Studying The Meaning of
Scholars and enthusiasts alike have attempted to uncover the meaning of numbers in the Bible for thousands of years. In fact, I reference in this article only three of thousands of websites and books dedicated to studying Bible numerology.
Numbers in The Bible
However, the point of this article is not to give indepth understanding of Bible numerology. The Bible Stories Library website exists to provide you with free resources to teach others about God and strengthen your own faith in Him. It's content is written in terms anybody can easily understand.
This article serves to introduce you to the topic of Bible numerology and provide you with tools that guide you as you continue to strengthen your relationship with Jesus Christ. The resource sites I cite below each have a much more indepth study of numbers in the Bible. By no means are the numbers discussed in this article a complete relevant inventory.
What are some relevant numbers and their meaning?
I list five numbers used frequently in the Bible in my original article on Bible numberology. Those numbers seem to have significance to God for reasons only known to Him. They are: 3, 6, 7, 12, and 40.
Below is a table of the five numbers and corresponding meanings from three web resources I found. As you can see, they all have fairly consistent views of the meanings of numbers in the Bible. Given the wording of some entries, it is likely they reference the same work or reference one another.
||Agape Bible Study
||That which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire
||That which is solid, real, substantial, and something in its completeness
||It has to do with man; it is the number of imperfection; the human number; the number of MAN as destitute of God, without God, without Christ. Therefore, is the number of labor also.
||Represents both man and rebellion
||Man, beast, Satan
||It was full and complete, and good and perfect
||Spiritual perfection and fullness or completion
||Twelve is a perfect number, signifying perfection of government, or of governmental perfection
||Perfection of government
||Divine government, apostolic fulness
||Universally recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence, and the uniformity of its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement
||This number is recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence and with the uniformity of its association both as a time of consecration and as a period of trial
||Probation, testing, closing in victory or judgment
What do the patterns we find show us about God?
Stepping back from the meaning of the numbers in the Bible for a moment to look at the big picture we begin to see the character of God take shape. In particular, three characteristics stand out from the numeric brainteasers.
God is complex.
Examine the various ways in which the same number is used and referenced in the Bible. For example, the number three was used in the following ways (as found on BibleStudy.org):
To communicate with a number in so many related ways takes an enormous amount of wisdom and planning.
- "The third day" was the day on which the earth was caused to rise up out of the water, symbolical of that resurrection life which we have in Christ
- "The Spirit, the water, and the blood," are the divinely perfect witness to the grace of God on earth (1 John 5:7)
- The complete separation of Israel is shown in "the three days' journey into the wilderness" (Exodus 5:3), marking the complete separation with which God would separate His people from Egypt then, and from the world now.
- The Spies brought three things which testified to the divinely perfect goodness of the land; and the substantial realities proved the truth of Jehovah's word: "Grapes, figs, and pomegranates" (Numbers 13:23).
- Jordan was three times divided, the perfection of the Divine miracle (Joshua 4; 2 Kings 2:8,14).
- ...and others
Look also at how the numbers correlate to creation. Once again, the number three: in civil/structural engineering terms, the strongest shape used for supporting weight is the triangle. Do you suppose it is a coincidence that the strongest force in creation is the Trinity (Gods the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit)?
God is creative.
Not only does the variety of ways numbers are applied speak to His complexity, they also demonstrate God's creativity. Bible numerology provides a perfect example that God is far from boring; far from standard religious practices, weekly worship sessions, and tedious Sunday School classes.
God shows us with these complex puzzles that there is so much more to learn about him than we can imagine. He continually gives us reasons to want to seek him out and spend time with him, which leads me to the final characteristic that the meaning of numbers in the Bible point to.
God is personal.
God is the potter, we are the clay. He knows exactly how he made us and what we need to not only survive, but thrive as his children. He knows that we need examples, challenges, and continual reassurance to nurture a loving bond to Him.
The study of Bible numerology in partnership with the Holy Spirit provides us with all three of those vital relationship attributes:
To be certain, knowing Bible numerology is not necessary in having a right relationship with God. It simply serves as yet another reassurance that we have a God who loves enough to challenge us on a personal level.
- It provides repetitive personal examples of the same message in a variety of ways,
- It challenges us to find patterns and apply ourselves to knowing him better and,
- It continually reassures us of the things that we need to hear so we trust and love him more deeply.
Whether we discover the meaning of numbers in the Bible now or in the next life is not important. What is important is that we seek God's Kingdom first, and be a light to others so they may also seek His Kingdom.