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Are The Global Sustainable Development Goals in the Bible?

I grew up in extreme poverty, so when I learned about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) I was elated. These Global Goals were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as “a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.”

As an advocate for human rights and social justice, one of my dreams is to speak at the United Nations conference. I’d like to discuss and enact solutions for our global challenges among other world leaders for a better world for future generations. 

I am also a woman of faith, so I spent hours seeking in the Bible to find these Global Goals in His Word. Today, I’m sharing all about the 17 SDGs with you and  Bible verses about the Global Sustainable Development Goals. Let’s do this!

What are the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals?

There are 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals calling: all individuals, international organizations, and countries, whether poor, rich, or in between, to contribute to the planet’s protection and the prosperity and peace of the people in it.

What the Bible Says About The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 SDGs include effective measures we can all be part of. They address the world’s wicked problems to protect people and natural resources everywhere – in other words: God’s creation!

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals

  • Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms
  • Goal 2: Zero Hunger
  • Goal 3: Health
  • Goal 4: Education
  • Goal 5: Gender equality and women’s empowerment
  • Goal 6: Water and Sanitation
  • Goal 7: Energy
  • Goal 8: Economic Growth
  • Goal 9: Infrastructure, industrialization
  • Goal 10: Inequality
  • Goal 11: Cities
  • Goal 12: Sustainable consumption and production
  • Goal 13: Climate Action
  • Goal 14: Oceans
  • Goal 15: Biodiversity, forests, desertification
  • Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • Goal 17: Partnerships

Bible Verses About The Sustainable Development Goals

Let’s go through the SDGs one by one and see what the Bible says about the UN Global Goals!

Are The Global Sustainable Development Goals in the Bible?

#1- No Poverty 

This SDG refers to ending poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Here are two Scripture verses that refer to “no poverty” in the Bible:

Acts 4:32,34-35

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that bought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 

Proverb 31:9

Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

#2 – Zero Hunger

This Sustainable Development Goal is about ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture. 

Most people know that Jesus fed 5,000 people. He called himself “the bread of life.” This global goal definitely aligns with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here are two Bible verses that align with this goal to end hunger and food insecurity:

John 21:17

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 

Matthew 25: 35-36

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.

#3 Good Health and Wellbeing

This UN goal seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. This means building health systems and mental health systems with equal access for everyone. 

We must minister to each other and that means temporally and spiritually, as well. These two verses refer to both:

Luke 9:2

And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 

Mark 6:13

And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them

#4 – Quality Education

This SDG is about ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

Jesus Christ was called a teacher (Rabbi). The scriptures tell us that the Holy Ghost teaches us, and we are called to teach one another. This is not only for young people, because as people of faith, we want to be lifelong learners.

I found so many verses about this in the Bible and here are my favorite 3:

Exodus 4:12

Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. 

John 14:26

But the Comforter, which is the bHoly Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 

2 Timothy 2:2 

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

#5 – Gender Equality

This Sustainable Development Goal aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

These two Bible verses – one from the Old Testament and the other from the New Testament help us see that we are all children of God and precious to Him:

Genesis 1:27 

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

#6 – Clean Water and Sanitation

The 6th SDG want to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. 

There is so much evidence in the Bible that this is God’s work. God is the source of all clean and pure things. He provided water for all His children and creatures on Earth. And do you recall Jesus Christ calling the Gospel living waters? 

Below are 3 verses about purification and water that make sense for this Global Goal:

Deuteronomy 8:7 

For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good bland, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; 

2 Corinthians 7:1

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 

Revelation 22:1

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

#7 – Affordable and Clean Energy 

This UN goal is all about ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. 

We all know that God created light for all inhabitants of the Earth and that Jesus called himself the Light of the World. Light is something we need and God wants us to have, both literally and figuratively.

These two verses will be very familiar to you and clearly demonstrate this:

Genesis 1:3 

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 

Matthew 5:15 

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

#8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth 

This 8th Global Goal aims to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. Work is not only a privilege, it is a right for all of God’s children because it is an eternal principle. We are blessed individually, as a family, and as a society through work.

Ecclesiastes 3:13

And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. 

2 Timothy 2:6

The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. 

Isaiah 1:17

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 

Proverbs 19:17

He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

#9 – Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

SDG number 9 encourages us to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. 

We are all creators, just like our Father in Heaven. As we seek His guidance, we can create opportunities that bless everyone involved (profit, people, and planet), just like He did. 

Zechariah 7:10 

And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. 

Acts 10:34

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 

Romans 12:2 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

#10- Reduced Inequalities

This United Nations sustainable development goal is about reducing inequality within and among countries.

Inequalities come from prejudice and discrimination. Classism, sexism, and racism are systemic issues that I have experienced in my life, especially as an Immigrant to the United States. When we get rid of these ills of civil society, we can truly have the peace Jesus left with us and the abundance He came to provide. 

These verses demonstrate this powerfully:

Matthew 22:16

And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 

2 Corinthians 8:14-15

But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. 

Jeremiah 22:3

Thus saith the Lord; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.

#11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

This UN goal is about making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. God is very concerned with our safety and this expands beyond our physical safety to our mental, emotional, and spiritual safety, as well. The following Bible verses discuss this topic:

Isaiah 2:4

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 

Jeremiah 29:7

And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. 

Proverbs 14:26

In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

#12 – Responsible Consumption & Production

To achieve the world we want to see, we must ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. This is something we can all do starting today and that would show regard for the blessings we receive every single day. These verses cover just that:

Philippians 4:5

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 

Genesis 1:28-30

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

#13 – Climate Action

The call to action for this SDG is simple and yet very profound: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. 

Although we won’t find the actual words “climate action” in the Bible, we know that the entire earth and all its components, whether living or not, belong to God. We believe that we have a responsibility to be stewards of the earth’s natural resources, and that God gives us creative powers, not destructive ones.

So what does the Bible say about climate action?

Genesis 2:15

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 

Psalm 24:1

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. 

1 Peter 4:10

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

#14 – Life Below Water

This global goal is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development. 

It’s common knowledge even for people who don’t read the Bible that the Ocean was a method for transportation and its resources a source of food and blessings. 

People of all ages everywhere know that Moses parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21), right? 

And many of us Bible geeks know that Elijah healed through the River Jordan (2 Kings 5:10-12), where it is believed that Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3:13-17).

Of course, there is a very famous whale story and even fish miracles in the Bible, too, but I’m highlighting verses about this sustainable development goal:

Psalm 8:6-8

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 

Ezekiel 47:9

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.

#15 – Life On Land

This SDG Fund goal aims to protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. 

The link between this goal and the Word of God is obvious, but I found these two verses to be the most relevant:

Psalm 37:29

The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. 

Job 12:7-10

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

#16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

The goal here is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. 

This is exactly what Jesus promoted in His Messianic Ministry. The four gospels are filled with examples of his advocacy for this goal. These four verses across both the Old Testament and the New Testament are great examples:

Ephesians 2:14:

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 

Psalm 89:14

Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. 

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

Psalm 34:14

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

#17 – Partnerships For The Goals

The final sustainable development goal seeks to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

These two scripture verses seemed to be a great reminder of how we can partner together to make an impact:

Ecclesiastes 4:9

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 

Matthew 18:18-20

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall cask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

As we can see above, the Sustainable Development Goals can be found in the Bible. 

The Secret Ingredient

When Elisha and Elyssa were little, they used to say to me:

 “Mom, you’re the best cooker!” 

And I would reply:

“Ah, that’s because I used the secret ingredient…” 

So then they would yell out in unison: “LOVE!”

As we make efforts to help and make a difference, let’s remember that we need LOVE:

Corinthians 13:-3

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Colossians 3:14

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

2 Corinthians 9:7

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Bible Verses About The Sustainable Development Goals

May we love each other and the Lord so we can do good work. Whether it’s small steps or big steps, we can all do something to bless ourselves and everyone around us through the Sustainable Development Goals.

Did I miss any Bible verse that talks about Sustainable Development Goals? Share the goal number and the verse reference below! If you’re already contributing to any of these goals as a cheerful, loving giver – or will start soon, share it below!