There is no doubt about it – the Bible is a big book. Within its pages you will find over 31,000 verses that teach, guide, warn and encourage. While all the verses are meaningful in some regard, some of the best are the short Bible verses that drive home a powerful idea.
The best thing about short Bible verses is that they can be memorized. Psalm 119:111 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Short Bible verses help us fight off sin and encourage us in other times of need. And, because they are short, it will be easier to recall them and draw strength from them as you handle the challenges of life.
There are so many short Bible verses to choose from so I’d encourage you to do your own study and seek them out. I’ll give you 12 here today to jump start your journey.
Short Bible Verses for Everyday Life
Of all the short Bible verses, this is the shortest. And what a great thing to know! Jesus showed emotion just like we do. He wasn’t a mechanical robot disinterested in the lives of people. Jesus cared for others and empathized with their pain. He understood what it meant to be sad and expressed those emotions himself. In this instance, he was sad over the death of his close friend Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha.
I Thessalonians 5:16
Here the Apostle Paul is challenging his readers to demonstrate an attitude of joy at all times. Even though life is hard, we have so much to rejoice about. We may not be happy about our life circumstances – just like the early Christians weren’t happy about being persecuted for their faith. But they still had an inner joy because they remembered all that God had done for them.
I Thessalonians 5:17
“Pray without ceasing.”
Paul wasn’t done with writing short Bible verses. In his very next one he encourages the Thessalonians to pray, pray and pray some more. But what did he mean to pray “without ceasing.” Does that mean literally 24-hrs. a day? Probably not. The emphasis here is on having a continual attitude of seeking God in prayer at all times, no matter what the circumstances. We can pray anytime, anywhere and should always be looking to do so. God wants us to routinely seek him in prayer.
I Thessalonians 5:22
“Abstain from every form of evil.”
Was Paul on a role with the short verses or what? He instructed the believers in this verse to avoid getting wrapped up in the wrong things. The key word is “abstain.” That means to keep yourself from doing something. We can’t avoid being exposed to and tempted by immoral things. However, with God’s help, we can restrain ourselves from participating in them.
“He must increase; I must decrease.”
John the Baptist spoke this verse when he came to announce the coming of Jesus. John baptized Jesus and afterwards uttered this famous statement. He recognized that his time of ministry was coming to an end and that it was time for Jesus’ ministry to get started.
Shouldn’t this be the heart’s desire of all who call themselves believers – that Jesus’ influence would increase and reign supreme in our lives? It’s so easy to put our own agendas first – to do what we want to do. Instead we should be submitting our will to God and letting his influence grow in our lives.
I Timothy 6:6
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
One of my favorite short Bible verses is I Tim. 6:6. It’s situated in a section of verses that talk about the dangers of wealth and loving possessions. It gives us the secret formula to success. Godliness coupled with contentment will lead to gain. It’s not a guarantee of financial gain (as evidenced by the tone of the entire passage). The implication here is that there are other things in life to gain by exercising godliness and being content with whatever state you find yourself. The Apostle Paul, the man who wrote this to Timothy, new a thing or two about how to be content.
“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you.”
Fear is something we all experience at one time or another. Our biggest desire when afraid is to not be afraid anymore. We’d do almost anything to rid ourselves of fear.
Here God encourages us to reach out to him when we are afraid. It requires us to do something we aren’t often good at – putting our trust in someone else. Generally speaking, we like to trust ourselves. Letting go and relying on someone else isn’t easy. But God’s promise is that he will be with us through the fear. We can rely on him to help us manage it and be our strength as we deal with it.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Ever had a difficult decision to make and didn’t know the right choice? God lets us know in this verse that he is our guide. His words shine, illuminating the way before us like a lamp or a light would. His words keep us from stubbing our toe in dark. They help us go down the right path and head in the right direction. This is why consistent, daily reading of the Bible is so important.
“As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.”
This isn’t a verse so much to memorize but rather an ideal to live out. Life is challenging. Even more so when you try to go it alone. What we all need are people around us – we need to be in fellowship with other believers.
The idea here is that believers help strengthen one another. Just like a knife would be sharpened by rubbing its edge over a stone, so believers can sharpen each other through their relationships. We can share our personal struggles, give each other advice and be accountable to one another. In love, we can point out the faults of another. The bottom line is that we need relationships to make us stronger.
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
It’s really hard to not focus on what’s happening in the here and now. The earth and everything around us is so tangible. We can touch it, see it, smell it and hear it. Everything about the earth entices our senses to the point that it’s impossible not to pay attention to it.
That’s all fine because God made the earth to appeal to our sense. But he wants our main focus to be on what’s above. In other words, think on things that will count for eternity. We have to avoid getting wrapped up in the things of this earth that have no eternal value.
We will all pass away one day and go to our heavenly home. The Bible says in I Timothy 6:7 that we can take nothing with us. However, we will be rewarded in heaven for the things we’ve done on earth for God. That’s where our focus should be – everyday living for Godly purposes instead of for ourselves.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
This was radical teaching in Jesus’ day. There was no love loss between the Jews and the Romans. The Jews despised their heathen rulers and considered them enemies of God and the Jewish state.
Yet here comes Jesus introducing a new doctrine – one that says love your enemies. We are to do good to those who hate us – to bless them and to pray for them. It was completely contradictory to everything the Jews believed.
Granted it’s not easy loving people who a) you have nothing in common with, b) treat you poorly and c) hate your God. But it’s what Jesus did and he’s our example to follow. We should treat all people with the same caring, love and respect that we ourselves would expect to receive. By doing so we show the love of God to all men and, according to Jesus’ words in the rest of this passage, will receive great reward one day.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The Apostle Paul went through many hardships as a missionary. People persecuted Paul, mocked him and ran him out of town on more than one occasion. His ministry provided him with many challenges that would discourage any person.
But here we see him showing great courage and optimism. He knew the task before him was difficult. Yet he knew he could accomplish it – but only through relying on the strength of Jesus Christ.
So should our prayer be as we face the challenges of each day.
Questions for Discussion: There are many other short Bible verses that have a powerful message. Please share one in the comments below and what that verse means to you.