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The Apostle Paul’s Thanksgiving List



In the Fall of 1621, about 150 English settlers and Wampanoag natives in Plymouth, Massachusetts celebrated what we call Thanksgiving. The English settlers were thankful for surviving the winter with the help of God and the Wampanoag people. 


Thanksgiving is a traditional American holiday, and the purpose is to give thanks and to be thankful. But long before our American tradition of Thanksgiving, the Apostle Paul expressed his thanksgiving in Scripture. I believe it is a good model for us to follow.


In Paul’s list, I’ve found at least 13 different things for which he was thankful. All the Scripture references are from the Christian Standard Bible. Enjoy.


The Apostle Paul expressed thanksgiving for:


  1. The goodness and mercy of God.


12 I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry—13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 1:12-14, CSB)


2. Appointment and enablement in ministry. 


12 I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 1:12-14, CSB)


3. The reception and effectual working of the Word of God in others.


This is why we constantly thank God, because when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the word of God, which also works effectively in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13, CSB)



4. Deliverance through Christ from indwelling sin.


22 For in my inner self I delight in God’s law, 23 but I see a different law in the parts of my body,, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am serving the law of God, but with my flesh, the law of sin. 

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 7:23-8:1, CSB)


5. The gift of the Gospel of Christ.


Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15, CSB)


6. The triumph of the Gospel.


But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14, CSB)


7. The faith of others.


3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints.” (Colossians 1:3-4, CSB)


8. The faith shown by others.


First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because the news of your faith is being reported in all the world.” (Romans 1:8, CSB)


9. The faith, love, and patience shown for one other.


We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, since your faith is flourishing and the love each one of you has for one another is increasing.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3, CSB)



10. The supply of our physical needs.


“Whoever eats, eats for the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; and whoever does not eat, it is for the Lord that he does not eat it, and he gives thanks to God.” (Romans 14:6b, CSB). 


 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 since it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4-5, CSB)


11. The victory over death and the grave.


But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

(1 Corinthians 15:57, CSB)


12. All people.


First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,” (1 Timothy 2:1, CSB)


13. God’s working in all things.


Give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 

(1 Thessalonians 5:18, CSB)

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