Romans xiii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Let every soul, or every one, be subject, &c.[1] The Jews were apt to think themselves not subject to temporal princes, as to taxes, &c. and lest Christians should misconstrue their Christian liberty, he here teacheth them that every one (even priests and bishops, says St. Chrysostom) must be subject and obedient to princes, even to heathens, as they were at that time, as to laws that regard the policy of the civil government, honouring them, obeying them, and their laws, as it is the will of God, because the power they act by is from God. So that to resist them, is to resist God. And every Christian must obey them even for conscience-sake. St. Chrysostom takes notice that St. Paul does not say that there is no prince but from God, but only that there is no power but from God, meaning no lawful power, and speaking of true and just laws. See hom. xxiii. (Witham)

Ver. 8-9. But that you love one another. This is a debt, says St. Chrysostom, which we are always to be paying, and yet always remains, and is to be paid again. — He that loveth his neighbour, hath fulfilled the law. Nay, he that loves his neighbour, as he ought, loves him for God’s sake, and so complies with the other great precept of loving God: and upon these two precepts (as Christ himself taught us, Matthew xxii. 40.) depends the whole law and the prophets. (Witham)

Ver. 10. Love of the neighbour worketh no evil.[2] This, by the Latin, is the true construction; and not, love worketh no evil to the neighbour, as it might be translated from the Greek. (Witham)

Ver. 11. Now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. Some will have the sense to be, that our salvation is now nearer, when the gospel is preached, and Christ offers us his graces, than when we believed the Messias was to come. Others expound it, that the more of our life is spent, we come nearer to the judgment of God, and to the salvation promised in heaven. (Witham)

Ver. 12. The night is passed. That is, the night of sin and infidelity, in which you lived, before you began to serve Christ. (Witham) — St. Paul is here addressing himself to Gentile converts. Before your conversion, you were in the darkness of infidelity: this time is past; now is the day, when the gospel has dissipated the darkness of idolatry, ignorance, and sin. Let us lay aside the works of darkness, by flying from sin, which hates the light, and seeks always to conceal itself; and let us put on the armour of light, the shield of faith, the breast-plate of justice, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit. (Calmet)

Ver. 13. Let us walk honestly as in the day. As men are accustomed to do in the light, without being afraid that their works come to light. — Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering,[3] not in beds and impurities, not in immodest disorders. (Witham) — The night of the present life full of darkness, of ignorance, and of sin, is already far advanced; and the day of eternity approaches: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness. (Bible de Vence)

Ver. 14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. To put on, is a metaphor used in the Scripture; as when it is said, put on the new man, &c. And make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscenses. That is, do not take care, nor pamper and indulge your appetite in eating and drinking, so as to increase your disorderly inclinations, but keep them in due subjection. (Witham) — The apostle does not forbid all care of the body, since he himself says in the epistle to the Ephesians, v. “No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.” But he forbids that care of the flesh, by which the desires and concupiscences of the flesh are strengthened and encouraged. This those are guilty of, who are always indulging in delights and voluptuousness. (Estius) — Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, enter into his sentiments, imitate his virtues, and indulge not the flesh in its inordinate desires.


[1] Ver. 1. Non est potestas, exousia, nisi a Deo. St. Chrysostom, om. kg. p. 189. ouk eipen, ou gar estin archon ei me upo tou theou, alla peri tou pragmatos dialegetai legon, ou gar estin exousia.

[2] Ver. 10. Dilectio proximi malum non operatur, i.e. dilectio non operatur malum proximi, vel proximo, e agape to plesion kakon ouk ergazetai.

[3] Ver. 13. Non in cubilibus, me koitais, which may signify beds, chambers, or immodest actions.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Lessons of obedience to superiors, and mutual charity.

1 Let *every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God.

2 Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation.

3 For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same.

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is the minister of God: and avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil.

5 Wherefore be subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience-sake.

6 For therefore also you pay tribute: for they are the ministers of God, serving unto this purpose.

7 *Render, therefore, to all their dues: tribute, to whom tribute is due: custom, to whom custom: fear, to whom fear: honour, to whom honour.

8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbour, hath fulfilled the law.

9 *For 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 comprised in this word: **Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

10 The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. Love, therefore, is the fulfilling of the law.

11 And that knowing the time: that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep: for now our salvation is nearer than when we believed.

12 The night is passed, and the day is at hand. Let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light.

13 Let us walk honestly as in the day: *not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy:

14 *But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.



1: Wisdom vi. 4.; 1 Peter ii. 13.

7: Matthew xxi. 21.

9: Exodus xx. 14.; Deuteronomy v. 18. — ** Leviticus xix. 18.; Matthew xxii. 39.; Mark xii. 31.; Galatians v. 14.; James ii. 8.

13: Luke xxi. 34.

14: Galatians v. 16.; 1 Peter ii. 11.