Romans 13:8-10

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

September 22, 1999


Paul has moved through his doctrinal section in Romans and now has moved on to the practical side of things.  He’s been telling the church in Rome how they are a "body", and like a body, they are all separate parts that belong and function together. He’s talked to them about their obligations to each other like loving without hypocrisy, meeting needs, blessing, and not taking vengeance. He’s talked about our need to submit to those in authority. Now he moves on to love.

:8 Owe no man any thing,

oweopheilo – to owe. This is the word that "dues" in the previous verse is based on.

Don’t be a debtor to anyone.


It’s okay to get a loan.

Paul’s point here is not to say we shouldn’t give or receive loans.

The Bible teaches that lending is okay, but not to take advantage of the poor through it:

(Lev 25:35-36 NLT) "If any of your Israelite relatives fall into poverty and cannot support themselves, support them as you would a resident foreigner and allow them to live with you. {36} Do not demand an advance or charge interest on the money you lend them. Instead, show your fear of God by letting them live with you as your relatives.

(Psa 37:25-26 NLT) Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly forsaken, nor seen their children begging for bread. {26} The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing.

The point is not that borrowing is wrong, the point is that you ought to pay back what you owe.

:8 but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

to loveagapao – to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly

This is one thing we are allowed to owe other people.


You still owe on the love loan.

The early church father Origen said, "The debt of love remains with us permanently and never leaves us. This is a debt which we pay every day and forever owe."

Keep in mind what kind of love we’re talking about:

(1 Cor 13:4-8 NLT) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud {5} or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. {6} It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

There is a difference between godly love and our romantic, mushy, warm-fuzzy concept of love. God’s kind of love doesn’t look the other way or ignore injustice. In fact, God’s love is the very foundation of His "discipline" of us, His chastisement of us when we’re disobedient (Heb. 13). We think that "love" means that I have to turn my head and let someone get away with something, but God’s love will step in and deal with the problem, OUT OF LOVE, to stop the sin.

{7} Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. {8} Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear.

If you think that you’ve already given a certain person "enough love", you’re wrong. You still owe more. Don’t wait for the "past due" notices.

How’s your "credit rating" in regards to love?

hath fulfilledpleroo – to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full; to render full, i.e. to complete; to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, (some undertaking)

:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet;

Paul is quoting the 7th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th commandments, in that order (Ex. 20:13-17).

adulterymoicheuo – to commit adultery

killphoneuo –to kill, slay, murder

stealklepto – to steal; to commit a theft

bear false witnesspseudomartureo (pseudo, "false, lie", + marturero, "to be a witness) – to utter falsehoods in giving testimony, to testify falsely, to bear false witness

covetepithumeo – to turn upon a thing; to have a desire for, long for, to desire; to lust after, covet

We often see this word translated as "lust".

We may never let anyone see the "lust" inside of us, but don’t think that the "lust" isn’t harmful. It is one of those "root causes", one of those things that can drive all of our actions if we aren’t careful.

Are your actions driven by "lust" or "love"?

:9 and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

briefly comprehendedanakephalaiomai – to sum up (again), to repeat summarily, to condense into a summary.

Paul is quoting:

(Lev 19:18 KJV) Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.


Talking about neighbors …

During his sermon, a pastor quoted Matthew 19:19, "Love your neighbor as yourself." To emphasize the point, he asked three times, with increasing intensity: "Who is my neighbor? Who is my neighbor? Who is my neighbor?!" Each time he asked, a young boy in the congregation answered (mimicking the pastor’s intensity, but not quite as loud): "Mister Rogers! Mister Rogers! Mister Rogers!"

• Ed Arida, Stow, OH, Christian Reader, "Lite Fare."

We don’t have to focus on what not to do, all we have to focus on is loving others.

:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour:

If you will love people, then you won’t be hurting them.

A paraphrase of 1Corinthians 13:

If I [know] the language perfectly and speak like a native, and have not [God’s] love for them, I am nothing. If I have diplomas and degrees and know all the up-to-date methods, and have not His touch of understanding love, I am nothing. If I am able to argue successfully against the religions of the people and make fools of them, and have not His wooing note, I am nothing. If I have all faith and great ideals and magnificent plans, and not His love that sweats and bleeds and weeps and prays and pleads, I am nothing. If I give my clothes and money to them, and have not His love for them, I am nothing.

If I surrender all prospects, leave home and friends, make the sacrifices of a missionary career, and turn sour and selfish amid the daily annoyances and slights of a missionary life, and have not the love that yields its rights, its leisures, its pet plans, I am nothing. Virtue has ceased to go out of me. If I can heal all manner of sickness and disease, but wound hearts and hurt feelings for want of His love that is kind, I am nothing. If I can write articles or publish books that win applause, but fail to transcribe the Word of the Cross into the language of His love, I am nothing. (Source unknown)

Obedience isn’t always easy.

John MacArthur:

"…for obvious reasons, obedience has never been popular. From a child’s earliest years, the idea of doing what his parents want him to do is disagreeable and frustrating, because it thwarts his own will and sense of independence. The notion of submitting personal will to the will of someone else, even God—or rather, especially God—has always been abhorrent to fallen human nature. It was Adam’s and Eve’s placing their own wills above God’s that was the first sin, and it is that same spirit of disobedience that has been at the heart of every sin since that tragic day."

God wants to replace that "spirit of disobedience" with the thing that drives us to obey, love.

:10 therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.


Love obeys the law.

Some people have the idea that living the Christian life has nothing to do with "the Law". People will tell you, "Hey, I’m no longer under the Law, brother!"

But what they ignore is the fact that while our lives are no longer judged by the Law, and while our righteousness and the ability to make the grade in heaven is based on what Jesus has done for us, our lives will still conform to the Law.

Jesus said,

(Mat 5:17-19 KJV) Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. {18} For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. {19} Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

As we learn to pay attention to loving others like we ought, we will find that our actions will parallel what is commanded in the Law.

You can tell a lot about a person by whether or not they are obedient to the law.


During his time as a rancher, Theodore Roosevelt and one of his cowpunchers lassoed a maverick steer, lit a fire, and prepared the branding irons. The part of the range they were on was claimed by Gregor Lang, one of Roosevelt’s neighbors. According to the cattleman’s rule, the steer therefore belonged to Lang. As his cowboy applied the brand, Roosevelt said, "Wait, it should be Lang’s brand." "That’s all right boss," said the cowboy. "But you’re putting on my brand," Roosevelt said. "That’s right," said the man. "Drop that iron," Roosevelt demanded, "and get back to the ranch and get out. I don’t need you anymore. A man who will steal for me will steal from me."

The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, Clifton Fadiman, General Editor, Little Brown & Company, 1985, p. 476.

Roosevelt knew he couldn’t trust the man as an employee because the man was a law-breaker.

Let’s say that a married man starts getting close to another woman other than his wife at work. Let’s say that he tells the woman that he "loves" her. Can that be true love? No, because the man is breaking the law by committing adultery against his wife. If he breaks the law against his wife, what’s going to keep him from breaking the law again with you?


How can I love like that?

Let God love you first.

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

I can only begin to understand how to love God with my heart, mind, and strength when I begin to understand how much God loves me.

Let God control you with His Holy Spirit.

(Gal 5:22-23 NASB) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The chief result of the Holy Spirit being in control of your life will be love.

Irritate others to love.

(Heb 10:24-25 KJV) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: {25} Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

provokeparoxusmos – an inciting; irritation.

I don’t always enjoy being an irritation to others, but there is one way in which I hope I excel at irritating people. I hope I irritate them into loving others.

Are we motivated by His love?