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Where in Holy Scriptures does it say that he who cannot govern himself cannot govern others?

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    Are you thinking of 1 Timothy 3:5?
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 13, 2021 at 0:16
  • @curiousdannii That's a good one, but I was actually thinking what I'm looking for might appear in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, King Solomon.
    – Geremia
    Jan 13, 2021 at 0:29
  • For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? 1 Timothy 3:5.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 13, 2021 at 5:22
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    I think it is more of a biblical principle drawn from self-control than a direct quote. Incidentally, it was often repeated by Bob Hawke, former Australian Prime Minister: "As I said repeatedly when I was prime minister, if you can’t govern yourselves you can’t govern the country," Jan 13, 2021 at 12:47
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    “A man cannot govern a nation if he cannot govern a city; he cannot govern a city if he cannot govern a family; he cannot govern a family unless he can govern himself; and he cannot govern himself unless his passions are subject to reason.” - Hugo Grotius
    – Ken Graham
    Jan 13, 2021 at 16:14

2 Answers 2

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Where in Holy Scriptures does it say that he who cannot govern himself cannot govern others?

As @curiousdannii & @NigelJ pointed out, 1 Tim 3:5 is probably the closest NT single-verse match (Douay-Rheims translation):

But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

Since you are looking for OT Wisdom literature, another (but less exact) match can be the combination of these 2 Proverbs verses (Pr 25:28 and Pr 16:32), comparing the rule of one's self with the rule of a city (by a king), showing both the defensive and offensive attributes of self-government respectively (ESV translation):

Pr 25:28:

A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

Pr 16:32:

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Source: bibletools.org topical study on Self Government

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  • I think you have it!
    – Ken Graham
    Jan 13, 2021 at 16:07
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Though not a Scriptural verse, Thomas à Kempis says (Imitation of Christ bk. 1 ch. 20):

No man safely ruleth but he who loveth to be subject. No man safely commandeth but he who loveth to obey.

🎩 tip: this answer

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    How can this be the acceptable correct answer? It does not answer the question: Where in "Holy Scriptures" does it say that he who cannot govern himself cannot govern others?
    – Ken Graham
    Nov 4, 2022 at 1:42

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