Romans 13:8

[] Question about translation of Romans 13:8 Sharon VanDevender shavandev at
Fri Apr 20 21:23:31 EDT 2007

The other translation problem in Romans 13 is the word “authority” (exousia). …. reason is that doing good in this context means fulfilling the law (Rom 13:8-10).

Romans 13:8-14 Be under obligation to no one – the only obligation you have is to love one another.  In Romans 13:8-14, Paul proposes a radically different response to a ….. The problem was not the law, but Paul’s weak, sinful nature, and sin — Paul mentions it in Romans 13:8. … Again, the NIV captures the idea in its translation: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the … That’s the next question.

Romans 13:1-7 is one of the most well-known and most hotly debated texts in the … point in the epistle (13:1) to address a problem the Romans were experiencing. …. in positions of authority, hence the NRSVtranslation of exousia as “authorities. …. another, under the rule of Christ, that is struggling to be born (Rom.8:23).


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15 thoughts on “Romans 13:8

  1. Troy Day says:

    Of course, the context of Romans 13:1-6 is very important, but my focus is on this one verse. Did the NLT translators make a gross error or did they get it pretty much right?

    To clarify, the ESV does not specify that government authorities are to be owed respect and honor. Thus it is possible to hold the position that if some authority does not deserve respect or honor, then don’t give it to them. The NLT on the other hand pretty specifically says that government authorities do deserve respect and honor. Joe Absher does a street preacher go against city ordinances to preach Christ Roger David Jesse Morrell

    Romans 13:7 (ESV)

    7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

    Romans 13:7 (NLT)

    7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

    1. Roger David says:

      There is no reason to go against city ordinances to preach Christ unless the ordinance states that you can not preach Christ. Your method may need to change but the message does not.

      While preaching in Houston we are not allowed to use regular painter poles for banners. We are also not allowed to use amplification without a permit. All that means is that we have to wear sandwich boards and preach louder with our voices in more strategic places so as to bounce our voice off of buildings.

      If there is an ordinance that is unfair or unreasonable, part of the government process is set up so that we have the ability to challenge that in court. This is not rebellion to authority, this is simply using the process set in place.

      When the government outlaws preaching as Canada seems to be rapidly doing, then you will see me going against those laws in order to preach the gospel.

      Paul is a great example to us of how to deal with the legal system and appeal to our rights as citizens while also being open to persecution from an unreasonable government and it’s people.

  2. Joe Absher says:

    Civil laws. Moral laws. quality of life laws. natural laws. The law of sin and death. The law of liberty in the spirit of Christ. Lots of laws.
    The Royal law, “thou shalt love thy neighbor as the self.” I believe is the highest only second to loving God himself bowing down to him and honoring him. His Son and making room for the moving of his spirit.
    To the point depends on the neighborhood. Some times you can push “the envelope” sometimes you have to stand. Sometimes you can walk away.
    One spot went all the way to the DA last year.
    The police were very intimidating. When they surround you it’s not pleasant. An angry man with a gun and a badge is a matter for Christ hands not mine.
    But if they are there I talk them first. In the bad neighborhoods they welcome you. Once the police kept the drunks off of me. That was nice.

  3. Romans 13:8-10. Still thinking of the Christian’s obligation to fear and honor the state (v 7), Paul transitions with a command to Owe no one anything. This command does not prohibit borrowing (cf. Ps 37:21; Matt 5:42). The translation “Let no debt remain outstanding” in the NIV captures the correct meaning. Paul is not teaching that one should never borrow, but that one must repay all debts.

    However, there is one debt that Christians are never done paying, and that is the debt to love one another (John 13:34-35; 1 Cor 16:14; Eph 5:2; Col 3:14; 1 John 3:14,23; 4:7,11). Loving one’s brothers fulfills the law (cf. Matt 22:39; Rom 8:4).

    Since love expresses itself in concrete ways, Paul cites five of the Decalogue commandments that address horizontal relationships among men: “You shall not commit adultery…murder…steal…bear false witness…covet” (Ex 20:13-17). Any other commandment not mentioned in this list is summarized in one statement (as Jesus did in Matt 22:39): “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In other words, Paul says love does no harm to a neighbor because one is too busy seeking his neighbor’s good (as in 12:9-21). Paul reiterates his point by stating that love is the fulfillment of the law (cf. Rom 8:4; John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:23; 4:21).

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