Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Bible teaching about
goal setting

The Bible teaching about goal setting may make the difference between your success and failure. They are that important. Esmie and I are amazed at the results when we pray, set objectives, and plan!

For this study, I first look to God for an example, then introduce seven principles for setting successful targets for achievement. There are two great benefits that come from having clear, definite aims. They help you achieve, and they help you dig out of problems. Here’s how.

God's Example

You don’t have to travel far in the Bible to see that God is big on goals. Look at just the first verse, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1). Then, turn over one page and you read, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image’” (Genesis 1:26).

God set goals, and the result was that very good things happened, “And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Making the matter personal, Jesus embraced goal setting, and gave them to us in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Responding in obedience, Paul declared, “And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ” (Colossians 1:28).

Question: how are you to go about goal setting? Easy. Seven principles. They work for me, and can work for you too.

Principle One: Seek God's Will In Prayer

Jesus said to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), and, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). James said God would give wisdom (James 1:5).

God has a plan for the universe, which includes your life (Ephesians 1:11). Our strategy is to find His plan for our life – or the project you are working on. As you pray, search the Scripture. Look at the abilities, resources, and opportunities He has given you. Glean advice from wise people. Discern the timing. Measure the desire in your heart. Your intent might be great, but the timing is wrong. A good interaction of prayer, the seeker and God is found in the 24th chapter of Genesis. It’s a good read.

Principle Two: Goal Setting is Specific

Objectives cannot be vague. An example might be when we say to our friends, “we need to get together sometime.” Sometime seldom happens. In contrast, if we say, “Let us get together this Saturday at 2pm,” then the target is specific.

Another example is Paul, “And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are’” (Acts 15:36).

He stated specifically what he wanted to do, who would do it, when and where the action would occur, and why the aspiration existed in the first place.

Principle Three: Goal Setting is Measurable

The Bible teaching about goal setting teaches that they need to be measurable. If you cannot measure it, you will never know if you have ever reached it. If I want to lose 10 pounds, then I must measure my progress on the scales. If two teams are playing, progress is measured by the score on the score board.

In a school, performance is measured by how many students are accepted into classes. As one saying goes, “If we cannot measure it, we cannot manage it.”

As Jesus said, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth (Acts 1:8). He set a strategy with a measurable end result.

Principle Four: Goal Setting is Attainable

The Bible teaching about goal setting coaches us to establish attainable ends. If your aim is beyond your reach, or you believe you cannot reach it, you will not be motivated to try. If you do try and fail, then discouragement ushers in defeat.

Sure – set lofty endeavors, and attempt mighty things. Someone said, “Shoot for the moon, and if you miss, then you are still among the stars.”

However, you must also be realistic. We cannot all be millionaires, a famous move star, Jonah Lomu, Mike Tyson, Bill Gates, or Albert Einstein.

You can, however, become better. Esmie and I have found that if we don’t set objectives, then we are stuck in the same place next year – or further behind. Stretch goals are good. An example might be money. An attainable “stretch” effort might be to make 10% to 20% more income next year as compared to this year.

Principle Five: Goal Setting is Relevant

The Bible teaching about goal setting specifies relevant aims. They must help you reach your mission. For example, if your undertaking is to complete a university degree in accounting, then taking courses for basket weaving will not help get your degree (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:23-27).

Consider Paul. His ambition of returning and doing follow up in the cities they had evangelized was directly related to Christ’s Great Commission.

Still another example might be a training program for teachers in a school. The training should be related to increasing teacher professionalism, or effectiveness in the classroom – or to increase specific subject knowledge.

Another point. Having a sharp, clear, major definite purpose helps you in making decisions. Why? Because you choose only those things that help you reach your aims – and discard other distracting activities.

Principle Six: Goal Setting is Time Targeted

The Bible teaching about goal setting stipulates deadlines. The completion time of achievement needs to be marked on a calendar, and related to time. For example, a boss might say to their accountant, “I need to have the final budget completed and on my desk by 8am Friday morning of this week.” No deadline means no or little accomplishment.

Principle Seven: Goal Setting Means Training

The Bible teaching about goal setting starkly reminds us that plans and training are needed to achieve ends. You must latch wheels to your plans for progress to happen. That is what the New Testament epistles are all about. They tell us how to achieve the Great Commission.

And now, a few more suggestions...

Establish goals in several areas of your life: career, education, health, church, community, job, recreation, family, finances, and other important facets of life.

Write them out. Review them often: weekly or even daily. Break them down into sub steps. Set at least three main goals per day you want to reach. If things don’t work out, it may be God is using the experience to prepare you for another mission.

With this brief introduction to the Bible teaching about goal setting, Esmie and I wish you all the best in achieving God’s dreams for your life. Keep studying, and working for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Willis and Esmie Newman


1. What is God’s aim for Christians (Romans 8:29)?

2. What is God’s purpose for you (Titus 2:14; Ephesians 2:8-10)?

3. In goal setting, what should be our attitude toward God (Proverbs 3:5, 6)?

4. What part does God play in our making plans (Psalm 127:1, 2)?

5. Regarding goal achievement, how would you explain these verses: Proverbs 6:9; 12:27; 22:13?

6. Describe the objective Christ gave to the church (Matthew 28:18-20).

7. Pick three important areas of your life, and set goals following the steps outlined in this Bible study.

8. Explain how you chose these goals, and why they are important to you.

9. What is the biggest obstacle that stands between you and your aims? What would it take to get around the obstacle?

10. What stands out the most to you in this Bible teaching about goal setting?

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