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Many who appreciate the value of punctuality struggle with tardiness themselves. The Bible provides practical wisdom related to this subject.

How important is punctuality?


Some have found that arriving at appointments a bit ahead of time actually reduces stress. Punctuality also enhances a person’s reputation. How so?

Punctuality indicates competence. When you are on time, it shows that you try to be in control of your life instead of allowing circumstances to prevent you from doing the things you want to do.

Punctuality suggests dependability. In a society where promises are often broken and commitments frequently ignored, people appreciate those who stick to their word. Dependable people earn respect from friends and family. Employers value those who arrive on time for work and meet deadlines. Dependable workers may even be rewarded with a higher salary and greater trust.


There are passages in the Scriptures that relate to punctuality. For instance, the Bible says: “Let all things take place decently and by arrangement.” (1 Corinthians 14:40) When two parties agree to meet at a specific time and place, it is decent and proper for them to be punctual. The Bible also says: “There is an appointed time for everything, a time for every activity under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) The context of this verse says that there is “a time to plant and a time to uproot.” (Ecclesiastes 3:2) Farmers plant crops at the right time, on time, in order to yield the best possible harvest. In other words, the farmer’s punctuality yields good results.

The Bible reveals a more noble reason for being punctual: It shows respect for others and their precious time. (Philippians 2:3, 4) By contrast, those who constantly make others wait could in effect be stealing their time.

“Look out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.”Philippians 2:4.

What can you do to be punctual?


The Bible encourages advance planning. (Proverbs 21:5) If you find that you are regularly late for appointments, perhaps your schedule is too full. Why not cut nonessential time wasters? Schedule more time between appointments, and aim to arrive early. This will allow for unexpected circumstances, such as traffic congestion or bad weather.

The Bible also encourages modesty. (Proverbs 11:2) This means knowing your limitations. Decide whether an appointment or deadline will realistically fit your schedule before agreeing to it. By overbooking, you add stress and frustration—to yourself and to others!

The Bible further tells us to make the best use of our time. (Ephesians 5:15, 16) Give priority to the most important tasks. (Philippians 1:10) For example, while using public transportation or waiting for others, take advantage of the time by catching up on reading or by planning the rest of your day.

“The plans of the diligent surely lead to success.”Proverbs 21:5.