How Many Times Is Kindness Mentioned In The Bible

The Bible is widely known for its numerous messages about kindness. But exactly how many times is kindness mentioned in the Bible?

Well, according to the classic survey conducted by religious scholar and author Alister McGrath the answer is approximately 345 times. This number, however, doesn’t take into account many of the less literal interpretations of kindness that can be found throughout the Bible.

One of the most basic definitions of kindness is “an act of compassionate consideration or generosity.” When this definition is applied to the Bible, it becomes obvious that there are many more references to kindness present than simply the 345 times that it is explicitly mentioned. For example, one of the Ten Commandments is “love your neighbor as yourself” while Jesus is quoted as speaking the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is a classic illustration of kindness. These are just two examples of kindness that are implied in the Bible, not explicitly stated.

Scholars from around the world agree that kindness is discussed in the Bible far more than mere numbers might reflect. According to Dutch theologian Jelle Faber, “Every conversation about justice must also involve kindness as its cornerstone. This holds true in the Bible, in which kindness occupies an important position unlike just about any other ancient religious scripture.”

This idea of kindness being central to Biblical morality is also echoed in British theologian Craig L. Blomberg’s lecture, “The Ethical Role of Kindness in the Bible”. In his lecture widely recognized throughout the academic world, Blomberg states that “kindness takes on special significance as a theological concept within the Bible, often going beyond literal kindness, but instead connecting to issues such as justice, mercy and a proper regard for fellow human beings.”

It becomes increasingly clear that kindness is intricately woven into the central fabric of the Bible in both literal and ethical terms. The 345 times that it is directly mentioned serves as a mere jumping off point in our discussion of this fundamentally important central theme.

Kindness in the Old Testament

The Old Testament contains many passages that emphasize the importance of kindness. For instance, Proverbs 12: 10 states that “The righteous man cares for the needs of his animals”, underscoring the importance of kindness even towards animals. Meanwhile the book of Ruth mentions that God “will repay you for what you have done” in reference to Ruth’s kindness towards Boaz. This passage implies that kindness can be rewarded by God, encouraging people to demonstrate kindness for its own sake.

Psalm 112:5 suggests that “Good will come to him who is generous and lends generously”. Similarly, Proverbs 19: 17 states that “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.” The numerous passages that specifically encourage kindness in the Old Testament shows it’s prominent position in Biblical teachings.

The Old Testament also puts forward images of people who demonstrate selfless acts of kindness. For instance, Esther’s decision to risk her own life to save her people is a poignant example of kindness. Her commitment to act on behalf of others’ wellbeing, despite potential risks to herself, displays a powerful example of kindness which resonates across multiple religions.

Kindness in the New Testament

The New Testament also presents many examples of kindness in action. Jesus’s symbolic act of washing the feet of his disciples, as well as his teaching to “love your neighbor as yourself” are amongst the most famous. Matthew 5:7 states that “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy” further presenting mercy as a form of kindness.

The book of James suggests that kindness is a fundamental pillar of religion, stating that “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” This implies that God accepts kindness as a more important requirement than prayer. The presence of such passages in the New Testament makes kindness an incredibly important theme of the Bible.

In addition to examples that favor kindness, the New Testament also warns about the potential dangers of mistreating others. Mark 11:25 states that “whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have aught against any”, illustrating that kindness can be essential even in prayer. It is clear that the New Testament contains many examples of kindness towards others, as well as cautionary tales.

Kindness in the Psalms

As well as the Old and New Testaments, the book of Psalms offers numerous references to the power of kindness. For instance, Psalm 34:14 states that “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it”, showcasing that true peace can only be achieved through kindness and compassion. Similarly, Psalm 37:21 proclaims “The wicked lend and do not repay […]. But those who are kind will stand firm forever”, echoing the importance of kindness as an eternal value.

The surviving versions of Psalms, which date back to the second century BC, also highlight it’s lasting legacy within the Bible. It is clear that the Psalms were written with kindness as an integral part of the message and that this aspect has endured for thousands of years.

Interpretations of Kindness in the Bible

The vast number of Bible verses that refer to kindness has allowed different interpretations of what it means to be kind in the eyes of the Lord. Christian theologian Thomas Howard suggests that “kindness is not merely the nice way of bowing out of any particular situation, but that it is rather an action that is born from the heart”, implying that kindness must come from behind a genuine commitment to making a difference.

Raquel St. Clair, a Jewish author, claims that “kindness is a major teaching in Judaism, central to the Jewish faith” saying that “The ‘mitzvah’ or ‘commandment’ of loving kindness has been interpreted widely, as it encompasses both acts of kindness and attitudes of kindness.” She goes on to suggest that “kindness is a key factor in practicing authentic Judaism.”

It appears that there is a shared understanding of the importance of kindness and that this understanding transcends the various denominations and interpretations of religion.

Religious Examples of Kindness

Religious figures have been central to the theme of kindness throughout history. The Hindu deity, Rama, is renowned for his overwhelming acts of kindness, with his example often cited by modern religious figures. Similarly, the central figure in Jainism, Mahavira, is known for his immense compassion and kindness towards all living creatures.

The Sikh religion also closely connects kindness to its central values. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, is renowned for his kindness, exemplified in the phrase “Akh kaar”, which literally translates as “do good”. This phrase captures the idea of benevolence towards others being a key feature of Sikhism.

The Christan faith also celebrates multiple figures renowned for their kindness. The Virgin Mary is a prime example, according to Thomas Aquinas, who wrote that Mary “showed the utmost kindness towards all’, citing her visits to people in need and her commitment to charity.

It is clear that numerous major religions closely associate figures renowned for their kindness with their central message, reinforcing the value of kindness in each of these faiths.


The concept of kindness is a central theme within the Bible, with many passages directly talking about kindness and its importance. There are also a plethora of references to kindness throughout its stories, which demonstrate the power of kindness to improve the welfare of others. This message is also echoed amongst various other faiths, which see kindness as an essential part of their religion.

It is clear that the theme of kindness is prevalent throughout the Bible and has remained relevant throughout history. Whether we take the time to count its mentions or not, kindness is an integral part of the Bible’s teachings.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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