Wednesday, May 03, 2006

1 Peter 2:13-17

In the weekly Bible study that I lead, I am teaching through 1 Peter. This week I will teach through 2:13-17, a section that speaks about the Christian's obligation to submit to government authorities and the place of government within God's created order. One of the things that I always seek to do is trace the biblical-theological roots of the (or one of the) major themes in the passage. So with respect to tracing the biblical theological roots of the obligation to submit to government authorities and the role of government, what key passages would you draw upon and how would you trace them out? The obvious parallel is Rom 13:1-7 (though there are some differences between the two passages), but I'm thinking primarily of the OT and canonical roots.

I've already taken my stab at it, but I want to see your efforts before I share mine at some point. So, readers, how would you trace the biblical theological roots of submission to government authority?

5 comments:

swayz said...

One possible OT parallel might be Jeremiah's admonition to the people of Judah to submit to the captivity, since it was God's response to their sinfulness. They were not to mount a rebellion against the Babylonians, or to "outsmart" them, or God, by running to Egypt.

Matt Harmon said...

Here's a sketch of where I'm taking this tonight in my Bible study:

Gen 1:26-31 - God commissions Adam and Eve to rule over creation as his vice-regents. Despite the Fall, God continues to ordain structures for the restraint of evil and the praise of good

Lev 19:2 - God instructs his people to be holy in their administration of his covenant because it reflects his own holiness

John 19:8-12 - Jesus acknowledges the authority of Pilate over him, but stresses that it is authority delegated from God himself, with the implication that Pilate will be responsible to God for his exercise of that authority

Rom 2:1-10 - At the final judgment God will both punish evil and praise the good. Ergo, human government's exercise of these same functions is intended as a reflection of God's own perfect final judgment

Rom 13:1-7 - very similar passage to 1 Pet 2:13-17, but the divine origin of government is more explicit than in 1 Pet 2:13-17

I hadn't thought of the Jeremiah parallel mentioned by SWAYZ, but I think this would fit into the overall structure I'm building here.

Thoughts?

Vitamin Z said...

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's?

Paul (probably - maybe Liz) said...

:) You missed out Gen 9:6 as being probably the first point where God instituted civil authority as ruling mankind on his behalf.

Matt Harmon said...

Paul

Good catch there; that would have been a nice one to add in.