20 Inspiring Bible Verses About Leadership

Leadership is a blessing that comes with massive responsibility and accountability. While there is a lot of advice and even books on how to be a good leader, one of the best sources to go to to help you be an effective leader is God’s word.

In these 20 Bible verses about leadership, we learn some secrets to being a leader who honors God and brings him glory. Jesus is the ultimate leader in the Bible and we will see from scripture that how he led is quite different from how the world tells us to lead.

Being a leader can come with challenges and also contentment and joy as you see those you lead becoming successful themselves.

We are all called to lead someone whether we know and accept it or not. Whether you lead your kids, family, church, workplace, or business, the word of God has some powerful principles about how to go about it.

the word leadership written on a piece of paper

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What Does the Bible Say About the Qualities of a Good Leader

There are various leaders we can look to in the Bible such as Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, and Paul. From them, we can learn about the qualities of a good leader.  But the perfect example of leadership is Jesus Christ himself.

From his life and his teachings, we learn how to lead in a way that pleases God.  Thousands of people followed Jesus because he was a great and amazing leader. He hardly told people that he was the leader but like a magnet, he pulled people to him through how he conducted himself and treated people.

Jesus had good qualities that made him a good leader. As his disciples, we follow his example and leadership style. Those key leadership qualities are:

  • Humility
  • Loving and caring for others
  • Self-controlled
  • Obedient to God
  • Compassionate
  • Having Godly Wisdom
  • Prayerful
  • Integrity
  • Full of the Holy Spirit
  • Led by example
  • Relied on God
  • Accountable to God
  • Encouraging to followers
  • Perseverance in tough times

There are many leadership styles, however, the best is servant leadership. There are many examples of faithful servants in the Bible who went on to be great biblical leaders.

a magnifying glass over the word leadership on a paper

Bible Verses About Leadership

A lot of people look to their leaders as an example of how to act and live as a Christian. This can put a lot of pressure on you but God’s word encourages, teaches, and strengthens us for the task ahead. 

Now that we know more about the qualities of a good leader and are inspired to find out more, let’s dig into God’s word for more biblical guidance on leadership.

It is important to note that being a great leader is not about being in charge of others. It is also not about telling people what to do. 

A great leader looks out for the interests of others and builds a team who all work together for the common goal.

For christian leaders, the following verses of scripture are even more important because they lay out the qualities that necessary to effectively lead towards Kingdom goals.

These scriptures will inspire, encourage and motivate you to lead Biblically. 

Ephesians 4:11-12

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 ESV

Everyone has a role in God’s kingdom. Some will lead and some will follow. But we all play a part in building his kingdom. The key is to respect each other’s roles and not to think yours is more important than the next person’s role.

Acts 20:28

“Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood.” Acts 20:28 AMP

You must lead with caution and fear of the Lord because these are God’s people and Jesus paid the highest price for them with his own life.

Be on guard for yourself because the enemy can easily attempt to use your influence over others. In other words, being in charge can quickly go to your head and presents the opportunity to do things that aren’t glorifying God.

​Being on guard for your flock means to step in an offer guidance when you see member of your team falling towards something sinful in nature.

Luke 6:31

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31 NIV

As a leader, it’s important to treat others with kindness, love, and compassion. The same way you’d like to be treated is how you treat those you are leading.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV

Being a good leader is knowing that your strength comes from God. There will be times when you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, and scared. In that season, God promises to uphold you and help you and he is faithful to do that.

Hebrews 13:17

“Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.” Hebrews 13:17 NLT

As a leader, your job is to watch over people and you’re accountable to God. The Lord also instructs those who follow you to obey you so that you may lead with joy.

People may not always follow this instruction so it’s important to be patient with them and love them as you lead them.

leadership written on a chalkboard

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.” Matthew 20:25-28 NIV

Mark 10:44-45

“and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:44-45 NIV

In the Kingdom of God, the leadership style is not like that in the world. These scriptures about leadership teach us that you lead by serving. This is how Jesus led too.

Jesus didn’t continually remind his followers that he was their leader. He treated them well, taught them the word, and sacrificed even his life for them. That’s how you lead God’s way.

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 conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 NIV

Leadership is not according to age in the Kingdom of God. While David was young and not a trained soldier, he is the one who defeated Goliath while the older men and soldiers had been frightened to fight and given up on the battle.

In God’s kingdom, he chooses leaders, calls them, and anoints them. Timothy was young but a leader in the church. Paul encourages him to still be an example in what he did and said even to the older people. God ultimately doesn’t look at the outside but the inside. 

2 Timothy 2:2

“The things [the doctrine, the precepts, the admonitions, the sum of my ministry] which you have heard me teach [a]in the presence of many witnesses, entrust [as a treasure] to reliable and faithful men who will also be capable and qualified to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2:2 AMP

A leader should have a succession plan. You’ll not always be around physically to lead people. Jesus trained his disciples to carry on the ministry work after he was gone. Paul trained Timothy, Elijah trained Elisha, Moses trained Joshua and the list goes on and on in the Bible.

God wants the leader to focus on the present but also plan for the future so that the work and legacy don’t end with the leader but carry on for generations to come.

John 3:30

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 ESV

Good leadership begins with God. Someone in a leadership position who seeks to glorify God – not himself – will always be more prosperous that someone who does not. 

the word leadership written on puzzle pieces

James 4:10

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10 NIV

Philippians 2:3

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 AMP

These leadership scriptures remind us of the importance of being humble. Allow God to lead you and be your Shepherd as you lead his flock. Arrogance and self-righteousness have no place in a leader’s life.

Great leaders never lead with selfish ambition or make decisions to benefit their own interests. A true leader always looks out for the best interest of those he/she shepherds.

Jesus made everyone even tax collectors and those who were shunned by society feel important and included in God’s kingdom and as a leader, you should do likewise. When you do that, God himself will lift you, not people.

Philippians 2:5-8

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8 NIV

Jesus is the perfect example of humility. He didn’t let power control him and he was able to humble himself to the point of leaving his high position in heaven, being born in a manger, and then dying a shameful death on the cross to bring his followers salvation.

Because Jesus was a humble and obedient leader, God exalted him and gave him all the power in heaven and on earth. There is a reward waiting for us when we follow Christ’s leadership example.

Acts 6:3

“Therefore, brothers, choose from among you seven men with good reputations [men of godly character and moral integrity], full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.” Acts 6:3 AMP

Men of truth always make great leaders. The good shepherd leads with integrity and honesty. He never does anything that would result in dishonest gain. 

​If you are in a position to build a team (and pick your members), choose trustworthy men and women and those who you know honor God. 

James 1:5

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV

Wisdom is one key quality of a good leader. When asked what he wanted by God, King Solomon didn’t ask for riches or power but for wisdom. He was able to make good decisions and had insight and discernment in his ruling.

1 Timothy 3:2-5

“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his 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, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)” 1 Timothy 3:2-5 NIV

This is a powerful verse that every leader or striving leader should take to heart. 

We often see churches as well as secular businesses fail and become hot topics for the media. This is most often the result of the outcome of their way of life. 

1 Peter 5:2-3

“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.” 1 Peter 5:2-3 NLT

God commands that those who lead to not lead by words alone but by action. They lead by example in how they conduct themselves in the church, at home, and their workplaces.

A good leader has personal integrity and does what is right in God’s eyes whether people are watching or not.

As ambassadors of Christ, leaders are encouraged to love people and not focus on material possessions. They should be respectable and put others’ needs above their own.

Proverbs 16:32

“He who is slow to anger is better and more honorable than the mighty [soldier], And he who rules and controls his own spirit, than he who captures a city.” Proverbs 16:32 AMP

A great quality of a good leader is being self-controlled. Being able to manage one’s emotions and dealing with pressure without losing your character makes those you lead to respect and honor you.

Colossians 3:23-24

 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 ESV

It doesn’t matter how menial of a job you might have. Always pay careful attention to every detail of it and do it all for God’s glory!

James 1:12

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 NIV

20 Bible Verses About Being a Great Leader

Being a better leader means you don’t lead in a way that makes people happy. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made, trials and tests will come and make you doubt yourself.

But as long as you align your heart, thoughts, actions, and decisions to God’s will and his word that’s what’s important.

Ultimately the one you are accountable to is God and when you obey him, he will reward you richly.

If studying the Bible better is on your list of things to do this year, be sure to visit our Bible Study Resources page where you’ll find everything you need to make Bible study a regular part of your daily routine.

Through these leadership scriptures, we can see that leading according to God’s way is unique and different than leading according to the way of the world.

If studying the Bible better is on your list of things to do this year, be sure to visit our Bible Study Resources page where you’ll find everything you need to make Bible study a regular part of your daily routine.

As a leader, you don’t lead in a way that makes people happy. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made, trials and tests will come and make you doubt yourself.

But as long as you align your heart, thoughts, actions, and decisions to God’s will and his word that’s what’s important.

Ultimately the one you are accountable to is God and when you obey him, he will reward you richly.

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