Being a long-time Christian and theologian, I have come to understand in-depth that mercy is at the core of our salvation. I first gained interest in exploring the term mercy when I was in theology school. This is after my in-depth study of Titus 3:5, where the scripture notes that we are saved by His mercy and not by our deeds. I approached a local priest to elaborate more on mercy and everything the Bible says about it. Since then, I have been researching and reading a lot about the word mercy. Last week, one member of my online Christian forum questioned how many times mercy is mentioned in the Bible. Having researched and read about this term a lot, I was able to give an approximation of the times mercy appears in the Bible and also extensively explain about it. So, how many times is mercy mentioned in the Bible?
The number of times mercy is used in the Bible depends on the different Bible translations. Depending on which translation you are reading, you will meet this word almost 130- 280 times. For example, in the King James Bible, this word is used around 276 times, and 267 in the NIV.
So, join me as I extensively discuss mercy. I will talk about the examples of mercy in the Bible, the different types of mercy in the scripture, and give you some Bible verses about God’s mercy. Keep reading to learn about this and more.
What is the Biblical definition of mercy?
Mercy, as seen throughout the Bible, is an act of compassion, pity, and mercy towards both the deserving and the undeserving. Several theologians have also defined the term “mercy” in clear terms. Theologian Millard Erickson defined mercy as God’s tenderhearted and loving compassion toward humanity.
Though some people use grace and mercy interchangeably, it is not the same thing. Mercy dwells in removing condemnation, while grace is an undeserving gift. Therefore, mercy is a gift offered to someone who desperately needs it but deserves condemnation. Mercy can only be offered by one who is in a powerful position and has the same capacity to dish punishment, which is only God.
How many times is mercy used in the Old Testament?
As mentioned above, the number of times mercy is mentioned in the Old Testament varies depending on the different Bible translations and the forms of this word used. However, in the Old Testament (King James translation), the word mercy appears around 149 times. Most of the Bible verses that talk about mercy in the Old Testament are found in the Book of Psalms. Psalms 145:8 notes that God is merciful and gracious, great in kindness and love, and slow to anger. Psalms 86:15 notes that God is full of compassion and abundant in mercy.
How many types of mercy are there in the Bible?
There are several types of mercy portrayed in the Bible. Some of the common ones include;
We can see compassionate mercy in the Bible in different ways. In the Old Testament, we can see a God who is full of compassion and mercy, making covenants with the Israelites (Psalms 86:15). In the New Testament, he shows us His mercy and compassion through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
Divine mercy can be seen in the Bible through God’s power. We cannot fully comprehend this kind of mercy, but we can experience it through the infinite love and grace of God. We can see God’s divine mercy working in the story of the Good Samaritan, the story of Noah and the flood, and even in the prodigal’s son scenario.
This kind of mercy is seen in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, there were the laws of the Torah which were supposed to offer justice and mercy to the Israelites. In the New Testament, the scripture in the book of James 2:13 teaches that one without mercy shall be judged without any mercy.
What are some examples of mercy in the Bible?
The story of Adam and Eve
The first encounter of mercy in the Bible is in the story of Adam and Eve. When they sinned against God, He was merciful enough to cover their nakedness and shame with animal skin. This is seen in the book of Genesis 3:21.
The story of Jonah and Nineveh
Mercy in the Bible is expressed in different forms. God’s mercy to humanity is among the main types of mercy seen in the Bible. We can see God’s mercy when dealing with the people of Nineveh. According to Jonah 4:11, these people had sinned against God and could not even differentiate between wrong and right. And even though they did nothing worthy of God’s mercy and forgiveness, God sent Jonah to go help them turn away from their sinful nature. According to Jonah 3:1-4, God gave a message to Jonah that he was meant to deliver to the people of Nineveh. This shows us that God’s mercy can be given to all, regardless of our sinful nature.
The story of King David
Another example of mercy in the Bible can clearly be seen through David. David, though described as a man after God’s own heart, also sinned against God. He committed adultery by sleeping with Uriah’s wife. David went before the Lord and cried for his mercy day in and day out. In Psalms 51:1-2, the King asks God to have mercy on him, to wash away his iniquity and sins, according to His great compassion. David went before God with a contrite heart and spirit, and God, according to his richness in mercy, forgave him.
The greatest and extraordinary example of mercy in the Bible is portrayed by Christ, the son of God. By just coming on earth to die for our sins, Christ became the epitome of mercy. Even when on the cross and he was being despised and beaten, Christ did not hold any grudge against those persecuting Him. But he asked God to forgive those persecuting him, as they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).
The story of the prodigal son
Another example of mercy in the Bible is seen in the story of the prodigal son. This son took all his inheritance, went and squandered it, and came back to his Father. He begged his Father for forgiveness and wanted to be taken back as a servant, for he saw he was not worthy of being called his son, as recorded in Luke 15:21. But the Father, who was full of mercy, did not only take him back as his son but also threw a grand welcome party for him.
Bible verses about mercy
There are several verses in the Bible that talk about mercy. A few of them include;
Hebrews 4:16 notes that we should draw close to the throne of grace to receive mercy and get the grace to help when the need arises.
James 2:13 is clear that mercy wins over judgment. This verse notes that unmerciful judgment is given to those who did not show any mercy.
Luke 6:36 urges us to be merciful like our Father is.
Luke 1:50 says that God’s mercy is for those who have the fear of the Lord, from generation to generation.
Mathew 5:7, Jesus teaches about the beatitudes and notes that blessed are those who show mercy because they shall receive mercy.
Examples of God’s Mercy in the Bible
Deuteronomy 7:9 says that God is a faithful God, keeps covenant, and is merciful to those who love him and follow his commandments.
Isaiah 30:18 notes that the Lord is a justice God, and he awaits to show mercy and be gracious to those who wait for Him.
Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us that God’s steadfast love never comes to an end, and his mercies never cease; they are renewed each morning.
Titus 3:5 notes that God saved us, not through our doing, but because of his own mercy.
Ephesians 2:4-5 emphasizes God’s merciful character by noting He is rich in mercy. Out of His great love, he was able to love us even when we were dead in our sins and made us alive together with his son, Jesus Christ.
James 3:17 notes that the wisdom from above (God) is full of mercy, peaceable, pure, gently, and with no trace of hypocrisy.
In Romans 9:15-18, God declares He will have mercy on whom he chooses and will show compassion to those he wants to show compassion to.
Daniel 9:9 says that God has mercy and compassion, for we have rebelled against Him.
Proverbs 3:3-4 notes that we should not let go of truth and mercy; we should always have them in our hearts and tie them around our necks.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.