What does the Bible say about government?
We all have our own thoughts on the government, but what does the Bible say about government? Let’s find out below with 35 powerful Scriptures.
Christian quotes about government
“God can and does work in the hearts and minds of rulers and officials of government to accomplish His sovereign purpose. Their hearts and minds are as much under His control as the impersonal physical laws of nature. Yet their every decision is made freely – most often without any thought or regard to the will of God.” Jerry Bridges
“The government of the United States is acknowledged by the wise and good of other nations, to be the most free, impartial, and righteous government of the world; but all agree, that for such a government to be sustained many years, the principles of truth and righteousness, taught in the Holy Scriptures, must be practiced.”
“Judge of thine improvement, not by what thou speakest or writest, but by the firmness of thy mind, and the government of thy passions and affections.” Thomas Fuller
“By God’s own sovereign decree, presidents, kings, prime ministers, governors, mayors, police, and all other governmental authorities stand in His place for the preservation of society. To resist government is therefore to resist God. To refuse to pay taxes is to disobey God’s command. By God’s own declaration, to pay taxes to Caesar honors God [Rom. 13:15; 1 Ti. 2:1-3; 1 Pet. 2:13-15].” John MacArthur
“The moral law of God is the only law of individuals and of nations, and nothing can be rightful government but such as is established and administered with a view to its support.” Charles Finney
“No government is lawful or innocent that does not recognize the moral law as the only universal law, and God as the Supreme Lawgiver and Judge, to whom nations in their national capacity, as well as individuals, are amenable.” Charles Finney
“If we are not governed by God, then we will be ruled by tyrants.”
“The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” John Adams
“Liberal doctrines are less scientifically provable than the story of Noah’s ark, but their belief system is taught as fact in government schools, while Biblical belief system is banned from government schools by law.” Ann Coulter
“Separation of church and state was never meant to separate God and government.” Judge Roy Moore
God is sovereign over the government
With the voting season looming before us, it is easy to become concerned about who will win the election. Regardless of who wins, we can know that God is in control. Praise the Lord that God is sovereign over the government. In fact, having a governing authority was God’s idea. He is who appoints the rulers. Even the ones who are not Christians or who are evil dictators. God has appointed their rule. He has done so for His divine purpose.
1) Psalm 135:6 “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in Heaven and in Earth, in the seas and in all the deeps.”
2) Psalm 22:28 “For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.”
3) Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”
4) Daniel 2:21 “He changes the times and the years. He takes kings away, and puts kings in power. He gives wisdom to wise men and much learning to men of understanding.”
5) Proverbs 19:21 “Many plans are in a person’s heart, but the LORD’s decree will prevail.”
6) Daniel 4:35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?”
7) Psalm 29:10 “The LORD sat enthroned at the flood; the LORD sits enthroned, King forever.”
Governing authorities established by God
God has set the government in place within a specific realm of authority. The government was given to us to punish lawbreakers and to protect those who uphold the law. Anything outside of that is outside of God’s given realm of authority. This is why so many Christians are opposed to increasing federal mandates. That is giving over more authority to the government than is within the realm of authority that God has said that government should have.
8) John 19:11 “You would have no authority over me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. This is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
9) Daniel 2:44 “In the days of those kings, the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever.”
10) Romans 13:3 “For rulers are not to be feared by those who do good, but by those who do evil. Would you like to be unafraid of those in authority? Then do what is good, and they will praise you.”
11) Job 12:23-25 “He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away. He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in the dark without light, and he makes them stagger like a drunken man.”
12) Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.”
The government was instituted for God’s glory
God is the creator of the Heavens and the earth. He has created all things. Everything that God has created and put into place was done so for His glory. The government authority is a dim mirror of the authority structures that He has placed elsewhere, such as the church and the family. All of this is a dim mirror reflecting the authority structure within the Trinity.
13) 1 Peter 2:15-17 “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”
14) Psalm 33:12 “How blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he has chosen as his own inheritance.”
The role of the government in the Bible
Like we have just covered, the role of the government is simply to punish evildoers and to protect those who obey the law.
15) Romans 13:3-4 “For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”
16) 1 Peter 2:13-14 “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.”
Submission to the governing authorities
Submission is not a dirty word. All things work best when there is a structure. We need to know who is responsible. A husband is the head of the home – all the responsibility for what occurs in the home falls on his shoulders when he stands before God. The pastor is the head of the church, so all responsibility falls on him for the caring of the flock. The church is under the submission of Christ. And the government is the ruling authority for the inhabitants of the land. This is so that order may be maintained.
17) Titus 3:1 “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.”
18) Romans 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
19) Romans 13:2 “Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”
20) 1 Peter 2:13 “For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state.”
21) Colossians 3:23-24 “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”
Should we obey governments that go against God’s Word?
No government is perfect. And all governing leaders are sinners just like you and me. We will all make mistakes. But sometimes, an evil ruler will command its people to sin against God. When this happens, we are to obey God rather than man. Even if it will lead to our death.
But if a ruler commands that the people obey his rules that go contrary to what Scripture says, we are to take Daniel as an example. The King commanded that all the people pray to him. Daniel knew that God had commanded that he pray to no one but the Lord God. So Daniel respectfully declined to obey the king and continued to obey God. He was thrown into the lions den for his behavior, and God rescued him.
Meshack, Shadrack, and Abednego also had a similar experience. The King commanded that they bow and worship an idol. They stood and refused since God had commanded that they worship no one but Him. For their refusal to obey the law of the land, they were cast into the furnace. Yet God protected them. We are not guaranteed a miraculous escape if we face persecution. But we can be sure to know that God is with us and that He will use whatever situation He has placed us in for His ultimate glory and for our sanctification.
22) Acts 5:29 “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
When the government is unjust
Sometimes God will send a wicked ruler to a land as judgement upon the people. As long as what the ruler commands of the people is not a violation of God’s commands, the people must submit to his authority. Even if it seems extra strict or unfair. We are to patiently wait on the Lord and to live as humbly and quietly as possible. Stand boldly for the truth and honor those God has placed in authority. We are all tempted by sin, even our leaders. So we as inhabitants of the land should take on the responsibility of researching those in government and to vote based on how well they align with the Word of God – not based on their party.
23) Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…”
24) 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.”
25) Philippians 3:20 “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
26) Psalm 75:7 “But it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.”
27) Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”
28) 2 Timothy 2:24 “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.”
29) Hosea 13:11 “I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.”
30) Isaiah 46:10 “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.”
31) Job 42:2 “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.”
Giving to Ceasar what is Caesar’s
The government requires money in order to properly function. This is how our roads and bridges are maintained. We should research what our government is spending and vote regularly on these issues. But a government requesting money is not unbiblical, but how they go about it may very well be. We should be wiling and eager to obey God, even in the area of giving money to the government for the purpose of maintaining the government.
32) Matthew 22:17-21 “Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 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.”
33) Romans 13:5-7 “Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”
Praying for those who govern over us
We are commanded to pray for those who are in authority over us. We should pray for their blessing and protection. Most importantly we should pray that they know Christ and that they seek to honor Him in all their choices.
34) 1 Timothy 2:1-2 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
35) 1 Peter 2:17 “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”
While the upcoming elections may seem a bit frightening, we have no cause to fear for the Lord already knows who He will put in place to rule our country. We should live obediently to the Word of God and seek to glorify Christ in all things.