Any list of forgiveness Bible verses should point to key passages to study. The goal is not to wrench verses out of context. Rather, we need to identify passages to be studied in context. Below are verses from the Bible on forgiveness with suggested links.
Bible Verses on Forgiveness: 9 Forgiveness Passages to Study
- The Joseph Narrative (Genesis 37-50) – Joseph’s amazing response to his brothers (Genesis 45:5-7), and Judah’s repentance, make for a gripping story. Among other things, the Joseph narrative shows how vital the doctrine of providence is to beating bitterness. (See Peter Kreeft’s witty quote on providence in the Joseph narrative).
- Jesus’s 4th Discourse (Matthew 18:1-35) – The Lord begins with an urgent lesson on humility, outlines interpersonal and church discipline, reminds us to forgive one another with the grace given to us and concludes with the parable of the unforgiving servant.
- The “Get Over It” passages: Proverbs 19:11, Proverbs 17:14, and 1 Peter 4:8 – Not everything should be confronted. These verses remind us that love covers over a multitude of sins. See Tim Challies’, Love Covers a Multitude of Sins.
- The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) – What Dickens called the greatest short story ever written challenges us all not to be the older brother. Tim Keller’s book, The Prodigal God, is highly recommended.
- Philemon: The entire book of Philemon is a biblical case study on how forgiveness should be unpacked between two individuals. Paul shows how the gospel comes to bear pastorally on a sticky situation. Doug Moo has written what is now the go to commentary on Colossians and Philemon.
- Jesus’s Prayer on the Cross (Luke 23:33 – 34) – See Didn’t Jesus Forgive Unconditionally on the Cross
- How can I stop thinking about it? Psalms 37 and 73 – Psalm 37:1 exhorts, “fret not because of evil doers,” but that is easier said than done. One of the most difficult aspects of unpacking forgiveness is getting off the mental gerbil wheel. Psalms 37 and 73 are wonderful gifts for those who need to find peace from a deep wound. You might also read this post, Memorize a Psalm in Order to Be Moved.
- What if they’re not sorry? Romans 12:17-21, 2 Timothy 4:14. In 2 Timothy 4:14 Paul implements the theology of forgiveness he outlines in Romans 12:17-21: (1) Show love. (2) No revenge. (3) Leave room for the wrath of God.
- Paul’s favorite Word for Forgiveness (charizomai) – Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13 – Paul’s choice of forgiveness words is very interesting, see this overview of biblical words on forgiveness.