What Would Jesus Do? The question is a popular meme, and I guess you could call it a youth movement what with all the bracelets and such.

WWJD by jiadoldol, on Flickr

What is the theological background of the WWJD movement? Which doctrines are used to argue that WWJD? is an important question to ask oneself?

  • 3
    It is a feel-good movement that not only isn't backed by Scripture, but by observing the followers, they aren't necessarily following the question. If you read the risks taken by the characters in "In His Steps", by Charles Sheldon, you will see that doing what Jesus would do would change many aspects of the lives of basically everyone, and really annoy people around us. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 2:35
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    As a side note, I like Ray Comfort's motto better. WDJD - What DID Jesus do... It can be backed up scripturally, and isn't so subjective. ;-) Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 2:55
  • Seek first the Kingdom and the Will of God...?
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 20:10
  • @PeterTurner if Catholic doctrine can be used to support WWJD, why not write that as an answer! I think all Christians agree on seeking the Will of God, but the contention is whether it's the same for everyone in all circumstances as it was for Jesus. Commented Nov 24, 2011 at 12:08
  • 2
    – user23
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 4:30

2 Answers 2


There are many scriptures which say we ought to do as Jesus Christ did:

John 13:15 (KJV)

15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

1 Peter 2:21 (KJV)

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

1 John 2:6 (KJV)

6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that those passages are what actually spawned the movement. Wikipedia has details on the origin of WWJD.

  • I see how these verses are relevant, but not everyone interprets them the same way. I'm still wondering what doctrine is used to argue that we should ask ourselves what Jesus would do in our circumstances. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 19:24
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    @dancek - You may want to read this article: christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/july8/26.58.html. I found it interesting, not certain how to answer your question pulling some ideas from this article. I am also torn by how much we should be like Christ as Christians, but, that would be a separate question. Commented Nov 25, 2011 at 22:09

The "What would Jesus do?" expression actually comes from the Christian Classic book entitled In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon. In this great novel, a group of believers look at 1 Peter 2:21 and, based on that teaching, ask the question, "What would Jesus do?"

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21 NIV

The story follows several of them as they try to truly live their own lives as they believe Jesus would. A newspaper editor, a wealthy lady, and a few younger people incur disdain from other Christians who suggest that living in such a way is not practical. It really is a pretty good book. I've both read it and listened to an audio book version of it occasionally.

Anyway, it seems that this question, which comes from a book written in 1897, recently became a fad, abbreviated in the initials of WWJD.

It is important to note that the only way anyone can hope to know what Jesus would do is to study what He did do. It seems that too often some have based their ideas about what Jesus would do on a concept of Jesus that has nothing to do with His actual life and teachings.

  • +1 on "what he did do." Also, my pastor likes to say "you don't know what Jesus would do! Jesus (rather surprisingly) stormed the temple and cleared it - I don't think that's what we'd think to do in the same situation Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 19:57
  • @ThomasShields Agreed. Jesus spoke some of the harshest words to the Pharisees as well.
    – Narnian
    Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 12:00

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