What Does the Bible Say About Birthdays?

What does the Bible say about birthdays? Let’s explore whether or not birthdays should be celebrated.

Celebrating birthdays has been a part of human society for countless generations. The Bible does not say whether or not birthdays should be celebrated, but it also gives us some ideas about how and with what kind of attitude to celebrate them. In this article, we answer questions about birthdays and delve deeper into their biblical significance.

What does the Bible say about birthdays?

Birthdays in the Bible

There are two (2) instances where the Bible mentions birthdays. The first was in Genesis 40:20, and the second was in Matthew 14:6.

In the past, the Egyptian pharaohs’ birthdays were a cause for national jubilation. They were revered as sacred. Everyone celebrated appropriately, and no one bothered them with any formalities. Every Egyptian celebrated birthdays with great jubilation. They would invite friends with all the social pleasures and an abundance of table delicacies beyond what is customary, paying close attention to the exact hour of his birth. 

In Genesis 40:20, after Joseph had deciphered the dreams of the Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker for three days, the Pharaoh’s birthday came. On that particular day, the Pharaoh celebrated for all his servants, and the cupbearer and baker were set free.

In the past, Jews did not observe the birthdays of their princes because they considered them feasts of idolaters. However, Gentiles, including the Egyptians, Persians, and Romans, celebrated birthdays. Matthew 14:6 speaks of the time during Augustus’s reign when Herod oversaw the Jewish population of Syria. As a result, the Herodians observed Herod’s birthday and the Sabbath, lighting candles in the windows and surrounding them with violets. 

At Herod’s birthday feast, Herodias’s daughter danced for the revelers. Herod was pleased and assured her that she could have everything she wanted. Following her mother’s prompting, she asked for the head of John the Baptist, which resulted in John’s death.

These incidents demonstrate the significance of commemorating special occasions, which show that birthdays were observed in biblical times.

Is it okay for Christians to celebrate birthdays according to the Bible?

Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that Christians are obligated or even encouraged to celebrate birthdays. A Christian’s birthday celebration is irrelevant from a scriptural perspective. Celebrating birthdays is utilized as a historical marker. Nonetheless, no matter how we feel about celebrations, we should not judge others who think differently. Furthermore, Christians who choose to celebrate a birthday should make sure it is in a way that respects God.  Birthday parties are a great opportunity to reflect on how valuable our life is that God has given us.

Lessons to learn about birthdays according to the Bible

Your days are numbered

No matter the exact number of days we have on this planet, it signifies a quantifiable number, a level that will eventually be reached.  There is an infinite amount that, no matter how much time passes, is represented by eternity. We keep eternity in mind by abiding by the Lord and loving Him completely. We make the most of each passing day on earth because we know that through Jesus, we have eternal life.

Your life belongs to the Lord and is a blessing.

As we put our faith in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the Cross, it serves as a beautiful reminder of God’s unending love for us. Throughout our lives, God bestows His favor and acceptance on us. Through the light of His love, He calms our hearts and guides our path. Our birthdays remind us of our duty to honor the numerous blessings we have received from God.

You are beautifully made and loved.

God created every one of us with hands so beautiful and wonderful. Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on our behalf is, without a doubt, the best gift we could ever receive. Jesus Christ gave His sinless life so we would have everlasting life in His Kingdom and fellowship with God through our faith in Him. 

This sacrifice nourishes the unwavering truth that God loves us so profoundly that He sent His only son to earth as a perfect sacrifice to save us. As far as God’s birthday present for us goes, that is an absolutely unparalleled declaration of His love for us.

Enjoy life to the fullest in Christ.

Although we eagerly anticipate significant milestones like taking our first steps, graduating from school, or marrying our God’s best one, the majority of our lives are spent in the spaces between these moments. If we are perpetually focused on earthly ambitions and goals, we will fail to appreciate the journey along the way. 

Such a journey is filled with ordinary and often dull moments that offer the chance to witness and enjoy God’s covenant love. Finding happiness and fulfillment in God’s steadfast, covenant love makes us not seek it out in anything less. We are able to appreciate the little things in life for what they indeed are—blessings from God’s abundant grace. We must allow them to serve as a reminder of the infinite love that truly fulfills.

God has a beautiful plan for your life.

He created us all with a faithful calling. God meticulously planned every part of our identity and the trajectory of our futures. He brought us to life as if He were a master weaver. He knew us intimately while we were still in our mothers’ wombs.

Our lives are not a happenstance. Despite how much the world and our critical thoughts attempt to tell us differently, God created us all in His image and with unique abilities. No matter what anybody else thinks, being born into this world was part of God’s plan. God rejoiced upon each of our births, and the entire heavens sang a hymn of praise. Therefore, our days are under His sovereignty, and He has a beautiful plan and dreams for our lives.

Meaningful and inspiring Bible verses to celebrate birthdays

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

For by me, your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life. Proverbs 9:11

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book are written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

Birthday prayers for friends and families

Birthday Prayer for a Friend

Most Loving Father, I come before You with a grateful heart to pray for my friend’s birthday. Thank You for affording them another year to bask in the wonder of the life You give. Bless their family, career, and other pursuits. Shower them with Your abundant love and peace that overcomes every struggle and sorrow. May they experience Your love in new and beautiful ways. Cover them with Your mighty mantle of protection. Let Your light guide them every day of their life. May they have a deeper relationship with You. I pray all these in the beautiful name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Birthday Prayer for Family

Gracious and Mighty Father, I pray for my family on this special day. As they celebrate their birthday, I pray for Your grace to abound in their life. May their peace and joy be complete in You. May You delight in them as they continue to serve and obey You. I pray that You heal the wounds of their heart and body. Provide them the wisdom and discernment to tread this world entirely dependent on You. Provide and sustain them in ways only You can. Thank You, Lord, for their life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Final Thoughts

Many people worldwide celebrate birthdays. As followers of Christ, we look to the Bible to learn more about these seemingly mundane celebrations. What does the Bible say about birthdays?

Birthdays are a time to celebrate the life the Lord has granted us. It is a time for happiness and gratitude for the faithfulness of the Lord. It is also a celebration, not just of earthly years, but of the gift of salvation and eternal life that we receive through Jesus Christ. Here’s to celebrating birthdays with the Lord in our hearts and minds!

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Alex Shute
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.

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