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. Continue reading
Christians may hear from time to time the admonishment to “abstain from all appearances of evil“.
What you hear is a quotation of a passage from Paul’s first letter to Thessalonica (1 Thess. 5:22). Only, we usually hear a misquote of sorts, or rather a misuse of a quote.
“Abstain from all appearances of evil” is the most commonly used quotation of the passage, from the King James Bible. Many people shoot off this quote as if it were some sort of proof to Christians that they should not do something because it “looks bad” to others.
Chapter 8 addressed the violence in the Old Testament and how we reconcile that with Christian nonviolence.
Chapter 9 deals with a single passage that gets abused quite a bit: “Let Every Soul be Subject”. Lee Camp tackles what this passage means in context, instead of in the absurd isolation in which it is often quoted, violently ripped from God’s word in order to serve agendas of violence.
If you read the entire passage of Romans 13, you realize that this one phrase was never meant to be a military mantra. We are to “present [our] bodies as living sacrifices” before God, and commanded not to “conform to the age” (often translated “the world”). Since we are a new creation, we live according to a new age. So whatever authorities we are under, they’re not ours.