God's Sovereignty vs. Free Will

Doug Ledbetter::Theology Thoughts::Sovereignty vs. Free Will

For the last few years (not full-time, of course!), I've been studying what the Bible teaches about the sovereignty of God versus the free will of man. Here are many verses (apparently) pertaining to this issue. I'll withhold my thoughts (at least for now) -- draw your own conclusions. If you have other verses not listed here that you think pertain, please send them to me.

God's Sovereignty Man's Free Will
Exodus 9:16
16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.
(NIV)

Exodus 33:19
19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
(NIV)

Deuteronomy 7:7-8
7 The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.
8 But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
(NIV)

Joshua 11:20

20 For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
(NIV)

I Kings 12:15

15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.
(NIV)

II Kings 19:25

25 "'Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone.
(NIV)

2 Chronicles 6:6

6 But now I have chosen Jerusalem for my Name to be there, and I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.'
(NIV)

Job 23:13-16

13 "But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him.
16 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me.
(NIV)

Psalms 33:12-19

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.
13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth--
15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.
16 No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
(NIV)

Psalms 135:6-10

6 The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.
7 He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
8 He struck down the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of men and animals.
9 He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants.
10 He struck down many nations and killed mighty kings--
(NIV)

Proverbs 16:4

4 The LORD works out everything for his own ends-- even the wicked for a day of disaster.
(NIV)

Isaiah 46:10-13

10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.
(NIV)

Isaiah 48:3-5

3 I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.
4 For I knew how stubborn you were; the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze.
5 Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, 'My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.'
(NIV)

Isaiah 44:7-8

7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come-- yes, let him foretell what will come.
8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."
(NIV)

Jeremiah 1:5

5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
(NIV)

Matthew 6:8

8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(NIV)

Matthew 22:14

14 "For many are invited, but few are chosen."
(NIV) John 6:37-40
37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
40 For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
(NIV)

John 6:44
44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
(NIV)

John 15:16
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-- fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
(NIV)

John 17:2-3
2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
(NIV)

John 17:6
6 "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.
(NIV)

John 17:9
9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.
(NIV)

Acts 2:23
23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
(NIV)

Acts 4:27-28
27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.
28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
(NIV)

Acts 13:48
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
(NIV)

Acts 17:26-28
26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
28 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'
(NIV)

Acts 22:14
14 "Then he said: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.
(NIV)

Romans 8:28-30
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
(NIV)

Romans 1:6-7
6 And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
(NIV)

Romans 8:33-39
33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-- more than that, who was raised to life-- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(NIV)

Romans 11:7
7 What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened,
(NIV)

1 Corinthians 2:7-10
7 No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"--
10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
(NIV)

Galatians 1:15-16
15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased
16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man,
(NIV)

Ephesians 1:4-14
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--
6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-- to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-- to the praise of his glory.
(NIV)

Ephesians 2:10
10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
(NIV)

Ephesians 3:8-11
8 Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.
10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,
11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(NIV)

1 Thessalonians 1:4-5
4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
(NIV)

II Thessalonians 2:13-15
13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
(NIV)

2 Timothy 1:9-10

9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life-- not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
(NIV)

Titus 1:1-3
1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness--
2 a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,
3 and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,
(NIV)

James 1:18
18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
(NIV)

1 Peter 1:2
2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
(NIV)

1 Peter 1:18-20
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
(NIV)

2 Peter 1:9-11
9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,
11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
(NIV)

Jude 1:4
4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
(NIV)
Genesis 2:15-17
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
(NIV)

Deuteronomy 11:26-28
26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse--
27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today;
28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.
(NIV)

Deuteronomy 30:15-18
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.
16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them,
18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
(NIV)

Joshua 24:15
15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
(NIV)

2 Samuel 24:12
12 "Go and tell David, 'This is what the LORD says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.'"
(NIV)

I Kings 3:14
14 And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life."
(NIV)

2 Chronicles 26:5
5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.
(NIV)

Matthew 23:37
37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.
(NIV)

John 15:6-7
6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
(NIV)

Colossians 1:22-23
22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--
23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
(NIV)

Hebrews 3:14-15
14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.
15 As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."
(NIV)

Hebrews 3:6
6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
(NIV)

Hebrews 6:11-12
11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.
12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
(NIV)

Hebrews 10:26-27
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,
27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
(NIV)

Hebrews 10:36-39
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
37 For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.
38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."
39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
(NIV)

1 Timothy 2:1-4
1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--
2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
(NIV)

1 Timothy 4:1

1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
(NIV)

2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(NIV)

I John 2:1-2
1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
(NIV)