There are only two examples of birthday celebrations mentioned in the Bible—of the Egyptian pharaoh in Genesis 40:20 and of King Herod in Matthew 14:6 and Mark 6:21—and tragic events happened in conjunction with them. Some claim these examples show that celebrating birthdays is unbiblical.
But the Bible doesn’t say that celebrating a birthday caused or was related to those tragic events, and there were other factors involved with these occasions. So, it’s inappropriate to use these texts to “prove” that one shouldn’t celebrate birthdays. Those few biblical references to birthdays were in much different settings than the routine situations of life in today’s world.
Consider that the pharaoh and Herod threw these birthday feasts to have others celebrate them. Today, birthday celebrations are usually done for others, particularly parents for their children or people for their friends or coworkers. They’re often given to express love, friendship and appreciation, which the Bible shows are all godly qualities.
Because the Bible neither encourages nor discourages the observance of birthdays, the question of whether one celebrates them is up to each person, though manner of celebration should be in line with godly principles, just as with any celebration. And we must all be careful to avoid self-seeking, teaching that to our children as well.
Each individual must evaluate the circumstances and determine whether or not to celebrate a birthday or participate in a birthday celebration. Some may feel it’s wrong, in which case we need to practice sensitivity and be careful to avoid offense. Still, we regard this matter as one of personal choice.