Be Still and Know that I am God – The Meaning of Be Still Will Surprise You

Be Still and Know that I Am God the Meaning of Be Still Will Surprise You

“Be still and know that I am God,” is one of the most well known and beloved Bible verses for many. I was surprised to know the meaning of the words be still and I think this meaning (particularly in the New Testament) will surprise you too.

(Watch, listen, or read.)

The words – Be Still – in the English dictionary can mean not moving, and being quiet.  From a biblical perspective, these two words take on much greater meaning.

Meaning One: Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

The first meaning comes from the Old Testament and the verse from Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God. God is defending His city and people. The Hebrew definition is to stop striving, to let go, surrender. The chapter begins and ends with God is our refuge.

We can take comfort in letting go and resting in God to provide help, strength and safety.

Meaning Two: Peace! Be still! Mark 4:39

A sermon at church focused on the passage from Mark, Chapter 4, where Jesus uses the words, “Peace, be still!” (The exclamation point is there for a reason.) I was surprised and actually had to laugh when our pastor illustrated the literal meaning of be still.

The story is also told in Matthew and Luke which portrays an extremely busy day where Jesus was healing people, casting out demons and speaking. While the scripture doesn’t say this, the picture is painted that Jesus was exhausted and overwhelmed. He requested a boat to escape the crowds that were coming to him.

On the journey, a huge storm rolled in. The disciples were afraid for their lives. They looked for Jesus to help them and found him fast asleep from exhaustion. They were terrified because of the storm and woke Jesus up.  According to Mark’s account, Jesus was not happy.  In his frustration he yelled, “Peace, Be Still!”  The storm and the huge waves stopped immediately.  The literal translation of, Be Still, taken from the Greek, is – Hush! And in modern terms: Shut Up!

Another pastor I met told me about that translation and used the analogy of the proverbial, family road trip.  You know the one, with the kids in the back seat saying, “Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?”  The answer, of course, is be still or hush!

How often do we ask God for everything, but we don’t stop to listen or to be still?   The act of being still and getting quiet becomes more of a challenge in our hectic world. The world asks us to be busy. God asks us to be still so that we can receive love, peace and guidance.

Along with busyness comes the fearful and anxious thoughts we hold onto. It’s been stated that we have upwards of 50,000 thoughts a day. Those thoughts aren’t always pretty. You know the ones, I can’t believe I messed up, I’m an idiot, I can’t do it, It’s too hard, I’m a failure, I’m a fraud, I’m too old, I’m too young…..

We must learn to tell our fearful and anxious thoughts to shut up, just as Jesus calmed the sea. Jesus immediately asked the question to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Have you so little faith?”

Quieting the mind, shutting up the mind requires practice. One powerful way to shut up thoughts that don’t serve us is by practicing meditation.

For whatever reason, meditation has not been a mainstay of traditional Christian, religious organizations.  Prayer and Bible reading are encouraged as well as the occasional mention of contemplative prayer, but not so much meditation.  Jesus, John the Baptist and others went off to meditate and to take themselves away from the hectic world.

Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Meditation helps to renew the mind, to be still, to let go and surrender, to shut up the thoughts that do not serve us.

Many people are intimidated by silence.  Silence can cause you to address issues that you might be running from.  It’s easy to fill each day with busyness and then block out concerns through hours of mind-numbing television viewing, Internet surfing or reading magazines.  None of these activities are bad.  However, if they are used to fill a void that is not being filled, over time, the toll will manifest itself in the form of lost relationships, lost opportunities and lost dreams never being fulfilled.

The next time you have fearful and anxious thoughts that are raging within you like a violent storm, do as Jesus did. Silence those thoughts by saying, “Peace, be still.” When you need strength and help, let go and rest in God, your refuge. “Be still and know that I am God.”

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134 Responses to Be Still and Know that I am God – The Meaning of Be Still Will Surprise You

  • Hi Theresa,
    Thank you for writing and sharing how the Be Still article touched you. God is the God of provision. May you continue to be still and listen for God’s guidance.
    Wishing you peace and blessings and God’s provision.
    In Christ’s love,

  • What a wonderful and insightful article. Came across your article while studying Psalm 37 & 46. I am going through some personal crises with finance and have been praying with my teenage daughter since last week and today, we decided to be still and hear from God. After reading your article I broke down in tears especially Psalm 46:10 touched me deeply how God reassured His people, the Israelites that He is God and will fight their battles and defend them! They just have to be still and know that He is God. Amen

  • Hi Angela,
    Thank you for your comment. I wrote back in your other comment. Thank you for sending the reference to TB Joshua Emmanuel for those that might be interested. May you “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
    Peace and blessings,

  • Hi Angela,
    Thank you for your comment. I saw that you also commented saying that you were a Buddhist and are now a Christian. Am not sure what you are saying if you consider meditation to be engaging in spiritual warfare? The meditation I speak about is meditating on God, just like Psalm 1 says, “But their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.” When I speak of clearing out thoughts, it is clearing those thoughts of fear, worry, and anxiety to receive Christ’s peace.
    Hope that brings more clarity.
    Peace to you,

  • I was taught that to take thoughts to shut up its through taking authority as God’s child to take Captive of every ungodly thoughts and bind it. Here is how I was taught to pray:

    Example 1 .. when thoughts of self condemnation or of any other negative….
    “In the name of Jesus, shut up. I cover myself with the blood of Jesus, God has not given me a spirit of fear but a spirit of love, power and a sound mind. I claim the mind of Christ now.”

    Example 2…. In the name of Jesus I bind every ungodly thoughts. Jesus, help me. Amen.

    I thought its binding …. not meditation that was a way we learn how to use bible verse to rout the spiritual warfare. Since we want to clear our mind which is engaging in spiritual realm it’s actually spiritual warfare.

  • Emmanuel. Hi Jackie.. I’m just a new christian who used to be a Buddhist. So reading on many of the pages u wrote in yr website I cant help to feel an urge to message u. But it feels like very hard to communicate as a comment and I dont want it to sound like just a comment but I want to understand more. For now.. just wan to share.. TB JOSHUA from Emmanuel TV has very good sermons. Pls go take a look in YouTube. Amen. Thank you.

    I’m from singapore.

  • Hi Michael,
    Thank you for sharing your testimony here. I’m sure as you practice being still and are attentive to God’s voice and direction, and take inspired action, that you will continue to manifest your dreams when they are in alignment with what God dreams for you. : )
    Peace and blessings,

  • I just watch a certain awesome video of a young man few on Saturday last week talking about be still and know that I am God. I have never known the meaning, I always understand it to my own way. But as God may have it, I don’t know what I was browsing on the internet reading the Bible online. I came across the words here again. Well, I got a revelation from my prophet that my time in the country Ghana where I live has expired, and I have to relocate immediate, I shouldn’t look the situation of things with me or how much I have in my bank account, that I should start processing on my traveling documents that God has assured me that Hes backing me on the journey, as long as I do the Will of God. I look on what I have but it wasn’t enough, but I listen to the word of the prophecy and I went ahead to start processing my visa. He told me that everything I needed shall be provided to me in that Land where He is sending me to start spreading the word of God to the people, I have not get deep into ministry work and do not know much so I am asking more to God open my eyes, because my body is empty to carry the word. I ask for the spirit of Understanding, as I am so anxious to hear from Him. Well to make a long story short. I left Match, from the country which have expired and can’t yield me fruit anymore, according to the word I received from my Prophet. I applied for visa April, and I got my Visa in June, I had a dream on Wednesday, I went for morning cleaning because we use to have evening “Communion Service” I am the head of sanitary department in the church. when I saw a package on the church pulpit, I was like who drop these, well maybe someone sow a seed, but when I get closer, I saw a passport from the package because it was a transparent nylon, but when I look at it, a brother in church name was written on it so I apply faith and said mine should be inside. On Thursday I got a call from the agent that my visa is ready. I called the Man of God and told him about my dream and my visa. He said praise God, and he said to that is to tell you that God is involve to my Journey on my dream. Please, yesterday Sunday is my two weeks in the country of South Africa, where I am now! I am still praying asking for God promises to manifest physically to me.

  • Hi Judith,
    Thank you for sharing. Robert and I just moved a few minutes away to a new home, so, I can’t imagine moving states away! It’s a very stressful time. So, I’m just responding to your comment.
    I’m glad you found my article of comfort. Yes, we all want certainty and to know what is coming. Prayers for peace and guidance. I’m sure God’s blessings will chase you down!

  • Amen, My name is Judith and My husband and I were called to leave Chicago and move to Florida for ministry.( Never been in ministry this is the first call) This was soooo scary !! We heard Father tell us to ‘Trust him” and MANY things have occurred upon our arrival and even now. Lately , I have been overwhelmed and several times have been asking sooo many questions concerning our move to Father . The last few days I keep hearing in my spirit ” Be Still and Know that I am GOD !! Thank the Father for this article and I bless his name for sharing what he is telling me . Oftentimes we want to know all the plans but this will help me to wait on his word and timing. Much love and blessings.

  • Hi Juanita,
    Thank you for sharing. How exciting to start new work in Germany! I am extremely OCD when I travel, especially abroad just because I want to make sure I have everything I need, even after making a list and checking it twice (more like 5 times) ;). It’s only natural to be afraid when making a change, especially a big one like this. But you have to still the loud voices of fear that can overwhelm you.
    It takes a lot of practice to quiet the mind of it’s judgments. I tell those thoughts to “be still” very often!
    I love that you even recognized that you need to “allow” Peace to come into your life. God offers us this freedom from worry and anxiety if we only accept this gift and allow it to flow into our lives. So simple. Not easy, I know.
    Sending prayers for peace. Take each moment at a time in this new venture.
    Best wishes and blessings!!!

  • What a timely blessing this article was for me. This morning while i layed still, I heard in my mind the scripture: Be still and know that I am God.
    I needed to read and embrace the directive to Stop Striving! Because of my controlling, overachieving
    OCD traits and personality, I need to hear hush,
    shut up and be still often. I imagined that I need to recognize where God begins and I end. Reality is, He is! The beginning and the ending and it’s In Him that I live. He’s blessed me supernaturally to work in Germany and I’ll be departing in 8 days. I’ve been very anxious about it. In fact striving to make sure everything is in place. Please pray that I will allow Peace to be still in my life. Thank you Jackie.

  • Hi Francisca,
    Thank you for sharing. May you continue to listen. : )
    Peace and blessings,

  • Be still.and know that I am God.
    I like this and I feel God speaking to me

  • Hi Robert!
    Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comment. I’m glad to hear that you have been practicing meditation for so long. Blessings on the work you are doing. It’s so important!
    Continued peace and blessings,

  • Excellent article Jackie! My wife Sheri and I are Christian mental health and substance abuse therapists and we teach meditation to our clients. I’ve been practicing this for 25 years and this is exactly how I pass my peace on to others! God bless you!

  • Hi Charlotte,
    Thank you for sharing.
    Peace and blessings,

  • To be still means to wait and remain focus in the Lord Jesus,thnx

  • Hi Zeck,
    Amen to that! Thanks for the lovely comment.
    Peace to you,

  • “Be still and know that i am God ” reveals the God in all of us. We all are an aspect of God.

  • Hi Michael,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.
    Peace and blessings,

  • this is not so easy to understand first. but when god says I!!!!! am god. I!!!!! am the truth, I!!!!! am LIFE. it means that you are not!

  • Hi Ken,
    Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.
    Peace to you,

  • Be still, shhhhhhh………..God ain’t a shouter.

  • Hi Nkechi,
    Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad that you have found answers. It is only in being still that we can listen, and as the Psalmist says, “Know God.” Keeping listening. :)
    Peace and blessings,

  • I can’t express how I feel right now but thank u Jackie for making yourself available to God. God knows what we truly need per time and he knows who to bring them our way. I am glad I find the answers to many questions via your journal. Especially on how to Be still inward. God bless and preserve you Jackie. Grant u all your heart desires.

  • Hi Dawn,
    Thank you for the kind words and blessing. I pray that I can do that too. :)
    Peace to you,

  • Thank you Jackie for the inspiring words from the Bible. “ be still and know that I am God” how wonderful to know that the Lord is always with us.
    I pray that I will be able to let go of all the anxieties and fears and be with God. To trust him always.
    May God bless you.

  • Hi Maria,
    Thanks for sharing your dream. I know what it’s like when dreams are so real. What a blessing to see your son. Perhaps it was just that, or perhaps God will reveal something as time goes on. Just be attentive. I’m glad that your heart has calmed down.
    Peace to you,

  • As I was reading all of the comments, my mind was racing all day fearing the storm that was headed my direction, n also my heart was extra heavy w grief as I had a dream of my beloved son who pass away 1 yr n 3 months ago. I had been praying that God would grant me this dream, I remember some parts but still puzzled as some I don’t remember, but in the dream I told my son,that I had had a dream that he had pass away n that’s when I woke up.I kid u not it was so real.I know God talks to us in dreams but I don’t know if there was a message for me didn’t understand it. Maybe God will reveal the meaning at another time n dream. R that God just wanted me to see my son, and I thank u Lord for that.And by reading this n the meaning of be still has given me peace n I am not afraid anymore my heart has calm down as well as the storm. Thank u Jesus

  • Hi Sandra,
    Thank you for reading and for sharing here in your comment. I can attest first-hand that God speaks to us with sometimes only one word. One such word God gave to me in prayer. The word was – wait. That was it. No wait on what, wait for an answer, wait for something in particular. It was just wait. That was in 2014. That was 3-1/2 years ago. The wait was that I needed to take care of my mother before she died. The wait was that I would write a book called God Notes – Daily Doses of Divine Encouragement. It wouldn’t be published until at this moment. During those three years I just waited. In that, I mean that I took what I now call inspired action, but I wasn’t planning on writing a book, or publishing a book, at least not this one. The two words you mentioned, Be still, are some of the most powerful two words that we can use throughout the day whenever we are anxious or moving too fast. Those words speak to our minds and to our hearts. I am glad that you are able to hear, Sandra. Keep listening. : ) Peace to you, Jackie

  • Hi Jackie
    I have felt overwhelmed for a long time but through yourself and others, The Lord is helping me to Be Still. I often find it difficult to find the words I need to express myself but while I was pondering on one of your past Enzines, He showed me that in fact, often it is only a few words that is best to convey a truth. The power and strength of the word is in the greater concentration and the few words are more potent. Does He not often speak to us using only a few “straight to the heart” words? Thank you for ministry. God bless. Sandra

  • Beautiful. Another favotrite scripture is Isaiah 30:15 “In quietness and confidence shall be Your strength.”

  • Thank you for the kind comment. You’ve blessed me in return.
    Peace and blessings,

  • So blessed and inspire for these….
    Continue Be a blessing to everyone

  • Hi Mosese,
    Thank you for posting here and for blessing me in return.
    Peace to you,

  • Thank you very much for the word of God…God bless you

  • Hi Terry,
    Thank you for commenting. May God bless you in your ministry to inmates.
    Peace and blessings,

  • Hi Tony,
    I believe it was the Sea of Galilee. Well, I doubt that the sea remained calm ever since. This was an instance where Jesus silenced the storm. While I study a lot, I am not a scholar on the Bible. I merely share what I’ve learned or what God puts on my heart.
    Thanks for reading and for commenting.
    Peace to you,

  • Hi Michelle,
    Thank you for commenting. I’m glad that the words made you feel better. If I become frazzled at all throughout the day, I will tell myself, “Be still.” It seems to help. :)
    Peace to you,

  • I was feeling down and I found myself singing “Be still and know that I am God.” Then suddenly I was moved to look up the meaning and I feel a lot better now.God bless you and thank you!

  • Thank you for your article I am using parts of it to minister to inmates.

  • Thank you for this post. Pls I will like to know the name of the sea that that Jesus said “peace be still” to his followers. And if the sea have remained calm ever since? Thank you.

  • Hello Murray,
    I’m glad you stumbled upon the post. : ) Thank you for commenting. I’m glad that you received a benefit from it. I just lost my mother on Sunday. All of the years of being still in God’s presence rose up to meet me in my time of need. It’s helped me get through this difficult time. So, I can testify of the importance of meditation. It’s not only a benefit in the present moment, but it helps us draw from the “peace that surpasses all understanding” when we need it.
    Peace to you,

  • Stumbled onto your page after typing in the Google word of Be Still & Know That I Am God. Emphasis on the.. ‘I Am’ literal significance!
    Thanks for the thought on meditation importance explained :)

  • Hi Samantha,
    Thank you for sharing. I’m glad that you feel reassured, safe in yourself and for those around you. I find myself saying, “Be still,” many times, sometimes multiple times a day! It is truly one of the most beautiful and simple Bible verses.
    Peace to you,

  • Hello Ankur,
    Thank you for your comment.
    Peace to you,

  • I heard this saying through a friend of friend and although I am uneducated about the Bible and God there was something special about this passage that I held on to for the past couple of months. As things were getting extremely busy in my life and I would fall into exhaustion day in and day out, trying to please everyone and not really knowing my purpose, this quote (apologies as I first found this as a quote) opened my eyes and literally made me ‘be still’. Now I have never felt more reassured, safe in myself and those around me and love this special message and hope to learn more about this in time.

  • I am that, I am that.
    Escape from all desires, be keep quiet, be alone where none can destroy your peace and realise ” you are GOD.
    You are not a body, you are not a mind, you are not intellect.
    You are soul, you are GOD.
    Ahm brhmasmi

  • Hi Jacqueline,
    Thank you for the comment. I’m glad you found this post this morning too! Letting go and letting God can be a moment by moment process! I know it can be for me. Yes, our part is to trust. God’s part is to do the rest. I would add that we also need to “rest” in God when we surrender all to him. There’s a prayer I use all of the time. You might find it helpful. God, please help me to get out of my own way.
    Peace to you,

  • I am glad I found this this morning! My daily devotional for today read Stop worrying long enough to hear my voice and to ask God’s spirit to quiet my mind. I have been struggling to push down my worries,concerns and anxiety due to lack of finances. But.. I have a great cure and I using it daily.( Use liberally as much as needed) The bible,prayers and Christian music is my medicine and meditation. I’m going to prepare a bath to soothe,soak and say ” Peace! Mind and thoughts be still I need to hear God’s voice”. Letting go and letting God. I surrender! I have done my part and asked God to do the rest.

  • Hi Angie,
    Thanks for reading and for commenting. Well, I can only answer with how I would interpret that. I had not heard this quoted as being the highest form of praise. For one, to be still is to be in God’s presence. When we are still, we are able to give our complete attention to someone. So, we show our respect and admiration to God with our attention. I know that with my husband Robert, we can be still together in each other’s presence without talking. We don’t need to talk. We share our love being present with one another. To “know” is to fully trust God. God is God, the Creator of all things. So, I can see why this can be called the highest form of praise. Hope that answered your question.
    Peace to you,

  • Why is Be still and know that I am God known as the highest form of praise?


  • Hi Susan,
    Thank you for reading and for sharing. When I first started blogging on meditation, I kept typing medication by mistake. It’s only off by one letter. :) It is wonderful to hear that you are meditating and that God is speaking to you. I always say that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God. May the medication help you and the meditation continue to feed you.
    Peace to you,

  • Thankyou when l spend time meditating God has been showing me many things in scripture that has not only spoken to me but other people but I spent so much on the floor that the old blood pressure went up sky high anyway l had prayer and been put on medication from the doctor and it’s gone right down to normal and also God has given me job my God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory

  • Hi Masha,
    Thanks for commenting. I’ve been having some weird dreams myself! It’s kind of fun to journal about them and write them down while you still remember them. Dreams are very powerful. I’m glad that you found some answers.
    Peace to you,

  • I recently had a weird dream and I woke up with the song: “Be still and know that I am God”, Thula wazi ngingu Thixo(IsiZulu). I knew it meant something and I’m very glad to find answers here. Thank you.

  • Hi John,
    I totally relate on calming the mind. It is a must. I was on a meditation retreat doing just that at Timber Creek Retreat House when your post came. : )
    Thank you for reading and for your comment.
    Peace to you.

  • Seek and ye shall find…
    I am John Others and have found peace in a strange way in calming the mind.
    Asking the right questions and finding the right answers lifts the veil of ignorance and forgetfulness.
    Who am I.. what am I… Being an enigma as irksome as the mystery of life…
    I am that I am… I exist.. Its a personal thing…
    I am spirit in a thought driven body… with a mind of its own.
    Do the answers lie in the records of antiquity…?

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