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"God wants the best for us" is a common phrase by Christians, but I struggle to identify with it. From the scriptures, I learned that what God gives us is good enough. I don't think it needs to be the 'best'. I feel that too many Christians are taking the word best too literally. They believe that there is only one best option that God would provide. Some churches extend the thought and only purchase the most expensive sound equipment or acquire the most expensive buildings because they feel God would give them the best.

So I'm asking for biblical references to support the phrase, "God wants the best for us".

  • I've edited this question to be more inline with site guidelines. Ref: "Biblical basis" vs "what the Bible says about a subject" – 3961 May 31 '15 at 22:06
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    'the best' doesn't mean the best material things but the best life from a spiritual perspective. Even being homeless can be the best for us if it's supposed to teach us how to love. – Grasper Jun 1 '15 at 12:36
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To me, the first consideration in answering your question is to identify exactly what the phrase means. It is easy enough to imagine that the phrase is used to mean that God wants us all to have "Hallmark" (R) moments--"When you care enough to send the very best". When you go to the butcher, God wants you to buy Prime grade instead of choice grade beef, Grade A eggs and dairy, and at the fish market, Grade A jumbo shrimp. Drive an Olds Delta 88 instead of a Chevy Chevette. In other words, God wants us to have the best things. But there is another way to read the sentence. That is, rather than God wanting us to have something which is best on some arbitrary scale, that God wants us to have what is "best for us". Grade A eggs are not best for someone allergic to eggs; Grade A milk is not best for someone who is lactose intolerant; and Grade A shrimp is not best for someone who has a shellfish allergy. And the notion of some kind of objective best is contrary to any number of Jesus' teachings: the lesson from the Sermon on the mount about not being concerned with what to eat, or what to wear (Matthew 7:25-33); the parable of the man who anticipated a large harvest, so he pulled down all his warehouses and built bigger ones (Luke 12:13-21); and the widow who put in a small offering which Jesus held in higher regard than the large offerings of wealthy people (Mark 12:41-44). These passages, and many others like them in Scripture, seem to support the idea that phrase is meant to teach that God wants us to have what is "best for us", not some "best" based on an arbitrary measure.

What, then, is the origin of the phrase? It is not, as far as I can tell, a direct quotation from any the translations of the Scripture with which I am familiar, though I do not claim by any means to be familiar with all of the tens of English translations that have been made. I suspect that this is an example of the somewhat common phenomenon of attempting to quote the Bible without verifying that the passage says exactly what they remember it says. In other words, this is another example like that when people assert that the Bible teaches "Money is the root of all evil". However, the closest the Bible comes to this is 1 Timothy 6:10, where Paul writes "The love of money is the root of all evil." The two sentences are similar, but not identical, and the meaning is significantly different. I take the statement "God wants the best for us" as another example of the same phenomenon, where the phrase is a well-meaning mis-quotation of Romans 8:28a: "We know that in everything God works for good"..., perhaps colored by other teachings of Jesus, e.g. Matthew 7:11, "If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him?"

I would distinguish, too, between things that are meant for our benefit, and things that are meant for the edification of God. So I would set having a really good sound system in the Church so that the Word of God is heard better, or God is worshipped better is a different matter from having the very best sound system at home, so as to better hear a sporting event, or listen to one's own music. The former is an offering to God, and is consistent with the commands to make the items associated with worship of God, that is the vestments described for the High Priest of Israel, and the fixtures for Solomon's temple. The latter, to me, is more like the fellow described in Luke 12 cited above.

  • Thanks for your response. As 'best' is an absolute, there are many who are fixated on only receiving the very best from God. Again, my question was only on the biblical reference on 'good' vs 'best'. To me, there is a very distinct difference, and I would like to give my children "good enough" instead of "best" for many reasons. I like your example of "love of money as the root of all evil", although I prefer the translation "love of money as A root of all kinds of evil" – George May 31 '15 at 10:15
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    A lot of these minor word differentces, too, may arise from the use of different ones of the tens of translations available. There is also the paradox that I perceive in your answer over the difference between good and best. If there is one thing that by one measure might be thought "best", but for reasons of your own you want a different thing that is in someone's mind less than best for your children, then I would argue that what you want for your children is best for them, even if others would not agree. – brasshat May 31 '15 at 16:47
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    The question has significantly changed. You might want to edit your answer. The original was off-topic. – 3961 May 31 '15 at 22:08
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Is the phrase “God wants the best for us” biblical?

Yes. The problem often arises in that we can have a different idea of what "best" is than God does.

For Christians, we can see this desire expressed in the letter to the Romans;

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

For those who are not Christian we can see the desire of God that they do become Christian;

1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

We often have in our mind the desire for peace, comfort, health, and prosperity. These can be a hindrance to the spiritual growth God desires for us. What God considers "best" and "good" for us may not be what we would at first think.

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

  • Thanks for your response. Have you considered the possibility that sometimes, we don't need the 'best' option (definitions of 'best' aside)? The word 'good' has been repeated many times in the bible by God (I do note the word 'good' also holds the definition of the opposite of evil or of God). I'm just thinking, sometimes second best might be good enough, and even if God gives us second best, we should be contented enough. It does not necessarily need to yield the 'best' indirect outcome. This might seem trival, but to me, it might change how I see things in life. – George Jun 3 '15 at 9:42

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