Paul the Jail Bird Apostle   Leave a comment

The Bible is filled with passages I struggle with. Thus is the “plight” of the thinking Christians, that we cannot just walk lock-step with what others tell us the Bible says, that we must either ignore these passages, blindly obey them, or seek to understand them. Romans 13 is one of those passages. It’s God’s word, written down by the hand of Paul the apostle when he was in prison for ….

Hey, wait a minute! Paul was in prison for disobeying the governing authorities! What is going on here?

Take Bible passages out of context and you can get almost any meaning you want out of them, but when you seek to understand them, you have to look at  a wider view – the whole epistle, the whole Bible, the culture Paul was writing from and the city and church he was writing to.

Statists want to use Romans 13 to justify their tyranny and anti-statists either want to excise the words from the Bible because of the implied self-tyranny or twist the meaning into something Paul did not intend. Both sides in this discussion would be wrong. Truth lies in trying to understand what Paul meant in the larger context of the Bible and the culture in which he lived as well as in the culture in which we live.

Paul was in prison for disobeying the governing authorities when he wrote the letter to the Roman church. It wasn’t his first time in lock-up for the same crime and he wasn’t the first believer in God to face such punishment.

Did Paul act the hypocrite when he wrote Romans 13 or are we not understanding it as he meant it?

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