What the Bible says about Blessing

  • What does it mean to bless someone?
  • Does it actually do anything?
  • How can a human bless God?
  • We need a firm Biblical foundation for answering these questions.

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  • Three kinds of blessing:
    1. We bless God, or an item like food
    2. God blesses us
    3. We bless one another

What the Bible says about Blessing

  1. We bless God, or bless food
  2. God blesses us, or we bless each other
  3. Do our blessings have any effect?

1. We bless God, or bless food

  • The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the N.T. in Greek, and so they have different words for bless.
  • The N.T. uses a very general word,


  • N.T. Greek eulogeo, which is simply from
    eu (good) logos (word)
    • We get the word “eulogy” directly from it
  • O.T. Hebrew barak
    • It was quite a specific word for giving a blessing
  • Also Hebrew esher (happy), as in Psalm 1
  • The meaning of words can only be determined by how they are actually used
  • Let’s first look at the N.T. word eulogeo when a human is doing the blessing
  • First, when blessing God, it seems to be used interchangeably with giving praise or thanks to God
  • They are “good words” and we offer them up to God as praise

To “Bless” God is to Praise and Worship him: Rev 7

  1. And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
  2. saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
  • We are not giving God any kind of special gift, just the gift of our words of praise.
  • This is equally true in the O.T. and very easy to show:

The Psalms

  • 34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
  • 66:8 Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard,
  • 145:2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.
  • 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
  • What if we bless things, like food
  • When Jesus ate, he virtually always said a prayer, but the words bless and thanks are used interchangeably
  • When two Gospels report the same occasion, sometimes one says he gave thanks for the food and the other he blessed

Feeding the 5000

  • Matt 15:36 - “He took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them”
  • Mark 8:6 - He gave thanks for the bread and blessed the fish
  • John 4:11 - He gave thanks for both the bread and the fish
  • to bless food is literally to “speak good words” concerning it, in other words praise and thank God for it
  • It is not about imparting some magic blessing into the food
    %otherwise he forgot to do that most of the time%
  • Jesus gave thanks virtually every single time we read of him eating

Blessing Food

  • When we “bless” a meal, we are not invoking a divine power to make it taste good, or to make sure that we don’t choke on it or that it doesn’t have bacterial infection. Blessing: A Scriptural and Theological Reflection by Ephraim Radner
  • It is a shorthand for blessing/thanking God
  • He feeds the sparrows, and cares much more for us
  • He provides for our needs, and it is important to acknowledge this

2. God blesses us, or we bless each other

God blesses us

  1. Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. Genesis 24

Deuteronomy 30

  1. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
  • In the Old Covenant, Blessing was conditional on keeping the laws
    • More on this in a minute
  • What about when we bless others?
    • Sometimes it literally means to give a gift, like “my boss blessed me with a bonus this year”
    • Abraham blessed his son Isaac by passing on his inheritance to him

The Blessing: Numbers 6

  1. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
  2. “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
  3. The LORD bless you and keep you;
  4. the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
  5. the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
  6. “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
  • Priest, carrying the message of God
    • Is he blessing from some personal power?
    • Note that v.23 he is blessing, and v.24 the Lord is blessing. Which is it?

How can we receive blessings from God?

  • By believing and trusting God
  • That releases blessings for ever
  • God simply wants us to trust him
  • Misconception that it is dependent on our performance

John 20 (spoken to Thomas)

  1. Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Galatians 3

  1. just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?…
  2. So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Romans 4

  1. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
  2. Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
  3. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
  4. just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
  5. Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
  6. blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

3. Do our blessings have any effect?

What authority do we have to bless?

  • When humans bless others, they are simply praying for God to bless.
  • We do not have some intrinsic storehouse of blessing we can pass out.
  • Luke 6:28 “bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”
  • 2 ways of saying the same thing

2 Corinthians 1

  1. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
  2. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

What about blessing Children? —Mark 10

  1. And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.
  2. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”
  3. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
  4. And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
  • This is in Matt, Mark & Luke, but only Mark actually use the word “bless”
    • Yet there is no doubt that they are blessed

What makes our blessings effective?

  1. We follow Jesus’ example
    • Jesus was very clear that apart from dying for our sins on the cross, his life was to be an example for us.
  2. We pray as a united community – Matthew 18
    1. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
    2. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
  3. We pray in Jesus’s name

John 14 – in Jesus’s name

  1. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
  2. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

In Jesus’s name

  • In Jesus’s name does not mean tacking “we ask these things in Jesus name, Amen” on the end (although we can still do that)
  • Jesus has put his name on a mission—to bring his kingdom of love and peace to this world
  • When we ask in his name, we are asking for something that will fit with this goal
  • We are going to do all three right now!