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“Thanksgiving” in the Bible


Thanksgiving in the Bible

The Bible uses the word “thanksgiving” only 25 times (in the NIV), although you will find many other instances with the base word “thank.”  Below is a recap of the 25 uses with the Scripture references provided.

In the Bible “thanksgiving” is not about a meal with all the trimmings in which we indulge, although there was a “fellowship offering of thanksgiving” (Lev. 7:13,15) in the Old Testament and a “cup of thanksgiving” in the New Testament of Jesus’ blood shed on our behalf. (1 Cor. 10:16)

“Thanksgiving,” in the Bible, is not a holiday celebration, although joyful singing, shouting, and praising God accompanies it. (Ezra 3:11; Neh. 11:17; 12:8; 12:24, 27, 46; Ps. 42:4; 69:30; 95:2; 147:7; Isa. 51:3; Jer. 30:19; Jonah 2:9)

The biblical use of “thanksgiving” is not a once a year occurrence but rather a regular expression of praise to God, a way of life. (Eph. 5:4; Phil. 4:6)

In the Bible “thanksgiving” is not merely sitting around saying what you are thankful for but also being used by God to cause others to overflow in thanksgiving.  (1 Cor. 14:16; 2 Cor. 4:15; 9:11)

Nor does the Bible describe “thanksgiving” as mere expressions of thanks for what or who you are glad for but rather is to be made for everyone and everything.  (1 Tim. 2:1; 4:3-4)

The Bible does not describe “thanksgiving” as a time to get together with family and friends but even better an opportunity to go into the presence of the Almighty God.  (Ps. 95:2; 100:4)

The holiday rendition of “Thanksgiving” has merit but falls short of the biblical use of the word.  Let’s remember to give thanks at all times (Eph. 5:20) and in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18).  And let’s remember to top the list of that for which we are grateful with Jesus.  — “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15)

How interesting that the Greek word for “thanksgiving” is “eucharistia” from which we get the word “eucharist” which is used of communion wherein the bread and wine remind us of that indescribable gift.


7 Replies to ““Thanksgiving” in the Bible”

  1. Thanksgiving is a U.S. holiday in late November that commemorates the good harvest of the Pilgrims in 1621. Thanksgiving was Thursday, November 24, 2011 in the United States this year.That is the day we return thanks to God for his wonderful blessing toward us for food to eat. THANK-YOU-JESUS! It does not take the place for our returning thanks to God for loving us so much that he will always provide. For us We should understand that everyday is a thank-you-day for us toward the Lord for his many blessings he gives us daily.

    • You wrote, “everyday is a thank-you-day for us toward the Lord for his many blessings he gives us daily.” To that I say a big AMEN.

  2. Wow! Looking up thanks, Thanksgiving, etc for a Children’s Sermon. Loved the “everyday is a thank-you day! Be blessed!

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