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God's Plan for Civil Government – Part 9 - Did the apostles contradict their own words?

In January through April of 2012 I led a Bible Study on the Bible and Civil Government. It lasted 13 weeks. These lessons are being posted on a website:

The Lessons are a bit long for people to read on social media, so the lessons are being posted on MeWe in shorter pieces.

God's Plan for Civil Government # 8  - Did the apostles contradict their own words?

Did the apostles contradict their own words? (Question 2)

How Tradition Says the Apostles Died

As someone has correctly pointed out, hypocrites and martyrs are not made of the same stuff. Men may willingly die for what they believe to be true...even at times if what they believe is actually false. But no one will die willingly for something they know to be a lie!! Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Jesus, committed suicide. Only John, of the other 13 Apostles, died a natural manner of death (John did not die by homicide, a martyr).

Apostle Where
When died Manner of Death

Peter (Simon Peter),
Bible writer

Rome, Italy
54-68AD Homicide: crucified head down,
at his own request
Andrew, son of a John & brother of Peter (Matthew 4:18) Edessa, Greece ?AD Homicide: severely scourged & tied by ropes on x-shaped cross where he hung 2 days to expire
James, son of Zebedee & Salome and elder brother of John (not brother of Jesus) the Bible writer Jerusalem, Israel
44 AD
(the 1st martyred)
Homicide: beheaded with sword; Mark 10:39 & Acts 12:1-2
John, son of Zebedee and brother of James; Bible writer (John & Revelation) Ephesus, Turkey
or Turkish Isle
of Patmos

98 AD

thrown in boiling oil but unharmed; died of Natural causes & buried near Ephesus about 100AD
Philip of Bethsaida Hieropolis, Syria Homicide: crucified
Bartholomew (Nathaniel) India or
Homicide: beaten/flayed, and crucified
head down
Thomas (Didymus) Edessa, Greece Homicide: lanced by
idolatrous priests & burned up in an oven
Matthew (Levi), of Capernaum
the Bible writer
Nadabah, Ethiopia about 60AD Homicide: axed to death with a halberd
James (son of Alphaeus); Bible writer
(? half brother of Jesus?)
Jerusalem, Israel AD66 Homicide: thrown down from the Temple tower & not dead so clubbed to death with a fullers club at age 94
Jude (Thaddaeus...Judas Lebbaeus)  Edessa, Greece AD72 Homicide: crucified
Simon the Zealot (the Canaanite) Brittainnia, Europe Homicide: crucified
Judas Iscariot Jerusalem, Israel > Suicide: by hanging Matt. 27:5
Matthias (the 11 remaining Apostles chose him to replace Judas) Jerusalem, Israel Homicide: stoned and beheaded
Paul (chosen by the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus) Rome, Italy 66 AD Homicide: beheaded

Except as noted the manner of death of the Apostles is not in the Scripture, but the overwhelming historical evidence is that the Apostles died in disobedience to the existing civil government or higher powers in place in their society.

Prison Epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon

Some have argued that the Epistles in the New Testament (such as Romans) were written prior to the beginning of Christian persecution and thus did not consider persecution by the government. This argument has been used by Christian skeptics in an effort to weaken the importance of the Bible (and thusly God's Word) by trying to demonstrate that it quickly became outdated.

But this is contrary to the Scripture and not true. For example the forthcoming persecution was referenced in Romans, Romans 8:35-36 the very letter to the church in Rome that contains Romans 13:1-7. The letters to the church in Corinth, written before Romans also demonstrate that the Apostle Paul understood that he and others would face persecution.


King James Version


Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?


As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

As we all know Jesus was persecuted, in fact Our Lord and Savior was crucified.

It is very doubtful that God inspired the Apostles Paul and Peter to teach unconditional obedience to ALL civil government. It is even more doubtful that God inspired Paul and Peter to write that disobedience to civil government in all cases is disobedience to God. Almost all of the Disciples, including Paul, did not hesitate to disobey their civil government and the civil authorities above them when the law required something contrary to God's Word or even stood in the way of their teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Conclusion: Any interpretation of Romans 13:1-7 that includes a statement that Christians are to obey civil government in all things is incorrect. A better understanding is needed.

Next: Part - 10 Does God's Word command us to obedience in all cases?


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