Gratitude in the Bible: what it means and 5 ideas

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Every day we use the word thanks, and it is mainly associated with good manners, but gratitude in the Bible is much more than a word. It is a lifestyle and part of our worship of God. 

What does gratitude mean?

Let’s start by reading the definition of Gratitude in the dictionary: the state of being grateful. 

Grateful means expression of appreciation of benefits received, those benefits bring comfort and contentment, by removing previous discomfort.

By reading these definitions, we can say that gratitude has 3 elements:

  1. A state, a condition, or a feeling, to achieve this state we must clearly understand the following element,
  2. A benefit or favor that we have received, if we do not have knowledge of having received said benefit or favor, we cannot receive the comfort produced by the benefit or move to the next element, 
  3. An Expression, taking some actions to express that feeling and demonstrate the state of contentment we have received. 

According to the Encyclopedia of The Bible, gratitude is having the condition or quality of gratitude. A deep sense of appreciation for the favor or benefits received, which generates a desire to do something for the person who has given us that benefit.

After considering those 3 elements, we can say that the biblical meaning of gratitude is when we know the good or favor that we have received from God and that knowledge moves us to respond with actions that express that gratitude. 

Mockup of the Biblical Gratitude Journal, a journal to help you see gratitude in the bible and grow this attitude in yoru daily life.

What good or benefit has God done to us?

Before we continue exploring what the Bible tells us about gratitude, we need to pause and be sure that we are moved to gratitude for the right reasons.

As we read the Bible, we learn more about God’s character, and we are moved to give thanks for who He is. For it is because of His character that we receive his benefits and favor. In the pages of the Bible, we can see the different works of God during different generations.

We can also clearly see the greatest good we have received from God, Salvation, the Gospel, the Word of Truth: 

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. 1 Peter 3:18

The sacrifice of Christ on the cross, as payment for our sins; to satisfy the wrath of God and offer us the justice that we could not achieve so that we can have a direct relationship with the Father. This is the greatest benefit that we will receive, and we receive it from God. 

This is why our lives should be moved to respond in gratitude. The first thing you need to be able to grow a biblical attitude of gratitude is to know the Great Salvation that we have received in Christ. 

After this greater good, we will be able to identify many other examples of God’s favor and mercy in our lives and similarly respond with thankfulness. 

Gratitude in the Bible

The term gratitude is not so common in the Bible, but we do see other expressions such as Thanksgiving, giving thanks, which are calls to activate gratitude. 

We are called many times to respond to God with gratitude, with actions that reflect our understanding of The Greater Good he has done to us; for the discomfort that has been removed from our lives. 

Gratitude in the Old Testament

In Leviticus, we read the exhortation to do Thanksgiving offerings and sacrifices. Gratitude became an essential part of worship, as we can see in the Psalms, where, time and time again, the psalmists call the people to worship and give thanks for His works, care, protection, among others; but mainly for His Salvation.

Gratitude in the New Testament

We continually read about being grateful for who God is and what he has done for His people. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul exhorts them: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2, read more about Colossians)

Gratitude or Thanksgiving is an essential part of prayer. We are called to pray without ceasing, to do so at all times, and this constant prayer must be accompanied by thanksgiving. 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Jesus himself gave us His example of being grateful and that gratitude is part of prayer. (Matthew 15:36, 26:27, John 11:41)

In Revelations, we see how gratitude is an essential part of heavenly activity: living beings give thanks (Revelation 4:9), the angels respond in gratitude (Revelation 7:12), the elders worship by giving thanks (Revelation 7:12). 

In the Bible we find the commandment to give thanks, we have the example of the Son of God himself, and we see that even in eternity, gratitude is an essential part of worshiping God. 

Gratitude in the Bible: what it means and 5 ideas 6

Benefits mention of Gratitude in the Bible

In Psalm 92:1, we read that gratitude to God is good for us. We have received something good and for that, we are grateful, but also by cultivating an attitude of gratitude it does us good; It strengthens our faith and keeps us focused on the truth. 

As we grow to develop this biblical gratitude, we will see the true condition of our hearts. When Paul is describing the ungodly men at the beginning of the letter to the Romans, he says that they: did not recognize God or give him thanks. (Romans 1:21) Lack of gratitude is considered as a lack of faith and recognition of God and his work. 

By being intentional about practicing biblical gratitude, we will be able to evaluate our hearts, our intentions, our priorities, and surrender what is necessary to God. We must give thanks in everything, can we give thanks in pain? Can we give thanks on difficult days?

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

5 Ideas to Practice Biblical Gratitude

We have learned that biblical gratitude goes far beyond good manners, or a simple, “Thank you, God.” We need to grow in our knowledge of who He is and what He has done for us. I want to share with you some ideas on how to be more intentional about growing in this practice.

  1. Meditate on the Prayers of Gratitude in the Psalms and make them yours
  2. Start a Biblical Gratitude Journal
  3. Do a 30-day gratitude challenge
  4. Be consistent in your personal prayer time, here’s a guide
  5. Practice gratitude with your local church


Biblical gratitude is the expression of gratitude that we long to make known, when we understand the good that we have received from God through Salvation in Christ Jesus. After reading about Biblical Gratitude, examine if you need to increase that desire to live gratefully, start by reading the word and being intentional about practicing gratitude. 

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