Favorite Scriptures of American Leaders

The following quotes are taken from the book Favorite Scriptures of 100 American Leaders by Mike Winder. 



George Washington: Freedom and Enjoying One’s Labors


But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. —Micah 4:4 


Washington quoted Micah 4:4 over forty times in his letters and journals, far more than any other verse he referenced. The idea of freedom from being badgered by others and enjoying the fruit of one’s labor become so synonymous with the first president that in the modern musical Hamilton these lines are appropriately quoted by his character as he bids farewell to the presidency.




Abraham Lincoln: True and Righteous Judgments


Judge not, that ye be not judged. —Matthew 7:1


We know that Lincoln valued the verse from Matthew 7 because he wanted to be sworn in on it and because he paraphrased it in his speech. When talking about the slaveholders of the South, he said, “It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.” This biblical attitude became the keystone for how Lincoln viewed the rebellious South, and the spirit of forgiveness in which he would have carried out Reconstruction.




George W. Bush:  Mount Up with Wings as Eagles


But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. —Isaiah 40:31


Bush believed literally in waiting on the Lord, like Isaiah instructs. When Bob Woodward in a 60 Minutes interview asked the president if he consulted with his father, the forty-first president, before declaring war on Iraq, Bush answered, “No. I consulted with a higher Father."




Barack Obama: God Is Our Refuge and Strength


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. —Psalm 46


In the New Hampshire Democratic debate in September 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama was asked, along with the others, “What is your favorite Bible verse?” He answered, “The Sermon on the Mount, because it expresses a basic principle that I think we’ve lost over the last six years.” 

Obama referenced the Sermon on the Mount the following year again, in an October 2008 interview. “My Bible tells me there is nothing wrong with helping other people, that we want to treat others like we want to be treated,” he said, “that I am my brother’s keeper, and I am my sister’s keeper. I believe that.”

“Psalm 46 is also important to me; I chose to read it on the tenth anniversary of 9/11,” Obama added. This psalm is shared above. In fact, the entire psalm without any other commentary was the president’s entire speech that day. 




Mitt Romney: Compassionate Care to Others
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. —Matthew 25:35–36


“I was taught in my home to honor God and love my neighbor,” Romney said of his upbringing. “My father was committed to Martin Luther King Jr.’s cause of equality, and I saw my parents provide compassionate care to others, in personal ways to people nearby and in leading national volunteer movements. My faith is grounded in the conviction that a consequence of our common humanity is our responsibility to one another—to our fellow Americans foremost, but also to every child of God.”



Nancy Pelosi: Different Ways of Serving


There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit;
There are many different ways of serving, but it is always the same Lord.
There are many different forms of activity, but in everybody it is the same God who is at work in them all.
The particular manifestation of the Spirit granted to each one is to be used for the general good. —1 Corinthians 12:4–7


Nancy spoke of God’s love at a National Prayer Breakfast in 2016, quoting both the Bible and the Qur’an about loving one’s neighbor. “We know that this message, this command of love, is not confined to the New Testament,” she said in an ecumenical way. “The same message stands at the center of the Torah and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad too.” She then read from the Qur’an: “None of you has faith until he loves for his brother or his neighbor what he loves for himself.”




Mike Pence: Wisdom from God


For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. —Jeremiah 29:11


"I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order,” Mike Pence is fond of saying. He is a devout believer, raised a Catholic, who became a born-again evangelical Catholic in college. “I gave my life to Jesus Christ, and that changed everything,” Pence said. He is known for having daily scripture study with his family and regular prayer and church attendance. “My Christian faith is at the very heart of who I am,” he said.

“You know, over the mantle of our home, for nearly twenty years, has been a Bible verse that speaks of a promise our little family has claimed and Americans have cherished through the generations,” Pence said. The verse is Jeremiah 29:11, and speaks of the plans God has for one’s future.




Donald J. Trump: A Wise Man Is Strong


Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.
For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.
For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.  —Proverbs 24:1–6


“There’s so many things that you can learn from it [the Bible]. Proverbs, the chapter ‘never bend to envy.’ I’ve had that thing all of my life where people are bending to envy.” Critics pounced on this, claiming such a verse does not exist, but the Trump campaign emailed the clarification that he was referring to Proverbs 24 (quoted above).

“Proverbs 24 teaches that envy should be replaced with discernment. Wisdom builds and understanding establishes, whether it be a family, a house, or our community,” Trump wrote. “For me, this is important, especially in this race for President of the United States as it shows it is important to rely on one’s own wisdom and ability rather than follow others down the wrong path.”



** The following was taken from Favorite Scriptures from 100 American Leaders. The opinions and views expressed herein belong solely to Mike Winder and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of Cedar Fort, Inc.