“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.”
King James Version (KJV)
13:1 St. Paul, writing to the Romans, whose city was the seat of the empire, speaks largely of obedience to magistrates: and this was also, in effect, a public apology for the Christian religion. Let every soul be subject to the supreme powers - An admonition peculiarly needful for the Jews. Power, in the singular number, is the supreme authority; powers are they who are invested with it. That is more readily acknowledged to be from God than these. The apostle affirms it of both. They are all from God, who constituted all in general, and permits each in particular by his providence. The powers that be are appointed by God - It might be rendered, are subordinate to, or, orderly disposed under, God; implying, that they are God's deputies or vicegerents and consequently, their authority being, in effect, his, demands our conscientious obedience.
Ro 13:1 The Christians and Civil Government SUMMARY OF ROMANS 13: Civil Government an Appointment of God. A Protection to the Law-Abiding. A Terror to Evil Doers. Must Be Supported by Taxes and Customs. Love the Fulfillment of the Divine Law. The Christian to Live a Holy, Spiritual Life. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. To the established civil government. Why should Paul, in this portion of the epistle to Christian life, give this exhortation to obedience to civil government? Perhaps for several reasons: (1) The Christians at that early period were usually associated by the heathen with the Jews, and the Jews were noted for turbulence. See Ac 18:2. (2) The fires that broke forth a few years later, in the Jewish uprising that led to the destruction of Jerusalem, were already smoldering wherever there were those of Jewish blood. Many Christians were Jews by birth. (3) There was danger that Christians, especially under persecution, should be inclined to make disturbance. (4) Some even held that since Christ's kingdom was established human governments had no rightful existence. There is no power but of God. He is the source of all authority, and he has appointed human governments for the welfare of man. The existing government over us is to be regarded as a divine arrangement.