By Madeline Kalu, Crosswalk.com
Colors, like numbers, have significant meaning in the Bible. Understanding what different colors symbolize can help us gain a deeper understanding of Scripture and give us revelation in our faith walk.
The Significance of Primary Colors in the Bible
The three primary colors found in nature are red, yellow, and blue. Each of these three primary colors holds particular significance in the Bible.
Red: Red is translated in the Old Testament as oudem, which means “red clay.” It is the root word for mankind. Biblical figures such as Adam (Genesis 2:7) and Esau (Genesis 25:25) have their names derived from the word oudem.
The symbolism of red extends its meaning for mankind as a metaphor for humanity. In the Old Testament, the blood sacrifice of an animal meant atonement for one’s sin (Leviticus 17:11). The Israelites also painted the blood of a Passover lamb offering in order for the angel of death to pass over their homes during the tenth and final plague of Egypt (Exodus 12:1-13).
However, red is most commonly associated with the blood of Jesus Christ that He spilled as the bond price for our Salvation on the cross at Calvary (Colossians 1:20).
Blue: Blue in the Bible represents the heavens and the Word of God. In Exodus, when Moses, his sons, and 70 elders of Israel went up to Mount Sinai to worship God, they saw God and described the pavement under His feet as being bright as the blue sky (Exodus 24:10). Following this encounter, Moses received the 10 commandments.
Blue is translated in Hebrew as tekelet. It is also found in the Bible to mean purple (Ezekiel 23:6) or violet (Jeremiah 10:9). Tekelet was the color assigned for priest’s clothing, in particular, their hems (Exodus 28:5-6). In Luke 8:40-48, the woman with the issue of blood was healed by our High Priest, Jesus Christ, when she touched the hem of His garment. Therefore, blue is also accredited with being the color of God’s healing and grace.
Yellow: Yellow is referenced in the Bible by the Hebrew word charuts, which refers to the precious metal gold. Gold represents the sovereignty of God. In the Old Testament, Solomon had the Temple built and overlaid in gold, even down to the priest’s utensils (1 Kings 6). At Jesus’ birth, one of the gifts He received was gold (Matthew 2:11).
Additionally, in The Book of Revelations, the New Jerusalem is referred to as a city of pure gold (Revelation 21:18).
The Significance of Secondary Colors in the Bible
In addition to primary colors, secondary colors also carry significance in the Bible.
Green: Green, being the color of vegetation, symbolizes life, restoration, and new beginnings (Psalm 1.3). Green is also the color of resurrection, which we experience in Spring.
Amber: Amber symbolizes the glory of God, His judgment, and endurance (Ezekiel 1:4).
Purple: Purple represents royalty, majesty, and priesthood in the Bible (John 19:2).
White: White refers to holiness, light, purity, redemption, and the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:5).
Black: Black symbolizes sin, darkness, death, and catastrophe (Zephaniah 1:15).
Silver: Silver is symbolic for the Word of God, divinity, salvation, and refining (Psalm 66:10).
Bronze: Bronze stands for strength and durability. As an alloy, it is hard and durable and was used to make the ten brazen lavers, which were basins for washing (Exodus 30:18) and the Molten Sea, a large basin for ablution of the priests in the temple Solomon built (1 Kings 7:23-26). In the Book of Revelation, Jesus’ feet are described as being like bronze (Revelation 1:15).
What Is the Most Vivid Representation of Colors in the Bible?
A myriad of colors is represented in Genesis 9:13 when God sends a rainbow after the Flood.
The rainbow is a symbol for the covenant that God made with us to never destroy mankind or any living creature again.
Is the Representation of Colors Relevant for Christians Today?
In modern Christianity, colors are used frequently to represent the differing facets of God’s character and promises.
Red and gold are colors Christians frequently associate with Christmas, as well as green for Spring and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Tambourines that are used in praise and worship are often bedecked with multi-colored ribbons. Baptism candidates clothe themselves in white as a symbol of rebirth and the washing away of their sins.
Additionally, the rainbow is an international sign of Christianity. It is used frequently in Christian merchandising and marketing.
www.color-meanings.com, “Biblical meaning of colors”
crossexamined.org, “Reference Guide to the biblical symbolism of colors”, Brian G. Chilton.
reasonsforhopejesus.com, “The Meaning of Colors in the Bible?”
itsaboutworship.com, “Symbolism of colors”
compellingtruth.org, “Does the rainbow have a meaning? What is the biblical significance of the rainbow?”
©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Pattadis Walarput
Madeline Kalu is a Christian writer and the co-founder of Jacob’s Ladder Blog. She was born in England but currently lives in Germany with her husband, Solomon. As a response to the fear, anxiety, and despair generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacob’s Ladder Blog has written a free EBook titled “More than Conquerors through Christ” to encourage, strengthen, and give hope in the midst of this pandemic. You can download the EBook or read it online at www.jacobsladderblog.com.