28 of the most powerful Bible verses about political leaders
Our Heavenly Father knew the importance of helping us navigate the political landscape in our societies. Authorities and rulers are a commonality we share across cultures and nations. God’s word is full of Bible verses about political leaders so that we may know how to react to and pray for them.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all Bible verses are from the NIV translation. To choose your preferred Bible translation, we recommend Bible Gateway.
What does the Bible say about elected leaders?
You may not realize that God’s word has much to say about elected leaders. Here’s a list of some of the most important points in Bible verses about political leaders.
What we are to do:
- Obey and submit to them.
- Show them honor.
- Imitate their faith.
What political leaders are to do:
- Fear God and honor everyone.
- Watch over their constituency.
- Do all things in humility.
- Lead as a servant.
- Set a Christ-like example.
- Guard their heart.
Under God’s Authority
Think about the highest authority in your land? Is it a King or Queen? President? Dictator? Are they good or evil? We can pray that the Godly are in high positions, but more often than not, government leaders are led by selfish ambition that leads to foolish controversies and fear reigns in the land.
But God’s word tells us to not fear because God is the ultimate authority.
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.”
Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
Who [Jesus Christ] has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
1 Peter 3:22
May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
when they hear what you have decreed.
May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
for the glory of the Lord is great.
You might also enjoy reading: 35 Bible Verses About Worry to Free You from Anxiety
We are to Respect Authority
Servants, obey in all things those who are your masters according to the flesh, not just when they are looking, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
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.
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you.
Romans 13:1-3 (NLT)
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
1 Peter 2:13-16
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.
God does not ask us to blindly follow human rulers. In God’s word, we find the exceptions in Daniel and Luke:
So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
He saw through their duplicity and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Bible verses about electing leaders
When it comes to choosing an elected leader, most people turn to trusted friends, family, and authority figures. But there is no greater adviser than our Lord and Savior. We can seek his counsel through prayer and God’s word.
Let’s turn to some key Bible verses that apply to how we should consider voting for political leaders.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. Proverbs 14:34
For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers. Proverbs 11:14
Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you. Deuteronomy 1:13
For dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. Psalm 22:28
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. Psalm 111:10
Turning to the New Testament, we find two of my favorite bible verses for consideration of political leaders.
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Luke 16:10
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
Bible verses for political leaders
Now it’s time to switch gears and think about scripture that is instructive for political leaders.
Maintaining a godly perspective begins with renewing our minds daily in God’s word. For political leaders this habit is especially important but likely difficult.
Elected officials may face constant scrutiny and opposition, but they are also elevated to celebrity status. Everyone is vying for their time and deferring to them. As a political leader, they may develop a corrupt sense of self importance.
Political leaders must guard their time and hearts so carefully. The attack of the enemy is likely to be subtle and slow. But a politician who puts on daily the armor of God is prepared for spiritual battle.
Let’s examine scriptures that can be helpful:
- To guard against pride, look at life from God’s view
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1
- Leadership is about serving a higher purpose
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. Acts 20:28
He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30
- The heart is the wellspring of life. Guard it carefully.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
We are to Pray for Those in Authority
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?
1 Kings 3:9
How do you pray for the leaders of our country?
We should pray often. We should be specific. We should always pray from our heart and seek God’s guidance on praying for political leaders.
The verses above give us a good start on praying for our government authorities. You could take one verse per day and pray for our leaders in general or for one of the elected officials in your region.
I like to pray in unity with other Christians as well. You can do that through your church or online through Christian community. I find that the website Pray with Confidence, which is created from the contributions of dozens of Christian men and women, often has specific prayers on many topics.
Below is an excerpt from one of those prayers. You can find the full prayer in the article Prayers for Unity and Peace.
Direct the hearts of leaders at every level, whether governmental, community or church, as you direct channels of water. Move their hearts to make godly decisions even if they are not godly people.
The National Day of Prayer organization tells us to pray for our country by praying over the seven centers of influence:
Final Thoughts on Bible verses about Political Leaders
Praying for our leaders allows us to express our hopes and concerns for their leadership and well-being to the highest authority – God. Praying for our leaders can also help us to be more empathetic and understanding of their challenges and responsibilities and to approach political discussions and decisions with a more open and compassionate mindset.
Additionally, praying for our leaders can remind us of our own role in the political process and our responsibility to participate in a constructive and respectful way. Ultimately, praying for our leaders can help to create a more positive and productive political climate, and to build a stronger and more united community under God.
How will you apply Bible verses about political leaders? Let us know in the comments below.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™