Romans 13:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 13:11, NIV: And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

Romans 13:11, ESV: Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

Romans 13:11, KJV: And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

Romans 13:11, NASB: Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed.

Romans 13:11, NLT: This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

Romans 13:11, CSB: Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

What does Romans 13:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul prefaces his statement here with "besides this." The "this" in question seems to be everything Paul has written from the start of chapter 12 through the previous verse. He has described what it means to live as a Christian on this side of eternity. Using a series of commands, many of them difficult to follow, Paul has painted a picture of a believer as a person who sets himself aside for the good of others and radically trusts God to provide all that is needed.

Now Paul begins to describe why it is so essential for Christians to live this way. Time is of the essence. The world is changing right now. Paul writes to the Roman Christians that the hour has come for them to wake up, in the sense that the sun is about to rise. It's time to get to work.

The schedule of day and night drastically controlled the world of Paul's day. With no artificial lighting, firelight—feeble by modern standards—was all that stood between people and darkness. Most work stopped as soon as the sun went down and started again when the sun rose. Paul is urging Christians to see, in a spiritual metaphor, that the sun is about to rise. It's time to get up.

What does it mean that the sun is rising? Paul describes the moment as one in which salvation is closer now than when his readers first trusted in Christ. Does this mean that Paul did not think of Christians as being saved? Not at all. The New Testament often describes salvation as something that has happened, is happening, and will happen. In this case, Paul is referring to salvation in the sense that all who are in Christ will have reached eternity, that the time of ultimate victory and judgment is fast approaching.

Paul believed that day could come at any time. Two thousand years later, we are still looking forward to it.