Bible Stories About Forgiveness: 5 Inspirational Scripture Summaries

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

The Bible is one long story of how God reaches out to show His love and forgiveness to mankind. In Genesis 3:15 God gives His first promise of a Redeemer who would forgive the world of their sin. God gives various stories in His Word demonstrating forgiveness.

Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25, 27, 32, 33)- Forgiveness Bible Story

The twins Jacob and Esau were very different from one another. One was a man’s man. Esau loved outdoor activities like tending the sheep and hunting. Jacob preferred to stay at home and learn from his mother.

One day Esau came in from the field famished. He begged Jacob to give him something to eat. In return Jacob sold a bowl of soup to his older twin in exchange for the birthright. Esau traded the larger portion of their inheritance for a bowl of beans. (Genesis 25:29-34)

The deception continued. When their father Isaac knew he was near death he requested that his manly son Esau kill a deer to prepare a fine meal before dividing the estate. Rebbecca, the mother of the twins, heard the request and helped Jacob pull off a grand scheme to fool Isaac into giving Jacob the larger portion of the inheritance.

In the end, Jacob had to run for his life. He fled to another country to find his mother’s relatives who would care for him. It was many years before he returned to his own family. When he did, he heard that his brother Esau was looking for him. The deceiver Jacob was scared. He devised a plan so that his brother could only destroy half of Jacob’s wealth if he was caught. (Genesis 32)

When they finally met, Esau ran to Jacob and hugged him and kissed him and showed forgiveness and mercy. He had so forgiven Jacob that he was surprised Jacob would even think that there might be hard feelings between them. (Genesis 33)

Joseph (Genesis 37-50)- Forgiveness Among Brothers

The 11th son born to Jacob was Joseph. God revealed His plan for the life of Joseph when he was still a young boy. Joseph excitedly talked with his brothers about God’s plans. His brothers became jealous and eventually sold him into slavery while telling their father Jacob that his favorite son had been killed by a wild animal.

Joseph was bought by a man who eventually recognized Joseph’s honesty. The man gave Joseph great freedom even though he was still a slave. Eventually Joseph was wrongly accused of a crime and ended up in prison. Joseph’s integrity won him favor with the jail keepers and he became a guard over other prisoners. Through time God elevated Joseph to great power within the kingdom.

The brothers thought Joseph was dead. They did not suspect that the man they stood before was their own brother Joseph. When Joseph revealed himself, they were shocked to know he was alive. They even feared for years that he would seek retribution. After the family was reunited they lived together in Egypt. When their father passed away, the brothers began to fear even more that Joseph would finally show his hatred towards them (Genesis 50:15). Joseph was heartbroken when he learned they still did not trust him and that they feared what he would do to them (Genesis 50:17).

This amazing story of forgiveness culminates with these words from Joseph to his brothers:

“And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.” (Genesis 50:19-21)

David and Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9)- Another Great Bible Story About Forgiveness

Though King Saul tried to destroy David throughout the book of 1 Samuel, David responded with kindness and forgiveness to the household of Saul. After he became king, David looked for anyone who was still living from the household of Saul so that he could demonstrate his love and friendship for Jonathan, Saul’s son.

David showed kindness to Mephibosheth by restoring to him and his family the land owned by the former king. David paid to have the land farmed and cared for. As for Mephibosheth himself, David made a place for him at his own table so that he was accepted as part of the kings family.

Prodigal Son (Luke 15)- Forgiving Bible Story Between A Father and a Son

Jesus taught a story that illustrates redemption, love and forgiveness in Luke 15:11-32. It is commonly called the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

There was a man who had two sons. The oldest was obedient and content to live with his father. The younger couldn’t wait to get away from the family to live life on his own terms. When he was able, he went to his father to ask for his portion of the inheritance. When he got his money he ran off to a far away land. Jesus says that the young man wasted his money in wild living. A short time later the economy bottomed out and the man had no money, no job and no friends. He was willing to take whatever job he could get and ended up taking care of pigs for a farmer. He was so destitute that he was willing to eat the pig feed to stay alive.

The young man wised up and realized that he had a loving father who treated his servants better than the boy was currently living. He decided to return home as a servant to the father. At least he would have food to eat. Little did he know, his father was expecting the boy’s return. As soon as the father saw the young man on the horizon, he ran to him with open arms of forgiveness.

Though the boy returned with hopes of just being a servant, the father accepted him as the son he always was. The boy was forgiven and restored to his former position in the family.

Woman Taken in Adultery (John 8)- A Bible Story Where Jesus Examples Forgiveness

In a show of His own divinity, Jesus forgave a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. She was brought to the Lord by the spiritual leaders in town. They wanted to see if Jesus, claiming to be the Son of God, would obey the Law of God and have the woman stoned. Instead, Jesus said that they were welcome to start the stoning as soon as they felt like they were without sin and did not deserve a stoning of their own. They dropped their rocks and walked away.

Jesus feigned surprise when he looked up from playing in the dirt and the woman was standing there alone with no accusers. Asking her if there was anyone left to accuse her of her sin, she answered “No.” Jesus responded, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

Forgiveness is an attribute of God that we are consistently taught in the Bible that we too can demonstrate to others.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

bible stories for children April 20, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Bible Stories should be taught to children when they are still very young. This builds a deep foundation and knowledge for their faith in their later years


RI August 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.(proverbs22:6)

children are what their parents teach them.(need i say more.)


francis September 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm

i realy like this messages


Fiona golah October 3, 2012 at 3:38 am

I really like and appreciate this message


Golly May 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I love god he is so amazing and a liveing God not a stone or gold he is good to me and my family even when we do not thank him


jim October 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm

thank u and God 4 the wondaful stories that give me hope and love


lorraine October 27, 2012 at 10:54 pm

thanks for the inspiring messages…may the LORD continue to bless you


Joe Shrager November 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Children are open and positive — more so than their adult counterparts. Children naturally accept a message if its framed with what they perceive as positive genuine and loving. Parents should reconize this and assist their children to transfer this easy acceptance and place it in the hands of providence. Teaching forgiveness using the bible helps affirm this more than vital connection.


Bhumika December 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I am a Hindu girl but have faith in Jesus.He has always shown me a right path to move on.I feel his presence in my heart and soul.I have been in a relationship with Lord Jesus for a long time.I always feel blessed to have him as my savior.Lord’s teaching has changed my life for betterment and I know that Holly Spirit is showering its glory on me since a long time.Lord keep me in your arms and on the path of righteousness forever.Your child Bhumika.


John Leslie Gibson February 23, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Can you tell me where in the bible the story is about the wealthy man who stole a poor man’s sheep and when it was told to the rich man what had happened, he stated that the rich man should be put to death. And then it was revealed to him that he in fact is the rich man.


David Peach May 20, 2013 at 7:11 pm

2 Samuel 12:1-15


J.Shivin8r March 25, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Thank you, i am now intriged to look deeper into my faith, could you please send me further information about other themes that are present in scripture. Thank you again, hoping to hear from you!


David Peach May 20, 2013 at 7:14 pm

You can sign up to get our free ebook and I believe that puts you on the mailing list to get notified each week about the new articles on the site.


Douublay March 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Hey its Douublay here, long time reader, first time commenter. I agree with you J.Shivin8r. I am very interested. Could you please provide me with more information too. AMEN. #ilovegod


David Peach May 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm

You can sign up to get our free ebook and I believe that puts you on the mailing list to get notified each week about the new articles on the site.


Douuublay March 26, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Hey guys, douuublay here, long time reader, first time commentter. I just wanted to say that i agree J.Shivin8r. I would love some more bible messages and themes sent to me! Love this site. Thank you. Amen. #Godisgreat


Vengesai Kadzimu (Mr) September 24, 2014 at 12:34 am

A great source of information that gave me great stuff on forgiveness as i prepare to share on the subject.
May God bless you and use you more and more.


Allison Alfieri February 21, 2016 at 6:24 pm

My husband of 16 years is an unbeliever! I didn’t find out until 13 years into the marriage when he began secretly communicating and writing with his sister (who has opened a business as a medium/channelor)!!! For the last three years I have been so very confused about whether or not I have just grounds for divorce because I want to be pleasing to God! Can you help me with any biblical advice? Thank you and God bless you in all you’re doing!


Jack Wellman February 21, 2016 at 7:58 pm

I am so very sorry for such heartache Allison. I know that Jesus said except for adultery, there are no biblical grounds for divorce although violence is a place a spouse must escape. Have you talked with your pastor about this? Would your husband go to counseling? This man needs saved. Only God can change the human heart (Pro 21:1) so let’s pray for that or he faces an dreadful eternity.


Pastor Jeff October 8, 2016 at 9:59 am

Start thanking him now. He’s been too good to us.


Trixi November 4, 2016 at 11:01 pm

I absolutely loved this!!!


Hephzibah April 14, 2017 at 12:29 am

Dear Bhumika… you have written than am a hindu… but one important thing I want to tell you You are a child of GOD. GOD made you to become as a child of GOD. GOD bless you so much… Please continue your salvstion untill rapture…. AMEN


Tom January 25, 2018 at 8:04 pm

There’s a bedtime story about forgiveness in the form of a story of a little dog (pug dog, I think) that was always making trouble for her owners, and the little girl’s parents wanted to get rid of the dog. The theme of the story is how God forgives anybody, regardless of what we’ve done wrong, just as the little girl forgives the little dog. I would love to find a copy of the book with this story in it.


Sophia October 22, 2018 at 6:20 pm

You’re the best!


Kate October 6, 2019 at 5:02 pm

Who wrote it first? Identical article found at:


Jack Wellman October 6, 2019 at 5:35 pm

Hello Kate. I am not sure what you are asking. Our articles have been stolen dozens and dozens of times. The one we wrote here on this site was done in 2011. I checked their site and they have aobut 11 of our articles, published more recently, but this happens a lot. Sad that other Christian websites would do that. It is sin to steal the labor or work of another and then claim it as their own, not even giving us credit nor the author.


Leo Schoof September 7, 2020 at 8:09 am

I am impressed with your web site and would love to learn more.


Ema October 27, 2020 at 4:41 am

Thank u God,Jesus,Mary for all of the blessing, and I’m really really sorry for all of our sins,thank you for for this wonderful story this may help me in my daily lives and in the future


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