What are the most relevant Bible passages to the Quaker faith? Mark Wutka shares his list.
If we were to say, “What’s a scriptural foundation of Quakerism?”, there are verses we would point to and say, for instance, “This is where we got our name. This is where have our understanding of God. This is where the idea of unity comes from.” (Although it’s mentioned in many places.
Top 7 Most Quaker Bible Verses
These verses are verses that are both important to me and are verses that I hear other Friends use, either directly by quoting them or indirectly by living out what they describe. Other people may have a different list; these are mine.
#7 Ephesians 4:1
So the first verse is Ephesians 4:1.
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.
The reason I had thought of that one is because we like the phrase, “Walk worthy of your calling.”
#6 Isaiah 6:8
A lot of times when I’m in meetings with people traveling in the ministry or talking about ministry among Friends, Isaiah 6:8 comes up a lot, because it has to do with being willing to serve.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”
#5 Matthew 5:33
The testimony of not swearing oaths dates back to the early Friends, and it is really tied to the testimony of integrity: that we should be telling the truth all the time.
But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair black or white. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’.
An oath is sort of saying, “You know, I lie sometimes, but this time I’m really telling the truth.” And if you’re always telling the truth, you shouldn’t have to swear an oath.
#4 John 15:12
The Religious Society of Friends took its name from John 15.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.
The reason I like this one is it’s an encapsulation of not just our origin, but the idea of loving one another is central to us, just as the understanding of “God is Love” is central.
#3 John 1:9
This was one of the ones that George Fox used so many times you can’t really count. You’d have a very long list if you listed all the references.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
A lot of times when people say there’s “That of God” in others, it’s speaking to the idea that, because everyone has that of God, you should treat them a certain way. I think that’s a very worthy way to look at it, but the other way that it would’ve meant in George Fox’s time was that we all have access to God and the Spirit that teaches us is available to everyone, and so it’s also helpful to focus on that of God in ourselves and listen to that.
#2 Matthew 22:37
Of course in Jesus’ ministry, people were always asking questions to try to trip him up, and in this particular case, one of the people he was debating with asked him, “What is the greatest commandment?” and he said,
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
So again, it goes back to love. You love God, you love your neighbor. Everything else derives from those relationships.
#1 Galatians 5:22
So this verse is two verses. It’s Galatians 5:22 and 23, and it often serves as a touchstone for people because it’s about the fruit of the Spirit.
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
For me, and I know for a lot of others, this is a great test of: “Are we in touch with the Spirit?” That when we are, these things are what should flow from us.