What the Bible Really Says About Politics

5 things God wants us to remember during political season.

Let’s face it, the election season can be brutal to watch.

Not only are the actual political debates increasingly hostile affairs, but debates on our own Facebook walls, at the watercooler or around the dinner table can go from thoughtful discussions to angry shouting matches without much warning.

Politics are polarizing because the different opinions about the role of government and application of laws run such a wide—and impassioned—spectrum of beliefs and philosophy.

Thankfully, for Christians, the Bible isn’t silent on the issues either.

Here’s a look at five things God wants us to remember about government during political season.

Respect Those in Authority ...

Romans 13: 1-3: 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.

1 Peter 2: 13 - 16: 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. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

… But Remember Honoring God Comes First

Acts 5:27-29: 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 4:18-19: Then [the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law] called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Isaiah 33:22 For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is He who will save us.

We Have to Pay Taxes (Even If We Don’t Want to)

Romans 13:6-7: Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority

Matthew 22:19-21 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

We’re Called to Pray for Our Leaders

1 Timothy 2: 1-4 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, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

We Are Called to Seek Justice, Defend the Oppressed and Help the Poor

Isaiah 1:17: Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

Proverbs 31:8-9: Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Jeremiah 22: 1: This is what the Lord says: “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and proclaim this message there …. Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.’”

Top Comments

Shawn Newman

4

Shawn Newman commented…

Love this article - it's hard to go wrong with straight-up Scripture. It's true that as the political scene heats up, it's easy to lose sight of our role as Christians in our rush to defend what or who we think is right. These verses are applicable in every season, and help to remind us that God is in control, no matter what happens politically.

Ben Suggs

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Ben Suggs commented…

Funny enough, I would take those last 3 verses as confirmation that conservatives have the right idea. Others would take them in a more liberal/socialist way. All I know is that the government systematically does a terrible job of effectively doing what Jesus calls individuals and the church to do.

24 Comments

David Ish

6

David Ish commented…

I Pgh Pa, ALL of the "Born-Agains" do not are about the poor and think they are oppressed if the government isn't run in the way think

ronda

8

ronda replied to David Ish's comment

As a "born-again" who does not automatically vote for any political party in an political election, I do not think that Christians in the US are oppressed, but that, frequently, American Christians, especially some who prefer to tag all kinds of labels onto their Christianity (conservative, liberal, right wing, tea party, etc.), oppress others and want the government to back them in their oppression. BUT -- not all "born-agains" are oppressors. I know many who are liberators.

There is truth that we may encounter antagonistic push back from others when we express ourselves. Christians in the US experience this, too. I have been angrily "shushed" by non-believers and I have been angrily "shushed" by fellow believers. In different contexts, folks have tried to silence me and isolate me so that my words would not be a challenge to them. In some contexts, my words, even my words of peace, have been perceived as words of attack. But, on the whole, I do not believe that American Christians are suffering persecution. There are places in the world where Christians ARE suffering persecution -- their crosses are forcibly removed from their buildings, their churches are burned, they are accused of apostasy or heresy or of committing sacrilege, they are murdered by mobs, they are not protected from harm by their governments.

Wayne Hoss

6

Wayne Hoss commented…

Narrow Road

The Lord has laid down a straight and narrow road for his sheep to follow
Satan's flying demon's has thrown hot rocks in its path; it’s his wrath they do swallow
To either side can be found greener roads leading to and fro
Some are smooth as silk and easier to tread, but I dare not where they go

It’s safe to assume that they lead not to Emmanuel’s pasture straight ahead
For the bible warns of these winding roads that lead to despair and dread
Those silky green paths, some of which curve in and out wayward out of sight
Lead to an inevitable pit stop, its host the prince of night

Right beside the Lord's narrow road is another that seems just as straight
It is greener so it seems and its climb that of a lesser grade
It also has fewer rocks tossed by Satan's winged demons from hell
As to allude the weak in its devious deception making them think that all is well

So many people follow that road beside that appears to be straight
But in the end they shall find that it drops off before heaven's gate
Though they took the simpler path that seemed straight at first
It dropped them off at hell's gate and left their souls accursed

By: Wayne Hoss

Wayne Hoss

6

Wayne Hoss commented…

Carnal Minds

There was a time henceforth when I had ten thousand dollars to spare
Happy with what the Lord hath already blessed me with, I decided to share
Having no need for the money I called two local men to mine house
Rumor had it the second man had the reputation of a cheat and a louse

The first man whose name was Greed, came in and sat near as could be
Behind him was a man named Wisdom, but he sat far, as he smiled at me
I told them both that I had five thousand dollars to give to each
Then said Greed, "give it here now!" as he leaned closer so as to reach

While I counted the money I looked upon wisdom's silence as wise indeed
For I knew he was patient, and of life's carnality he did heed
I counted aloud the words "Five thousand" and then quickly did Greed snatch away
His half of the money, so in life's pleasures he could foolishly play

I looked up expecting a gracious word of thanks from the greedy wretch
But he was already gone without a word; it was Satan's lures he did fetch
Then I looked over at my friend Wisdom, who was never reeled in by Satan's lure
He always appreciated the life that the Lord hath given him which in itself was pure

A very uplifting man that always a smile for me and all that did pass by
For he was happy knowing our Lord whom graciously arose in the sky
I handed him his share and he quietly tucked it away
Then he went on about his business until a later day

A week later Greed ran Wisdom's old wagon off of the road with his new car
As he laughed about wisdom spreading his money to the poor afar
Then without notice the man in the sky did call
He said “The books are open, now come one, now come all!”

Greed waited in line continually bragging about his carnal things
Until he learned that he had traded them for his heavenly wings
He went to a place not fit for a man as he looked up at Wisdom flying by
He pleaded "Just one sip of water I beg you bring me from a cloud up in your sky"

Wisdom smiled and said "Dear friend, I stored my money in Gods eternal bank"
It was your earthly treasures that did demote you to a sergeant in Satan's rank
It was only yesterday that you passed a starving woman in your car so nice
I stopped in my tracks, gave her food and shelter, I didn't have to think twice

Now I am here with her in paradise, the place the Lord set aside
For those with a conscience and a heart, who in his laws did abide
Though I did have a thirst for life's carnal things
I knew that I couldn't fly up here without my precious wings

Speak to me no more from the pits of Hell
For justice is served, and I chose well!

By: Wayne Hoss

David J. Weigel

1

David J. Weigel commented…

Romans 13
(1) Let every person be subject to Nero (or Kim Jong-il, Stalin, Robert Mugabe, President Trump). For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and Nero has been instituted by God. (2) So the person who resists Nero resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment (3) (for Nero causes no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear Nero? Do good and you will receive his commendation, (4) for Nero is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for Nero does not bear the sword in vain. Nero is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer. (5) Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath of Nero but also because of your conscience. (6) For this reason you also pay taxes, for Nero is God’s servants devoted to governing. (7) Pay everyone what is owed: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

Your 21st century Western interpretation of the passage seems suspect. 1st century Xns would never comprehend your view of Romans 13.

Henry Platsky

15

Henry Platsky commented…

There did come that day when Christianity was illegal in Rome and then Christians had no choice but to disobey the law. There was also a day when God sent Moses to the King of Egypt and had him demand freedom for the slaves. When the King refused this demand God did plague Egypt ten times. Then when the King relented and then relented his relenting and chased the Jews with his army God had Moses drown the King's army in the sea. How's that for a God ordained revolution?

Of course we owe everyone respect, even the disrespectful. But in a democracy we have choices and so political divisions. The days of kings has passed. You really can't be on everyone's side at once. Do we not then have an obligation to try to move government to the most Godly position possible? Still another problem: what about when the government itself defies its' own laws? Do Christians have a right, even a responsibility to, restore lawfulness?

If it must be yes, yes and no, no, otherwise evil comes we have to be careful with our yes and our no.

ronda

8

ronda replied to Henry Platsky's comment

Your questions are excellent. The answers will by myriad. What is lawful and what is lawless? What is just and what is unjust? How much should we empower the government to do? How much should we restrain the work of government? Are taxes blessed duties or oppressive tyrannies? Do we choose leaders based on what is good for "me and mine" or do we choose leaders that we think will benefit more people than that (and if so, which groups of people)?

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