Bible Study: The Christian and Governing Authorities

Bible Study: The Christian and Governing Authorities (Student’s Guide)

There is an inseparable yet distinct relationship between Christians (the church) and the governing authorities (the state). The relationship demands recognition and respect for their particular responsibilities. This Bible Study examines God’s Word as it relates to this relationship. It is intended to help us understand the role of the state that God has established and blessed.

READ THE FOLLOWING PASSAGES:

Proverbs 24:21 Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious…

Matthew 22:17-21 “Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Luke 10:30-37 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'” “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Acts 5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!”

Romans 13:1-7 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 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. For 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. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.

1 Peter 2:13-14 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

1 Peter 2:17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

1 Peter 3:15-17 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1. What is the Christian mission?

2. What is the assignment for governing officials?

3. How should a Christian view the leaders in governing offices?

4. What about when those leaders do wrong things?

5. Is there ever a time when a Christian could refuse to obey the governing leaders?

6. What role does a Christian play in securing governing leaders?

7. How should a Christian view corrupt governing leaders?

8. What instrument does the government use to effect change?

9. What instrument does a Christian use to effect change?

10. Discuss the difference between talking about the “separation” of church and state and the “distinction” between church and state.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, teach us to honor those in authority with service and obedience. Use us as a blessing in their task of watching over us. Move us to expressions of love and respect for those who rule. And grant to those who are in authority a continued sense of being your servants as they serve under you for the good of your people. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Bible Study: The Christian and Governing authorities (Student’s Guide)

There is an inseparable yet distinct relationship between Christians (the church) and the governing authorities (the state). The relationship demands recognition and respect for their particular responsibilities. This Bible Study examines God’s Word as it relates to this relationship. It is intended to help us understand the role of the state that God has established and blessed.

Read the following passages and apply them when answering the subsequent questions:

Proverbs 24:21 “Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious…”

Matthew 22:17-21 “‘Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, ‘You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.’ They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, ‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. Then he said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.'”

Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Luke 10:30-37 “In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.'”

Acts 5:29 “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!'”

Romans 13:1-7 “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 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. For 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. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

1 Timothy 2:1-4 “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage ‘ with great patience and careful instruction.”

1 Peter 2:13-14 “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”

1 Peter 2:17 “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”

1 Peter 3:15-17 “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

Discussion Questions:

What is the Christian mission?

Glorifying God by doing his will and sharing the message of salvation with all people.

What is the assignment for governing officials?

To bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Their work is meant for the good of God’s people.

How should a Christian view the leaders in governing offices?

As God’s representative and authority established by God.

What about when those leaders do wrong things?

Leaders may exhibit moral failings and even display an inability to lead. Nevertheless, as leaders they are entitled to full respect as authorities established by God.

Is there ever a time when a Christian could refuse to obey the governing leaders?

In the event a leader makes a specific request of you to do something contrary to the will of God, then the leader’s request is to be refused.

What role does a Christian play in securing governing leaders?

The form of government will determine the extent a Christian can influence the selection of the leader. In a republic, like the United States, the Christian plays an important role in securing leaders through the election process. To that extent, leaders elected by the people are extensions of the people. Therefore, part of the way we show love for others is by the people we elect to office.

How should a Christian view corrupt governing leaders?

When a Christian observes corruption it should be revealed and condemned as sin. A Christian, however, cannot lost sight that the governing leader is an authority established by God and also a sinful human being prone to sin and in need of forgiveness. Address the sin but don’t forget about the soul.

What instrument does the government use to effect change?

The sword which is a poetic way of talking about the law or force.

What instrument does a Christian use to effect change?

Christians use the Word of God to affect change. While using God’s law may press one into compliance, it is the administration of the Gospel which prompts obedience to come from a heart of faith. As such, that obedience is pleasing to God.

Discuss the difference between talking about the “separation” of church and state and the “distinction” between church and state.

The distinction between the church and state is seen in how each effect change. The separation between the two is a somewhat artificial term used in society to distance the government from supporting efforts that may favor one religious body over another.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, teach us to honor those in authority with service and obedience. Use us as a blessing in their task of watching over us. Move us to expressions of love and respect for those who rule. And grant to those who are in authority a continued sense of being your servants as they serve under you for the good of your people. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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