As a born-again Christian raised in a family of pastors, obedience has always been instilled in me from a young age. Apart from obeying my parents, obedience to God was important. Even as I continue to follow God’s word, I can’t help but wonder what the Bible says about obedience. I suggested that we look into it in our weekly Bible study. We began our session with the question, “How many times is obedience mentioned in the Bible?”
Obedience is mentioned around 38 times in the Bible. Obey is mentioned around 206 times but could be more, including ‘keep my commandments,’ which also means obedience. It is mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:6, where the Israelites are reminded to walk in obedience to God and observe His commands. According to Romans 6:16, sin leads to death, but obedience leads to righteousness.
In this article, I invite you to join me as I delve into the Biblical meaning of obedience. You will also discover Bible verses about obedience and why obedience to God is essential, so keep reading.
What does the Bible say about obedience?
According to the Bible, obedience is unconditional and wholehearted. The greatest form of obedience is love for God and neighbors. God rewards obedience, and disobedience has consequences.
In Mathew 23:23-28, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and called them hypocrites for being externally obedient to God but neglecting justice, mercy, and faithfulness. This implies that obedience to God has to be wholehearted.
The Bible explains that the greatest form of obedience is love for God and our neighbors. According to Mathew 22:36-40, Jesus says that the greatest commandment is loving God with all our hearts and minds. The second is loving our neighbors.
The Bible mentions that God rewards obedience. In Daniel 3:28, God protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the blazing furnace because they obeyed Him and refused to worship other gods. In Genesis 12:1-5, Abraham obeyed God and left everything behind to go to an unknown land. Later on in Genesis 22:1- 18, he obeyed God and was ready to sacrifice his only son Isaac. God promised to multiply his offspring.
The Bible also explains the consequences of disobedience. According to Genesis 3:1-24, Adam and Eve disobeyed God when they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. God banished them from the Garden of Eden and sent them out to toil the ground.
Examples of obedience in the Bible
- In Deuteronomy 5:33, Moses told the Israelites to walk in obedience to God’s commands so that they live and prosper.
- In Joshua 22:5, Joshua summoned the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh and instructed them to be very careful to obey the commandments of God and serve Him with all their heart and soul.
- In 1 Kings 2:1-3, David was dying when he told his son Solomon to walk in obedience to God and keep His commands and laws. If he did so, Solomon would prosper in all he did.
- According to 2 Kings 21:22, Amon, the son of Manasseh, followed in his father’s footsteps and worshipped idols. He did not obey God and was later assassinated.
- According to 1 Samuel 15:22-23, Samuel told Saul that obedience to God was better than sacrifice.
- According to 1 Chronicles 21:19, David obeyed God’s order through Gad to build an altar to God on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
- Psalm 128:1 says that blessed are those who fear God and walk in obedience to Him.
- According to Jeremiah 7:23, God sent Jeremiah to the people of Judah to remind them that His command to their ancestors was to obey Him. If they walked in obedience, it would go well with them.
- In Luke 23:56, the women who came with Jesus from Galilee went home after seeing Jesus’ tomb and rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
- In Romans 5:19, Paul referenced the disobedience of Adam. He says that through the obedience of one man, many can be made righteous.
- According to Hebrews 5:8-9, Jesus learned obedience to God through His suffering, and once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation.
Types of Obedience in the Bible
There is active and passive obedience that is implied in the Bible.
Active obedience is doing what God commands wholeheartedly. It involves performing good deeds and avoiding evil. God wanted active obedience from the Israelites. According to Deuteronomy 28:1-14, God wanted the Israelites to follow His commandments. He promised them prominence over other nations, protection against enemies, and prosperity. In John 8:29, Jesus says that He always does the things that are pleasing to God.
Passive obedience is total submission to God, even if it causes suffering. It implies non-resistance. It is evidenced by Jesus when He gave Himself up to suffer for the world’s sins. In Luke 22:42, Jesus asks God to remove the cup of suffering from Him if He is willing. Either way, it was God’s will, not His own. This demonstrates passive obedience from Jesus. In Isaiah 53:7-10, Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be oppressed, but He would not resist like a lamb led to the slaughter.
Why is obedience to God important?
Obedience to God is important because it shows love for God, faithfulness to Him, glorifies Him, and allows Him to bless us.
According to 1 John 5:2-3, the love of God is keeping His commandments. In John 14:15, Jesus says that if anyone loves Him, they will keep His commandment. This shows that obeying God shows Him that we love Him.
In 1 John 2:3-6, John says that anyone who says they know God but don’t keep His commandments is a liar. Whoever says that they abide in Him must walk in the same way He did. This suggests faithfulness to God. The assurance that we know God establishes and strengthens our relationship with Him.
According to 1 Peter 2:12, the Gentiles would glorify God when they saw the good deeds of those who keep God’s commandments. In Mathew 5:16, Jesus told His followers that their good works would give glory to God when others see. This shows that obeying God brings glory to Him when others witness it.
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.