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July 10, 2010

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Q: What is biblical government?

A: Mention the word government to a typical twenty-first century American and he is most likely to think of Washington, D.C. But if that same American were to travel back in time to 1828 and open a copy of Webster’s newly released dictionary, he would discover that the first definition of government describes “self-government.” Other forms of government, including family (1 Corinthians 11:3, 8–9) and civil government (Deuteronomy 16:18–20, 25:1; Romans 13:1–5), are secondary.

This definition points us back to the Bible, the only source to properly understand our need for government and its real nature. We learn from the Bible that man is to give his heart to God (1 Peter 1:14–16) and to exercise self-control over his mind (2 Corinthians 10:4–6), his members (1 Corinthians 9:26–27), and his actions, so that he can fully honor his Creator (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3–5, 5:2–3).

In this modern age of lawlessness, where morality is believed to evolve based on changing culture rather than eternally fixed principles for self-rule, it is not surprising that the only “government” modern man recognizes is an all-powerful state. The biblical doctrine of government, on the other hand, emphasizes a multiplicity—family, church, and state—each grounded in self-control under God. The tension between these two views of government finds its root in the Genesis record, from the Garden of Eden to the Tower of Babel.


Continue reading to discover the biblical origin of civil government and take a look at our modern world in light of the Scriptural account of Babel.

News to Note Quick Look

Universal cartography: When it comes to a God’s-eye view of the physical universe, the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope mission may have given us the closest approximation yet. Read more.


Prehistoric Britain: What were humans like a million years ago—fur-wearing, meat-eating, tool-making Britons? Read more.


Also:

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Defending the Faith 2010

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