heart

heart

The center of one’s being. In the Bible, the term is used most often to refer to the human heart (814 times; cf. “the heart of God,” 26 times; “heart of the sea,” 11 times). The physical activity of the heart, though rarely mentioned, is what causes the limbs to move. A stopped heart indicates paralysis, not death (1Sam 25:37; 2Sam 18:14). Eating strengthens one’s heart (Gen 18:5 [NRSV: “refresh yourselves”]; Judg 19:5) and is associated with the heart’s recovery (1Kgs 21:7; Acts 14:17; Jas 5:5). The heart is the center of emotions, feelings, moods, and passions. Equated with the heart are joy (Deut 28:47; Acts 2:26), grief (Ps 13:2; Lam 2:11), ill temper (Deut 15:10), love (Phil 1:7), courage (2Sam 17:10; Ps 27:14), and fear (Gen 42:28). A swollen heart breeds arrogance (Isa 9:9), which is in marked contrast to the gentle and lowly heart of Jesus (Matt 11:29). The heart is also the source of thought and reflection (Isa 6:10; Mark 7:21-23). The heart understands (Deut 8:5; Isa 42:25), provides wisdom to rule justly and wisely (1Kgs 3:12; 1Kgs 10:24), and discerns good and evil (1Kgs 2:44). The heart also represents the idea of volition and conscience (1Sam 24:5; 2Sam 24:10). Since the heart is the center for decisions (2Sam 7:21), obedience, devotion, and intentionality, it represents the total human person. Within the heart, human beings meet God’s word (1Sam 12:24; Jer 32:40) and thus the heart becomes the location where conversion takes place (Ps 51:10; Joel 2:12; Acts 2:37).

1Sam 25:37

37In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him; he became like a stone.

2Sam 18:14

14Joab said, “I will not waste time like this with you.” He took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive i ... View more

Gen 18:5

5Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you hav ... View more

Judg 19:5

5On the fourth day they got up early in the morning, and he prepared to go; but the girl's father said to his son-in-law, “Fortify yourself with a bit of food, ... View more

1Kgs 21:7

7His wife Jezebel said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Get up, eat some food, and be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

Acts 14:17

17yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good—giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with ... View more

Jas 5:5

5You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.

Deut 28:47

47Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and with gladness of heart for the abundance of everything,

Acts 2:26

26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
moreover my flesh will live in hope.

Ps 13:2

2How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Lam 2:11

11My eyes are spent with weeping;
my stomach churns;
my bile is poured out on the ground
because of the destruction of my people,
because infants and babes fain ... View more

Deut 15:10

10Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.

Phil 1:7

7It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God's grace with me, both in my imprisonment ... View more

2Sam 17:10

10Then even the valiant warrior, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt with fear; for all Israel knows that your father is a warrior, and t ... View more

Ps 27:14

14Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

Gen 42:28

28He said to his brothers, “My money has been put back; here it is in my sack!” At this they lost heart and turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is th ... View more

Isa 9:9

9and all the people knew it—
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—
but in pride and arrogance of heart they said:

Matt 11:29

29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Isa 6:10

10Make the mind of this people dull,
and stop their ears,
and shut their eyes,
so that they may not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and compre ... View more

Mark 7:21-23

21For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder,22adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, en ... View more

Deut 8:5

5Know then in your heart that as a parent disciplines a child so the Lord your God disciplines you.

Isa 42:25

25So he poured upon him the heat of his anger
and the fury of war;
it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand;
it burned him, but he did not take ... View more

1Kgs 3:12

12I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.

1Kgs 10:24

24The whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind.

1Kgs 2:44

44The king also said to Shimei, “You know in your own heart all the evil that you did to my father David; so the Lord will bring back your evil on your own head ... View more

1Sam 24:5

5Afterward David was stricken to the heart because he had cut off a corner of Saul's cloak.

2Sam 24:10

Judgment on David's Sin
10But afterward, David was stricken to the heart because he had numbered the people. David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in w ... View more

2Sam 7:21

21Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have wrought all this greatness, so that your servant may know it.

1Sam 12:24

24Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you.

Jer 32:40

40I will make an everlasting covenant with them, never to draw back from doing good to them; and I will put the fear of me in their hearts, so that they may not ... View more

Ps 51:10

10Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.

Joel 2:12

12Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

Acts 2:37

The First Converts
37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.