The context and wording of Rom. 13:4 tell precisely where the ruler's sword can act: inside the borders of the nation. The sword does not have international scope, because the sword of the other nation was just as fully appointed to execute justice on its own citizens. The word for sword in Greek is machaira, the Roman short sword used for execution of Roman citizens inside the empire’s borders. Paul himself was killed by one. This sword is the biblical symbol for internal justice.
- Martin G. Selbrede, National Defense and the Bible, (November 20, 2008), at http://www.chalcedon.edu/papers/NationalDefense.pdf .