A close-up photo of an open Bible, highlighting the word "rest" numerous times, symbolizing the frequent mention of rest in the Bible.

How Many Times Is ‘Rest’ Mentioned In The Bible?

The concept of rest is central to the Bible’s teachings, from God resting on the seventh day after Creation to Jesus promising rest for the weary, references to rest permeate Scripture.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the word ‘rest’ and its variants appear over 230 times in the Bible. There are over 800 instances where the Bible mentions or discusses rest.

In this comprehensive article, we will examine the many biblical mentions of rest.

We’ll look at the Hebrew and Greek words translated as ‘rest,’ do a book-by-book tally of rest references, analyze major ‘rest’ passages, and reflect on the theological significance of rest in the biblical narrative.

Defining ‘Rest’ in the Original Biblical Languages

The Hebrew Word ‘Nuach’

The primary Hebrew word translated as “rest” in the Old Testament is “nuach.” This word has a range of meanings including to settle down, be quiet, and have rest.

It is often used to describe God resting after the work of creation (Genesis 2:2-3).

The concept of rest expressed by “nuach” includes ceasing work and finding refreshment. It can refer to a physical rest, like resting from labor, as well as a more abstract rest, like resting from enemies or troubles (2 Samuel 7:1, Job 3:13).

Overall, the Hebrew notion of “nuach” rest involves peace, tranquility, and renewal.

The Greek Word ‘Anapausis’

In the New Testament, the Greek word most often translated as “rest” is “anapausis.” This word means to refresh or revive.

It is related to the idea of taking a break from exertion. “Anapausis” rest refreshes a person and renews their strength.

Jesus used this word when He promised rest for those who are weary and burdened (Matthew 11:28-30).

The author of Hebrews also connects “anapausis” rest with ceasing from work, as God rested from His labors on the seventh day (Hebrews 4:1-11).

So the Greek notion of rest entails stopping regular work and activities in order to renew your spirit and body.

Analysis of Key Bible Passages on ‘Rest’

Genesis 2: God Rested on the Seventh Day

The first mention of rest in the Bible is in Genesis 2, which describes God resting on the seventh day after his work of creation.

Genesis 2:2-3 states, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

This passage establishes the pattern of working for six days and then observing a Sabbath day of rest, which was later codified as one of the Ten Commandments.

God’s rest on the seventh day shows that he desires for human beings to set aside regular times of rest and renewal. Even though God is all-powerful, he chose to model the behavior of stopping work and focusing on renewal.

The Sabbath rest allows time for worship, family, and appreciating God’s creation.

Matthew 11:28: Jesus’ Offer of Rest

In the New Testament, Jesus invites all who are weary and burdened to come to him for rest. Matthew 11:28 states, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

This rest that Jesus offers is in contrast to the demanding religious rituals of his day. His “yoke is easy” and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30).

Jesus provides rest on two levels. He gives us spiritual rest from the burdens of sin, guilt, and trying to justify ourselves before God. When we trust in him, we experience “peace with God” (Romans 5:1).

He also promises future eschatological rest, when believers will enter the eternal rest of heaven and the new creation, free from sin, suffering, and all burdens.

A photo capturing a person reading the Bible with a serene expression, illuminated by a soft ray of sunlight, symbolizing their connection and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 4: The Promise of Rest in God

The book of Hebrews picks up the theme of God’s promised rest. Hebrews 4:1-11 warns believers to avoid missing out on God’s “Sabbath-rest” through disobedience and lack of faith.

Although Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan, the ultimate rest for God’s people was still future. Hebrews 4:9-10 associates this rest with stopping work, as God did on the seventh day of creation.

For Christians, God’s rest includes resting from works we do trying to earn salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). It also points forward to the eternal rest awaiting believers, who will rest from earthly labors and enter the joy of their Master (Matthew 25:21).

The promised rest gives hope and encouragement to persevere through trials.

So the theme of rest winds through Scripture, from God resting at creation, to Jesus’ offer of rest for the weary, to the promise of eternal rest in Hebrews.

God created mankind for relationship with him, which brings true spiritual rest now and forever.

The Theological Significance of ‘Rest’ in Scripture

The concept of ‘rest’ is profoundly significant in the Bible, being mentioned over 250 times across both the Old and New Testaments. At its core, biblical rest refers to ceasing from labor and finding spiritual refreshment in God.

Here are some of the key ways that ‘rest’ theologically shapes Scripture:

God Rested on the Seventh Day of Creation

In Genesis 2:2, we read that “on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.” This establishes that rest is intrinsic to God’s own nature.

If even a perfect God chose to rest, how much more should imperfect humans value rest!

The Sabbath as a Day of Sacred Rest

God instituted the Sabbath, commanding the Israelites to observe it as a holy day of rest (Exodus 20:8-11). Practicing Sabbath-keeping reminded God’s people that He is the source of all blessing and provision – not human works.

Jesus Christ as the Ultimate Rest

When urging people to take His yoke upon themselves, Jesus declared, “I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-30). Christ Himself is the spiritual rest found in a right relationship with God.

This theme continues in Hebrews 4 as the author explains how those who trust in Christ enter God’s “Sabbath-rest” (Hebrews 4:9).

Heaven as Eternal Rest

The hope of resting in God’s presence forever in heaven is a repeated biblical theme. In Revelation 14:13, for example, tribulation saints are promised they will “rest from their labor.” Their striving is over, but joyful service to the Lamb begins.

What a glorious eternal rest lies ahead for God’s people!


As we have seen, the concept of rest winds deeply through Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Over 230 times, the biblical text references finding rest in God. Clearly, physical and spiritual rest is central to the Bible’s overall message.

Similar Posts