Christians and the Government

By Tyler Hansen

We live in an uncertain and tumultuous time, our newly elected President is seen by many as adding fuel to the proverbial fire.  He is a polarizing figure with great authority who holds the highest office in our country but whether we agree or disagree with how he leads what does the Bible have to say about how we should react to him and any other leader?  I would like to preface by stating this article is not meant to support or oppose the Presidency of Donald J Trump but to purely point out the law as dictated by God, the only true authority that really matters.  There are numerous examples and teachings throughout the bible about why governments are good and how we should respond to them.

Should We Obey Appointed Leaders Within our Governments?:

There is a multitude of verses throughout the bible describing the attitude we should have toward our earthly authorities.  It is written In Romans 13:1-6 1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  Every leader holds that position because God allows it. We may not understand why but we are foolish if we question him. In Job 40:2 God asks Job if he really thinks he has the right to disagree with God, why do we think we have the right to question who he allows to rule? In 2 Peter 2:9-10 the Lord speaks regarding the sinfulness of despising government. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

We are commanded to obey the laws of the land unless those laws contradict Gods law.  In Titus 3:1 we are told 1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work.  This doesn’t mean that governments will always treat us fairly. In Matthew 10 Jesus directed his disciples to go out and preach to the lost sheep of Israel.  He warned to beware of evil men and individuals with authority.  16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

Should We Respect our Leaders?:

I Timothy 2:1-2 teaches us that we should pray for our leaders and for their efforts 1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  It is a blessing when men and women of authority have faith and we can infer that these men and women of faith should be respected and valued. Jesus marveled at the Centurions faith in             Matthew 8:8-10 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.


There are a multitude of examples where God gives and takes away power in the scriptures.  The Lord spoke through Isaiah in Isaiah 19 of the hardships that would fall on the Egyptian people due to their evil ways4And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts.  Then again in Isaiah 22 another example of the Lord putting men in a position of power.  20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: 21 And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.  As we can see governments and its officials are put into power by God we must respect them in that role out of respect for God and his authority if nothing else.

Should We Support our Leaders?:

Those who govern are cited as one of many members of the body in 1 Corinthians 12:27-31.  All members support one another just as the eyes give direction for the feet to walk and the hands help the mouth to eat.  27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.  God has given his creation the authority to appoint their leaders through his grace and in turn God has given the appointed authority over his children.  An example of this is provided in 1 Samuel 8: 19-22 when the Israelites requested a leader for their nation19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. 21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.


Humanity will always need some level of structure in their lives especially when it comes to law and order.  God recognizes this which explains his willingness to allow certain individuals to rule over his people.  Even his son Jesus acknowledges the authority of our leaders in Matthew 22:20-21, Luke 20: 22-25 and Mark 12:14-17.  20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.  Timothy recognized the value of the government and was thankful for it in 1 Tim 2: 1-3.  1I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

Who Has Ultimate Authority?

Acts 5:29  29Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.  We are blessed with monarchies, democracies and yes even dictatorships all of which exist through God’s grace.  There will always be evil in the world and unfortunately the worst of that evil can and does make its way into positions of power.  As long as men or women in authority are not directing or commanding us to forsake the Lord and live in sin we must obey the laws of the land.  If we are indeed forced by any government to allow sin into our lives we must stay true to the commandments and laws of the Lord.