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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Romans 13

Verse 1

Every soul. Every man. See on ch. Romans 11:3.

Higher powers [εξουσιαις υπερεχουσαις] . Lit., authorities which have themselves over. See on Mark 2:10; John 1:12.

The powers that be [αι δε ουσαι] . Lit., the existing. Powers is not in the text, and is supplied from the preceding clause.

Are ordained [τεταγμεναι εισιν] . Perfect tense : Have been ordained, and the ordinance remains in force. See on set under authority, Luke 7:8.

Verse 2

He that resisteth [ο αντιτασσομενος] . Lit., setteth himself in array against. See on 1 Peter 5:5; Acts 18:6.

Resisteth [ανθεστηκεν] . Rev., better, withstandeth. See on ch. Romans 9:19. Ordinance [διαταγη] . From tassw to put in place, which appears in the first resisteth. He setteth himself against that which is divinely set. Damnation [κριμα] . Judicial sentence. Rev., better, judgment.

Verse 4

Beareth [φορει] . Beareth and weareth. A frequentative form of ferw to bear.

Sword [μαχαιραν] . See on Revelation 6:4. Borne as the symbol of the magistrate 's right to inflict capital punishment. Thus Ulpian : "They who rule whole provinces have the right of the sword (jus gladii)." The Emperor Trajan presented to a provincial governor, on starting for his province, a dagger, with the words, "For me. If I deserve it, in me."

Verse 6

Pay ye tribute [φορους τελειτε] . Teleite ye pay is, literally, ye accomplish or fulfill carrying the sense of the fulfillment of an obligation. Forouv tribute is from ferw to bring something brought. Rev. makes the verb indicative, ye pay.

God 's ministers [λειτουργοι θεου] . See on ministration, Luke 1:23, and ministered, Acts 13:2. In ver. 4, diakonov is used for minister. The word here brings out more fully the fact that the ruler, like the priest, discharges a divinely ordained service. Government is thus elevated into the sphere of religion. Hence Rev., ministers of God 's service.

Attending continually. The same word as continuing steadfastly in ch. 12 12.

Verse 7

To all. Probably all magistrates, though some explain all men.

Tribute - custom [φορον - τελος] . Tribute on persons : custom on goods.

Verse 8

Another [τον ετερον] . Lit., the other, or the different one, the word emphasizing more strongly the distinction between the two parties. Rev., his neighbor.

Verse 9

Thou shalt not commit adultery, etc. Omit thou shalt not bear false witness. The seventh commandment precedes the sixth, as in Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; James 2:11.

It is briefly comprehended [ανακεφαλαιουται] . Only here and Ephesians 1:10. Rev., it is summed up. Ana has the force of again in the sense of recapitulation. Compare Leviticus 19:18. The law is normally a unit in which there is no real separation between the commandments. "Summed up in one word." The verb is compounded, not with kefalh head, but with its derivative kefalaion the main point.

Namely thou shalt love, etc. [εν τω αγαπησεις] . The Greek idiom is, it is summed up in the thou shalt love, the whole commandment being taken as a substantive with the definite article.

Neighbor [τον πλησιον] . See on Matthew 6:43.

Verse 11

And that knowing the time - now. Referring to the injunction of ver. 8. Knowing, seeing that ye know. The time [τον καιρον] , the particular season or juncture. Rev., season. See on Matthew 12:1. Now [ηδη] , better, already.

Our salvation [ημων η σωτηρια] . Others, however, and better, as Rev., construe hJmwn of us (salvation of us, i e., our) with nearer, and render salvation is nearer to us. This is favored by the order of the Greek words. The other rendering would lay an unwarranted emphasis on our. The reference is apparently to the Lord 's second coming, rather than to future glory.

Verse 12

Is far spent [προεκοψεν] . The A. V. gives a variety of renderings to this verb. Luke 2:52, increased; Galatians 1:14, profited; 2 Timothy 3:9, proceed; 13, wax. The word originally means to beat forward or lengthen out by hammering. Hence to promote, and intransitively to go forward or proceed.

Let us cast off [αποθωμεθα] . As one puts off the garments of the night. For this use of the simple tiqhmi, see on giveth his life, John 10:11.

Verse 13

Honestly [ευσχημονως] . Honest is originally honorable, and so here. Compare Wyclif's version of 1 Corinthians 12:23 : "And the members that be unhonest have more honesty; for our honest members have need of none." From euj well, schma fashion. See on Matthew 17:2. Hence becomingly. Compare 1 Corinthians 14:40; 1 Thessalonians 4:12. The word refers more particularly to the outward life, and thus accords with walk, and in the day the time of observation.

Rioting [κωμοις] . Lit., revellings. See on 1 Peter 4:3.

Drunkenness [μεθαισ] . See on Luke 21:34; John 2:10.

Wantonness [ασελγειαις] . See on lasciviousness, Mark 7:22. All these three are plural : riotings, drunkennesses, wantonnesses.

Envying [ζηλω] . Rev., jealousy. See on James 3:14.

Verse 14

Provision [προνοιαν] . Etymologically akin to take thought for, in ch. 13 17.

Flesh. In the moral sense : the depraved nature.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Romans 13". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/romans-13.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.