the weblog of Alan Knox

Thankfulness in Scripture – a different look

Posted by on Nov 23, 2012 in scripture | 4 comments

Have you every thought about the times that Jesus “gave thanks”? What about Paul? Do you know what he was thankful for? Interestingly, when we read about “giving thanks” in Scripture, the context is often quite different from today. And, the things that people were thankful for was often quite different as well. Perhaps we can learn something from looking at times when Jesus and Paul “gave thanks.”

What do you think?


When Jesus Was Thankful

He [Jesus] took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. (Matthew 15:36 ESV; see also Mark 8:6; John 6:11)

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you…” (Matthew 26:27 ESV; see also Mark 14:23; Luke 22:17, 19)

So they took away the stone [from Lazarus’ tomb]. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.” (John 11:41 ESV)


Why Was Paul Thankful?

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. (Romans 1:8 ESV; see also 1 Corinthians 1:4; Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:3; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Philemon 1:4)

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. (Romans 16:3-4 ESV)

I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (1 Corinthians 1:14-15 ESV)

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. (1 Corinthians 14:18 ESV)

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:13 ESV)


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  1. 11-23-2012

    Alan, I’ve been thinking about this all week. I recently re-read the popular Thanksgiving verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

    This time around I noted the context of that verse is in the midst of instructions for the community of believers – for one-another ministry.

    I think the way I look at this verse is changing. Where I once interpreted it as referring to my personal outlook on things that happen to me as an individual, I now suspect it has to do with a corporate response to the circumstances we find ourselves in as a community or assembly of believers, because God’s will for us in Christ Jesus is that we may live together with Him (v10).

    Still trying to work this out…

  2. 11-23-2012

    I was enlightened by that comment, Tim. Thanks! It’s helpful to remember that so much of the epistles were written to the plural you, to Christ’s body. And in the perspective of true fellowship, it all makes more sense.

    Thanks for this line up of verses, Alan! I often think of how Jesus “lifted up His eyes” and spoke to His Father. I assume we often find ourselves ceremoniously praying in form because of our limited belief in God as our Father.

  3. 11-23-2012

    Alan, just did a study in this area… and came up with the same thing. Thanks for your input! BTW, I thank God for you.

  4. 11-26-2012

    Thanks everyone for your comments. One Sunday morning, someone asked the age-old question, “What are you thankful for?” I was excited to hear many people say that they were thankful for other people… exactly like we read here.