How Many Times Is The Word Remember In The Bible

The word ‘remember’ can be found throughout the Bible, so much so that it might seem like an insignificant, or even excessive, word. To understand its importance, the prevalence of the word in scripture needs to be contextualized.

As it is written in Psalm 103:2 “Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits”. The word ‘remember’ is an indication to slow down, to not forget what God has done, and to pay attention to the blessings in your life.

John Ruiz, a professor of spiritual life at Andrews University in Michigan, notes that ‘remembering’ is a tool for focus, and then for celebration. He explains, “God is trying to get us to focus on him, on the blessing that he has for us. And it’s in that moment that we can truly celebrate what God has done”.

The word remember is used in the Bible across multiple genres and contexts. In the Old Testament,remember appears 216 times, and in the New testament 32 times. In Esther, it is present ten times, more than in any other book of the Bible. This is important, considering that in Esther no one spoke directly to God.

Along similar thematic lines, scholar Rosemary Hallerman has found that ‘remember’ has particular significance in the resurrection story. She notes, “there’s the use in the New Testament, particularly in the Gospels, that connects remembering with the new life that Jesus has brought us.”

Moreover, the root meaning of ‘remember’ appears to be linked to covenantary language. As many scholars point out, the Hebrew for ‘remember’ has as its root meaning ‘to bind’ or ‘to keep a covenant’.

In the story of Noah and the Flood, for instance, the word ‘remember’ appears just twice, yet it is critically important to the narrative. As theologian Michael Goheen has written, when God remembers Noah, it is an indication of the abiding covenant- love relationship between them. Remember is thus tied to God’s enduring love for humanity.

Similarly, the New Testament suggests that ‘remember’ can refer to the remembrance of Jesus’ death and of his promises in the hour of temptation. Matthew 26:45-46 states “Then he came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Sleep and take your rest later on. Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” Here Jesus was commanding the disciples to remember his commands in the face of trial and temptation.

Relationship Between Remember and Hope

In Jeremiah 31:3, the Lord states, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” This isn’t a static love,but a true relationship. In essence, the word remember gives hope, as it reminds us of the Lord’s love, even when the situation might appear hopeless.

Chaplain Brendan Scharf has written about this. He explains that “to remember the Lord’s steadfast love gives us the assurance that he is still with us in the moment, bringing hope and refreshment in even the darkest of times.”

In his book Seeking the Face of God, Dr. R. Scott Smith further explores this concept. He notes that prayer is essentially a conversation, “which begins with the Lord speaking and calling us, and promising to keep his covenant, and it’s concluded when we remember God’s past faithfulness to us.”

The repetition of the command to remember throughout the Bible is a call to a deeper relationship, to focus on and celebrate the Lord’s blessings.

Remember and the Psalms

It is no surprise, then, that the Psalms often use the word remember to describe the Lord’s love for his people. The Psalms provide an intimate, emotional path for people to explore God’s love, calling us to actively take part in that love.

For example, Psalm 78:42 says, “They did not remember his mighty power, with which he had worked his acts.” Here the refrain is an invitation to pause and to recall the evidence of God’s power.

Likewise, Psalm 103:2 states “Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits”. In this psalm, to remember is to give thanks. As theologian Sam Storms explains, when remembering the Lord’s acts, we’re entering into that cycle of thanksgiving for the faithfulness of God in our lives.

The same enthusiasm for remembering is echoed in Psalm 105: 5. “Remember his wonders which he has done, his miracles, and the judgments of his mouth.”The need to remember here is linked to unlocking our own faith and relationship with God.

Remember and Wisdom Literature

The wisdom literature is another genre in which the understanding of and emphasis upon ‘remembering’ is clear. Proverbs 3:3 states, “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.” In this case, remembering is a major part of our obedience to God.

N T Wright, a Bible scholar and theologian, emphasizes that remembering is vital if we are to live a life of obedience. He explains, “We must remember to meditate on these things or we shall become careless, and then we shall fail to live up to the demands of the covenant and of wisdom.”

Likewise, in Proverbs 10:7, the word ‘remember’ is used as an encouragement. Here the emphasis is on being attentive to God’s instruction, for “the memory of the just is blessed”. Also, Proverbs 17:22 states “a merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones.” The call to remember still stands, even in cases of suffering, as a reminder of God’s goodness and mercy.

Remember and Jesus’ Teachings

It is clear that Jesus also understood the importance of remembering. In his teachings, he often gives admonition to his disciples to remember the teachings of scripture. Matthew 16:9-10 states “Do you not yet perceive, nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Do you have eyes and fail to see, and ears and fail to hear?” Here Jesus is calling on his disciples to remember the teachings of scripture and to apply it to their lives. Special emphasis is placed on paying attention to the details, which illustrates the importance of actually remembering God’s words.

In another instance, when Jesus gives the Parable of the Sower, his admonition to remember is even more direct. He states, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”. The message here is not to forget, but to internalize and to act on God’s message. As John Hesselfelt states in his book Remembering Jesus, this call to remember is a way to ensure that God’s commands can be followed throughout one’s lifetime.


No matter what the context or situation, the word remember is closely connected to the power and potential of relationship with God. It is an invitation from God to pause and to contemplate on His utter faithfulness and love,to celebrate the blessings we have received. Therefore, remembering is not about forgetting, but about being reminded of His blessings and clinging on to His promises.

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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