In the Bible, the number two signifies unity (marriage, Christ and the church), division (Jacob and Esau), or a choice or comparison (narrow gate or broad path to destruction).
The Bible is rich in symbolism and the number two is featured both in the New Testament and in the Old. There are some key truths throughout God’s Word that involve unity (two becoming one) or division (one becoming two) or a choice between two options. Let’s take a closer look.
The Number Two
It takes two to tango! Two are better than one. Kill two birds with one stone. Besides being a star in the land of idioms, two is a clear player in mathematics as the smallest prime number and even number.
It also features in science. The earth is divided into two hemispheres, the day is divided into day and night, and humans have two legs and two arms. Computers function on binary (a language of only two digits). You could go on and on.
But what does the Bible have to say about this number?
The Number Two in the Bible
When a Christian thinks about the number two, a few ideas immediately come to mind.
The animals were led into the ark two by two. There are two sections of the Bible; the Old and New Testaments. Christ is called the second Adam. And naturally, whenever the scriptures cover the topic of marriage, the number two plays a major role.
Generally speaking, the number two indicates union – like in marriage or a vow between two parties. It can also indicate a comparison (like Cain and Abel, Gen 4:1-18) or a division of one party into two (separating of the goats and sheep, Matt 25:32-34).
Significant Mentions of the Number Two in the Bible
Let’s dig into the scriptures and shine the spotlight on some very significant mentions of the number two.
Significance of The Number Two in the Old Testament
Gen 6:19-20 ESV And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive.
We see God’s kindness and mercy in the number two in the story of Noah’s Ark. Amidst the rampant wickedness on the earth, God sees one faithful man and uses him to preserve not only humankind but the animal kingdom as well.
Gen 25:23 ESV And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”
Nothing quite says two like a set of twins! In this passage we see division and struggle before the two children are born. These two boys grew up resentful of each other. Jacob, the younger twin deceived his father, Isaac, into giving him the blessing after tricking his brother into handing over his birthright. Jacob would later father the 12 sons who would establish the 12 tribes of Israel.
Deuteronomy 19:15 ESV “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.
Here the numer two represents the fairness of the just God we serve. At least two witnesses were necessary before a person could be convicted of a crime. This same principle is reaffirmed in the New Testament (2 Cor 13:1).
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Here two represents relationship. God never intended for man to face the struggles of this life alone. Besides providing comfort himself, God’s design includes people caring for each other.
Significance of The Number Two in the New Testament
Matthew 7:13-14 ESV “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Luke 16:13 ESV No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Here the number two refers to the choices that are available to man. There is a path that leads to destruction (living a life apart from God) and a path that leads to eternal life (embracing salvation and living for God). In the second passage, there is a choice again over which master to serve, God or money.
Luke 15:11 ESV And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.
Here the number two represents a comparison. Jesus carefully tells the story (parable) being sure to describe two characters. He did this many times. The listener/reader would then relate to one of the characters and understand the truth being taught.
Matthew 19:5-6 ESV … ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Throughout the gospels, this picture of marriage, established in the Old Testament (Gen 2:24) is described as two becoming one. Here the number two represents a union. Later we see God’s design for marriage as a picture to describe Christ and the church (Eph 5:22-33): another union.
Matthew 22:37- 40 ESV And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Perhaps one of the most important “twos” in the Bible are these two commandments that sum up the duty of man. We are to love God (the first and most important relationship in our lives) and to love the people around us.
Number 2 in the Bible
The number two in the bible can mean a comparison, a choice, or refer to union or division.
In the number two, we see God’s kindness and mercy in Noah’s ark and his fairness regarding the numer of witnesses required to convict a criminal. We see God’s design for the union of marriage and the union of Christ and the church. We see comparisons and understand that there are only ever two options: to choose God or to reject Him.