The word “abide” appears 51 times in the Bible according to the New King James Version (NKJV). It is an important concept that is found throughout both the Old and New Testaments. In this post, we will take a close look at each occurrence of “abide” to understand its meaning and significance.
For Christians who want to live in close relationship with God, abiding in Him is essential. To abide means to remain, continue, dwell, endure, and stand firm. As believers, we are called to abide in Christ and allow His words to abide in us.
Abiding brings fruitfulness, joy, and eternal life. It is the key to living in the fullness of God’s love and experiencing the peace that surpasses understanding. Examining how “abide” is used throughout Scripture gives us wisdom for how we can abide in Christ each day.
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- The word “abide” appears 51 times in the Bible.
- To abide means to remain, continue, dwell, endure, and stand firm.
- Abiding in Christ is necessary for believers to live in close relationship with Him.
- Abiding brings fruitfulness, joy, peace, and eternal life.
Old Testament Usage
The concept of abiding is found 19 times in the Old Testament. Let’s look at some of the key passages:
The book of Deuteronomy contains 5 occurrences of “abide.” For example:
“For the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.” (Deuteronomy 23:14, NKJV)
Here God commands His people to abide in holiness and purity so that He can dwell in their midst. Obedience and upright living allow God’s presence to continue among them.
In the Psalms, we find this prayer:
“Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Hold me up, and I shall be safe, And I shall observe Your statutes continually.” (Psalms 119:116-117, NKJV)
The psalmist asks God to uphold and sustain him in obedience. He desires to continually abide in God’s ways.
Proverbs also mentions abiding:
“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6, NKJV)
Here we are exhorted to abide in God’s pure words and not depart from them.
New Testament Usage
There are 32 occurrences of “abide” in the New Testament. Jesus uses this term extensively in the gospel of John, and 1 John also contains many references.
In John 15, Jesus tells his disciples:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5, NKJV)
This passage illustrates how vital it is for believers to abide in Christ. Separated from Him, we can do nothing. As we abide, we bear much fruit just as a branch tapped into the life source of the vine.
In John 6, Jesus emphasizes the importance of abiding in His teachings:
“If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” (John 6:51-56, NKJV)
Jesus was speaking spiritually here about the need to trust in His sacrifice and abide in Him. He used shocking language to emphasize that only through relationship with Him can we gain eternal life.
In John 12, Jesus cries out:
“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He said, signifying by what death He would die.” (John 12:27-33, NKJV)
Even as Jesus faced the cross, He entrusted Himself to the Father’s will and purpose. This resolute abiding led to the triumph of the cross over sin and death.
These examples demonstrate how abiding in Jesus’ teachings and trusting in His sacrifice are essential for salvation and bearing fruit. As believers, we must hold fast to Him.
The apostle John wrote extensively on abiding. He said:
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.” (1 John 3:4-6, NKJV)
As we abide in Christ, we are empowered to walk in righteousness rather than sin. Abiding keeps us from lawlessness.
In 1 John 4, we are exhorted:
“Abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” (1 John 2:28-29, NKJV)
Here, abiding gives us confidence as we anticipate Christ’s return. It enables us to live righteously by the power of the new birth.
Abiding Brings Blessing
This survey of “abide” throughout Scripture helps us understand more fully its vital importance. Abiding in Christ, in His Word, and in His love sustains our lives as believers. It is the secret to fruitfulness and the antidote to sin and lawlessness. As we abide, we experience the very presence of God. What a glorious gift!
I encourage you to meditate on the meaning of abide. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you abide more fully in Him. Turn away from sin and self-effort. Rest joyfully in the vine of Christ, and delight yourself in His Word. As you do, you will bear much fruit to the glory of God.
- Abiding in Christ empowers believers to walk in righteousness.
- Abiding gives us confidence in Christ’s return.
- Abiding sustains our lives spiritually and brings great blessing.
- We must make every effort to abide in Christ through God’s Word and prayer.
May you be richly blessed as you seek to abide ever more deeply in our Savior who loves you with an everlasting love!