What Does The Bible Say About Birthdays?

Why do we celebrate birthdays? Should a Christian do this? Some believe it is okay while some believe it is wrong. Learn what the Bible has to say about birthdays in this new article.

What Does The Bible Say About Birthdays

We cannot really ascertain how old the celebration of birthdays is. However, we know that across all ages, regions, peoples, languages and tribes, the celebration of birthdays is common among many.

Some believers in Christ condemn the celebration of birthdays as a pagan celebration while some do not. Hence, there is a form of division regarding this subject among believers.

However, the Bible and the Holy Spirit within us is the final authority regarding any topic, and thus it is wise to learn what the Word says about the subject.

What Does The Bible Say About Birthdays?

The Bible does not specifically say so much about birthdays as there are only two people who are recorded to have celebrated all through scripture.

Pharaoh, the king of Egypt during the time of Joseph celebrated his birthday. It was on one of these occasions that he restored the cupbearer back to his office as Joseph had interpreted during their time together in prison.

The second and final character associated with birthday celebrations in the Bible was Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, and ruler of Galilee.

From the Biblical record of these two, only the event is recorded. The Bible does not add a special meaning.

(Bible quotations are from the NIV, unless otherwise indicated)

What Does The Bible Say About Birthdays KJV?

Here is the record of the only two birthdays mentioned in the Bible:

Pharaoh, King of Egypt:

“And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand: (KJV)” Genesis 40:20-21

Herod Antipas, Ruler of Galilee:

“But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. (KJV)” Matthew 14:6:

Biblical Birthday Meanings

Although we can speculate Biblical meanings to things the Bible does not much or anything about, it is healthier to trust the Lord for wisdom in handling such matters.

Birthdays are important days in people’s lives. Pharaoh and Herod were people who decided to mark such a day, for whatever reason they had, to celebrate another circle of life.

The Bible didn’t say anything else other than the events that transpired during these birthday celebrations. For Pharaoh, butler was restored and his baker was hanged (which is totally unrelated to his birthday. This could have happened any other day).

For Herod, John the Baptist was beheaded based on the request of the daughter of the spiteful Herodias, Herod’s wife.

Are Birthdays Against The Bible?

Birthdays in themselves are not against the Bible in anyway. At least, not according to all the Bible laid out for us to follow.

An individual can decided to use the day of his or her birth to celebrate and glorify God for His faithfulness and mercy throughout the year, and so on.

Birthdays in themselves do not go against the Bible nor break any rules.

Though this may just be my speculation, a birthday is a good way to number one’s days as it affords one the opportunity to reflect on life, God’s faithfulness, and on how to be better as an individual.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12

Is Celebrating Your Birthday A Sin?

Like every other special day of celebration or party, the question is not the celebration itself but what it aims to achieve, or what is done during the birthday.

Although the Bible does not say anything regarding whether celebrating the Bible is sin or not, we have a responsibility to tread carefully so that we do not give the devil room through this liberty, because even in this liberty, we have a responsibility to always glorify God.

Consider the following verses of scripture as a guide to better understanding of such matters:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” 1Corinthians 10:31
“One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.” Romans 14:5-6

If you observe these verses, you will find a guiding light. It charts the course towards one destination – bringing glory to God, no matter what you do.

Therefore, if a believer, chooses (according to Romans 14:5-6) to celebrate a special day, then he or she has the responsibility to glorify God, sow seeds of love to the saints, and display the light of Christ to the world. Any activity carried out during such celebration must be aimed at this. Anything otherwise makes it all a sin.

The Apostle Paul clearly establishes something to help us get along: each person should be convinced. You are not called to argument over what day another saint recognizes or not, but to practice your faith according to your convictions (based on God’s word and the inspiration of God’s Spirit – who never goes contrary to the word).

Hence, if someone is convinced to celebrate a special day, let them. And if someone is not convinced to do so, they are also free so long as both focuses on bringing glory to God in all situations.

What Does The Bible Say About Birthdays

What Does The Bible Say About Birthdays In Heaven?

Regarding the matter of celebrating birthdays in heaven, we can look to the scriptures for guidance.

“Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” Matthew 22:29-30

Jesus’ words are a guiding light on this subject. You see, birthdays are a creation of man, just as the calendar is a creation of man. Similar to marriages, although created by God, they are both limited here and now. They have no relevance or use in heaven.

God created time, no doubt. However, the calendar and clock for measuring time is man’s creation. In Heaven, these things are non-existent. There won’t be celebration of birthdays in heaven because in heaven, everyone would become eternal spirits no longer limited by time or having any need of it.

What Does The Bible Say About Jesus’ Birthday?

The celebration of Jesus’ birthday is something we do not find in the scripture. No part of the New Testament mentions a reference to the celebration of the Lord’s birthday, and the Lord Jesus never said to celebrate His birthday.

There is only one thing Jesus said to do in remembrance of Him, which is the breaking of bread in Holy Communion.

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”” Luke 22:19

Throughout the Acts of the Apostles, it is recorded that the early church maintained this, and ever since, the church continues to partake of the Lord’s Table till date.

However, the institution of the Lord’s day is something that the Church agreed to celebrate on a special day in the year, not because it is Biblically charged but as a way to honor the Lord.

Jesus is not celebrating His birthday in heaven (remember there is no time, day or night in heaven). It is men here on earth, who recognize His birth and existence (which is a sign of faith), who celebrate this special day.

Now, is this right or wrong?

Back to our initial stance, based on the word of God:

“One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.” Romans 14:5-6

If one chooses to mark the Birthday of Jesus, let them do so being “fully convinced in their own mind,” and doing so “as to the Lord.”

In addition, whoever abstains from celebrating the Lord’s birthday let them also do so being “fully convinced in their own mind,” and doing so “as to the Lord”.

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