Romans 13 1 and 2 is essentially about two key things:
At first glance, it might appear that this means we must obey every single authority and every single thing they require us to do. However, this is not the case. We must always remember to interpret scripture with Scripture (i.e. one or two verses in context and in the backdrop of the whole Bible's doctrines).
It's helpful to read this overview - what is Romans 13 about? And also, to note the difference in the version texts of Romans 13:1-2 in the use of the words 'resist' and 'rebel'.
I wholeheartedly trust the King James Bible over other versions, but I have listed five parallel texts of Romans 13:1-2 below from different versions, for your info.
“1 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."
- Romans 13:1-2 (KJV)
“1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves."
- Romans 13:1-2 (NKJV)
“1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."
- Romans 13:1-2 (ESV)
“1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."
- Romans 13:1-2 (NIV)
“1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished."
- Romans 13:1-2 (NLT)
“1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists [governmental] authority resists the ordinance of God. And those who have resisted it will bring judgment (civil penalty) on themselves."
- Romans 13:1-2 (AMP)
You can also view the Romans 13:1-2 parallel version text on BibleGateway.
Romans 13 1 and 2 are two of the most controversial and misunderstood verses in the whole of the Bible. I set up this website to help us think about them in a mature, thoughtful, Biblical way. If you want to understand them in the light of Covid and what they mean for us in our current world situation, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of my book, 'Romans 13 and Covid 19: Knowledge Warnings and Encouragement for the Church and World'.
Romans 13 1 and 2
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