Speeding is a common issue that many drivers face. With busy schedules and a desire to get to a destination quickly, it can be tempting to exceed the posted speed limit. However, does speeding go against biblical principles? Let’s explore what the Bible has to say about this topic.
The Bible does not directly address speeding. However, there are several biblical principles that can apply to this issue.
1. Obeying Governing Authorities
The Bible encourages Christians to submit to and obey governing authorities, including civil laws. Romans 13:1-2 states, “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.” While we are ultimately accountable to God, obeying civil laws is important.
Speed limits are established for safety and order on the roads. When we disregard posted speed limits, we are failing to submit to the authorities God has placed over us. The book of 1 Peter also reminds believers, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution” (1 Peter 2:13). As Christians, our desire should be to honor God by obeying speed limits.
2. Loving Your Neighbor
In Matthew 22:39, Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Driving over the speed limit can jeopardize the safety of other drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians. While we might be trying to save a few minutes, speeding shows disregard for the wellbeing of others on the road.
If speeding results in an accident, injuries, or fatalities, we bear some moral responsibility. Even if there is no crash, speeding still displays a lack of care and compassion for others. A loving, Christ-like attitude considers how our actions might affect those around us. Speeding for convenience fails to love others as we love ourselves.
3. Being Responsible
The Bible discourages reckless behavior and expects believers to act responsibly. Proverbs 14:16 states, “One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.” Driving above the speed limit qualifies as reckless behavior that violates the wisdom and caution Scripture encourages.
As Christians, we represent Christ in all we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds us, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” When we speed, we are not bringing glory to God or living up to the higher standard He expects of us. Responsible driving aligns with biblical values much more closely.
4. Being Beyond Reproach
The Bible calls Christians to live ethically and avoid that which might dishonor Christ. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from every form of evil.” While speeding may not seem inherently evil, it does violate the law and can harm others.
As believers, we are to be beyond reproach in our conduct (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6). When we follow traffic laws and drive responsibly, we keep ourselves above ethical criticism and remove any question of wrongdoing. Our lives should point people to Christ through moral uprightness.
5. Trusting God’s Timing
Often the motivation behind speeding is a rushed schedule and impatience to reach the destination. However, as Christians we believe God is sovereign over our lives and timing. When we rush to get somewhere faster than the posted speed limit, we are not trusting in God’s timing and plan for our lives.
Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Psalm 37:7 also counsels, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” God is not in a hurry. When we wait patiently on His timing rather than speeding frantically, we live out biblical faith in His purpose for our lives.
6. Setting a Godly Example
The Bible encourages Christians to set an example for others in speech and conduct. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” When we obey speed limits, we set a positive example for other drivers.
However, by speeding we communicate to others that it is acceptable to disregard laws meant for safety and order. Our example can encourage others to sin as well. Setting a godly example means not speeding but driving responsibly within the established laws.
7. Submitting to Consequences
Most jurisdictions penalize drivers for speeding with fines, demerit points, license suspension, and other consequences. The Bible says Christians should willingly accept punishment for wrongdoing. In 1 Peter 2:19-20 it states, “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure?”
If caught speeding, Christians should not complain about or contest the penalties (unless truly unjust). Humbly submitting to the consequences reminds us of the grace we have received from Christ taking the punishment for our sin.
8. Representing Christ
In all aspects of life, Christians represent Christ through their attitudes, ethics, and actions. Everything we do makes a spiritual statement about our faith.
Speeding often arises from impatience, frustration, selfishness, and irresponsibility. However, the Bible calls us to live by the fruit of the Spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). When we speed, we are not exemplifying Christlike character.
As believers, we want every part of our lives to point others to Jesus. Making a conscious effort to obey speed limits can be one small way we represent Christ’s love in the details of our daily lives.
9. Respecting Authorities
Not only does the Bible tell believers to obey governing authorities, but it instructs us to respect them as well. Romans 13:7 says, “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”
When we deliberately disobey speed limits, it communicates disrespect for the law enforcement authorities responsible for enforcing those traffic laws. If cited for speeding, becoming angry or hostile toward the police officer exhibits disrespect as well.
As Christians, we can show respect for authorities by driving within legal speed limits. We may not always agree with traffic laws, but we can still demonstrate biblical respect for those enforcing them.
10. Being Above Reproach
In addition to avoiding behavior that raises ethical criticism, the Bible exhorts believers to live above reproach by actively doing good. Titus 3:8 says, “The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.”
When we make a dedicated effort to obey all traffic laws, drive cautiously, and help others on the road, we devote ourselves to excellent conduct. Being known as a safe driver living above reproach is far better than gaining a reputation for hasty, reckless driving.
11. Valuing Human Life
All human life bears God’s image and has sacred worth (Genesis 1:27). As believers, we are called to defend and preserve life as intrinsically valuable. Speeding shows little regard for human life, needlessly endangering oneself and other people.
The Bible compels us to keep human life safe from harm. Speeding contradicts that biblical imperative. If involved in an accident at excessive speeds, we could be morally responsible for taking someone’s life prematurely. Valuing the sanctity of life means driving at safe, legal speeds.
12. Being Blameless and Pure
As Christians, the Bible calls us to pursue godly virtues like righteousness, blamelessness, and purity. Philippians 2:14-16 instructs, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish…holding fast to the word of life.”
When we choose to speed, we are not living blamelessly and purely according to biblical standards. We tarnish our witness. By driving within legal limits, we keep our lives above ethical reproach and avoid polluting our conduct before a watching world.
13. Seeking Righteousness
Rather than worldly wickedness, Christians are called to continually seek righteousness in every area of life. 1 Timothy 6:11 urges, “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” Operating vehicles illegally by speeding violates the biblical command to pursue righteous conduct.
We must ask ourselves if choosing to speed aligns with seeking biblical righteousness. Does it glorify God? Draw others to Christ? Help us walk in holiness? The answer is clearly no. Therefore, the righteous choice is driving within legal speed limits.
14. Being Sober-Minded
A sober mind and self-controlled actions should identify believers in Christ. 1 Peter 1:13 tells us to “prepare your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Reckless speeding is the opposite of sober-mindedness.
Driving over speed limits diminishes mental alertness, reaction time, control, and sound judgment. As Christians, we must think through decisions and not give in to hasty, reckless impulses. Moderation, prudence and conscientiousness should guide our speed.
15. Making Wise Choices
Wisdom is a valuable virtue extolled throughout the Bible. As Christians, we should make choices that reflect godly wisdom and discernment. Speeding is an unwise choice with needless risks and consequences.
Proverbs 14:8 tells us, “The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.” Operating a vehicle safely within legal speed limits represents the wisdom and prudence honored in Scripture. We must apply discernment rather than foolishness.
16. Being Loyal to God
As believers, our highest loyalty is to God rather than human institutions. When man’s laws contradict God’s truth, obedience to the biblical standard takes precedence. However, speed limits do not conflict with biblical values. In fact, obeying them aligns with godly principles.
Romans 13:5 says, “Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” Speeding violates our subjective loyalty to God’s righteousness. Since it does not force us to disobey higher laws, we should willingly observe speed limits.
17. Thinking of Others
The Bible frequently emphasizes considering others above ourselves. Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
When we speed, we are putting our own hurry above the safety and wellbeing of others. We selfishly endanger lives to save a few minutes. Biblical humility and service means driving at lawful speeds to protect the interests of other people.
18. Making Peace
As believers, Scripture tells us to pursue peace with others whenever possible. Romans 12:18 counsels, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” When we speed, it can provoke hostility and conflict with other drivers who perceive us as reckless or dangerous.
Excessive speeding also has the potential to escalate road rage in ourselves and others. Driving the legal speed limit and allowing other cars to pass promotes calm and peace on the highway. It is a way to live peaceably behind the wheel.
19. Showing Patience
The Bible presents patience as a virtue believers in Christ should demonstrate. Losing patience and rushing to get somewhere faster by speeding goes against biblical principles. James 1:19 advises, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
When we feel impatient in the car, speeding reveals lack of self-control. As Christians, we can show godly patience on the road by obeying speed limits despite hectic schedules. Patience protects us and others rather than putting lives in danger.
20. Turning from Sin
Deliberate, ongoing speeding may require repentance and change. The Bible tells believers to turn away from sin and toward righteous living. 1 Peter 3:11 says, “let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”
If we have developed a habit of ignoring or exceeding speed limits, we must acknowledge it as sin and make a conscious effort to change with God’s help. As Christ-followers, our lives should demonstrate transformation away from lawlessness toward obedience and moral conduct.
The Bible does not specifically prohibit speeding. However, core biblical principles about obeying authorities, loving others, and pursuing godly virtues argue against traveling over speed limits as a habitual practice. While occasional accidents may happen, the overarching biblical ethic is to value human life and safety by driving within established laws.