Romans 13:1-5 KJV 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. (2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: (4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (5) Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
It may be rather rough to agree that God appoints all state authorities. This is telling me to take a look at the KJV and a Concordance to look at a few words here.
5293 hupotasso hoop-ot-as’-so
5242 huperecho hoop-er-ekh’-o
from 5228 and 2192; to hold oneself above, i.e. (figuratively) to
excel; participle (as adjective, or neuter as noun) superior,
superiority:–better, excellency, higher, pass, supreme.
1849 exousia ex-oo-see’-ah
from 1832 (in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subjectively)
force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery
(concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control),
delegated influence:–authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right,
5021 tasso tas’-so
a prolonged form of a primary verb (which latter appears only in
certain tenses); to arrange in an orderly manner, i.e. assign or
dispose (to a certain position or lot):–addict, appoint, determine,
498 antitassomai an-tee-tas’-som-ahee
1296 diatage dee-at-ag-ay’
from 1299; arrangement, i.e. institution:–instrumentality.
2917 krima kree’-mah
from 2919; a decision (the function or the effect, for or against
(“crime”)):–avenge, condemned, condemnation, damnation, + go to law,
At first glance there doesn’t seem to be anything unusual between the Greek definitions and how the KJV was translated. But a question arises when we take a look at a modern translation.
Romans 13:1-2 GNB Everyone must obey state authorities, because no authority exists without God’s permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God. (2) Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; and anyone who does so will bring judgment on himself.
Did you notice how someone, or a committee decided to change the word, “higher,” to “state.” Does it matter which authority Paul wrote about? How do we find out which authority Paul referred to? If we noticed that the majority of those words have in common, we can’t miss the fact, each word is made of of two root words. Let’s take a look at those root words.
5259 hupo hoop-o’
a primary preposition; under, i.e. (with the genitive case) of place (beneath), or with verbs (the agency or means, through); (with the accusative case) of place (whither (underneath) or where (below) or time (when (at)):–among, by, from, in, of, under, with. In them comparative, it retains the same general applications, especially of inferior position or condition, and specially, covertly or moderately.
5021 tasso tas’-so
a prolonged form of a primary verb (which latter appears only in certain tenses); to arrange in an orderly manner, i.e. assign or dispose (to a certain position or lot):–addict, appoint, determine, ordain, set.
5228 huper hoop-er’
a primary preposition; “over”, i.e. (with the genitive case) of place,
above, beyond, across, or causal, for the sake of, instead, regarding;
with the accusative case superior to, more than:–(+ exceeding,
abundantly) above, in (on) behalf of, beyond, by, + very chiefest,
concerning, exceeding (above, -ly), for, + very highly, more (than),
of, over, on the part of, for sake of, in stead, than, to(-ward),
very. In the comparative, it retains many of the above applications.
2192 echo ekh’-o, including an alternate form
scheo skheh’-o; (used in certain tenses only)
a primary verb; to hold (used in very various applications, literally
or figuratively, direct or remote; such as possession; ability,
contiuity, relation, or condition):–be (able, X hold, possessed
with), accompany, + begin to amend, can(+ -not), X conceive, count,
diseased, do + eat, + enjoy, + fear, following, have, hold, keep, +
lack, + go to law, lie, + must needs, + of necessity, + need, next, +
recover, + reign, + rest, + return, X sick, take for, + tremble, +
1832 exesti ex’-es-tee
third person singular present indicative of a compound of 1537and
1510; so also
neuter present participle of the same (with or without some form of
1510 expressed); impersonally, it is right (through the figurative
idea of being out in public):–be lawful, let,
1537 ek ek
or ex ex
a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or
motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or
figurative; direct or remote):–after, among, X are, at,
betwixt(-yond), by (the means of), exceedingly, (+ abundantly above),
for(- th), from (among, forth, up), + grudgingly, + heartily, X
heavenly, X hereby, + very highly, in, …ly, (because, by reason) of,
off (from), on, out among (from, of), over, since, X thenceforth,
X unto, X vehemently, with(-out). Often used in composition,
with the same general import; often of completion.
1510 eimi i-mee’
the first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a
primary and defective verb; I exist (used only when emphatic):–am,
have been, X it is I, was
When we look a little deeper, we can’t ignore the sense, Paul is referring to God’s authority as the utmost importance, and the people He appoints here as a secondary authority. But that secondary authority must confirm and acknowledge God. Is that to say all people in authority are appointed or ordained by God?
We seem to have stumbled upon a rather strange difference in interpretations. One translation puts authority in God’s hands, while another translation puts authority in the hands of public officials. How can there be such a difference? I’m sure everyone has there own ideas on this subject. Let’s face it, this is a very controversial subject. How do we get to the bottom of this subject? Who really has the authority on this planet?
I’m sure no one would argue the point, God has ultimate authority. So why would anyone replace God’s authority with the government? Did Israel try that when they asked for a king? Who did God say they were rejecting? “Do everything they say to you,” the LORD replied, “for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. (1 Samuel 8:7 NLTse). We have to consider the fact, this is one translation out of one hundred compared to the KJV. But why would anyone change such a thing?
When it comes to Satan, one thing leads to another. There should be no doubt, whenever Satan can cast into this world, another doubt will follow. Followed by another and another. Whenever Satan can worm his way into one translation, he gains access to change a little here and there. That is one reason why it is dangerous to compare different translations to find one that suits personal preference. There are far better ways to study the Bible. When the Holy Spirit tells you to look up a word, look it up. When there are two or more words to look up, look them up in the Concordance. When those words are made up of compound words, look those up. Dig deep enough to find the root meaning.
We never know where deceptions will come from next. When we find out Bible translations can deceive us, where do we turn? To the story at hand in the Bible. Look back a few chapters in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul warned about putting too much emphasis on the law. So when we see the law mentioned later in his letter, we need to pay attention to all the facts involved.
I could go on for another chapter about how governments create laws, with loop holes for some, and additions or amendments to that law, but why? Governments are a testimony to God. Governments constantly change laws. That is a deception in itself. People see governments constantly creating and changing laws, then people begin to think God does the same thing. People have been trained by the prince of this world to think the way he wants people to think. The devil wants people think God is modeled after this world. That is backwards thinking. God never changed a single law. God’s law is perfect, constant, and consistent. But people have been trained to think, if governments change, so does God.
Then there is that constant search for authority. Everyday people look for the prefect leaders. They think governments are able to solve all the problems. People want to trust government leaders. Or blame all the problems on government leaders. In either case, governments stand in place of God and often act like little gods. Governments have become idols in the minds of their people.
Elected and appointed officials inside governments have an insane quest for power and control. Parties and people inside those parties often oppose one another not because one answer is right and the other wrong. Or one way of doing things is better than another way. They often oppose one another to make a point, or earn points. Publicity is a driving factor in modern governments. When we take a step back to compare any world government to God, we should see a drastic difference that should horrify us. But people as entrenched in the belief, nothing will ever change. So it is better to just live with a corrupt and mixed up government and try to survive.
When we see one Bible translation replacing God’s authority with state officials, where is that going to lead? We have to look at doctrines from that point. It is not uncommon for Christian churches to claim an equal or higher authority than the state. It is common practice for churches to place themselves between God and His people. It is so common, people are often ostracized for pointing out the direct connection with God written about in scripture. It’s not difficult to see how placing state authority on the top made it easy for church leaders to trump that move by placing themselves above and beyond state authorities. And it is not difficult to play the, “persecuted card.” Play the part of the humble servant to the state, which leads to an excuse to accomplish little or nothing, and you can sit back, relax, and use the government as a fantasy scapegoat for just about everything. There is no telling how far one little change to God’s Word will lead.
So how do we tell if people are ministering for God, or for themselves? We have to go back to the explanation of the Spiritual gifts Paul wrote about. We have to pay attention to the concept those gifts are presented and compare that to the actual Greek meaning of each word describing each gift. When we see churches and church leaders taking over control of those gifts, what does that tell us? Are they ministering for themselves, or for God? A true man of God never stands in God’s place. A true man of God knows the path to God’s throne, and is able to describe that path, share that path, provide directions, but never forge a new path that actually leads away from God’s throne with each and every step.