Rom 13:1-2 Note: while “governing” authorities refers primarily to the civil authorities in the context of Rom 13:3-7, the word means more broadly “higher” authorities so that these verses have application to authority in general. What do these verses teach us about the importance God places upon submission to authority for those who would obey Him? What other examples of higher authorities are found in Scripture to which various people are to submit themselves? See Mat 8:5-13, 1 Cor 11:3,10, 14:32, 16:16, Eph 5:24, 6:1, 1 Tim 2:12, 1 Pet 2:13-14, 18, 3:1, 5:5. What example do we have of Christ submitting Himself to higher authorities? See Luke 2:51, John 19:10-11, 1 Cor 15:28. What example do we have of Paul submitting himself to higher authorities? See Acts 23:1-5. What is the great danger of resisting God-ordained authority? See Rom 13:2, 2 Pet 2:9-10, Jude 1:8-9. What is the great danger of abusing God-ordained authority? See again Jn 19:10-11, Acts 8:18-20, James 3:1.
Rom 13:3-7 Does Paul in these verses refer only to noble rulers who govern according to Christian principles of right and wrong? What is the significance that Paul wrote these verses to the church in Rome, the seat of government responsible for the crucifixion of Christ? Is it significant that the Roman emperor at the time Paul wrote this was Nero, who would later put both himself and the apostle Peter to death? Could the Roman government in any manner be described as Christian? In what ways are rulers, even despotic rulers, a minister of God for the general good of people? For example, in what ways did the gospel benefit from the Pax Romana that was established by often brutal Roman emperors? In what way did even a tyrant like Saddam Hussein benefit the people of Iraq by maintaining peace? Is it necessary for a person to follow God or be a Christian in order to be a minister or servant of God and accomplish His will? See Jer 25:9, 27:6, Is 44:28-45:6, 55:8-9. Again, what do these verses teach us about the importance God places upon our submission to authority? Does God expect Christians to submit to corrupt authorities? What should be our Christian attitude and response towards an unjust ruler who abuses his authority, especially when that abuse results in our suffering? See 1 Pet 2:18-23. What application does this principle have for our homes? See 1 Pet 3:1. At what point is the line drawn past which a Christian must not submit to a higher authority? See Mat 22:21, Acts 4:18-20. Note: Scripture is clear that while God will hold those in authority accountable for any abuse of their authority, He will also hold accountable those who resist even an unjust authority. See also 1 Sam 15:22-23. Is it the role of government as God’s minister to rehabilitate evildoers, or to punish them? See Rom 13:4, 1 Pet 2:14. How is this in keeping with the Biblical view that man is basically evil? What happened in our modern society so that penal institutes are now called correctional institutes? Why is it necessary for us as Christians to pay taxes even to a corrupt government that may use our money for non-Christian purposes? Why is it necessary to honor even those rulers who are less than honorable?
Rom 13:8-10 Note: in Rom 13:7 “what is due them” refers to a debt or something owed to another. What does Scripture command us concerning debt? See Rom 13:7-8a, Prov 22:7. What is the one debt that can never be paid off? In what way is love the fulfillment of the law? See Rom 13:9. Many Christians believe that since they are in Christ they are no longer under the law; in what way is this true, and in what way is it not true? See Rom 6:14-15, 7:4, 8:2-4.
Rom 13:11-14 What warning repeated throughout Scripture does Paul remind us of in Rom 13:11? See also Mat 24:42-44,50, 25:5,13, Luk 12:35-40. In what ways have many today who profess to follow Christ fallen asleep? Considering the lateness of the hour, the nearness of our salvation, and the scriptural warnings about not being prepared, what should be our response? See also Col 2:20-3:14, 1 Thess 5:2-8, 1 Pet 4:7, 2 Pet 3:13-14.