What Does Godspeed Mean In The Bible

Godspeed in the Bible

Godspeed is a term that is used quite often in the Bible, but what does it really mean? A closer look into the Bible will reveal how the term is used and how it is understood.
The Meaning of Godspeed
Godspeed is derived from the Latin term “deo gratias,” which literally translates to “God be with you”. The more modern, English interpretation of this phrase is “Godspeed” and it is used as an expression of goodwill and good fortune for the person receiving it. In other words, it is a wish for the recipient to have success and progress in their endeavors.
The Bible is home to numerous references to Godspeed, and each one has a slightly different meaning or purpose. Some of the more common situations where the term is used are when saying goodbye, conveying comfort in the face of suffering, or extending support to someone going on a journey. No matter the specific circumstances or person, Godspeed in the Bible is generally associated with sending someone off with kindness, and a wish for their success.
Godspeed in the Old Testament
Godspeed is used throughout the Old Testament, with the most famous example in the book of Ruth. When Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, heard of her son’s death in a foreign land, she sent Ruth away with these words:
“Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord had brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?”
Then she kissed her and they wept together. When they had finished weeping, Ruth said to her, “Now light be with you, my daughter, may the Lord grant you that you find rest, for now it is more bitter for you than for me.” So Naomi returned and Ruth the Moabitess went back to her people and her gods.
Godspeed in the New Testament
Godspeed is also used in the New Testament, with references to it appearing in both the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of Luke. In Matthew, Jesus sends the seventy-two out to preach the gospel and reminds them to travel lightly –
“whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.”
In Luke, when Jesus sends out the seventy-two, he similarly urges them:
“Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.”
In conclusion, godspeed is a term found throughout the Bible, and its meaning is linked to sending someone off with kindness and a wish for their success. It is commonly used when saying goodbye, conveying comfort in the face of suffering, or extending support to someone going on a journey. Both the Old Testament and New Testament feature examples of godspeed and how it is used to support others in difficult times.

The Origin of Godspeed

Godspeed has its roots in the Latin term “deo gratias” also abbreviated “DG”, which literally translates to “God be with you” and is the original source of the phrase. The word was first found in the Vulgar Latin language and found its way into various English literature in the Middle Ages. It was likely introduced to English through the Christian Bible and initially used as a blessing or farewell to send someone off.
The Transition to Modern English
The word began to be used more widely and in more contexts in the 1600s, though the spelling had changed to something closer to the modern form. The word “godspeed” had shifted to mean something much more than ‘God be with you’ and had instead become a term to wish someone luck in their endeavors.
Godspeed in the Bible
As the phrase godspeed was used more widely, it was adopted by the Bible, with references to it appearing in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. These instances of the word often involve Jesus sending his Disciples out on missionary journeys, or giving comfort and support to those in need of consolation. Whenever godspeed appears in the Bible, it is used to send someone off with kindness and goodwill, wishing them success and progress in their endeavors.
Widespread Use
The term eventually moved beyond just being used in literary and religious contexts, and can now be found in everyday usage. It is used both casually among friends and family, as well as in more formal situations such as graduations and farewell parties. Through its long history, godspeed has come to serve as a powerful expression of support, advice, and good fortune.

Cultural Significance of Godspeed

Godspeed has become an established part of popular culture with it being used in songs, art, television, and film. In some cases, it is used as a powerful reminder to stay strong and have faith. In other cases, it can be used to remind someone of their loved ones and the support they have.
Reappearing in Music
In the realm of music, godspeed has been a common phrase used in several popular songs. Perhaps the most well-known example is the song by the band Low, simply titled “Godspeed”. The lyrics to the song refer to both the Biblical definition of the term as well as its more modern interpretation, in a song largely centred on a protagonist wishing his partner well on her journey away from him.
Showing Up in Media
Godspeed has also been used in television and film, particularly in science fiction and fantasy contexts. In the recent hit show, The Umbrella Academy, the character Five famously shouts “Godspeed, you magnificent bastards!” during his goodbye from his siblings.
Emphasis on Wishes for Success
Overall, godspeed has become a powerful expression of strength and encouragement for anyone about to undertake a difficult journey or task. It is a reminder to stay positive and optimistic, a wish for good fortune and success. It might not be the most common phrase in use today, but it has a great history and can still convey a lot of meaning when used.

Modern Adaptations of Godspeed

The phrase’s longevity throughout the years has led to different, modern adaptations of the term. Alternatives that are commonly used include “good luck” or “good luck on your journey”. This can be seen in famous songs such as Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. This shows how the phrase has been adapted for a modern audience, and still captures the meaning of the phrase “godspeed”.
Good Luck on Social Media
The phrase has also been used to wish good luck during online conversations or posts. “Good luck” or “good luck on your journey” are often used to wish someone good luck or best wishes on any endeavor, personal or professional.
Good Riddance
On the flip side, the term “good riddance” is used to express a wish for someone to be gone or for something unpleasant to be over. It is often used sarcastically and implies annoyance or a lack of sympathy for the person or situation being referred to.
Faster than the Speed of God
The phrase “faster than the speed of God” is also derived from “godspeed” and is often used in a jocular manner, implying that something is so fast that it will outrun God himself. It is typically used to describe a person’s speed, a reaction time, or anything that is viewed as particularly quick.

Thematic Uses of Godspeed

The phrase “godspeed” is often used to express many different themes. On one end of the spectrum, it is used in a religious context to represent a blessing from God and a wish for someone to have a successful journey. On the other end, it is used in more informal contexts as part of everyday language to wish someone luck or success.
The phrase is often used between friends to show support and wish them good luck on a new endeavor. In this context, the phrase can be used to express camaraderie and a strong bond between two people.
Godspeed is also often used as a source of encouragement, providing support and comfort to someone who is starting a difficult journey. It is a reminder that they are not alone on their journey, and that someone is wishing them luck and success.
The phrase is also commonly used as a farewell to someone, either as they are departing on a journey or when they may no longer be in the same place. In this context, the phrase is used to express one’s wishes for the other person’s journey to be successful and easier.


Godspeed is a phrase that has been used throughout history, and its meaning has evolved over time. The term is typically associated with expressing goodwill, best wishes, and good fortune to someone embarking on a journey. It is used both in religious contexts as a heartfelt blessing, and in more informal contexts as part of everyday language to wish someone luck or success. Its popularity has led to the emergence of various adaptations and modern interpretations of the phrase, such as “good luck” or “good riddance”. While we may not know the full history of how and why Godspeed was used, it is still a powerful expression and reminder of the comfort, encouragement and support we can give to those around us.

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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