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Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, [1886], at

Romans Chapter 13

Romans 13:1

rom 13:1

Every soul

Every man. See on Rom 11:3.

Higher powers (ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις)

Lit., authorities which have themselves over. See on Mar 2:10; see on Joh 1:12.

The powers that be (αἱ δὲ οὖσαι)

Lit., the existing. Powers is not in the text, and is supplied from the preceding clause.

Are ordained (τεταγμέναι εἰσίν)

Perfect tense: Have been ordained, and the ordinance remains in force. See on set under authority, Luk 7:8.

Romans 13:2

rom 13:2

He that resisteth (ὁ ἀντιτασσόμενος)

Lit., setteth himself in array against. See on Pe1 5:5; see on Act 18:6.

Resisteth (ἀνθέστηκεν)

Rev., better, withstandeth. See on Rom 9:19.

Ordinance (διαταγῇ)

From τάσσω to put in place, which appears in the first resisteth. He setteth himself against that which is divinely set.

Damnation (κρῖμα)

Judicial sentence. Rev., better, judgment.

Romans 13:4

rom 13:4

Beareth (φορεῖ)

Beareth and weareth. A frequentative form of φέρω to bear.

Sword (μάχαιραν)

See on Rev 6:4. Borne as the symbol of the magistrate's right to inflict capital punishment. Thus Ulpian: "They who rule whole provinces have the right of the sword (jus gladii)." The Emperor Trajan presented to a provincial governor, on starting for his province, a dagger, with the words, "For me. If I deserve it, in me."

Romans 13:6

rom 13:6

Pay ye tribute (φόρους τελεῖτε)

Τελεῖτε ye pay is, literally, ye accomplish or fulfill carrying the sense of the fulfillment of an obligation. Φόρους tribute is from φέρω to bring something brought. Rev. makes the verb indicative, ye pay.

God's ministers (λειτουργοὶ Θεοῦ)

See on ministration, Luk 1:23, and see on ministered, Act 13:2. In Rom 13:4, διάκονος is used for minister. The word here brings out more fully the fact that the ruler, like the priest, discharges a divinely ordained service. Government is thus elevated into the sphere of religion. Hence Rev., ministers of God's service.

Attending continually

The same word as continuing steadfastly in Rom 12:12.

Romans 13:7

rom 13:7

To all

Probably all magistrates, though some explain all men.

Tribute - custom (φόρον - τέλος)

Tribute on persons: custom on goods.

Romans 13:8

rom 13:8

Another (τὸν ἕτερον)

Lit., the other, or the different one, the word emphasizing more strongly the distinction between the two parties. Rev., his neighbor.

Romans 13:9

rom 13:9

Thou shalt not commit adultery, etc.

Omit thou shalt not bear false witness. The seventh commandment precedes the sixth, as in Mar 10:19; Luk 18:20; Jam 2:11.

It is briefly comprehended (ἀνακεφαλαιοῦται)

Only here and Eph 1:10. Rev., it is summed up. Ἁνά has the force of again in the sense of recapitulation. Compare Lev 19:18. The law is normally a unit in which there is no real separation between the commandments. "Summed up in one word." The verb is compounded, not with κεφαλή head, but with its derivative κεφάλαιον the main point.

Namely thou shalt love, etc. (ἐν τῷ ἀγαπήσεις)

The Greek idiom is, it is summed up in the thou shalt love, the whole commandment being taken as a substantive with the definite article.

Neighbor (τὸν πλησίον)

See on Mat 5:43.

Romans 13:11

rom 13:11

And that knowing the time - now

Referring to the injunction of Rom 13:8. Knowing, seeing that ye know. The time (τὸν καιρόν), the particular season or juncture. Rev., season. See on Mat 12:1. Now (ἤδη), better, already.

Our salvation (ἡμῶν ἡ σωτηρία)

Others, however, and better, as Rev., construe ἡμῶν of us (salvation of us, i.e., our) with nearer, and render salvation is nearer to us. This is favored by the order of the Greek words. The other rendering would lay an unwarranted emphasis on our. The reference is apparently to the Lord's second coming, rather than to future glory.

Romans 13:12

rom 13:12

Is far spent (προέκοψεν)

The A.V. gives a variety of renderings to this verb. Luk 2:52, increased; Gal 1:14, profited; Ti2 3:9, proceed; Ti2 3:13, wax. The word originally means to beat forward or lengthen out by hammering. Hence to promote, and intransitively to go forward or proceed.

Let us cast off (ἀποθώμεθα)

As one puts off the garments of the night. For this use of the simple τίθημι, see on giveth his life, Joh 10:11.

Romans 13:13

rom 13:13

Honestly (εὐσχημόνως)

Honest is originally honorable, and so here. Compare Wyclif's version of Co1 12:23 : "And the members that be unhonest have more honesty; for our honest members have need of none." From εὐ well, σχῆμα fashion. See on Mat 17:2. Hence becomingly. Compare Co1 14:40; Th1 4:12. The word refers more particularly to the outward life, and thus accords with walk, and in the day the time of observation.

Rioting (κώμοις)

Lit., revellings. See on Pe1 4:3.

Drunkenness (μέθαις)

See on Luk 21:34; see on Joh 2:10.

Wantonness (ἀσελγείαις)

See on lasciviousness, Mar 7:22. All these three are plural: riotings, drunkennesses, wantonnesses.

Envying (ζήλω)

Rev., jealousy. See on Jam 3:14.

Romans 13:14

rom 13:14

Provision (πρόνοιαν)

Etymologically akin to take thought for, in 13:17.


In the moral sense: the depraved nature.

Next: Romans Chapter 14