100 Bible Verses about Bad Leadership

Jeremiah 23:1-4 ESV / 247 helpful votes

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.

1 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV / 139 helpful votes

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?

Colossians 3:23-25 ESV / 124 helpful votes

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. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

Proverbs 16:12 ESV / 118 helpful votes

It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.

Hebrews 13:17 ESV / 113 helpful votes

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Proverbs 29:2 ESV / 110 helpful votes

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.

2 Timothy 2:24 ESV / 97 helpful votes

And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

Ezekiel 34:1-8 ESV / 97 helpful votes

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. ...

Proverbs 29:12 ESV / 90 helpful votes

If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.

Acts 20:28 ESV / 79 helpful votes

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

Proverbs 16:18 ESV / 71 helpful votes

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Mark 10:42-45 ESV / 66 helpful votes

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Psalm 101:5 ESV / 63 helpful votes

Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.

Matthew 23:1-39 ESV / 55 helpful votes

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, ...

1 Timothy 4:12 ESV / 54 helpful votes

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

Ezekiel 3:16-4:17 ESV / 50 helpful votes

And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. ...

1 Timothy 3:1-2 ESV / 46 helpful votes

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

Luke 22:26 ESV / 45 helpful votes

But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.

1 Samuel 15:23 ESV / 36 helpful votes

For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

John 10:11 ESV / 35 helpful votes

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

1 Peter 5:1-14 ESV / 26 helpful votes

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” ...

Hebrews 13:7 ESV / 25 helpful votes

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

2 Chronicles 36:11-14 ESV / 25 helpful votes

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. He did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the Lord. He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God. He stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord, the God of Israel. All the officers of the priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations. And they polluted the house of the Lord that he had made holy in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 3:12 ESV / 24 helpful votes

My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.

Psalm 33:12 ESV / 24 helpful votes

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

Galatians 6:6 ESV / 23 helpful votes

One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.

Isaiah 1:23 ESV / 23 helpful votes

Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not bring justice to the fatherless, and the widow's cause does not come to them.

2 Timothy 2:15 ESV / 21 helpful votes

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Acts 1:8 ESV / 21 helpful votes

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Isaiah 3:4 ESV / 21 helpful votes

And I will make boys their princes, and infants shall rule over them.

Job 41:34 ESV / 21 helpful votes

He sees everything that is high; he is king over all the sons of pride.”

Galatians 6:9 ESV / 20 helpful votes

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Psalm 78:72 ESV / 20 helpful votes

With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.

Exodus 18:21 ESV / 20 helpful votes

Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.

Philippians 4:13 ESV / 19 helpful votes

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 2:3 ESV / 19 helpful votes

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Matthew 25:21 ESV / 19 helpful votes

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

Matthew 20:26 ESV / 19 helpful votes

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,

Jeremiah 14:14-16 ESV / 19 helpful votes

And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them—them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.

Proverbs 29:14 ESV / 17 helpful votes

If a king faithfully judges the poor, his throne will be established forever.

John 16:33 ESV / 16 helpful votes

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 3:30 ESV / 16 helpful votes

He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Romans 13:1 ESV / 15 helpful votes

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Isaiah 1:4 ESV / 15 helpful votes

Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged.

Proverbs 4:23 ESV / 15 helpful votes

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

1 Peter 5:7 ESV / 14 helpful votes

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Galatians 5:19-26 ESV / 14 helpful votes

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ...

John 1:1-51 ESV / 14 helpful votes

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ...

Matthew 5:37 ESV / 14 helpful votes

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Hosea 4:6 ESV / 14 helpful votes

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Proverbs 28:16 ESV / 13 helpful votes

A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor, but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.

1 Timothy 5:17 ESV / 12 helpful votes

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

Romans 14:23 ESV / 12 helpful votes

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Luke 17:1-37 ESV / 12 helpful votes

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” ...

Mark 9:33-37 ESV / 12 helpful votes

And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

Proverbs 29:4 ESV / 12 helpful votes

By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down.

Proverbs 11:14 ESV / 12 helpful votes

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

1 Samuel 8:1-22 ESV / 12 helpful votes

When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” ...

Titus 1:7 ESV / 11 helpful votes

For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,

Philippians 2:5-11 ESV / 11 helpful votes

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, ...

Romans 13:1-7 ESV / 11 helpful votes

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. ...

Acts 5:29 ESV / 11 helpful votes

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

Luke 22:25-28 ESV / 11 helpful votes

And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials,

Isaiah 3:4-5 ESV / 11 helpful votes

And I will make boys their princes, and infants shall rule over them. And the people will oppress one another, every one his fellow and every one his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable.

Psalm 55:23 ESV / 11 helpful votes

But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

1 Peter 5:1-4 ESV / 10 helpful votes

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Titus 1:5 ESV / 10 helpful votes

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—

1 Timothy 3:1 ESV / 10 helpful votes

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.

John 10:1-18 ESV / 10 helpful votes

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” ...

John 1:14 ESV / 10 helpful votes

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Luke 6:31 ESV / 10 helpful votes

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Proverbs 3:11-12 ESV / 10 helpful votes

My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

Revelation 1:1 ESV / 9 helpful votes

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

1 Peter 5:5 ESV / 9 helpful votes

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

James 3:1 ESV / 9 helpful votes

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

Philippians 2:4 ESV / 9 helpful votes

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Ecclesiastes 10:17 ESV / 9 helpful votes

Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

1 Kings 3:9 ESV / 9 helpful votes

Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

1 Peter 5:3 ESV / 8 helpful votes

Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

1 Peter 5:2 ESV / 8 helpful votes

Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;

Titus 1:5-7 ESV / 8 helpful votes

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,

2 Timothy 2:2 ESV / 8 helpful votes

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

1 Timothy 2:12 ESV / 8 helpful votes

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

Ephesians 5:22 ESV / 8 helpful votes

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Luke 22:60-62 ESV / 8 helpful votes

But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Matthew 20:20-28 ESV / 8 helpful votes

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. ...

Ezekiel 22:8 ESV / 8 helpful votes

You have despised my holy things and profaned my Sabbaths.

Isaiah 56:10-12 ESV / 8 helpful votes

His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. The dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough. But they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all. “Come,” they say, “let me get wine; let us fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow will be like this day, great beyond measure.”

Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV / 8 helpful votes

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 16:9 ESV / 8 helpful votes

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 13:12-18 ESV / 8 helpful votes

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin. In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly. ...

Psalm 18:27 ESV / 8 helpful votes

For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.

Psalm 10:1-18 ESV / 8 helpful votes

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. ...

Job 34:29-30 ESV / 8 helpful votes

When he is quiet, who can condemn? When he hides his face, who can behold him, whether it be a nation or a man?— that a godless man should not reign, that he should not ensnare the people.

Deuteronomy 14:28-29 ESV / 8 helpful votes

“At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.

Jeremiah 52:1-3 ESV / 7 helpful votes

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For because of the anger of the Lord things came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that he cast them out from his presence. And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

Proverbs 21:4 ESV / 7 helpful votes

Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.

Psalm 131:1 ESV / 7 helpful votes

A Song of Ascents. Of David. O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.

Psalm 10:5 ESV / 7 helpful votes

His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them.

Genesis 6:1-22 ESV / 7 helpful votes

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. ...

Suggest a Verse

Enter a Verse Reference (e.g., John 3:16-17)


Visit the Bible online to search for words if you don’t know the specific passage your’re looking for.