13:1 Let 1 every a soul be subject unto the higher 2
powers. 3 For there is no power but of God: the powers
that be are b ordained of God.
(1) Now he distinctly shows what subjects owe to their
magistrates, that is, obedience: from which he shows that
no man is free: and the obedience we owe is such that it is
not only due to the highest magistrate himself, but also
even to the lowest, who has any office under him.
(a) Indeed, though an apostle, though an evangelist, though a
prophet; Chrysostom. Therefore the tyranny of the pope
over all kingdoms must be thrown down to the ground.
(2) A reason taken from the nature of the thing itself: for to
what purpose are they placed in higher degree, but in order
that the inferiors should be subject to them?
(3) Another argument of great force: because God is author of
this order: so that those who are rebels ought to know that
they make war with God himself: and because of this they
purchase for themselves great misery and calamity.
(b) Be distributed: for some are greater, some smaller.
13:34 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the
evil. 5 Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do
that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
(4) The third argument, taken from the reason for which they
were made, which is that they are to be most profitable:
because God by this means preserves the good and bridles
the wicked: by which words the magistrates themselves are
put in mind of that duty which they owe to their subjects.
(5) An excellent way to bear this yoke, not only without grief,
but also with great profit.
13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. 6 But if
thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not
the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a
c revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.
(6) God has armed the magistrate even with an avenging sword.
(c) By whom God avenges the wicked.
13:57 Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for
wrath, but d also for conscience sake.
(7) The conclusion: we must obey the magistrate, not only for
fear of punishment, but much more because (although the
magistrate has no power over the conscience of man, yet
seeing he is God's minister) he cannot be resisted by any
(d) So far as we lawfully may: for if unlawful things are
commanded to us, we must answer as Peter teaches us,
"It is better to obey God than men."
13:68 For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are
God's ministers, attending continually upon this very
(8) He sums up the main thing, in which consists the obedience
13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute
[is due]; custom to whom custom; fear to whom e fear;
honour to whom f honour.
(e) Obedience, and that from the heart.
(f) Reverence, which (as we have reason) we must give to
13:89 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: 10 for
he that loveth another hath fulfilled the g law.
(9) He shows how very few judgments need to be executed, that
is, if we so order our life as no man may justly require
anything from us, besides only that which we owe one to
another, by the perpetual law of charity.
(10) He commends charity as a concise statement of the whole
(g) Has not only done one commandment, but performed
generally that which the law commands.
13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not
kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false
witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other
commandment, it is h briefly comprehended in this saying,
namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
(h) For the whole law commands nothing else but that we
love God and our neighbour. But seeing that Paul
speaks here of the duties we owe one to another, we
must restrain this word "law" to the second table of
the ten commandments.
13:1111 And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high
time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation
nearer than when we believed.
(11) An application taken from the circumstances of the time:
which also itself puts us in mind of our duty, seeing that
this remains, after which the darkness of ignorance and
wicked affections by the knowledge of God's truth is
driven out of us, that we order our life according to that
certain and sure rule of all righteousness and honesty,
being fully grounded upon the power of the Spirit of
13:12 The night is far spent, the day is i at hand: let us
therefore cast off the works k of darkness, and let us
put on the armour of light.
(i) In other places we are said to be in the light, but
yet so that it does not yet appear what we are, for as
yet we see but as it were in the twilight.
(k) That kind of life which those lead that flee the
13:14 But l put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not
provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].
(l) To put on Christ is to possess Christ, to have him in
us, and us in him.