Incense in the Bible New Testament

incense smoke

Question: “Can a Christian burn incense?

Does the Bible mention the use of incense?

Answer: Incense seems rather inconspicuous. It doesn’t seem like it would do any harm, other then possibly starting a fire. But many people want to live their lives strictly according to the Bible, and therefor they may wonder if burning incense is acceptable in their religion.

Incense is most often attributed to Asia, notably, countries such as India, Japan, China, Egypt, and the Middle East. Most people are aware of the use of incense within Indian/Hindu culture. It is almost an integral, expected construct within their practices.

However, those were not the only places where incense was popular.

Religions such as Judaism took part in these practices as well. In the Bible, god gave instructions which included constructing an incense altar, which was to be placed before the Holy of Holies. You can read the exact composition of this incense in in Exodus 30:34.

Many Jews considered incense to be symbolic of prayer.

“May my prayer be set before you like incense” (Psalm 141:2).

Even today, incense is still used in Orthodox churches. Typically they burn resin incense in a traditional censer. Most often frankincense and myrrh are used, but sometimes copal is substituted as well.

Some followers of the Catholic faith are even beginning to burn incense again, in an attempt to bring back some old traditions.

However, Hebrews 9:11-14 states that it is no longer necessary to burn incense in order to worship God.

Of course, as a modern Christian, you have every right to burn or not burn incense. This is up to you and you should do what you feel brings you closer to where you want to be. My understanding though, is that there is nothing stopping a devout Christian from burning incense. You could even keep it traditional and burn frankincense and myrrh resin.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. – (Proverbs 21:2)

I hope you enjoyed the article!

This article was updated on 07/31/2020.

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