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Governmental authority, Obedience to authority, Romans 13, Historical context, Nero, Rome


Rom 13:1–7 is the primary passage in the Bible on governmental obedience, yet it is often interpreted out of context. The purpose of this article is not only to provide exegetical guidelines, but also practical application of the biblical mandates. The thesis of this article is that that when properly interpreted in its historical context that Rom 13:1–7 is not a strict prohibition against disobeying the government, but that when possible it is desirable to maintain good relations with governmental authorities. This analysis is especially relevant today when church leaders must consider whether or not to obey commands by the government regarding the ability to meet corporately, therefore it is imperative to have a clear understanding of this passage and how to apply it. This article will begin with a review of the basic positions on authority, then historical context, an exegetical analysis, and relevant examples from the Bible of those who disobeyed authorities. Finally, modern examples will be considered in light of the interpretation of this passage.



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