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Jeremiah 1:5 & meaning...


I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I sanctified you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5


It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, to the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, to the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month. Now Yahweh’s word came to me, saying,

Jeremiah 1 [5.] “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.

    Before you were born, I sanctified you.

    I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1 [6.] Then I said, “Ah, Lord Yahweh! Behold, I don’t know how to speak; for I am a child.”

Jeremiah 1 [7.] But Yahweh said to me, “Don’t say, ‘I am a child;’ for you must go to whomever I send you, and you must say whatever I command you. Don’t be afraid because of them, for I am with you to rescue you,” says Yahweh.


  • Before I Formed You in the Womb:

This opening phrase takes us to the very beginning of human existence. It communicates a profound truth—that God's knowledge and involvement in our lives precedes our birth, although this is not necessarily preceding independent life apart from the mother's womb. The emphasis on God's role as the Creator underscores the intentional and purposeful nature of our existence.

  • I Knew You:

The statement "I knew you" goes beyond mere intellectual awareness. It signifies a deep, intimate knowledge that transcends time and encompasses the entirety of one's being. This knowing involves a personal connection and a divine awareness of the individual's identity, potential, and purpose.

  • Before You Were Born, I Sanctified You:

The act of sanctification before birth is significant. It implies that God set apart Jeremiah for a specific, sacred purpose even before he entered the world. This sanctification is not a random occurrence but a deliberate consecration by God for a particular role or calling.

  • I Have Appointed You a Prophet to the Nations:

The culmination of this verse reveals God's specific plan for Jeremiah—to be a prophet to the nations. This appointment is not a result of chance or circumstance but a divine calling that aligns with God's foreknowledge and purpose. It underscores the global impact of Jeremiah's prophetic ministry.


Preexistence in the Mind of God: Jeremiah 1:5 speaks to the concept of preexistence in the mind of God. Before our physical existence, God knows us, indicating a spiritual dimension to our being that predates our earthly journey.

Intimacy of Divine Knowledge: The phrase "I knew you" emphasizes the intimacy of God's knowledge. It conveys a sense of being deeply understood and recognized by the Creator, fostering a profound connection between the individual and the divine.

Purposeful Sanctification: The sanctification before birth underscores the purposeful nature of our lives. God's setting apart of individuals for specific purposes speaks to the intentional design woven into the fabric of human existence.

Individual Calling and Global Impact: Jeremiah's appointment as a prophet to the nations highlights the individual's capacity to influence and impact the broader world. It reinforces the idea that God's purpose for an individual extends beyond personal fulfillment to a contribution to the greater good.

Cross References:

Ephesians 1:4: "Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love." This New Testament verse echoes the theme of God's predestined purpose, emphasizing the divine choice before the foundation of the world.

Galatians 1:15: "But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through his grace." Paul's testimony in Galatians aligns with the idea of divine separation and calling from the womb, akin to Jeremiah's experience.

In Conclusion: Jeremiah 1:5 unfolds a profound revelation about the nature of our existence—foreknown, intimately known, sanctified, and appointed by God for a purpose. It invites reflection on the intentional design woven into each life, highlighting the sacredness of our individual journeys within the broader tapestry of God's divine plan.

PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


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