What does the Bible say about voting?
Turning 18 in the United States is significant for many individuals since it gives them the right to vote. In 2024, U.S. voters nationwide will practice their right as citizens to vote in the presidential election. Choosing the leaders we want as our governing authorities is a privilege. Not all countries allow their citizens this freedom. As a Christian, you may wonder what the Bible says about voting. It’s a good question, especially as we approach the coming year. Here are some things to consider.
Christian quotes about voting
“When you enter the voting booth, don’t leave your Christianity in the parking lot.” — R.C. Sproul
“This world is not a democracy. This world is a monarchy, and God is the King. Sure, we may use language about our rights, and we may even compose and ascribe to a ‘Bill of Rights,’ but the reality is simple: God has all the rights, and we are subject to him.” David Platt
“The right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties. Ronald Reagan
Should Christians vote?
Interestingly enough, the Bible never addresses voting directly, but it does have much to say about our attitude and responsibility regarding our citizenship and governing authorities. As Christians, the Bible says we are, first, citizens of heaven and, secondarily, citizens of our earthly country. As citizens of heaven, we’re called to obey Christ.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:20 ESV).
As citizens of America or the country where we live, we’re called to live freely in Christ, with a heart to serve others in humility.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13 NIV)
In America, the right to vote is a privilege of its citizens. As Christians living in America, we’re free to vote, but we’re not bound by scripture to vote or not vote.
1 Samuel 12:13 (NASB) “And now, behold, the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, the Lord has put a king over you.”
Hosea 8:4 (ESV) “They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but I knew it not. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction.”
1 Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Proverbs 28:12 “When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.”
Jeremiah 29:7 “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Matthew 22:21 “They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Proverbs 29:2 (ESV) “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”
Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Should a Christian be a Republican or a Democrat?
A Christian’s first obligation is to Christ. He rules and reigns over us. Scripture teaches us how to live in obedience to Christ. Our conduct should reflect our beliefs. If we say it’s wrong to lie, but we lie to our boss or cheat on a test at school, we’re being hypocritical. We not only defame the name of Christ, but we lose the trust and respect of unbelievers around us. Our lives should reflect Christ in word and deed.
When choosing a candidate or political party, we must choose wisely and according to our convictions. Often, the candidates aren’t godly individuals, so we choose according to our conscience. We can ask ourselves a few questions to determine which party we should support, including
- What are the candidate’s main issues?
- Do I agree with their stance on these issues?
- Is this a party I want to be involved with or represented by?
- What is the candidate’s track record on the issues?
- Am I going against my conscience if I vote for this person?
These questions can help us decide which party to vote for or whether we should vote in the election at all.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:11-12 ESV)
1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Romans 1:32 “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Submitting to government authority
According to scripture, we’re called to obey our authorities. Of course, we may not always agree with the government. It’s helpful to remember God appoints our authorities. Even if they aren’t believers, they serve His purposes.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:1-4 NIV)
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good. (Titus 3:1 NIV)
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. (1 Peter 2:13-14 ESV)
Are there exceptions when we shouldn’t obey our authorities?
Of course, when scripture tells us to obey our authority, it doesn’t mean an authority can ask us to do something morally wrong. Scripture says that the government’s job is to serve the citizens justly. There are limits to when we should submit. Being asked to drive the speed limit isn’t a moral issue. It may not be our preference, but it’s the law that we should submit to. But being told to steal or lie by a governing authority is wrong. We shouldn’t obey this rule but obey God’s law.
In scripture, we have examples of individuals who obeyed God rather than the governing authorities.
In Exodus, we read how Moses’ parents, though instructed by the king to kill their baby boy, chose to disobey the king’s rule and spare their son’s life. God ultimately used Moses to lead his people out of Egypt and into the promised land.
By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. (Hebrews 11:23 NIV)
In the Old Testament book of Daniel, we read how Daniel continued to pray to God despite the king’s ruling not to do so.
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. (Daniel 6:10 NIV)
In the New Testament, we read how Jesus’ disciples obeyed God rather than the governing authorities who told them to stop public teaching about Christ.
The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! (Acts 5:27-29 NIV)
Maybe you haven’t been in a situation like these individuals, but you may have experienced pressure from someone, like a boss or supervisor, to lie at work.
If you find yourself in such a situation, a good rule of thumb is to evaluate whether obeying this earthly authority conflicts with your obedience to God. Or if what you’re being told to do conflicts with scripture. We should always choose to obey God above men.
Acts 5:29 (ESV) “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
Acts 4:19 “But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than God.”
Things to remember as Christian voters:
It’s a wonderful privilege to live in a country where we can vote for our leaders. Not all people in the world have this freedom. With this privilege comes responsibility. We have a responsibility to be informed about those running for office. We should
- Study the issues and understand what the candidates support.
- Decide what scripture says about the issues at hand.
- Prayerfully consider who God wants us to vote for.
- Never belittle others for their choices. Each person must choose according to their conscience rather than out of fear of what others will think of them.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Colossians 1:16 “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”
Psalm 119:105-106 NASB “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. 106 I have sworn and I will confirm it, That I will keep Your righteous judgments.”
Isaiah 46:9-10 “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Ephesians 5:11 “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”
1 Peter 2:17 “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”
James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
Pray for world leaders.
Scripture clearly tells us to pray for those in authority. We can
- Thank God for those who are in leadership in countries worldwide.
- Pray for those in leadership to come to know Christ and submit to him.
- Pray that the men and women leaders would lead with integrity and honesty out of consideration for their citizens.
- Pray these leaders wouldn’t fall into corruption or dishonest gain.
- Pray that leaders worldwide would allow the Bible to be distributed in their countries and allow Christians to share the gospel.
- Pray that evil leaders would be removed and godly ones would replace them.
1 Timothy 2:1–2 (ESV) 2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
John 17:9 (NKJV) “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.”
Ephesians 6:18 “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
Psalm 116:2 (NLT) “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Pray for the United States
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:10 NIV)
As Christians, scripture instructs us to pray for those in authority. This includes the president all the way down to our local officials. When we pray, we seek the good of others, our country, and ourselves. God can do great things through our little prayers. Not many of us have influence in the White House or the United Nations, but we have access to a big God who does amazing things when his people pray. His influence changes hearts and minds.
We can do good to our leaders in the United States by praying for their salvation. We can pray they’d give their lives to the God who rules and reigns over the universe.
It’s important to pray for your country. Your prayers can make a big difference! Check out this good prayer resource for praying for leaders in the United States.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV) “pray without ceasing.”
James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Psalm 9:17 (KJV) “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”
Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
Psalm 22:27-28 (NIV) “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.”
Jeremiah 29:7 “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Proverbs 11:14 “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”
Election Day Bible verses to remember in 2024.
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17 NIV)
It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. (Psalm 75:7 NIV)
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. (Titus 3:1-2 NIV)
In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him. (Proverbs 21:1 NIV)
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. (Romans 13:1-5 NIV)
As Christians, knowing God rules and reigns sovereignly over all countries is comforting. He established kings and kingdoms. It’s God who places rulers into their positions of authority. Of course, some leaders use their power for evil rather than for good. It’s difficult to accept that God allows evil men to rule, but ultimately, even those who do evil are subject to God’s authority and will receive his judgment if not in this life, then in the next. Scripture instructs us to pray for our leaders and to submit to their authority. Of course, if a leader asks us to disobey God, we must always obey God. Never doubt the power of our prayers. God can do amazing things through the prayers of his people.