The expression “this too shall pass” has all the earmarks of a wise Bible saying, but it is found nowhere in any Bible translation. It has been quoted by well-meaning friends and family members in an effort to comfort someone going through a tough time. Although not directly from the Bible, “this too shall pass” is a timely reminder that the difficult season we may be going through will not last forever. It mirrors the thought of Galatians 6:9, which says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
The origins of “this too shall pass” are unknown. Some trace the phrase back to Persian Sufi poets, while others credit King Solomon, although it is not recorded in any of his biblical works. “This too shall pass” would fit nicely into Solomon’s Ecclesiastes, especially the third chapter, which begins this way: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” The theme of this chapter is that life has seasons and none of them last; therefore, people should enjoy the earthly life God has given them because “this too shall pass.”
“This too shall pass” also reminds us of the biblical mandate to develop endurance (2 Timothy 2:3, 12; Hebrews 12:7). When life is rough and things are not going our way, we can be tempted to give up. James 1:2–4 reminds us that, when we endure trials, we develop character that is pleasing to God. It helps during tough seasons to remember that, regardless of how dark life seems or how painful our suffering, even “this too shall pass.”
The proverbial saying “this too shall pass” may not be stated in the Bible, but the idea is reflected throughout its pages. Our lives on earth are a mere vapor that will quickly pass (James 4:14). “This too shall pass” reminds us that we must be about our Father’s business while there is still time (see John 9:4).