What Does the Bible Say About Gratitude?

It’s the perfect season to brush up on our gratitude skills. Practicing gratitude has many benefits regardless if you are a follower of Christ or not.  But I’d like to start with our “guidebook of life” for a foundation. What does the Bible say about gratitude?

what does the bible say about gratitude- fall leaves, nuts, berries, cup of coffee on wooden background

Bible Verses about Gratitude

“Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.”  Psalm 95:1-3 NLT

This Psalm was a call for the Israelites to worship God.  Our God never changes and we are still called to worship Him today with thanksgiving. He is the one and only King over the heavens and earth!

“Let your roots grow down into him and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.  Colossians 2:7 NLT

These deep roots in Jesus give us life-giving strength and a strong faith which should cause us to overflow with thankfulness.

“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 NLT

Paul is giving us this winning trifecta for our personal growth as followers of Jesus.  The gratitude piece “in all circumstances” can be difficult.  He reminds us to give thanks in all circumstances for Jesus’ continual presence with us, what He has done for us, and the good He will bring in our difficulties.

Examples of Gratitude in the Bible

Let’s first look at a few examples of gratitude in the Bible, then make the applications to our own lives.

Jesus Feeds the 5000

Jesus spent 3 days teaching and healing a large crowd.  He wanted to feed them before He sent them home and used a miracle to multiply five loaves of bread and two fish to feed them all.

What does the bible say about gratitude

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.”  Matthew 14:19 NIV

Jesus Raises Lazarus

what does the bible say about gratitude

“So they took away the stone.  And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me. “John 11: 41-42 NIV

Mary’s Song of Gratitude and Praise

what does the bible say about gratitude

Luke 1:46-55 is a beautiful song of praise from Mary.  She had just heard the news of her miraculous pregnancy and hurried to visit her relative, Elizabeth.  Mary understood what it meant for her reputation to be a pregnant virgin.

 A Thankful Leper

what does the bible say about gratitude

Jesus healed ten lepers on his way to Jerusalem.  They called out to him for healing, and Jesus obliged; sending them to the priests.  He healed them as they obeyed his command. Of the ten, only one returns to thank Jesus.  “He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him- and he was a Samaritan.”  Luke 17:16 NIV

Hannah Gives Thanks

what does the bible say about gratitude

Hannah’s story of years-long infertility, her fervent prayers, trust in God, and the subsequent birth of her son, Samuel, is in the book of 1 Samuel.  As unbelievable as it is to my heart, she keeps her promise to God.  She gives her beloved, long-awaited son, Samuel, back to the Lord for His service.

Gratitude to God

Thanksgiving and gratitude are a major theme throughout the Bible, from the Old Testament right through the book of Revelation. The above examples are only the tip of the iceberg, but they give us attributes of gratitude to think about as we apply them to our own lives.

Practicing Gratitude

•Thanksgiving and gratitude are an important part of worship.  It honors and glorifies God when we show Him the gratitude He deserves.

How does gratitude play a part in your own personal worship?

•Jesus thanked God for the miracle of providing food for his hungry followers.

Can you think of a time when God miraculously provided for you or answered a prayer? What was your response?

•As Jesus prayed before Lazarus’ tomb, He knows God has heard him.  He thanks God for always hearing him.

How often do we give thanks that God is always listening to our prayers?   Do we express our thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit who prays for us when we don’t have the words?

•Mary didn’t cower in fear in her home for 9 months when she heard the news of her pregnancy.  She accepted her pregnancy as a blessing and felt grateful that God chose her to work out His plans.

Has God ever given you a difficult blessing?  Is it hard for you to express your gratefulness in hard circumstances?

Thankful to God

•Of the ten healed lepers, only one returns to give thanks.

I guess I had never thought about the fact that God notices when we express our gratitude to Him.  He knows I’m thankful, right? It certainly pricked my conscience a bit to know there are times when I am like the nine lepers who didn’t come back to thank Jesus.

I realized that there’s a difference in feeling grateful vs expressing our thanks to the Giver.

•Hannah prays for years for a child.  Her hearts’ longing for a child was an unanswered prayer for a long time, but she never stopped praying.  When God answered her prayer, she kept her promise to give him back to God.

Could you be as obedient and grateful as Hannah? 

When God grants our heart’s desire, it’s natural to want to hang on tightly to the blessing.  Hannah shows us that true gratitude always gives glory to God for our blessings.  She also shows us that we should use His blessings as He sees fit, not as we desire.

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Living a Life of Gratitude

Gratitude in all things is God’s will for us and it’s based on trusting his unfailing love.  We shouldn’t base our practice of gratitude on the circumstances of our lives.  They can change in a heartbeat.

Gratitude can transform us if we make it a way of life.  Reading these examples convicted me of ways I can improve.  A life filled with gratitude puts the circumstances of our lives into a new context- thankful for what we have, that He is sufficient for us, and focusing on the blessings we have received.

Did any of the examples speak to you personally? Do you have a gratitude practice that works for you?  Has it made a difference in your life? Comment below!

Next week we will look at how to put our gratitude in action and look at all the benefits of living a grateful life!



Photo Credit: Canva

24 thoughts on “What Does the Bible Say About Gratitude?”

  1. So many times we are quick to look at the negatives instead of being thankful for all of our blessings. I heard a song recently with the chorus “Hallelujah anyhow.” I hope to do a better job at being thankful for the things I have. Great reminder!

    1. Oh, I love that! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 I agree, we tend to go straight to the negatives instead of the positives. I started gratitude journaling a couple of years ago, and it has changed my outlook immensely.

  2. gratitude is an on going process. just like the different stages in life gratitude is ever changing. also it should be considered therapy-because it heals the mind, soul, body. gratitude example list above does/will have real life applications.. HaKarat HaTov which exactly means ‘Recognizing the Good’.

  3. Beautiful post!!!
    Indeed I always pray to the Lord to see me through tough times, knowing in my heart that He will… Because He has said… Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil for Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me…. And my heart abounds in gratitude.

  4. Such an insightful article on gratitude! I love all of the biblical examples and will use them in my teaching on this topic. Also, the questions are so thoughtful and convicting…they really get to the heart of what it means to be truly grateful.

  5. The Bible definitely has a lot to say about gratitude! I wish I could say I have always been the one to return and thank God, like the leper… but I can’t. It is certainly my goal as I go forward though. Great post!

  6. With Thanksgiving around the corner, it is so important to know gratitude and what the Bible says about it. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and informative article!

  7. Out of your examples, I want to be like the leper who came back to thank Jesus for healing. When we choose to have the gratitude of thanks within our hearts it changes our perspective into one of thankfulness. God’s word is our spiritual roadmap on what does the bible say about gratitude. Great post Annmarie!

    1. Thanks Angie, that example hit me right between the eyes! He wants to hear from us when we are thankful and a grateful heart speaks!

  8. I love this question. What does the Bible say about Gratitude? There are so many Bible verses about gratitude to help guide us. We see it so often it is a uniting theme of scripture. God loves a grateful hearted Christian.

    1. Hasn’t it been wonderful to be immersed in this topic? I have learned so much and been convicted in my sometimes lackadaisical attitude towards true gratitude. It’s just what I needed 🙂

    1. You live out gratitude more than any person I have known, Wendy. You are an inspiration and a wonderful ambassador for God! Blessings!

  9. I loved your series of questions to ask ourselves. It has been so exciting to see our group flood social media with gratitude and giving thanks! It’s awesome. Great article too.

    1. I agree, Fleda! Our world would look a lot different if more people practiced gratitude. Praying our words from God go far and wide!

  10. I want to be like that one leper who returned to thank Jesus. I want the healing and wholeness as only He can give to me. Cultivating a heart of gratitude has somehow lifted me above my circumstances and helps give me a more eternal perspective. Thank you Annmarie! Beautiful post! ❤

    1. I’m excited to cultivate a better heart of gratitude! It feels like maybe that’s something I’ve really been missing. I’ve been very thankful, but practicing gratitude seems to keep me grounded in His love in a new way. Thanks for the kind words, Donna.

  11. Cynthia McCarthy

    I too am often like one of the 9 lepers. Too often I’m so quick to move to supplication in my prayers when that should come after Adoration, Confession and THANKSGIVING (gratitude)
    Thanks, Ann

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