and State Law“
“When Did the Church Become a Business?” a beautiful song by Jason Bellard