What does Romans 13:5-7 really mean?

Romans 13:5-7 is about emphasizing the importance of submitting to governing authorities, fulfilling one’s obligations to society, and giving respect and honor to those in authority positions.

5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.
7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.


Setting the Scene for Romans 13:5-7

In Romans chapter 13, the scene unfolds in a small, dimly lit room in ancient Rome. The room is filled with a diverse group of individuals gathered for a secret Bible study session. Among them are Marcus, a Roman centurion who has secretly converted to Christianity, Lydia, a wealthy merchant from Thyatira, and Priscilla and Aquila, a couple who are known for their hospitality and dedication to spreading the teachings of Jesus.

The group has come together under the cover of darkness to study and discuss the words of the apostle Paul, who wrote the letter to the Romans. As they huddle together, the flickering light of a single oil lamp casts shadows on the walls, creating an atmosphere of secrecy and reverence. The group listens intently as one of them reads aloud from the scroll containing the epistle, particularly focusing on the passage in Romans 13:5-7, which speaks about the importance of submitting to governing authorities and paying taxes.

Despite the risks involved in openly practicing their faith in a society where Christianity is viewed with suspicion and persecution is a constant threat, these individuals have chosen to come together to support and encourage one another in their shared belief. As they discuss the implications of Paul’s words on their lives, they find strength in their unity and resolve to continue living out their faith with courage and conviction.

What is Romans 13:5-7 about?

This verse speaks about the importance of respecting and obeying authority figures in our lives. It emphasizes the significance of following laws, paying taxes, showing respect to those in leadership positions, and giving honor to whom it is deserved. We contribute to a harmonious and orderly society where rules and regulations are upheld for the greater good by submitting to authorities.

Reflecting on this verse, consider the role that authority figures play in maintaining structure and order in our communities. How does our compliance with laws and regulations contribute to the stability and well-being of society? We support the infrastructure and services that benefit everyone by paying taxes. Respecting leaders and giving honor where due fosters a culture of appreciation and cooperation, creating a positive environment for growth and development. Let us remember the importance of following these principles in our daily lives. Honoring and respecting those in positions of authority upholds the values of justice and fairness. How can we demonstrate gratitude and obedience towards our leaders in a way that uplifts and strengthens our communities? We should strive to embody these ideals in our actions and interactions, fostering a society built on respect, honor, and mutual understanding.

Understanding what Romans 13:5-7 really means

Romans 13:5-7, nestled within a broader discussion on the Christian’s relationship with governing authorities, serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of submission. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, not only stresses the necessity of obeying earthly authorities but also delves deeper, urging believers to do so not merely out of fear of repercussions but as a reflection of their moral convictions.

“It is necessary to submit to the authorities,” Paul asserts, emphasizing the significance of honoring and complying with governmental structures. This directive goes beyond mere compliance; it speaks to a deeper commitment to respecting the order established by God through human authorities. The phrase, “Not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience,” underscores the idea that obedience should stem from a place of ethical responsibility rather than mere avoidance of consequences.

“Give to everyone what you owe them,” Paul further exhorts, highlighting the importance of integrity and fulfilling obligations. Whether it pertains to taxes, respect, or honor, this call to honor commitments resonates with the broader theme of conscientious obedience to authority. Such principles are not isolated within Romans; they find echoes in other biblical passages like 1 Peter 2:13-17, where Peter similarly emphasizes submission to human authorities as part of God’s will.

In a contemporary context where skepticism towards political and social systems abounds, the message of Romans 13:5-7 remains profoundly relevant. It challenges Christians to uphold a standard of conduct that transcends personal grievances or disagreements with those in power. This call to integrity and respect becomes particularly crucial in times of societal unrest or when faced with laws that may test one’s convictions.

Imagine a scenario where a Christian business owner grapples with disagreeable tax laws. Instead of resorting to evasion, they choose to comply fully, recognizing that their actions not only uphold legal standards but also serve as a testament to their faith. This anecdote illustrates the transformative power of living out one’s beliefs with integrity, even in challenging circumstances.

Romans 13:5-7, therefore, beckons believers to embody integrity, respect, and responsibility in their interactions with governing authorities. It prompts introspection on our attitudes and actions towards those in positions of power, urging us to align our conduct with our conscience and a desire to honor God. By adhering to these principles, Christians can illuminate their communities with the Gospel’s transformative influence, showcasing faith in action in the midst of everyday life.

How can we honor and respect authority?

Honoring and respecting authority involves recognizing that those in positions of authority have been appointed by God to serve and protect us. It is important to understand that authorities are put in place to uphold justice and maintain order in society. We demonstrate our respect and acknowledgment of the authorities’ role in ensuring the well-being of the community by obeying the laws and regulations they set.

Additionally, showing honor and respect to authority figures means treating them with courtesy and dignity. This includes following their instructions, cooperating with their decisions, and recognizing their leadership. Honoring authority is ultimately a way of honoring God, who has established authority structures for the benefit of society. We should strive to show reverence and humility towards those in positions of authority, understanding the importance of their role in maintaining peace and order.


As we navigate the turbulent waters of the modern world, let us not forget the power of honor and obedience. Just as we show dedication in our daily work and commitment to our families, let us also extend the same courtesy to our leaders appointed by God. Take a moment to reflect on the teachings of the Bible and ask yourself: Are you willing to embody respect and submission in your interactions with authority figures, both in the workplace and beyond?