The Meaning of Numbers in the Bible

Question

What significance do numbers and colors have in the Bible?

Answer

Both numbers and colors have significance in hermeneutics (interpreting Scripture). The Word of God is clear in what is written, and it is deep in what is revealed through patterns, types and symbolism. Hebrew hermeneutics has an interpretation approach that includes something called a "remez." A remez is a hint of a hidden message or a deeper meaning that is below the surface or behind the words. Numbers and colors are a remez.

Believing everything in Scripture has significance, and that everything was put there by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we should approach the symbolism of biblical numbers and colors with a desire to understand what God is revealing through them. We will address numbers here and colors next week.

Numbers in the Bible

"If God has given all things their significance, and defined their bounds according to time, space, power, and number, and if He has appointed certain measurements to regulate things and times, biblical numbers must be symbolical, and be worthy of our study; and if a fit subject for study, the laws by which this symbolism of numbers is controlled, require to be ascertained." — Patrick Fairbairn, Scottish minister and theologian, 1805-1874

Symbolism of numbers is defined by identifying patterns throughout the Bible. Since the patterns vary, some numbers are not as clearly defined as others. The symbolism of numbers 1, 3 and 7 are most agreed upon, while variations may occur with others.

Remember, the meaning of numbers in the Bible is not perfect, but the meaning of the written Word is always perfect. This list of biblical numbers and meanings is by no means exhaustive. It is provided to give a basic understanding of patterns that reveal what these numbers represent.

1. Union and Oneness

One is independent of all other numbers and yet is contained in all other numbers. One is only divisible by itself.

1 represents the union of the Godhead as one God.

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD" (Deuteronomy 6:4).

"I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).

"...there is no other God but one" (1 Corinthians 8:4).

"...God is one" (Galatians 3:20).

1 represents the union of man and woman becoming one flesh (Genesis 2:24, Mark 10:7-9).

[You can finish reading the rest of this article at Reasons for Hope* Jesus. Click here.]