'Be Subject to the Governing Authorities': A Ghanaian Christian Understanding of Romans 13:1


‘Be subject to the governing authorities’ (Rom. 13:1) has been the subject of discussion by scholars for centuries. Different interpretations have been given. The interpreters used mainly two traditional methods of biblical hermeneutics to interpret the text namely: (1) Historical critical methodologies which locate the meaning of a biblical text behind the text; and (2) the Exegetical method which locates the meaning of the text in the text. These methodologies which are part of the legacy of Western biblical scholarship have been used by Ghanaian biblical exegetes to interpret the text over the years. In this paper, the author the uses a the mother-tongue biblical approach - a sub method of a broader methodology that finds the meaning of a text in front of the text – to find out what Rom. 13:1 mean to indigenous Ghanaian Christians and mother-tongue bible readers. Using fifteen (15) different versions of the Ghanaian mother-tongue translations of the text in six (6) languages, the author found out that, the different translations render pasa psuche and exousias the main subjects in the Greek text variedly, thus, giving a host of meanings to the text. The significance of this study is that it has added to the interpretations of the text, and thus it has implications for political education in Ghana.



Kuwornu-Adjaottor, J.E.T(Department of Religious Studies , Lecturer , jkadjaottor@yahoo.com )


Place of publication: 

Article published in Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences, 3 (5) 565 – 571, 2012.

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