13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. 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 revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
World English Bible:
"For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same, 4 for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn't bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil."
New Int'l Version:
For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
First, its a cool quote, and one that illustrates a few points I've made recently. First, it highlights the essential element of a lawful perspective: The king is the king because God says so, and that's ok, and the king's agents are fully justified in going out and punishing those who rebel against the laws. And in our old-school King James version, those who break the laws and are evil (notice how this has been toned down to "wrongdoers" in the NIV?).
Second, it highlights the power of language. What is more effective: "He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." Or: "For he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." To me, the former sounds like a line from a very bland textbook. The latter is a scene from an action move. Words -- and how we use them -- have a lot of power.
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