Skip to content

What is the Definition of Contrite in the Bible | Bible

A contrite heart before Jesus Christ's cross is a heart that is willing to submit to the will of God and repent of its sins. It is a heart that recognizes its need for a Savior and turns to Him in faith. The contrite heart understands that Christ died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and that His blood is the only thing that can cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This heartbroken and humble spirit turns away from its own wickedness and throws itself on the mercy of God, pleading for His forgiveness and grace. Such a heart will be contrite before the cross of Christ every day, acknowledging its need for a Savior and depending on His finished work for salvation. When we come to Christ with a contrite heart, He promises to forgive us and give us everlasting life.

What is the Definition of Contrite in the Bible – When most people think of the word “contrite,” they think of someone who is sorry for their actions. But what does contrite mean in the Bible? In this blog post, we will explore the definition of contrite and discuss how it applies to our lives. We will also look at some examples from Scripture to see how God expects us to be contrite.

The definition of Contrite in the Bible is

 When you hear the word “contrite,” what comes to mind? Maybe you think of someone who is sorry for their mistakes, or someone who is trying to make up for something they did wrong. 

The dictionary defines contrite as “feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming.” But what does that mean in relation to the Bible? Let’s take a look at some verses that mention contrition to get a better understanding. 

In Psalm 51:17, King David prays, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Here, David is acknowledging his own sin and asking for forgiveness. He recognizes that he has done wrong and he is willing to change. A broken and contrite heart shows true repentance. 

Isaiah 57:15 says, “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.'” This verse tells us that God loves those who have repentant hearts. He wants to forgive us when we come to Him with humble spirits. 

2 Corinthians 7:10-11 says, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.” This passage tells us that there is a difference between godly grief (or remorse) and worldly grief. Worldly grief leads to death because it doesn’t result in true repentance. But when we come to God with genuine remorse for our sins , He will forgive us. 

When we come to God, we come with our brokenness. We come as sinners in need of forgiveness and grace. But our brokenness is not a hindrance to God's love for us. In fact, it is through our brokenness that God shows us His great love and mercy.When we admit our sinfulness and ask for forgiveness, God freely gives us His forgiveness and love. He doesn't give us what we deserve - death and separation from Him - but instead He gives us life and a relationship with Him. This is the wonder of God's grace. It is through His grace that we are forgiven and given new life. And it is only because of His grace that we can even approach Him. So let us all rejoice in the amazing grace of our wonderful God!

What does the word “contrite” mean in the Bible – Old Testament

The word “contrite” is used five times in the Bible, and its meaning is derived from the Latin word contritus, which means “crushed.” When we think of something that is crushed, we think of it as being broken into small pieces.

In the same way, when our hearts are contrite, they arebroken before God. This doesn’t mean that our hearts are physically broken, but rather that they are spiritually broken. We come to God with a sense of our own inadequacy and need for His forgiveness. The prophet Isaiah speaks of God’s people as being “contrite in heart and crushed in spirit” (Isaiah 57:15).

This means that they were fully aware of their own sinfulness and their need for God’s mercy. Psalm 51, often called the “penitential psalm,” is a perfect example of a contrite heart. In this psalm, David confesses his sin and pleads with God for forgiveness.

A contrite heart is one that has been broken by the realization of its own sinfulness and need for a Savior. It is only when our hearts are in this state that we can truly experience the forgiveness and salvation that God offers us.

The definition of contrite according to Merriam-Webster

The definition of contrite according to Merriam-Webster is “feeling or expressing sorrow and regret for having done wrong : repentant.” When we think of repentance, we often think of it in terms of being sorry for our sins. And while that is certainly part of it, true repentance goes much deeper. True repentance involves a change of heart and a change of mind.

It is a turning away from our old way of life and a turning towards God. It is a decision to live our lives in accordance with His will and His ways.

When we are truly contrite, we will experience a deep sense of sorrow for our sins, but we will also be filled with hope and joy because we know that God has forgiven us and He has promised to lead us on the path to eternal life.

When we bow before God it is the act of humility that allows us to open our hearts and minds to His instruction. Every great teacher throughout history has insisted on respect and attention from their students in order to impart knowledge. So too our Heavenly Father requires humility from us if we are to learn from Him. As His children, we are position to receive personal instruction from God Himself through prayer and Bible study. When we take the time to bow before Him in humble adoration, we position ourselves to be receptive to all He has to teach us. in doing so, we grow in our relationship with Him and become more like Him. As His Word tells us, "humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may exalt you in due time." (1 Peter 5:6) So let us remember that bowing before God is essential if we want to receive the instruction He so wants to give us.

What is the Hebrew Meaning of Contrite?

  • Dakka – Bruised – Contrite – Ps 34:18, Isa 57:15
  • Nakeh – To be bruised

The Hebrew word for “contrite” is חָלִיל (chaliyl). It’s derived from a root word meaning “to be feeble,” and it’s used in the Bible to describe someone who is broken or crushed in spirit. When we are contrite, we have a deep sense of our own sinfulness and need for God’s grace.

We see ourselves as we truly are—messy, fallen, and in need of redemption. The good news is that God isn’t looking for perfection; He’s looking for humility. He wants us to come to Him with a contrite heart, ready to receive His forgiveness and love.Like the Hebrew word for “contrite,” the English word “penitent” comes from a Latin root meaning “to be sorry.”

But unlike contrite, which describes our inner state, penitent describes our actions. To be penitent is to repent—to turn away from sin and toward God. It’s an active verb, not a passive one. And it’s an important part of the contrite heart. We can’t simply sit in our brokenness; we must strive to live lives that honor God.

This doesn’t mean we’re perfect; it just means we’re walking in the right direction.The contrite heart is one that has been changed by the knowledge of its own sinfulness and its need for a Savior. It’s a humble heart that seeks after God with repentance and faith.

And it’s a heart that knows the true meaning of forgiveness—not just as a concept, but as a reality made possible by the blood of Christ. If you have a contrite heart, thank God for His work in your life. And if you don’t, ask Him to give you one.

What is the Greek Meaning of Contrite?

The Greek word for “contrite” in the Bible is ekmetov, which is defined as “being deeply remorseful for something done.” This word appears only once in the Bible, in 2 Corinthians 7:10. In this verse, the Apostle Paul writes that godly sorrow leads to repentance, which brings salvation. The words “godly sorrow” come from the Greek metanoias, which is defined as “a change of heart and mind.”

This word appears several times in the New Testament. For example, in Acts 2:38, Peter tells sinners to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. In other verses, such as Acts 3:19 and 17:30, repentance is equated with turning away from sin and believing in Jesus Christ. Thus, when the Bible speaks of contrite hearts, it is referring to deep remorse for a sin that leads to repentance and salvation.

When we show our contrite heart in secret, God rewards us. He sees our sorrow and repentance, and He is moved by it. He knows our every thought and motive, and He knows that we are sincere in our regret. As a result, He blesses us in ways that we could never imagine. He gives us His peace and comfort, and He opens doors for us that we never thought possible. In short, He shows us His mercy and grace when we turn to Him with a contrite heart. We may not always see the results of our contrition immediately, but we can be confident that God hears us and will respond in His perfect timing.

What are Synonyms of Contrite in the Bible / Meanings and Implications

  • Broken spirit
  • Broken heart
  • Humble spirit
  • Contrite heart
  • Repentant heart
  • Godly sorrow
  • True repentance
  • Deep Sorrow

7 Steps on How to become Contrite / Broken according to the Bible

Here are seven steps on how to become contrite according to the Bible

First, realize that you are a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This step is essential because unless you recognize your need for forgiveness, you will never seek it. 

Second, realize that your sin has consequences. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This step is vital because it helps us to understand the seriousness of our sin and its effects. 

Third, realize that Jesus died in our place. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This step is critical because it shows us that even though we are sinners, God loves us enough to die for us. His death makes forgiveness possible. 

Fourth, repent of your sins and turn to Jesus. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This step is essential because it is only through repentance that we can receive forgiveness. 

Fifth, surrender your life to Jesus Christ. “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:8-9). This step is crucial because it is only through surrendering our lives to Christ that we can be saved from our sin. 

Sixth, receive the Holy Spirit. “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:11). This step is important because it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can live a life pleasing to God

Seventh, follow God’s commands. “And thisGospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations after this.” This step finally brings everything together by reminding us that once we have become contrite and have received forgiveness, we must take care to obey God’s commands.”

The broken heart and contrite spirit that god speaks about in Psalm 51:17 is not a feeling of being sad or sorrowful. It is a humble state of complete submission to God. It is acknowledging that we are weak and needy without Him. It is admitting that we have sinned and made mistakes. And it is asking for His forgiveness and His help. When we have a broken heart and contrite spirit before God, we are in a position to receive His blessings. He can heal our hearts, forgive our sins, and give us His peace. He can renew our hope and give us a new beginning. We may not always feel broken, but when we come to God with humility and honesty, He will meet us where we are and bless us abundantly.

Examples of people who were contrite in the Bible

The broken hearted and contrite in spirit are those who have a renewed perspective. They have been crushed by life and have had the humility to let God rebuild them. The fact that He can take the broken pieces of our lives and create something beautiful is a testimony to His greatness. The Bible is full of examples of people who had their hearts broken and their spirits crushed but were later used mightily by God. 


Moses is one example. After committing murder, he had to flee for his life. He was living in obscurity when God appeared to him in a burning bush and called him to lead His people out of bondage. Moses was humble enough to obey, even though he didn’t feel qualified, and because of his obedience, he led the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. 


David is another example. He was an unlikely choice to be king because he was the youngest son in his family and was tending sheep when Samuel anointed him. But David had a heart after God , and even though he made some major mistakes along the way, he is remembered as a man after God’s own heart. David’s sin brought him to a place of brokeness because of his love of God.


The prophet Isaiah also had a broken heart and contrite spirit. He saw the glory of God and then saw his own sinfulness, and he cried out, “Woe is me! I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5). But because he was willing to be cleansed, God used him mightily to prophesy about the coming Messiah.


One notable example is the prophet Jonah. After Jonah ran away from God’s call to go to Nineveh, he was swallowed by a whale and spent three days in its belly. When he was finally vomited up on shore, Jonah had a change of heart and went to Nineveh to preach as God had instructed him.

The book of Psalms is full of examples of people who had a broken heart or contrite spirit. In Psalm 51, David cry out to God for forgiveness after sinning against Him. And in Psalm 147:3, we are reminded that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” If you are feeling brokenhearted or have a contrite spirit, know that you are not alone. 

These examples show us that it doesn’t matter how badly we’ve messed up or how irrelevant we may seem; if we have a contrite spirit and are willing to let God break us, He can use us in mighty ways.

Why does God Love a Contrite / Broken / Humble Spirit?

The Bible tells us that God loves a contrite or broken spirit. In fact, He says in Isaiah 57:15 that He inhabits or lives in such a spirit. So, why does God love a contrite spirit? I believe there are at least four reasons .

First, a contrite spirit is humble. It knows that it has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. It doesn’t try to justify its actions or make excuses. It simply admits that it has done wrong and needs God’s forgiveness .

Second, a contrite spirit is repentant. It doesn’t just feel sorry for its sin; it turns away from it and chooses to live a different way. It strives to obey God’s commands and follow His will.

Third, a contrite spirit is humble. It recognizes that it can do nothing good on its own and desperately needs God’s help. It relies on Him for strength and guidance.

Fourth, a contrite spirit is grateful. Even though it deserves punishment, it recognizes that God is merciful and gracious. It is thankful for His forgiveness and the second chance He has given it.

So, these are some of the reasons why I believe God loves a contrite spirit. When we come before Him with humility, repentance, dependence, and gratitude, He responds with mercy and forgiveness. And that is something to be grateful for!

A Contrite Spirit means:

  • Clean Heart
  • Hatred of Sin
  • Consciousness of Guilt
  • Contrite Manner
  • Degree of Contrition
  • Sense of Sin
  • Forgiveness of sin
  • Remission of Sin
  • Submission of natural pride
  • Promise of forgiveness
  • Concerted Effort following Holy Scripture

7 Consequences when you are not contrite in the Bible

When we sin, it’s important that we repent and ask for forgiveness. Otherwise, there are serious consequences. The Bible is very clear on this point. Here are seven consequences that can occur when we fail to be contrite:

1. We will be separated from God.

2. We will experience His wrath.

3. We will lose our salvation.

4. We will be judged.

5. We will be condemned to hell.

6. We will be excluded from the kingdom of heaven.

7. We will have our name blotted out of the book of life.

These are all very serious consequences, and they underscore the importance of repentance and contrition when we sin.

7 Blessings when you are not contrite in the Bible

The Bible is full of blessings for those who are not contrite in heart. Here are seven of them:

1. You will be blessed with a new heart and a new spirit.

2. You will be blessed with forgiveness of your sins.

3. You will be blessed with the knowledge of God’s love for you.

4. You will be blessed with the peace that comes from knowing you are forgiven.

5. You will be blessed with the joy of salvation.

6. You will be blessed with a life transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

7. You will be blessed with eternal life in the presence of God.

Final Thoughts – Definition of a Contrite Heart

Contrite means feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming. In other words, it’s being sorry for something you did wrong with the intention of making things right. The Bible tells us that God loves when we come to Him with humble hearts full of repentance. When we are truly sorry for our sins and ask for forgiveness, He will always be there to forgive us.

As Christians, we are called to follow the example of Jesus Christ, who “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). When we humbly serve others, we are following in His footsteps.

God Bless Greg

How to be saved according to the Bible    In order to understand how to be saved, we first need to understand what salvation is. Salvation is when God forgives our sins and gives us eternal life. It's a free gift from God that we can't earn on our own. So how do we receive this gift? The Bible tells us that there are six steps: hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, repenting again, and believers baptism. Let's break each one of these down.     Hearing - The first step is hearing the gospel. The gospel is the good news that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again. This news must be heard in order for us to believe it.     Believing - Once we hear the gospel, we must believe it. This means that we trust that Jesus is who He says He is and that He can save us from our sins.     Repenting - Once we believe the gospel, we must repent of our sins. This means that we turn away from our sin and start living for God.     Confessing - After we repent of our sins, we need to confess them to God. This means that we tell God all of the sinful things we have done and ask Him for forgiveness.     Believers Baptism - The final step is believers baptism. This is when a person who has already believed and repented is baptized in water as an outward sign of their inward decision to follow Christ. Baptism doesn't save us, but it's an important step of obedience for every Christian.     Discipling others -  Finally, once we have received salvation through these steps, it's important that we continue to grow in our faith and share the gospel with others so they too can be saved.      These are the six steps required for salvation according to the Bible: hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, repenting again, and believers baptism. If you have never done these things or if you're not sure if you've done them correctly, I encourage you to talk to a pastor or other Christian friend who can help guide you through these steps. Salvation is a free gift from God, but it's one that we need to take intentional steps to receive. Don't wait another day - start your journey towards salvation today!


  • Greg Gaines

    Father / Grandfather / Minister / Missionary / Deacon / Elder / Author / Digital Missionary / Foster Parents / Welcome to our Family https://jesusleadershiptraining.com/about-us/

Spread the Gospel