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What the Bible Says About Accountability

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Accountability: Definition

Accountability is the act of being responsible to a person or organization for an activity. Accountability is being responsible for one's own actions. Everybody is accountable to someone for something. Even though you are accountable to your boss, your boss is accountable to his boss. Leaders in the church are accountable to someone above them. Even pastors are accountable to someone, and that someone is God.

Accountability in the Workplace

An employee is accountable for the work that has been assigned to him as well as the rules and regulations of the company he works for. Some of those rules include being on time and being courteous and respecting the rights of others in the workplace.

Employees should be accountable to their boss and to other workers. Some projects require being on a team. In that case, everyone must work together which requires everyone to be accountable to the project and to others on the team.

Christian Accountability

The Bible says a lot about Christian accountability. First of all, God holds every one of His children accountable. Romans 14:12 says, "So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God." If a person cannot be accountable to God, then he won't be accountable to God's people.

Paul explains in 1 Corinthians Chapter 12 how all Christians are all part of the same body of Christ, and each member of the body of Christ needs to belongs to other members of the body of Christ. In other words, everybody is in it together. Every believer should be accountable to someone else. Being accountable to someone means there is someone always available to talk to, to confide in, to pray with, to encourage and to spur one another on.

The principle of spurring one another on to spiritual maturity is clearly outlined in Hebrews 10:24 that says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." The idea of spurring one another on conjures up the idea of a cowboy wearing boots with spurs on them. If he wants someone to move along, he would kick him and the spur would provoke the person to move. That makes sense because "spur" comes from the Greek word that means “to provoke” or “to stir up.” In other words, it means to entice or to motivate. We are to entice one another to grow in love toward God and others.

Accountability is also expressed in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 that says to "…encourage one another and build each other up…" As you build others up, you will be built up yourself.


Galatians 6:1-2 gives a helpful example of accountability. "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ." That means if there is accountability, one person would keep the other one on track. If there is no accountability, each person is left to his own ideas.

Consider this: You cannot be accountable to God without being accountable to God's people.

Accountable to the Laws of the Land

We are all held accountable for something or someone in one way or another. For example, there are laws to obey and if we fail to be obedient, we may have to suffer the consequences set by the officials who hold us accountable.

Obeying the traffic lights means we are accountable to other drivers. Can you imagine what would happen if nobody paid attention or disobeyed the traffic lights? If everyone did what he wanted to do without obeying the traffic laws that govern everyone, there would be crashes and no one would be able to go anyplace.


Consequences For Not Being Accountable

People who are not accountable do things that are right in their own eyes without any advice or encouragement from anyone else. When people leave everything up to their own choosing, they could end up in a world of trouble.

There are consequences for not being accountable. Some of the consequences might be more devastating than others. If you choose not to be accountable on your job, you could get fired or demoted.

If you don't obey the laws of the land, you could go to jail. If you do things your way without considering the authority of those in higher positions, you might end up losing your reputation, your respect and other things you would rather not lose.

To be on the safe side, be accountable in all areas of your life.