legal power, or a right to command or to act; as the authority of a prince over subjects, and of parents over children. Power; rule; sway.
Thus what we have all known from childhood, that authorities have rights: the right to command, the right to be respected, and the right to be obeyed. But that is not all. Authorities also have responsibilities, and restrictions.
For all human authority is delegated authority from God and is not absolute. Delegated authorities have a God-given purpose for existing, and their purpose frames their responsibilities. The responsibilities of delegated authority always involves service: for delegated authorities exist to serve those under them, and not to be served by those under them.
Every delegated authority also has restrictions placed on the extent of their authority, that they may not trespass the rights of those they serve, or the responsibilities of the other authorities. As we examine each of the three human authorities delegated by God: familial, ecclesiastical, and societal, and the Scriptures admonishing them of their rights, responsibilities and restrictions — the three r’s of delegated authority — the fact that responsibilities and restrictions exist will become established.
continued in leaving and cleaving: family authority, part one