MsDora, a former teacher and Christian counselor, is an avid Bible student and loves to compile user-friendly Bible quotes by topic.
There are only two birthday celebrations in the Bible and there are no quotable birthday lines in either story. Instead, there are fatalities associated with the events. Some zealots accept this as reason not to observe birthdays, but these stories only describe the happenings; they neither commend nor condemn birthday celebrations.
Two Bible Birthdays
Pharaoh’s birthday came … and he prepared a banquet for all his officials and staff. He summoned his chief cup-bearer and chief baker to join the other officials. He then restored the chief cup-bearer to his former position ...But Pharaoh impaled [stabbed] the chief baker.(Genesis 40: 20-22)
At a birthday party for Herod, Herodias’s daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him, so he promised with a vow to give her anything she wanted. At her mother’s urging, the girl said, “I want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!”...So John was beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. (Matthew 14:6-8,10)
Sad that these two monarchs destroyed the happy birthday mood by their abuse of power, but they did not destroy the significance of birthdays. In our culture, birthdays are reminders to celebrate the gift of life, to reflect on the progress of our journey, to share gratitude and joy.
Following are (1) ten Bible quotes which express thanks to God for another birthday; (2) ten which convey birthday blessings to a loved one; and (3) five which celebrate spiritual birth, which in the Bible has greater significance than physical birth.
Thanks for Another Birthday
You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!
1. You brought me safely from my mother’s womb … You have been my God from the moment I was born. (Psalm 22:9,10)
2. The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need...My cup overflows with blessings.(Psalm 23:1, 5)
3. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. (Psalm 65:11)
4. Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you! (Psalm 71:6)
5. You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. (Psalm 92:4)
6. How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! (Psalm 116:5)
7. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. (Psalm 139: 13, 14)
8. Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! ... Only the living can praise you as I do today. (Isaiah 38:16)
9. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13: 12,13)
10. By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV)
Your life will be brighter than the noonday. (Job 11:17)
11. From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. (Genesis 27:28)
12. May the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and blessings of the watery depths below. (Genesis 49:25)
13. Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. (Job 11:17)
14. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. (Psalm 128:6)
15. So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy. (Proverbs 23:25)
16. So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! (Ecclesiastes 9:7)
17. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. (Isaiah 58:11)
18. There will be showers of blessing. (Ezekiel 34:26)
19. For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. (2 Corinthians 9: 10.11)
20. Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. (3 John 1:2)
Celebrating Spiritual Birth
Born again ...Your new life will last forever. (1 Peter 1:23)
21. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. (John 3:6)
22. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. (Romans 6:4)
23. The way you live will always honor and please the Lord ... All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. (Colossians 1:10)
24. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. (James 1:18)
25. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. (1 Peter 1:23)
All Bible quotes are from the New Living Translation unless stated otherwise.
Questions & Answers
Question: What do birthdays stand for in the Bible?
Answer: A birthday is the anniversary of the day on which a person (or thing) was born. It seems to have the same meaning in the Old Testament (Genesis 40:20) when Pharaoh’s birthday is mentioned; and in the New Testament (Matthew 14:6 and Mark 6:21) when Herod's birthday is mentioned. I am not aware of any other meaning.
Question: What does it mean to be born again?
Answer: Nicodemus asked Jesus, "How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” (John 3: 4 NLT).
Jesus explained, "Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. . . Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” (Verses 6,8 NLT).
If you're waiting to see yourself or someone else actually being born again, you wouldn't see it. However, just like we can see the effect of the wind, we would see evidence of a new spiritual birth when an individual repents from a life of sin, and accepts Jesus as the Lord of his or her life. Being born again means that the individual becomes a new person, thinking and and acting differently [Godly or Christ-like] than he or she did before.
Question: What is faith?
Answer: There is one mention of faith in the article: "Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13) I am presuming that you need a definition of faith in that context. Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges defines faith as "the vision of the unseen (Hebrews 11:1), with its consequent trust in God." Basically, it is a belief in God, His promises and His power--such strong belief that we expect or trust Him to make good on His Word. Faith and Hope are God's gift to us to help us prepare eternity where Love the greatest, will outlast them.
Question: King Herod and King Pharoah were Babylonian Kings, so should we follow their customs, such as birthdays?
Answer: I now know that Egyptians started the birthday celebration. In my opinion, however, the custom is not a matter of "should" or "shouldn't." There are no legal or moral rights associated with it in our culture. It is a matter of choice.
So would you like to celebrate your birthday? There is no law against it.
Do you choose to avoid birthday celebrations because the custom started in a pagan nation? Nobody has the right to change your mind.
© 2017 Dora Weithers