Saturday, September 11, 2004

The Bible and Government - Q & A

Note: This brief Q & A is most likely inadequate for developing a complete biblical perspective on politics. For a much more in-depth analysis, read Politics and Public Policy: A Christian Response, edited by Timothy J. Demy & Gary P. Stewart. (I haven't read this, but it may also be good.)


For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

1 Peter 2:15 (NIV)

Because sin entered the world, government was instituted by God to ensure justice and order among men.

Must we obey government?

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Romans 13:1

Thus, if it is not of God, then it is no authority in the first place.

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!”
Acts 5:29

…and pay taxes?

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.
Romans 13:6

What is the government supposed to do?

[G]overnors…are sent…to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
1 Peter 2:14

Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:3-4

By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.
Proverbs 29:4

If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure.
Proverbs 29:14

To what end?

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
1 Timothy 2:1-2

Does the Bible promote socialism or the welfare state?

Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
Proverbs 10:4-5

The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions.
Proverbs 12:27

A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous.
Proverbs 13:22

Wealth, possessions, and inheritance: the language of a free market economy.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
Proverbs 6:6-11

“You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
Acts 20:34-35

Giving assumes a degree of economic freedom.

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

So the Bible advocates a moralistic, capitalist society?

So it seems.

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