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Romans 13:1

“ "Let every in-breathed-being be subordinate to the authorities which they have over [them]. For there is no authority if [it is] not under God, and the ones which are under God are they which have been ordered [by God]." ”

- Paul the apostle, Romans 13:1 en-US-OLT


Greek

The following is based on Codex Sinaiticus, and is taken to be 20 words.


1. παϲα | every

2. ψυχη | in-breathed-being

3. εξουϲιαιϲ | to the authorities

4. υπερεχουϲαιϲ | which they have over [them]

5. ϋποταϲϲεϲθω | Let … be subordinate

6. ου |↓ no

7. γαρ |↑ For

8. εϲτιν | there is

9. εξουϲια | authority

10. ει | if

11. μη | [it is] not

12. ϋπο | under

13. θυ | God,

14. αι |↓ the ones

15. δε |↑ and

16. ουϲαι | which are

17. ϋπο | under

18. θυ | God

19. τεταγμεναι |↓ which have been ordered [by God]

20. ειϲιν |↑ are they.

Comments


1

Word 5 ὑποτασσέσθω "Let … be subordinate"

Word 5 ὑποτασσέσθω is taken to be G5293 hupotassó, "Let … be subordinate". G5293 is taken to be comprised of two root words. The first is G5259 hupo, "under". The second is G5021 tassó, "to order". The two when combined is taken to be (literally) "to order under".


2

The en-US-OLT translation of word 5 "to subordinate"


The en-US-OLT translation of word 5 ὑποτασσέσθω as "to subordinate" is believed to be a good translation. The word "subordinate" is taken to be comprised of two root words. The first is sub, "under". The second is ordinate, "to order". The two when combined is taken to be (literally) "to order under".


3

Alternate historical translation of word 5 "to submit"


Alternate historical translation of word 5 ὑποτασσέσθω as "to submit" is believed to be a poor translation. The word "submit" is taken to be comprised of two root words. The first is sub, "under". The second is mit, "mission". The two when combined is taken to be (literally) "to under-mission". The deviation to the use of "mission" along with its historical use is believed to cause the historical translation "submit" to deviate substantially from the original meaning of the word hupotassó. Specifically, the word is taken to carry with it a sense of an overriding suppression of free will or conscience not present in the original word. This is taken to be due to the inferred requirements of being under a mission. See instead the translation "subordinate".


4

Alternate historical translation of word 5 "to be subject"


Alternate historical translation of word 5 ὑποτασσέσθω as "to be subject" is believed to be a poor translation. The word "subject" is taken to be comprised of two root words. The first is sub, "under". The second is ject, "to throw". The two when combined is taken to be (literally) "to throw under". The deviation to the use of "to throw" along with its historical use is believed to cause the historical translation "to be subject" to deviate substantially from the original meaning of the word hupotassó. Specifically, the word is taken to carry with it a sense of suppression of free will or conscience not present in the original word. This is taken to be due to the implied situation of having been thrown under the authority of another person by a force of superior power. See instead the translation "subordinate".


Final Thoughts

Some things to consider:

  1. This verse does not say that all authorities are under God. That would be a poor translation, although you should be advised that some translations do render it that way. That is unfortunate. Nevertheless, if you lived in Nazi Germany during the Second World War and you were being told to turn in hiding Jews, you would not be required to recognize the authority of the Nazis, as you could observe that their actions were not consistent with those which are ordered under God, through Jesus Christ. This is something which you could, and should, also pray about.

  2. The word used here is "subordinate", not "submit" or "subject". The difference between the three is that subordinate is about order, whereas submission is about the special demands required of you while under a mission, and subject is about the lack of will associated with being a thrown object. To use submit or subject here would be a poor translation, although you should be advised that some translations do render it in those ways. That is unfortunate. Nevertheless, if you lived in Nazi Germany during the Second World War and you were being told to turn in hiding Jews, you would not be required to do so, and you could in fact stop subordinating yourself to the authorities once you observed that their actions were immoral. To continue to subordinate yourself anyway, despite the recognized moral objections, would be to submit. You are not being instructed to violate the laws of God, or his will, in order to place the will of worldly authorities first.

Don't believe that? We encourage you to do your own research and to pray about it.