What does the Bible say about sparrows?
Sparrows or finches are short-beaked tiny birds ready to make noise, stay active, and prolific. The temple precincts gave protection to the sparrow in biblical times. Even though sparrows were inexpensive to purchase, the Lord was concerned about their welfare. Not a single sparrow fell to the ground without His awareness, and He valued people considerably more. Take a closer look at the biblical history of sparrows to find out how much you mean to God.
Christian quotes about sparrows
“There is only one creature that God has made that ever doubts Him. The sparrows doubt not. They sweetly sing at night as they go to their roosts, though they know not where tomorrow’s meal shall be found. The very cattle trust Him, and even in days of drought, you have seen them when they pant for thirst, how they expect the water. The angels never doubt Him, nor the devils. Devils believe and tremble (James 2:19). But it was left for man, the most favored of all creatures to mistrust his God.”
“He, who counts the very hairs of our heads and suffers not a sparrow to fall without him, takes note of the minutest matters that can affect the lives of his children, and regulates them all according to his perfect will, let their origin be what they may.” Hannah Whitall Smith
“Gentlemen, I have lived a long time and am convinced that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? I move that prayer imploring the assistance of Heaven be held every morning before we proceed to business.” Benjamin Franklin
Sparrows meaning in the Bible
Sparrows are one of the most frequently mentioned birds in the Bible. The Hebrew term for sparrow is “tzippor,” which refers to any little bird. This Hebrew term appears in the Old Testament more than forty times but only twice in the New Testament. Additionally, sparrows are clean birds safe for human consumption and sacrifice (Leviticus 14).
Sparrows are little brown and gray birds who prefer company to solitude. In Bible geography, they were plentiful. They like to make their nests in vineyards and bushes and the eaves of houses and other hidden places. Seeds, green buds, tiny insects, and worms make up the sparrow’s diet. Sparrows were looked down upon in biblical times as they were noisy and busy. They were considered unimportant and irritating. However, it was the sparrow that Jesus used to illustrate our value to God.
God’s mercy and compassion are so deep and vast that they reach out to the tiniest creatures up to the largest, including humans. Sparrows have also been used as symbols of liberty, particularly the freedom for humans to use their free will and choose between good and evil. But, on the other hand, a lone sparrow perched on a roof symbolized melancholy, misery, and insignificance.
1. Leviticus 14:4 “the priest shall order that two live clean birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop be brought for the person to be cleansed.”
2. Psalm 102:7 (NKJV) “I lie awake, And am like a sparrow alone on the housetop.”
3. Psalm 84:3 “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.”
4. Proverbs 26:2 “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.”
Value of sparrows in the Bible
Because of their size and quantity, sparrows were sold as meals to the impoverished in Biblical times, albeit such small birds must have made a pitiful supper. Jesus mentions their inexpensive price twice.
In Matthew 10:29-31, Jesus said to the apostles, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” He was preparing them for their first mission, to help bring people to faith. Luke reports on this topic as well in verses 12:6-7.
In modern English sources, an Assarion translates as a penny, was a tiny copper currency valued one-tenth of a drachma. The drachma was a Grecian silver currency valued slightly higher than the American penny; it was still considered pocket money. And for this modest sum, a poor person could purchase two sparrows to sustain himself.
The importance of these scriptures is we see how much Jesus cares even for the most annoying animals. He knows how cheap they are and keeps a running number of the birds. Sparrows were plentiful, and they were sold and murdered for pennies on the dollar. But notice what Jesus is saying about these birds in relation to His disciples. Every single sparrow, including those bought, sold, and murdered, is known to God. He is not only aware of each of them, but He will never forget them. Sparrows will never know Christ’s many blessings, but we can. As Jesus stated, we are worth far more to God than a flock of sparrows.
5. Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV) “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
6. Luke 12:6 (ESV) “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.”
7. Jeremiah 1:5 (KJV) “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
8. Jeremiah 1:5 King James Version 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
9. 1 Corinthians 8:3 (NASB) “but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.”
10. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
11. Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
12. Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
13. Psalm 33:18 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love.”
14. 1 Peter 3:12 “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, And His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of the Lord is against evildoers.”
15. Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”
God sees the little sparrow
If God can see a little sparrow and find worth in something so tiny and inexpensive, He can see you and all of your needs. Jesus was pointing out that we should never conceive of God as cold and uncaring. He is aware of all we are going through in life. Nor is God somewhere else when we are experiencing misery, sadness, persecution, challenges, separation, or even death. He is right alongside us.
What was true then remains true today: we are more valuable to God than many sparrows, and no matter what we are going through, God is with us, watching over us and loving us. He is neither distant nor uncaring; instead, He has proved His care and grace towards His creation by sparing His own Son. God knows every sparrow, but we are the ones He cares about more.
This is not to imply Jesus promised His disciples an end to suffering. In fact, when Jesus said that God’s eyes were on the sparrows, He was encouraging His followers not to fear persecution, not because it would be removed, but because God would be with them in the midst of it, mindful of their pain and full of compassion.
16. Psalm 139:1-3 (NLV) “O Lord, You have looked through me and have known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I get up. You understand my thoughts from far away. 3 You look over my path and my lying down. You know all my ways very well.”
17. Psalm 40:17 “But I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my helper and deliverer; O my God, do not delay.”
18. Job 12:7-10 “But just ask the animals, and have them teach you; And the birds of the sky, and have them tell you. 8 Or speak to the earth, and have it teach you; And have the fish of the sea tell you. 9 Who among all these does not know That the hand of the Lord has done this, 10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?”
19. John 10:14-15 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
20. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
God cares for the sparrow
God is interested in more than simply the highlights of our lives. Because we are His creation, fashioned in His likeness, He is concerned about every part of who we are (Genesis 1:27). All of His creatures, including plants, animals, and the environment, are cared for by Him. Matthew 6:25 reads, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Jesus mentions that the birds do not do any work to maintain their lives, yet God does. He knows what the sparrows need and takes care of them as they cannot on their own. They eat because God provides their food, and they stay safe in nests supplied by God. Every aspect of their being is carefully monitored, counted, and nurtured by the Creator who loves them.
In Psalm 84:3, we read, “Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.” Our Father has made a home for every bird and animal on the earth, providing a place for them to care for their young and a place to rest.
God places a high value on birds. They were made on the fifth day, but man was not made until the sixth. Birds have been on the planet longer than humans! God created several types of birds for certain purposes, just as He did people. Birds represent power, hope, oracles, or omens.
The Bible mentions birds not to take up space but because they are creations of God, and He loves them. Every time a bird is mentioned, it represents something significant. When we read about a bird and do not stop to consider why it is there in that particular section, we miss the mark. They are cited to convey a deeper meaning. Consider the biblical birds to be messengers with life lessons for every one of us.
21. Job 38:41 “Who prepares feed for the raven When its young cry to God, And wander about without food?”
22. Psalm 104:27 “All creatures look to You to give them their food in due season.”
23. Psalm 84:3 “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.”
24. Isaiah 41:13 “For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
25. Psalm 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?”
26. Matthew 6:30(HCSB) “If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith?”
You are more valuable than many sparrows
We can observe that Jesus was concerned with the details of people’s lives during His earthly career. Quality has always been more important to Jesus than quantity. Although Jesus was sent to redeem the lost and close the breach between man and God created by the fall, He still took the time to address the immediate needs of everyone He met. God takes care of the birds, but He values us even more and takes better care of us, the ones made in His image.
In the verses above, Jesus reassured His disciples that they were valuable to God. This was not a casual type of valuing, Jesus assured them. God does not merely like us or think we are fine; He knows everything about us and keeps track of everything that happens to us. If He can care so much about even a little bird, we can expect even more concern and care from our Father.
27. Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns–and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
28. Matthew 10:31 “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
29. Matthew 12:12 “How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
How many times are birds mentioned in the Bible?
The Bible makes numerous references to birds. There are approximately 300 references to birds in the Bible! Sparrows are specifically mentioned in Matthew 10, Luke 12, Psalm 84, Psalm 102, and Proverbs 26. Many other birds, including doves, peacocks, ostriches, quail, ravens, partridges, eagles, and even storks, are mentioned. The most mentioned birds in the Bible are doves, eagles, owls, ravens, and sparrows. Doves show up 47 times in scriptures, while eagles and owls are in 27 verses each. Ravens gain eleven mentions while sparrows are in the Bible seven times.
Because of two distinguishing characteristics—wings and feathers—birds are rarely confused with other members of the animal kingdom. These characteristics make birds fitting for spiritual lessons.
30. Genesis 1:20 20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”
Sparrows are precious to God, as clearly displayed in the Bible. “Consider the birds of the air,” Jesus says because they do not have to worry about what they will eat or drink (Matthew 6:26). We are not birds, but if God provides food and other essentials for His winged animals, He definitely provides for us as well. God’s love for us is immeasurable as we are made in His image. While He provides for the sparrows and counts them, we are far more important to Him.
Think of the popular song ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’ as we can gain so much understanding from this beautiful hymn. We do not need to be lonely because God is watching out for us even more than He does for tiny birds. Even the things that seem insignificant, like the number of hairs on our head, God knows. No matter what temptations or troubles come your way, God will care for you and stay with you as He sets you free.