Is the Kingdom of God in Your Heart?
The Bible’s answer
No, God’s Kingdom is not merely a condition in the hearts of Christians. a The Bible identifies its true location by calling it “the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 4:17, King James Version) Consider how the Bible shows it to be a real government that is ruling from heaven.
God’s Kingdom has rulers, subjects, laws, and a mandate to establish the will of God in heaven and on the earth.—Matthew 6:10; Revelation 5:10.
God’s government, or Kingdom, will rule over all “the peoples, nations, and language groups” of the earth. (Daniel 7:13, 14) The authority for its rulership comes, not from its subjects, but directly from God.—Psalm 2:4-6; Isaiah 9:7.
Jesus told his faithful apostles that they would join him in the Kingdom of heaven to “sit on thrones.”—Luke 22:28, 30.
The Kingdom has enemies, which it will destroy.—Psalm 2:1, 2, 8, 9; 110:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 15:25, 26.
The Bible does not teach that the Kingdom of heaven is in your heart in the sense that it rules through a person’s heart. However, it does show that the “word of the Kingdom” or the “good news of the Kingdom” can and should affect our hearts.—Matthew 13:19; 24:14.
What does “the kingdom of God is within you” mean?
Some people have become confused about the location of the Kingdom by the rendering of Luke 17:21 in some Bible translations. For example, the King James Version says that “the kingdom of God is within you.” To understand this verse correctly, we must consider the context.
Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, a group of religious leaders who opposed him and shared in arranging for his execution. (Matthew 12:14; Luke 17:20) Does it make sense to think that the Kingdom was a condition in their obstinate hearts? Jesus told them: “Inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”—Matthew 23:27, 28.
Other translations accurately clarify Jesus’ statement at Luke 17:21: “God’s kingdom is here with you.” (Italics ours; Contemporary English Version) “The Kingdom of God is among you.” (New World Translation, footnote) The Kingdom of heaven was “with” or “among” the Pharisees, in that Jesus, the one designated by God to rule as King, was standing before them.—Luke 1:32, 33.
a Many Christian denominations teach that the Kingdom of God is within a person, or in someone’s heart. For example, in the United States, the Southern Baptist Convention declared that the Kingdom of God is in part “the reign of God in the heart and life of the individual.” Similarly, in his book Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI stated that “the Kingdom of God comes by way of a listening heart.”