New Defender's Study Bible Notes
13:1 subject unto the higher powers. See also I Peter 2:13-17. God instituted the system of human government immediately after the great Flood (Genesis 9:6), and has never changed this. Furthermore, God sometimes may, for His own purposes, place even wicked men in positions of power (e.g., Nebuchadnezzar—note Jeremiah 27:5-7; Daniel 4:17). The Apostle Paul himself was imprisoned and finally executed by Emperor Nero, yet he never counseled rebellion or disobedience, except when human laws demand disobedience to God’s laws (Acts 5:29). Note that Romans 13:4 supports the concept of using “the sword” by government when necessary. This would confirm the principle of justified capital punishment first established in Genesis 9:6, as well as the concept of warfare when justified.