The Leader and the Bible

I must confess, I have a biblical worldview of leadership. Now before you walk away, you need to understand that everyone has a worldview, or a fundamental cognitive orientation (see, isn’t the term ‘worldview easier’?). Some may call it their leadership paradigm (a theoretical or philosophical framework), but I prefer the term worldview because paradigms can shift. Anyway…

Now while I may ascribe to a situational-transformational leadership style, the underlying principles of how I try to lead and influence are from a biblical view. You may find it interesting that research supports the idea of religious principles as key factors in the success of entrepreneurial CEOs. Additionally, research shows a positive relationship between religious commitment and health. Tony & Oster (1998) go so far as to assert that those who desire to be top performers should develop a plan for learning and applying religious teachings.

I find it interesting that Tony & Oster (1998) also report that an individual, though not a religious person, who learns and applies the ethical teachings prescribed in the Bible and Christianity, will benefit more than the self-proclaimed religious person who does not practice those teachings. Did you get that? Someone can be an atheist and live by the principles of the Bible, and benefit more than a person who attends church regularly and does not live by Biblical principles. This to me supports the idea of the timeless truths of scripture.

Think about this, while some of our founding fathers of this nation would not have considered themselves Christians, they did lead from a Biblical worldview. Compared to today, how are we doing? You see, for me the issue is not just about a theology, but a worldview that encourages leaders to always be truthful, credible, and live with the highest degree of integrity. Want to be a better leader? Check your fundamental cognitive orientation – oops, I mean your worldview!

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  1. Nice John. Could you cite some examples of research showing a positive relationship between religious commitment and health. Thanks

  2. So true, John. How are we doing compared to our founding fathers? I have a new topic for my daily study today. I have a self proclaimed unbelieving supervisor who I haven’t been able to get through to that his very principles of leading are very biblical and an engineer who attends church because it’s “socially exceptable” and leads the opposite. Thanks.

  3. Robert,


    In addition to the Toney & Oster (1998) article and its bibliography, here are two other articles and a website:

    Eliezer Schnall; Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller; Charles Swencionis; Vance Zemon; Lesley Tinker; Mary Jo O’Sullivan; Linda Van Horn; Mimi Goodwin. The relationship between religion and cardiovascular outcomes and all-cause mortality in the women’s health initiative observational study. Psychology and Health. 17 November 2008

    Farr A. Curlin; Sarah A. Sellergren; John D. Lantos; Marshall H. Chin. Physicians’ Observations and Interpretations of the Influence of Religion and Spirituality on Health. Arch Intern Med. 2007.

    Toney, F., & Oster, M. (1998). The leader and religious faith. Journal of Leadership Studies, 5(1), 135-149.

    See this website:

  4. Great post. I myself share the worldview. I recently did an exegetical studied the show all 4 elements of transformational leadership present in Jesus’ leadership style. Theory merely confirms what the ancients already knew.

  5. Great Stuff, Dr. John. It’s true. Those who wear the label Christian but model other than Biblical principles in leadership and lifestyle are the ones to ask, “What went wrong? Why did I fail?” The answer is obvious to others. You have to walk the talk and you have to talk the walk.

  6. Thanks David,
    I am not sure about the NY Times Bestsellers list, but I know it stays in the top ten all-time best selling book list. I contend that there is so much more to mine out of it than simply religious practices.
    Thanks & Blessings! ~ John

  7. This is such an amazing article! I am so pleased that you have the courage to share this information. I hope that I am living my life as a believer and a doer. 🙂

    Looking forward to following you, Dr John!

    “Mentor Mama”

  8. Nancy,

    Thank you for your kind words. Let us both turn our hopes into reality!



  9. Thanks Krista for your kind words.

    One of the things that I have been hearing from our Tribe, is to write with authenticity and transparency. It is amazing how many readers with which that article resonates.



  10. Well not quite what I was trying to find but it was some good reading anyway, guess its a ok that I wasn’t capable of doing a search properly or I wouldn’t have found this.

  11. Linwood,

    Thanks for your comments. I’ll try not to disappoint.



  12. Tresa,

    Glad to have you stop by – even if it was unintentional! Please come visit us again.



  13. David,

    I would love to receive a copy of your exegetical study of transformational leadership. I am sure there is much wisdom to be gleaned from it.



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