Bible Question:

What is a blessing? Is it always a good thing? Can a blessing be anything that makes your faith stronger, good or bad?

Bible Answer:

To receive a blessing from God is a wonderful thing. It is always positive. That is the meaning of  the word, blessing.

First Time Used

The first time the word “blessing” is used in the Bible is Genesis 12:2 when God made a promise to Abraham.

And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing . . . (NASB) Genesis 12:2

God promised to bless Abraham. The blessing is not wealth, but a land for his children and their children – his many descendants. The blessing also included God’s protection. This was a wonderful blessing. It is a blessing that continues to this day for the Jewish people. That was the first recorded blessing in the Bible. God blessed Abraham so that he would be a blessing to others.

How About Wealth?

God’s blessing can also include wealth.

It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it. (NASB) Proverbs 10:22

Have you ever noticed that sorrow often accompanies wealth? This is not true when wealth comes from the Lord. But He does not do this for everyone. Contrary to some current teachings, God is not in the business of making Christians wealthy. There have been many saints who were financially poor and spiritually rich. Sometimes they died some horrible deaths for God.

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. (NASB) Hebrews 11:32-38

The message of some teachers dishonors the spiritually rich saints who died as materially poor, abused Christians in the coliseums of Rome. Even the apostle Paul says that he was content with what he had. He was not wealthy and sometimes lacked worldly goods (Philippians 4:11).

Our needs are nor always met. Sometimes we suffer for Jesus and on other occassions our needs are not met because we are pursuing the wrong things. This was the point Jesus made in the Sermon on the Mount.

For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NASB) Matthew 6:32-34

Our wants often exceed our needs. Notice in this passage that our lack of “these things” is not a lack of faith but a lack of “seeking Him and righteousness.” Sometimes we are pursuing our needs and not Jesus. We lack in that we are not seeking Him and holiness. We must be careful to not pursue holiness in order to get our needs met. If we do, we are really pursuing our needs.

Spiritual Blessings Too!

A blessing can also be spiritual. This is usually the meaning in the Bible.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ . . . (NASB) Ephesians 1:3

God’s primary desire for us is spiritual and not financial. He desires that we believe in Jesus, be like Jesus, love Jesus, seek to know Jesus, and follow Jesus.


Some day in heaven we will be blessing God!

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, saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” (NASB) Rev. 7:12