What is the smallest Bible verse?
What Is The Shortest Verse In The Bible? The Scripture and Study
What is the shortest verse in the entire Bible? Why is it still so important?
The three shortest Verses
There are actually two Bible verses that are tied for the shortest verses in the Bible. They are 1st Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always” and John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” A close second is “Pray without ceasing” also in 1st Thessalonians in 5:17. Even though these three are short, that doesn’t mean they are without significant meaning. Indeed, they are, as we will read in the next three paragraphs but I think “Jesus wept” is the shortest if you count the number of letters. It doesn’t matter; it still has the most powerful meaning of all.
First Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
In the 5th chapter of 1st Thessalonians, Paul was giving the church some final instructions and these summed up his emphasis in this book; “warn the idle and disruptive; encourage the disheartened; help the weak; be patient with everyone; don’t pay back wrong for wrong; and do what is good for each other” (1st Thess 5:14-15). These instructions were given to the corporate church, the Body of Christ, but the next few were written to the individual as Paul says we must; “Rejoice always, pray continually [and] give thanks in all circumstances” (1st Thess 5:16-18a) because “this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1st Thess 5:18b). Don’t worry about finding God’s will for your life. Here it is; Rejoice always, pray continually [and] give thanks in all circumstances. Praying without ceasing is relative; it means pray anytime and every time you can, as if almost “without ceasing.” This powerful command is for our own good.
First Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always.”
In this next to the shortest verse in the Bible it gives us a tactic we can use when we are depressed, sad, lonely, in need, and in a relational problem. We know that God promises that everything will work out for our best (Rom 8:28) but this means the bad things too. How do you fight the demon of depression or loneliness? Start rejoicing. When we are “always” rejoicing, just as praying without ceasing, it doesn’t mean that’s all we do. We rejoice in all things; always. We rejoice in good things; always. We rejoice in bad circumstances; always. Always we are to rejoice, regardless of the circumstance.
John 11:35 “Jesus wept.”
Jesus had a tender heart for the lost which was once evidenced by Jesus’ weeping when “he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it” (Luke 19:41). Here is why Jesus wept; “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:42-44). Here was the Jew’s long awaited Messiah and few recognized Him. Jesus knew they were like sheep without a shepherd and on another occasion, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36). Do we weep for those who are lost? Do we see them as we once were? We are no better than they, although we are better off relationally with God. Jesus wept over the city. Do I?
These short powerful Bible verses are pray without ceasing meaning you pray all you can, whenever you can; rejoice always which includes our rejoicing or giving thanks each and every day even in unpleasant circumstances we up in; and Jesus was so moved with compassion that He wept. When we weep for the lost, we are doing what Jesus did. Just think of their eternal destiny outside of Christ (Rev 20:12-15) and for all unrepentant sinners (Rev 21:8) and maybe it will move you to compassion so strongly that you will tell others about the gospel of Jesus Christ, of which Paul was not ashamed (Rom 1:16).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.
15 BEST Short Bible Verses for Kids to Memorize
The Bible is filled with wonderful Scriptures to help guide, and teach on many different topics. In multiple places, the Bible, and specifically God (Deuteronomy 11:18), says to keep what the Scriptures say in our hearts.
Memorizing Scripture has many benefits that help kids in the here-and-now, but one of the most important things that it will do for them is to put God’s love, important words, and morals into their hearts for years and years to come. Having the Bible to lean on will help kids when a parent is not by their side for a significant moment or decision. The more Scriptures kids can memorize, the more likely it is that they will make God honoring decisions as they face temptation or those big adult decisions that will eventually come about in each one of their lives.
Giving short Bible verses to kids to memorize is a great way to challenge the brain and change up the rhythm of Sunday school. After sitting down and being quiet for the story, asking kids to get up and talk or shout (if you’re brave enough), gives them the freedom to engage and release some of the energy they may have been holding in while listening to the story.
There are thousands of verses in the Bible, and many of them may be short, but there are some that are especially worthy of memorization for kids. Below are 15 verses that have an excellent application for kids to hold onto and do a beautiful job of showing how much God truly does love them.
One of the shortest verses in the Bible, John 11:35 is by far one of the easiest to memorize. Kids of pretty much any age can learn this verse written by John together. It is also a great verse because, for some, the idea of Jesus and what he could do can seem inhuman. This verse shows that Jesus was a real human, cried, and had feelings just like kids do.
2. 1 JOHN 4:19 — «We love because he first loved us.»
In this profound verse, John is writing to Christians, and he does a great job of explaining in such simple terms why we love. It also makes sense — sometimes Scripture can seem to use a lot of words, and feel hard to understand — but this verse plain and simple, explaining why we love at all.
3. ACTS 16:31 — «They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.’”
Paul writes what he and Silas are explaining to a jailer about salvation. The jailer asks what many kids may end up asking as well. In Acts 16:30, the jailer says, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”. The verse is short, simple, and presents a clear answer to a question that may be asked by a non-believer who is curious about salvation.
4. COLOSSIANS 3:2 — «Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.»
Paul writes here, in a letter to the people of Colossae, instructions on how to live as those made alive in Christ. It is a great, short verse and an action that kids can put into practice in real life for themselves. The things kids fill their minds with as children will follow them into adulthood, and this verse is so helpful to explain what they need to think about, even at a young age.
5. COLOSSIANS 3:20 — «Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.»
In the same chapter of Colossians, there is another great verse that solidifies a parent’s authority in a kid’s life. It is short, to the point, and while most of Scripture does not address “children” specifically, this verse speaks directly to them.
6. GENESIS 1:1 — «In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.»
The very first verse in the Bible is a classic and is short as well. It gets down to the core of where everything began. The first part of the verse also has a catchy line that is used throughout poems and novels as well, “In the beginning,” which makes it easy for kids to catch onto and remember.
7. HEBREWS 13:8 — «Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.»
This verse is catchy as well and is one that is great for when things get hard. It is a good, solid verse to memorize and hold onto as a reminder that when everything feels out of control in life and can feel like it is changing by the day, especially in the present culture. Jesus Christ does not change.
8. LUKE 6:31 — «Do to others as you would have them do to you.»
This verse is used in current culture as a general moral or often referred to as “the golden rule,” but little do many know that it stems from a Bible verse in the book of Luke. It is a great guiding principal for kids to learn and will serve them well for the rest of their lives if they apply it faithfully.
9. PHILIPPIANS 4:13 — «I can do all this through him who gives me strength.»
Here is another classic verse often used in current culture among athletes and successful people alike. It is a great verse to memorize as a daily affirmation for when things go awry, or the feelings of worry overwhelm us. These words remind us that there is power in us, but it is not up to us. The power and strength are there because of Christ.
10. PSALM 119:11 — «I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.»
This particular psalm is the longest one but has an awesome short verse that talks specifically about memorizing Scriptures. “I have hidden your word in my heart,” or in other words, memorization. It discusses one of the reasons why memorization is so important. It is great to help avoid sin; Jesus even used his memory of Scriptures to battle temptation and the urge to sin as well.
11. ROMANS 3:23 — «for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,»
In Romans, this specific verse is a great verse to memorize to help with humbleness. It talks about how “all,” not only certain people, or the people that are hard to love, but “all have sinned.” As humans, it is natural to place others below and put our own lives up on a pedestal, but this verse puts everyone in the same category. We are all sinners.
12. PROVERBS 18:10 — «The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.»
There are many great short verses in the book of Proverbs that kids can memorize and hold in their hearts. The passage is a particularly relatable one as it brings the Lord to life in a way that kids may know through fairy tales or other stories. Towers are well known safe havens in medieval stories with kings, princesses, castles, etc. This verse about the Lord, like a tower being a safe haven, will be familiar to kids.
13. 1 CHRONICLES 16:11 — «Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.»
Here is another great verse to memorize that is also an action. The world is slowly becoming more and more of a distraction to turn the mind away from the Lord, and this short verse reminds kids that the Lord is where they should always be looking.
14. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16 — «Rejoice always»
This verse is short and can be fun to shout! A great way to help with memorization can be adding motions or different tones of voice. The passage is one that compliments a shout and a jump exercise too!
15. JOHN 3:16 — «For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.»
While this verse may not be the shortest in the Bible, it is very well known. The Scripture reference is often found quoted in everyday life. It does a great job of summing up God and His love for the world.
Want more short Bible verses for kids? Check out Ministry Spark to see their list of 66 Short Bible Verses Perfect for Kids to Memorize. You can also visit Ministry To Children to see the list they have put together with 52 Bible verses for kids to memorize.
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Jesus Wept (But Do You Know Why?) — Your Daily Bible Verse — March 30
The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35: “Jesus wept.” But for all its grammatical simplicity, it’s packed with unfathomable complexity. Jesus wept after speaking with Lazarus’ grieving sisters, Martha and Mary, and seeing all the mourners. That seems natural enough. Most of us would have wept too. Except that Jesus had come to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead. So one would think that Jesus would be a confident, joyful calm in that storm of sorrow. But he was “greatly troubled” (John 11:33) and he wept. Why? Here are four possible reasons why Jesus was weeping and troubled.
4 Reasons for Why Jesus Wept
1. Jesus wept out of compassion
One reason is simply the deep compassion that Jesus felt for those who were suffering. It is true that by not speaking healing from a distance or by his delay in coming (John 11:6) he had let Lazarus die. Even though Jesus always chooses what will ultimately bring his Father the most glory (John 11:4)—and sometimes, as in this case, it requires affliction and grief—he does not take delight in the affliction and grief itself. No, Jesus is sympathetic (Hebrews 4:15) and we get a glimpse of how the Father feels over the affliction and grief his children experience.
2. Jesus wept over the wages of sin
Another reason Jesus wept was over the calamity of sin. As God the Son who had come into the world to destroy the devil’s works (1 John 3:8), Jesus was about to deliver death its deathblow (1 Corinthians 15:26). But sin grieves God deeply and so do the wages of sin: death (Romans 6:23). And ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, he had endured sin’s horrific destruction. Death had taken Lazarus, and it would take him again before it was all over. Tears of anger and longing were mixed with Jesus’ tears of grief.
3. Jesus wept because he knew the sacrifice
A third reason for weeping was the cost that he was about to pay to purchase not only Lazarus’ short-term resurrection but his everlasting life. The cross was just days away and no one really knew the inner distress (Luke 12:50) Jesus was experiencing. Jesus, who had never known sin, was about to become Lazarus’ sin, and the sin of all who had or would believe in him. He was looking to the joy that was set before him (Hebrews 12:2). But the reality of what lay between was weighing heavily.
4. Jesus wept because he knew the accusations
A fourth possible reason for Jesus’ tears was that he knew that raising Lazarus would actually cause the religious leaders to finally take action to put him to death (John 11:45-53). If Jesus had any struggle that day would not have been whether his Father would answer, but what would result when his Father answered. Giving Lazarus life was sealing Jesus’ own death.
Just these few reasons for Jesus’ weeping at Lazarus’ tomb give us a glimpse into how God views our suffering and death. His reasons for not sparing us these things are righteous and glorious. But in them he is full of compassion (Psalms 103:13), he hates the calamity sin brings, and he himself has suffered more than we ever will ever know in order to pay the full cost of our eternal resurrection.
Get your FREE 8-Day Prayer and Scripture Guide — Praying Through the Holy Week HERE. Print your own copy for a beautiful daily devotional leading up to Easter.
Editor’s note: This content was taken from the original article: Jesus Wept: 2 Simple Words with Incredible Depth
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