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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Authorities

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The word occurs thrice in the English NT: Luke 12:11 Revised Version (Authorized Version ‘powers’; Gr. ἐξουσίαι), Titus 3:1 Revised Version (Authorized Version ‘powers’; Gr. ἐξουσίαι), and 1 Peter 3:22 (Gr. ἐξουσίαι). This is by no means a complete list of the occurrences of ἐξουσία (sing. [Note: singular.] and plur.) in a quasi-concrete sense in the NT. It is characteristic that in the first and second of these places the word should be united with ἀρχαί, and in the third with δυνάμεις. This collocation of words denoting power in some manifestation or other is due to the later Jewish theology, which postulated the existence of a number of spiritual powers (cf. articles Dominion, Power, Principality, Throne, etc.) inhabiting the air. These powers were defined in Greek under the various aspects of δύναμις (physical force), ἀρχή (magisterial power), and ἐξουσία (moral authority). At first each of the words was, no doubt, intended to carry a precise signification, and the complete list would comprise every sort of spiritual power man could conceive; but later the enumeration became so familiar as to be repeated without any clear distinction between the individual terms (so 1 Peter 3:22). The frequency of the use to indicate spiritual powers has a reflex effect. The word ἐξουσίαι is used in the first and second passages with reference to earthly powers. It does not seem possible to say precisely what powers are intended, but in the Gospel passage (where the wording is peculiar to Luke) it is probable that the Sanhedrin and the Roman procurator of Judaea would be included, while in the Titus Epistle the reference is to all those set in authority over the people-the Emperor, the governor and his suite, as well as the local magistrates. See also the following article.

A. Souter.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Authorities'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/a/authorities.html. 1906-1918.

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Sunday, January 19th, 2020
Second Sunday after Epiphany
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