A child learns the difference between good and bad at an early age. Being good is doing the right thing, behaving well, being obedient. And good behavior is often rewarded. But the goodness of God goes far beyond our childhood understanding of what is good.
God’s goodness carries with it a sense of moral excellence and kindness. The Bible tells us repeatedly that God is good. He’s all the definitions of goodness wrapped into one perfect character trait. God’s goodness is not simply another way to understand Him, though. The goodness of God spills over into our lives by reaching to us even in our darkest times. He shares His goodness with us and changes us. His goodness motivates us to trust Him and gives us hope.
May these verses bless and encourage you as you take a closer look at the goodness of God.
1. The LORD is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all His works. Psalm 145:9
Most people want to be good. They try to be kind, giving, and do the right thing, but the struggle is real, and all of us fail.
Psalm 145 gives us hope. Each verse begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet and highlights a quality of God. This was a common literary device in wisdom literature to show totality. It would be impossible to write enough words to praise God or explain his greatness, so in creating an acrostic using each letter of the alphabet, King David basically shared an A-to-Z list of characteristics defining God.
In verse 9, David declares God is good. But not just good—God is good to ALL. We have our limitations, but God does not. His love extends to all creation, even the most unworthy. David drills down to say that God’s tender mercies are over all His works. He extends His goodness to even the worst of us, and there is nothing you can do that his tender mercy cannot cover.
2. The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him. Nahum 1:7
Warnings provide us with guidance on what actions we should take. The prophets of God offered warnings of all kinds. They told what would happen if things didn’t change.
In the book of Nahum, the prophet warns Nineveh of its coming destruction. Ninevah had previously repented of their bad behavior, but their repentance didn’t stick, and 150 years later, Nahum tells them God will destroy their city.
Words of destruction aren’t the only thing filling his prophecy, though. Nestled near the middle of the first chapter, Nahum 1:7 reminds us that God is good. Yes, He is powerful, and His righteous anger will burn against the wicked, but He is good. He is a safe place when we are in trouble. He knows us.
Sometimes it feels like the bad people are the ones who win, but God will have the final say. He will deal with the wicked in His own time. He hears our struggle and understands. He is good, and He will be our safe place against evil in the world.
3. And Jesus said unto him, ‘Why callest though me good? There is none good but one, that is God.’ Mark 10:18
A common misconception about going to heaven is that it’s based on us. If we can be good enough, then God will let us in. But that’s not how it works.
In Mark 10, a rich man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. The man wants a checklist for entry into heaven. Jesus responds in verse 18 with a question.
The question serves two purposes: to highlight how the man did not realize who Jesus was and to emphasize that no one can obtain eternal life based on their own goodness. The rich young man believed his righteousness would earn him a spot in heaven. But when Jesus tells him to sell his possessions and give to the poor, the young man walks away disheartened.
We need not grow discouraged, though. God is good, and that means everything. We cannot be righteous on our own merits, but that’s okay. In his goodness, God has provided a way. The answer to the young man’s question stood right in front of him. God has made a way for us to have eternal life, not through our own goodness, but through the goodness and love of Jesus.
4. And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth forever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. Ezra 3:11
Struggles and hardships in life can lead a person to wonder where God is and even feel as if God has deserted them. In Ezra 3:11, we see the response of the Jewish people upon their return to Jerusalem after their captivity in Babylon.
The tribe of Judah had been ripped from their homeland and subjected to Babylonian rule for the last seventy years, and now, as they return home, instead of blaming God, they praise Him. While they were in captivity, they may have felt like God had deserted them. Their home had been destroyed. They were captured and taken away, and all may have seemed lost. But even in their darkest moments, God’s goodness remained.
God is faithful, and just like the prophets had said, the Jewish people were returned to their homeland. His goodness was constant, and his mercy stretched across their transgressions. As the people stood once again in their homeland, they praised God for his deliverance and love.
Trials and hardships do not mean God has deserted us. He remains with us always, and His goodness never changes. If you want to read more verses about how God cares for us through struggles, click God cares for us through struggles and hardships.
5. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17
The blessings of God have little to do with who we are and far more to do with who God is. Amid a discussion on trials and temptation, James, the half-brother or Jesus, points out that every good gift and every perfect gift is from God.
We might be tempted to think of these gifts as rewards for living right or withstanding temptation. But the gifts God gives flow from His nature and not ours. As we face various trials, we can approach them knowing that God is good. Trusting in Him will bring us abundant life.
Even if we fail, we can know God does not waiver. His love and goodness are sure, and He awaits our acknowledgement of our part in our destruction, so He can show us a better way to live. His blessings flow from His goodness to us, so that we might live victorious over temptation and fully realize who we are in the light of God’s all-encompassing love.
If you would like to see more on being grateful, thankful, and blessed, check out 10 Bible Verses on Blessings.
6. Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou are my God; thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Psalm 143:10
Learning a new skill requires two things: the teaching of the skill and the practicing of it. We don’t automatically know how to knit or drive or ski. We must be taught. And so it is with our growth and following God’s will. It doesn’t come naturally.
We may want God to make us follow His will, as if He could wave a wand, and our opposing wants and desires would turn into sweet, happy obedience. But God does not do that. Following Him is a skill we must learn.
In Psalm 143:10, David asks God to teach him. David clearly knew who God was and where man fell in relation to God, and he knew he couldn’t attain the depth he desired in his walk with God in his own strength. He needed God’s help.
One way God guides us and teaches us is through His Spirit. The Spirit of God is good, and in His goodness, He leads us where we need to go if we’re willing to be led.
If you’re struggling with learning and growing, check out 11 Bible Verses About Not Giving Up.
7. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth and gavest them water for their thirst. Nehemiah 9:20
God’s goodness never reflects our behavior. We think if we’re good, then God will be good to us, and if we’re bad, then he won’t. God doesn’t operate that way. He always does the right and most loving thing, despite our actions.
He has said, though, that we reap what we sow. (Galatians 6:7-9) If we sow a life of poor choices, bad behavior, and rebellion, the results we experience in life will flow from that. Still, God offers us hope and freedom from our mistakes. He wants more for us, and He’s willing to help us to a better place.
Nehemiah 9:20 falls among a litany of verses describing God’s goodness to the nation of Israel despite their obstinance, disbelief, and rebellion. God’s goodness carried with it instruction to the people, so they might learn from their errors and turn to Him. His goodness to us isn’t about improving our lives. He provides for us, so that we might grow and fully realize how He’s created us and what He has called us to do.
God is merciful and gracious. We see this illustrated in Nehemiah 9 through all the ways God provided for the nation of Israel despite their rebellious hearts. He offers the same mercy and grace to us today if we turn to Him, lay down our mistakes, and accept His good instruction.
8. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. Psalm 34:8
A vast difference exists between knowing something is true and experiencing the truth of it. We can know the chair will hold us, but only when we actually sit in it can we experience its strength.
David, the author of Psalm 34 and future king of Israel, most likely wrote this psalm in a cave after escaping the philistines and King Abimelech. He had already been on the run from King Saul for a while, and now, he found safety hiding in a cave with other men who were on the run.
Instead of complaining or worrying about his situation, David praises God and writes Psalm 34, a beautiful song about how God hears us and helps us. In verse 8, David beseeches the listeners to “taste and see that the LORD is good.” It’s one thing to know God is good, and an entirely different thing to see God’s goodness in action.
Taste and see—those words emphasize a tangible experience that requires action on our part. We don’t taste things by looking at them. The goodness of God is accessible to all of us if we will seek Him, call out to Him, and put our lives in His hands. Only when we risk trusting God with our lives, can we truly experience His wonderful goodness.
It’s hard to know what the future holds, but we do know God holds the future. Keep seeking Him and check out 8 Bible Verses About God’s Plan for Us.
9.And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth. Exodus 34:6
When we introduce ourselves, we often add more information to help the stranger know us better. The information can be about our jobs, family, or experience.
In Exodus 34, God gives Moses a deeper introduction into His holiness. In this introduction, God includes His abundant goodness. His goodness is also connected to His longsuffering and the truth. God is not good merely to be elevated above badness but to be patient with us—to do what is right, to help us in our weakness.
In the verses preceding verse 6, God has given Moses the commandments and law. God knows how man will fail, and He emphasizes His goodness in dealing with our flaws. God doesn’t overlook or dismiss our mistakes. He is good. He suffers with us in the truth of our brokenness, and He provides a way for deliverance.
The intent with these verses and even the law is to draw us into a deeper relationship with Himself. God is good, and He wants us to know who He is.
10. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:5
Motivation is a key element to accomplish most anything. If we are motivated to do a task, then it’s much easier to finish. Finding that motivation can be difficult. We need to know the why of our actions.
Psalm 100 is a short psalm of thanks that offers many imperatives to the reader, telling the reader to serve, come, know, enter, sing, praise, be thankful, and bless. Verse 5 finishes the psalm with why the reader should do those things.
The LORD is good, and his mercy is everlasting. His truth endures. We can serve Him, come to Him, and trust Him because we know without a doubt that He is good. He will not fail us or trick us. He will not take our singing and praise and pervert it into something ugly or selfish. He is good. Because of His goodness, we can trust, praise, and serve Him all the days of our life.
Be sure to continue learning about God. He wants us to know Him, and knowing Him makes all the difference. Check out 14 Scriptures on the Mind | Verses for an Intellectual Knowledge of God and keep growing in your understanding of God’s love and goodness.