Bible Verses on Leadership

LeaderLeadership is one of most discussed topics in various forms and media. Many theories, principles, and even standards on leadership are formed by many great minds throughout history. They are frequently used to define and to measure leadership.

The Bible provides great deal of information about leadership including great leaders throughout history of mankind. The following list contains some of the Bible verses (NIV) that are relevant to the topic. Please note that these verses are taken from its original context, so for better understanding of each verse you need to read the whole chapter respectively.

  1. Exodus 18:21
    But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
  2. Numbers 12:3
    (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
  3. 1 Kings 3:9
    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?”
  4. Psalms 5:8
    Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies—make straight your way before me.
  5. Psalm 78:72
    And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
  6. Proverbs 2:21
    For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it;
  7. Proverbs 11:14
    For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.
  8. Proverbs 14:8
    The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.
  9. Proverbs 14:16
    A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.
  10. Proverbs 15:22
    Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
  11. Proverbs 16:9
    In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps
  12. Proverbs 16:12
    Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness.
  13. Proverbs 20:18a
    Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.
  14. Proverbs 23:23
    Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.
  15. Proverbs 24:3-4
    By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;
    through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
  16. Proverbs 28:16
    A tyrannical ruler lacks judgment, but he who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long life.
  17. Proverbs 29:2
    When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.
  18. Proverbs 29:4
    By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.
  19. Proverbs 29:14
    If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure.
  20. 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.”
  21. Isaiah 16:5
    In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it—
    one from the house of David— one who in judging seeks justice
    and speeds the cause of righteousness.
  22. Jeremiah 23:1-4
    “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.
  23. Habakkuk 2:2
    Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
  24. Matthew 20:25-28
    Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  25. Matthew 24:45-47
    “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
  26. Luke 6:39
    He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?
  27. Luke 12:48
    But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
  28. Luke 14:28
    Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?
  29. Luke 22:25-28
    Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.  For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials.
  30. John 3:30
    He must become greater; I must become less.
  31. John 13:12-15
    When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
  32. John 15:10
    If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
  33. Acts 20:28
    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.
  34. Romans 2:20-22
    an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
  35. Romans 12:8
    if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
  36. 1 Corinthians 11:1
    Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
  37. 1 Corinthians 11:3
    Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
  38. Galatians 6:6
    Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.
  39. Galatians 6:9
    Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
  40. Ephesians 6:6-8
    Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,  because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
  41. Philippians 2:3-7
    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
  42. Philippians 2:12-13
    Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
  43. Colossians 3:23-25
    Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.
  44. 1 Timothy 3:1-5
    Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)
  45. 1 Timothy 3:13
    Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
  46. 1 Timothy 4:6-8
    If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
  47. 1 Timothy 4:12
    Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
  48. 1 Timothy 5:17-18
    The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
  49. 1 Timothy 6:11-12
    But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
  50. 2 Timothy 2:15
    Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
  51. 2 Timothy 2:24-26
    And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
  52. 2 Thessalonians 3:9
    We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.
  53. Titus 1:6-7
    An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.
  54. Hebrews 11:6
    And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
  55. Hebrews 13:7
    Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
  56. Hebrews 13:17
    Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
  57. 1 Peter 2:13-17
    Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, 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 men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
  58. 1 Peter 5:2
    Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
  59. 1 Peter 5:5-7
    Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,  “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
  60. 1 John 1:7
    But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

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