"I think to myself, if I'm willing to give something up as somebody who's been extraordinarily blessed, give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that's going to make economic sense.
"But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus' teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required."
The president also cited the Biblical gospel of John, arguing that sharing and generosity would sustain Americans in harsh economic times.
"John tells us that if anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" Obama said