There’s always a form of authority in every aspect of life, and it is generally demanded that we respect authority irrespective of our position in life. God has also called on us through the scriptures to respect and honour those in authority over us.
But before we go through these bible references, we must first understand what authority is and why it’s an integral part of our society.
What is Authority?
Many social psychologists believe that it’s a universal instinctive trait among humans to respect authority. It refers to the formal and legitimate power to act, bestowed on an individual or group of individuals to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities.
For example, our parents have authority over us bestowed on them by God and social laws. So also, our bosses, managers, lecturers, government officials and others have authority over us. You also have authority over others in one way or another.
Is authority the same as power?
We live in a society where most people show little or no regard for authority based on the fact that the concept has certain limits and doesn’t require force to gain compliance. Unlike the concept of power, which involve the use of force or other intangible means like possession of knowledge, brutal force or more to exert authority over others.
Power is often taken and exerted by those who have the tools and means to do so, while authority is often bestowed or given to people through legitimate means such as appointments, elections, etc.
Should we respect authority?
As we mentioned earlier, it is a natural phenomenon for humans to respect authority. But humans are also rebellious and may sometimes choose not to regard authority, especially since the power available to leaders are limited.
As Christians, however, it is essential that we show respect to those in authority and help them get back on track whenever we notice that they’re going against the virtues and customs that they stand for. There are a number of ways we as Christians can call those in authority to order, and they include the use of pressure groups, peaceful protests, mass media, social media, and many more.
Bible-based reasons why you should respect authority
Pay to all what is due to them: tax to whom the tax is due; custom to whom the custom is due; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
1 Peter 2:17
Honour all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honour the king.
1 Timothy 2:2
For the rulers and for all those in authority, so that in all godliness and humility, we can lead a quiet and quiet life.
1st Peter 2:18
Servants, be submissive with all reverence to your masters, not only those who are good and gentle but to those who are unfair as well.
Every person must be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority but from Heaven, and God establishes all that exists.
1 Peter 2:13
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,
You also pay taxes because of this, as rulers are servants of God, dedicating themselves to this very thing.
‘You shall rise up before the grey-headed and honour the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.
Obey your leaders and report to them for, like all who give an account, they hold watch over your souls. Let them do this with pleasure and not with grief because, for you, this would be unprofitable.
For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if ye do wrong, be afraid: for it beareth not the sword for nothing: for it is the minister of God, the vengeful one that bringeth vengeance on him that doeth evil.
Authorities are not a source of fear for good conduct, but for evil. You don’t want to fear authority? Do what is pleasant, and you’ll get the same praise;
It is not to serve his father or his mother.” And through this, you have invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
Remind them to be respectful to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any good deed;
1 Thessalonians 5:12;
But we ask of you, brothers, that you appreciate those who work diligently among you and take care of you in the Lord, and give you guidance,
and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
2 Peter 2:10
And particularly those who indulge the flesh in corrupt pleasures and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble as they excoriate the majesty of angels,
Fear the Lord and the King, my son; Do not affiliate with those given to change,
2 Corinthians 1:24;
Not that we lord it over your faith, but that we work for your joy with you for in your faith you stand steadfast.
Therefore whoever opposes the authority has resisted the decree of God, and they will receive judgment upon themselves who have opposed authority.