RE: Rom 13:1- TASSW

From: Clayton Bartholomew (
Date: Tue Aug 26 1997 - 10:49:41 EDT

Re: Romans 13:1

Rolf wrote:
In Rom 13:1 we find the clause hAI DE OUSAI hUPO QEOU TETAGMENAI
Some renderings of TASSW are:"set up" Darby, "have been established"
"are ordained" ASV,"are established" NASB,"are appointed" YNG, "have
established" NIV," have been appointed" NJB,"are appointed" NKJV,
been instituted" RSV,"have been put there" TEV,"are ordained" KJV.

All the above renderings indicate that God directly is responsible for
anyone of the EXOUSIAIS hUPERECOUSAIS, he appointed them! This
accords with
the use of hUPO which shows that God is the agent of the passive
participle. There is no trace of any intermediary agent in the context.
However, among the 7 other occurrences of TASSW in the NT I find no
example of "appoint", and in the 8o examples in the LXX I find only 5 (2
Sam 20:23, 1 Chr 16:4,7; 17:19 and 2 Chr 31:2) where this meaning is

Other suggested meanings of TASSW are "place in a certain order",
"arrange", "assign to a place". Is it on the basis of the use of the word
in Classical Greek or elswhere possible to argue that God has not the
responsibility for the institution of every government of the world,
as for instance that of Adolf Hitler?


You are raising a notoriously difficult theological/ethical question and
you are trying to solve it buy the application of philology to the word
TASSW. I wonder if philology is the way these kind of questions get

I can think of a number of texts (in Exodus, Isaiah, Daniel, Revelation)
that openly teach that God has established evil rulers in power. The
loaded part of your question is the phrase * . . .God has not the full
responsibility . . .*. This is the Problem of Evil being addressed here
and I don't think the application of philology to the word TASSW can
bear the weight of solving the problem of evil.

Clay Bartholomew
Three Tree Point

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