Incognito: The Powers that Be

You have heard the expression, “the powers that be”.  It comes from a biblical reference found in the King James version of the Bible.

Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained by God..”

The bible does not say, overall, that governments are always correct, or that they must always be obeyed (see Exodus 1, the Midwives; Daniel 3, refusing to worship the image; Acts 4; preaching when it is forbidden). It says that governments (“powers that be”) are an institution created by God and accountable to God.  Believers ought to submit to government, for that reason.  The exception to that has been cleverly stated in this way:

We obey unless they command what God forbids

or forbid what God commands.