Giving a Blessing to Someone - How Does the Bible Define Bless? (2023)

Before you read: This article is part of a larger series that builds on itself from the foundation up, with each study building on the last. If something in this article does not make sense to you or if you believe it to be incorrect please be sure you have read over the entire course before passing your final judgment. Also be sure to visit this page’s FAQ And Objections Page

What do you think of when you think of someone giving a blessing? A lot of people picture the head of a family praying before meal time and asking God to bless the food. Some people may even picture Jacob laying his hands on his grandchildren and giving a prophecy. But do we really understand the giving of a blessing to someone?

Is it a prayer? Is it a prophecy? Or, is it something entirely different?

Wrong Definition of Bless

The word “bless” actually has a definition in Hebrew (which is where it originates from). But, if you search for the definition of the word “bless” in English then you will not find it’s REAL historical and Biblical meaning. Instead, you will find the common meaning of the word that we use today.

Giving a Blessing to Someone - How Does the Bible Define Bless? (1)

The English definition of blessing is to: pronounce words in a religious rite, to confer or invoke divine favor upon; ask God to look favorably on.

Does that sound familiar? Let’s place the word in context with how we normally use it. “Before we eat dinner I will pronounce words in a religious rite to invoke favor from God upon the food we are about to eat.”

This is how the word is used today. But, it is not how the word was used when written in the Bible.

Genesis 1:22

And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

If a blessing is the pronouncing of words in a religious rite, or invoking divine favor, then this would mean God is saying some kind of magic words to force Himself to have favor on man. What a horrible thought! God would literally be FORCING Himself to like us!

Sure, that may not seem far from the truth right now, but at the time God blessed them in this verse there was not a drop of sin in man. In fact, God pronounced them as being good.

This is NOT what the word bless means!

Definition of Blessing in the Bible

“Berakhah,” or “barak” is one of the Hebrew words for bless. The definition of this word is: to kneel, to praise, congratulate or salute.

If you put this definition in the place of the example above then it fit’s the meaning of the verse perfectly.

God was PRAISING man. He liked us and had nothing but good to say about us. That fits with the scriptures perfectly.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God LOVES us! In fact, the Bible says that God IS love in 1 John 4:8. He doesn’t have to FORCE Himself to have a soft spot in His heart for us.

Giving a Blessing to Someone - How Does the Bible Define Bless? (2)

So when the Bible says that God blesses someone it is saying that God is praising them. Just like a parent will praise their child.

Psalm 103:1-2

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

We can not bless God as if we were giving Him anything. But we can kneel before God and praise Him. This is the real meaning of the word bless. It means we are giving praise to another. When we praise someone we are speaking highly of them. We are giving them honor.

So, when we see the words bless, blessing, or blessed then we can know that it means a person has been given praise, congratulated, and honored.

Blessing and Birthright

Genesis 27:7

7 Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the Lord before my death.

Many people know the story of how Jacob “stole” the blessing away from Esau. But when they think of the blessing they often think of the prophecy that Isaac gave to Jacob. But, knowing that a blessing means being praised will help us to understand this better.

Isaac said he wanted to “bless,” his son, Esau, “before the Lord.” This means Isaac wanted to tell God how wonderful his son was! It doesn’t mean Isaac was giving Esau wealth, power, or anything else.

Genesis 27:27-29

27 And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed: 28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: 29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.

Isaac praised Jacob before God and then he prays for Jacob. When Jacob says, “God give thee” it doesn’t mean he is giving God an order. But, it does mean he is making a request. He is asking God to give these things to Jacob. This is PART of his blessing to Jacob.

The blessing wasn’t the actual lands, people, wealth, and so on. The blessing was Isaac’s words of praise for Jacob that he spoke before God. While he praised Jacob he also requested that God honors Jacob. Isaac could have blessed (praised) Jacob without making the request to God.

But a part of giving praise and honor to someone is wishing them well. That means you want good things to happen to them. So a blessing is not just the praise of the lips, it is also the praise of the heart in wishing well for someone. Those who knew Isaac knew that God would honor his prayer since it wasn’t just lip service. It was a heartfelt prayer for the wellbeing of Jacob.

Genesis 27:32-35

32 And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. 33 And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed. 34 And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. 35 And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.

Isaac was basically saying that he planned to praise Esau for the meal. But, Jacob got there first and fed him. So the praise went to Jacob. Poor Esau is simply caught in a fight for the praise and affections of his father.

“Bless me, even me also, O my father.” It’s like he is saying, “Can’t you speak well of me just as much as of Jacob?” But Isaac couldn’t. You may be wondering why.

Genesis 25:29-34

29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. 31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? 33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

Giving a Blessing to Someone - How Does the Bible Define Bless? (3)

The birthright of Esau was to inherit everything that his father owned. Before he could inherit it, though, it all belonged to Isaac. So Jacob asked Esau to SELL him his future inheritance. Who do you think is going to need to see the receipt?

Isaac knew his son Esau had rejected everything that Isaac was working to give him. The one thing that Isaac could praise Esau for was his cooking! That’s probably why he asked for Esau to give him the food in order for him to praise Esau before God.

Genesis 27:37

37 And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?

Isaac said he had made Jacob the lord of Esau, but not necessarily because of telling God what he wanted to happen. It was because Isaac had already given the birthright to Jacob since Esau had sold it. Still, Isaac could also have said this knowing that God would honor the request as well.

God’s Blessing and Prospering

In short, giving someone a blessing isn’t about the prayer or the prophecy. It’s about praising someone. You can praise someone in front of others, in private, or before God. But a blessing is not the giving of anything else. It can, however, be the REQUEST, or the heart’s wish, made to God on someone else’s behalf.

The wealth, health, and so on is simply the result of God giving a person these things because He loves them and wants to honor them. It can also be the result of God honoring the request of the person who blesses the other. This is why we sometimes confuse the blessing of God with prospering. It is because they often go together.

However, God will also speak well of someone and yet allow them to go through TEMPORARY suffering. We see this in the book of Job. So despite the nice saying “I’m too blessed to be stressed.” God can bless you and stress you at the same time!

Don’t confuse prosperity with blessing. While someone may be blessed by God it doesn’t mean they will be currently prospering. It simply means God speaks well of them. Their prosperity may be yet to come (anyone singing “I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop?”)

In the end, God WANTS to bless everyone. But, only those following Jesus are “blessworthy.” God will allow the wicked to prosper while not blessing them. The blessing is always better than the prospering!

On the flip side of a blessing is something called a curse. We will deal with that in our next unit.

Continue To Unit 5:4 – What Is a Curse OR

Return To Christianity 101 Unit 5 – The Laying on of Hands

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What does it mean to give a blessing in the Bible? ›

Blessings in the Bible suggest an intimate relationship between the blesser and the blessed. A blessing from God marks an intimate relationship between God and man, serving as proof that he finds himself in God's favor.

What does it mean to bless someone? ›

verb. /blɛs/ 1bless somebody/something to ask God to protect someone or something They brought the children to Jesus and he blessed them.

How do you bless someone in the Bible? ›

Here is my list........
  1. Pray for them.
  2. Text them a verse that gives hope.
  3. Spend time with them just hearing their heart.
  4. Make a meal for them and deliver it to their home.
  5. Send a Bible tract in the mail.
  6. Offer to watch their kids so they can have a date night with their spouse.
  7. Offer to pick up groceries for them.
Jan 15, 2020

What is the full meaning of bless? ›

bless. / (blɛs) / verb blesses, blessing, blessed or blest (tr) to consecrate or render holy, beneficial, or prosperous by means of a religious rite. to give honour or glory to (a person or thing) as divine or holy.

Why giving is a blessing? ›


He tells Abram, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2). God doesn't often drop His providence out of the sky. He blesses us so that we will be able to bless others.

Does God bless us when giving? ›

2. When we give, we will bless others. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. Giving toward what is important to God will always bless other people because people are what is important to him.

What does it mean to God bless someone? ›

used for praying that God will protect someone and treat them well.

What does Bless you mean in Christianity? ›

It always involves God, because when you will the good of another person, you realize only God is capable of bringing that. So we naturally say, "God bless you." You can bless someone when you will their good under the invocation of God. You invoke God on their behalf to support the good that you will for them.

What is the real definition of blessed? ›

divinely or supremely favored; fortunate. to be blessed with a strong, healthy body. blessed with an ability to find friends.

Where in the Bible does it say blessing to be a blessing? ›

Here's how it continues: “I will bless you,” God says to Abraham, “and you will be a blessing. . . . and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3).

How can we a blessing to others? ›

Ways to Be a Blessing
  1. Pray for Others. Praying is the most important thing we can do. ...
  2. Meet a Need. We have so many needs. ...
  3. Be an Encouragement. Encouragement is such a comforting word. ...
  4. Be Thoughtful. I love the idea of knowing people are thinking of me. ...
  5. Speak Kind Words. ...
  6. Give Your Time. ...
  7. Bless Someone on a Tight Budget.

What Scripture says God blesses us to bless others? ›

Proverbs 11:25 MSG

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.

What is the Hebrew meaning of blessed? ›

Jewish thinkers explain that to bless means to increase (in joy, in peacefulness). Often in the Bible and in most Jewish traditions, as mentioned above, prayers begin with blessing God.

What is bless or blessing? ›

When God blesses someone, he makes things go well for him or her. A blessing is a gift from God. When people bless, they ask God to bring good to someone.

What does blessed to be a blessing mean? ›

Most Christians are familiar with the term “blessed to be a blessing.” It refers to the fact that God has blessed us, and He desires for us to bless others as well.

Is a blessing a gift from God? ›

Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (Matthew 20:15). God's blessings are not wages earned for our works, they are gifts.

What kind of giving is blessed by God? ›

So, you can think of the tithe as a way of giving back in gratitude for what we received. Tithing was mentioned in the Bible a couple of times. But the first act of tithing was done by Abraham. He just came from battle and was met by the Priest/King Melchizedek who attributed his victory to God and blessed him for it.

Which verse says blessed is the hand that giveth? ›

Acts 20:35 “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work, we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Why does God want us to be blessed? ›

We are blessed because we are redeemed and forgiven, receiving the riches of his grace as he has made known to us the mystery of his will, the gospel. The greatest blessing God can bestow on us is helping us to see our need for Christ, then growing in us an increasing spiritual understanding of the gospel.

Why is it important to share your blessings with others? ›

Giving increases your personal outlook ⁠— Sharing your blessings with others increases your sense of self-worth and creates a positive impact on your life. Not that the sole reason of giving to others should be self-focused, but it is nice that it feels good to share.

Why do we say God bless you when not blessed? ›

Not "God blesses you" ? It's an instance of a third-person imperative (these are rare in English). The meaning is, "May God bless you." You are expressing a wish that God will bless the person. (You are not making a claim that God already does bless them, which would be the meaning if you said, "God blesses you.")

What are the 7 blessings from God? ›

In this book Munsey explains how, not only the Israelites, but believers today—nearly 3,500 years after the day of fasting, prayer, and offering began—can claim the seven specific, supernatural atonement blessings that are promised in Joel 2: • A Double Portion • Financial Abundance • Restoration • Miracles • God's ...

What is an example of a blessing? ›

Blessing for a birthday

May he/she be blessed with blessed with peace & joy. May he/she continue to grow in your love. We make this prayer through Jesus, our loving friend.

How to get blessings from God Bible verses? ›

Let the word of God bless your life with the Lord's goodness.
  1. Malachi 3:10 KJV. ...
  2. Philippians 4:19 KJV. ...
  3. Philippians 2:13 KJV. ...
  4. Ephesians 3:20 KJV. ...
  5. Proverbs 16:7 KJV. ...
  6. John 1:16 KJV. ...
  7. 3 John 1:2 KJV. ...
  8. Ephesians 1:3 KJV.

Who are the blessed person in the Bible? ›

From a Biblical point of view, a blessed person is first and foremost a man or woman who is in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and who no longer submits to the world but now submits to the word.

What is the Webster definition of blessed? ›

BLESS'ED, adjective Happy; prosperous in worldly affairs; enjoying spiritual happiness and the favor of God; enjoying heavenly felicity.

Is a blessing a prayer? ›

A blessing is a prayer asking for divine protection, or a little gift from the heavens. It's also any act of approving, like when your roommate wants to move out and you give her your blessings. Blessings have to do with approval. The first meaning is asking for divine protection or favor.

What does the Bible say about spiritual blessings? ›

God makes His spiritual blessings available to all (Titus 2:11), but just as is true of one who refuses to eat food, one may refuse to receive the benefits of God's spiritual blessings. The Bible teaches that all spiritual blessings are available only “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

What does the Bible say about overflowing blessings? ›

But, He grants us great and mighty things because our Lord is mighty to give exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). The Lord will make each one of us overflow with blessing in such a way that there will not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).

How are we blessed to be a blessing? ›

“Blessed to be a blessing.” This comes from Genesis 12 when God tells Abraham that he will be blessed so that he can be a blessing to all. This is the beginning of a bigger blessing that will be to all humanity. We can see the full expression of this blessing in the person of Jesus Christ.

What does the Bible say about blessing others KJV? ›

Proverbs 11:25-31 In-Context

25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. 26 Curses on those who drive a hard bargain! Blessings on all who play fair and square! 27 The one who seeks good finds delight; the student of evil becomes evil.

What does the Bible say about giving and receiving blessings? ›

The Bible states that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) and that Jesus taught it is better to give then receive (Acts 20:35).

Does the Bible tell us to bless others? ›

Live To Bless Others. Live To Be A Blessing To Others Around You. Proverbs 11:25, TPT Those who live to bless others will have blessings heaped upon them, and the one who pours out his life to pour out blessings will be saturated with favor. Do Not Repay Evil For Evil.

What does blessed mean Psalm 1? ›

The word translated blessed is plural in the original Hebrew. That is, it means perpetual blessings. It can be read blessednesses or happinesses. So how can I be happy, truly happy? Psalm 1 is called a wisdom psalm because we learn that happiness results from our choice to follow God's direction of life.

What is a true blessing? ›

True blessedness is yielding to God–he who knows the beginning from the end–and true blessedness is found in faithfulness that is willing even to die if it means following God. Jesus alone deserved the crown of life given to those that remained steadfast under trial.

What Scripture says blessing others? ›

Proverbs 11:25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. The Message (MSG) | Download The Bible App Now.

What words describe blessing? ›

synonyms for blessing
  • dedication.
  • grace.
  • absolution.
  • benediction.
  • benison.
  • commendation.
  • consecration.
  • invocation.

What are the 2 things blessings that you are most thankful to God for? ›

I am thankful for God's grace and mercy, His love and salvation in this world. I am thankful for my family's, friends' and acquaintances' salvation. I am thankful mostly for my health. It has helped me to identify the love that I share with so many people.

What Psalm scripture says blessings? ›

Psalm 134:3 Finds Joy in God's Blessings

“May the Lord bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth!” So when you say, “May the Lord bless you,” you're praying for that, over others, that God would lead, guide, direct, bless, save, deliver, help, protect, provide, all of these different things.

What is the Bible psalm for blessings? ›

Psalm 128:2b: “You shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you”. Pretty simple. Hard to misunderstand. There it is in Holy Scripture: blessings and prosperity will be yours.

What is blessing of spiritual gifts? ›

Overview. Spiritual gifts are blessings or abilities given by God to His children through the power of the Holy Ghost. Gifts of the Spirit are given to bless and benefit those who love the Lord and seek to keep His commandments. (See Doctrine and Covenants 46:9.)

What happens at a blessing? ›

What does a blessing involve? A blessing usually involves a reading, a hymn or song and a prayer. You could include traditional wedding music, or something that has special meaning for the two of you ‐‐ there's lots of scope for making the ceremony your own.

How do you express God's blessings? ›

Senior Living News
  1. REMEMBER HIM. There's no greater sign of appreciation than to be remembered in any and everything you do. ...
  2. SERVE OTHERS. One of the most profound ways to express your gratitude to God is by serving others in His name. ...
  5. PRAY.
Nov 14, 2019

What are the 7 blessings of the Holy Spirit? ›

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are an enumeration of seven spiritual gifts first found in the book of Isaiah, and much commented upon by patristic authors. They are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.


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