In today’s fast-paced world, it can be easy to forget the important things in life. But remembering our purpose, our loved ones, and our faith can provide meaning, direction, and hope. For people of faith, the Bible serves as an invaluable guidebook filled with lessons on the importance of remembrance.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the word ‘remember’ appears in the Bible 172 times across both the Old and New Testaments.
In this comprehensive article, we will take a deep dive into the many instances of ‘remember’ throughout the Bible. We will analyze how often it appears in key sections and books of the Bible. We will also look at some of the most significant usages and contexts for ‘remember’ in the Bible.
Overview of ‘Remember’ in the Bible
‘Remember’ appears 172 times total
The word ‘remember’ shows up 172 times across the entire Bible, according to an analysis of an online Bible search tool. This includes both the singular and plural forms of the word. It is a common theme throughout Scripture that God’s people are exhorted to ‘remember’ – certain events, promises, commandments and more.
The high frequency of ‘remember’ demonstrates its importance in the biblical narrative.
Roughly 2/3 usages in the Old Testament
Out of the 172 total instances, approximately 115 of the ‘remember’ references are found in the 39 books of the Old Testament. This accounts for about 67% of the usages. The remaining 57 examples appear in the 27 books of the New Testament.
This statistic makes sense when you consider that the Old Testament covers a much longer span of human history. There was more need for God’s people to be reminded of past events and covenants in the Old Testament.
Most frequent in Psalms, Deuteronomy, and Ezekiel
The book of Psalms contains the highest concentration of ‘remember’ with 21 instances. This emphasizes how David and other psalmists frequently exhorted themselves and others to remember God’s goodness, promises, and past mighty works. Deuteronomy and Ezekiel tie for second-most usages with 19 each.
Deuteronomy’s high count highlights Moses’ reminders to the Israelites to remember God’s laws and provisions. Ezekiel’s high tally demonstrates the prophets’ calls to remember God’s dealings with Israel amidst exile.
|# of ‘Remember’ Uses
As you can see, ‘remember’ is a profoundly significant word throughout the Bible. God constantly urges His people to actively remember who He is, what He has done, and what He has promised. Forgetting leads to unfaithfulness, while calling to remembrance fuels obedience.
As Psalm 77:11 declares, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” May we likewise never forget the Lord’s marvelous works and steadfast love.
Significance and Context of ‘Remember’ in the Bible
Remembering God and His covenants
The word “remember” appears 169 times in the Bible, often in the context of God commanding His people to remember Him and His covenants and promises (Exodus 20:8, Deuteronomy 8:18). For example, God tells the Israelites to observe the Sabbath day and “remember that you were a slave in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm” (Deuteronomy 5:15).
This demonstrates how remembrance plays a key role in staying faithful to God.
Remembering God’s law and commandments
There are also many verses that instruct God’s people to remember His laws, commandments, statutes and precepts. For instance, Deuteronomy 11:18 says: “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” This shows how vital it is not just to remember, but to actively teach the next generation as well.
Remembering past sins and mistakes
The Bible also talks about remembering sins and mistakes – both on an individual and corporate/national level – as a vital part of repentance and restoration. Ezekiel 36:31 states: “Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.”
Thus, remembrance of wrongdoing leads to sincere repentance.
Remembering blessings and miracles
Furthermore, there are many encouragements to remember the blessings and miracles God has performed, which fuels gratitude and faith. As Psalm 105:5 declares: “Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.” Recalling God’s goodness over time increases trust and hope.
Key Old Testament Usages of ‘Remember’
Remember the Sabbath day – Exodus 20:8
The command to “remember the Sabbath day” first appears in Exodus 20:8, where God instructs the Israelites to “remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” This verse is part of the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai.
The Israelites were commanded to set aside the seventh day of the week as a day of rest and worship of God. This commandment reflects God’s actions in Genesis, where after six days of creation, God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2-3).
Later mentions of Sabbath remembrance in the Old Testament build upon this Exodus foundation. For example, in Exodus 31:12-17, God tells Moses that Sabbath observance serves as a “sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” Keeping the Sabbath set Israel apart as God’s covenant people.
Remember what Amalek did – Deuteronomy 25:17
The command to “remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt” comes from Deuteronomy 25:17. This verse refers back to Exodus 17:8-16, when the nomadic Amalekites attacked the Israelites soon after their exodus from Egypt.
God promised there to “completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.” In commanding Israel’s future kings to remember Amalek’s cruelty, God aimed to stir up opposition to Israel’s fiercest foes.
Remember your Creator in your youth – Ecclesiastes 12:1
The Preacher in Ecclesiastes 12:1 advises his readers to “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them.
‘” This call to early devotion warns against wasting life’s fleeting vitality on meaningless pursuits. The Teacher argues we must prioritize knowing God when health and vigor allow, not when disabilities or depression hamper our faith.
Matthew Henry comments, “We should remember our duties in the days of our health, that sickness may not prevent our doing them.”
God remembers Noah – Genesis 8:1
Genesis 8 opens with the statement “But God remembered Noah.” This marks a key turning point in the flood story, indicating God’s attentiveness toward Noah’s dire situation. The word “remembered” conveys more than mental recollection here.
Rather, God’s covenant loyalty stirs him to action on Noah’s behalf (Genesis 6:18). The ensuing account describes subsiding flood waters and Noah’s safe exit from the ark. God’s remembrance thus signals his intent to uphold promises and bring deliverance.
It foreshadows later biblical expressions of restored national Israel amid foreign exile (see Ezekiel 16:60).
Israel told to remember Egyptian slavery – Deuteronomy 5:15
Within the Ten Commandments delivered on Moab’s plains, Moses says in Deuteronomy 5:15: “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” This motivation for Sabbath-keeping differs slightly from Exodus’s “creation” rationale.
However, both show how Sabbath partly commemorates Israel’s past, linking weekly worship rhythms with God’s saving actions. Taking a Sabbath rest pictured their release from forced Egyptian labor, and celebrated God’s power to redeem.
Key New Testament Usages of ‘Remember’
Remember Lot’s wife – Luke 17:32
In Luke 17:32, Jesus warns his disciples, “Remember Lot’s wife”. This refers back to the story in Genesis 19, where Lot’s wife looked back at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah despite being told not to.
As a pillar of salt, she serves as a sobering reminder of the consequences of disobedience and clinging to the past.
Remember Jesus’ words – John 15:20
Jesus prepares his disciples for persecution in John 15:20, stating “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you”.
This reminds believers to treasure Jesus’ teachings and find comfort that since he endured suffering, they are not exempt from trials for his name’s sake.
Remember Jesus broke bread – Luke 22:19
At the Last Supper, Luke 22:19 records Jesus instructing his disciples to “do this in remembrance of me” regarding the breaking of bread. This establishes the celebration of the Lord’s Supper as a memorial of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and the New Covenant instituted through his body and blood.
God remembers our work – Hebrews 6:10
The author of Hebrews encourages believers in 6:10, stating “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints”. This highlights God’s perfect memory and awareness of every act of service and kindness performed by his people.
Paul remembers Timothy’s tears – 2 Timothy 1:4
In 2 Timothy 1:4, Paul expresses his longing to see Timothy again, “As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.” This reflects the deep friendship and spiritual mentorship between them. Though separated, Paul’s memories of Timothy stir affection.
Throughout the Bible, the word ‘remember’ connects God and humankind through shared memory and experiences. It reminds readers to keep their eyes on what really matters – faith, family, values. In our busy modern lives, we would do well to ‘remember’ what the Bible teaches us about living meaningful, purposeful lives.
So now you know – the word ‘remember’ appears approximately 172 times across the Bible. It serves as an anchor, bringing us back to foundational principles and cherished moments. May this overview inspire you to open the Good Book and rediscover the power of remembrance.