13 Things Romans 13:1 Doesn’t Say

Romans 13:1 is an oft-quoted passage in Christian scriptures. A small sentence nestled in the middle of a powerful letter from Paul the Apostle to a church in Rome, these few words have been taken to mean a lot of things they simply could not mean in the context of the letter, Paul’s other letters, the entire body of New Covenant scripture, or the whole Bible.

Here is a list of 13 things that Romans 13:1 doesn‘t say:

  1. Be in allegiance to ruling authorities.
  2. Be in explicit pride for ruling authorities.
  3. Be in fearful reliance on ruling authorities.
  4. Be in deferential favor of ruling authorities.
  5. Be in non-critical consent to ruling authorities.
  6. Be in unqualified obedience to ruling authorities.
  7. Be in prophetic endorsement of ruling authorities.
  8. Be in conforming identification with ruling authorities.
  9. Be in full compliance with the wills of ruling authorities.
  10. Be in no dissent against the machinations of ruling authorities.
  11. Be in celebration of the glory demanded from ruling authorities.
  12. Be in complicity to the geopolitical preeminence of ruling authorities.
  13. Be in faith of an inevitably selective divine carte blanche for ruling authorities.

What it says is “be in subjection to ruling authorities,” which means to be a subject. A subject is merely a citizen that is anything but the supreme ruler.

For further reading, check out The Christian Exile.

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