Biblical numerology refers to the study of numbers in the Bible.
At the time the Hebrew Bible was written, numbers held significant meaning in culture and society. For example, the number 7 indicates completion or perfection. So when the Biblical authors write that God created the world in seven days, it would’ve been obvious to the original readers that they were indicating creation was complete. It was perfect.
Do All Numbers in the Bible Hold Special Significance?
It’s hard to say. Numbers definitely held more inherent meaning during the writing of both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament letters, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that every mention of a number indicates a deeper meaning.
I’m no Bible scholar, but my guess would be that throughout books written in narrative prose (much of the Torah, many of the Old Testament books) use numbers as symbols frequently. But when Paul is writing in a letter that it took 4 days to travel somewhere, he probably isn’t intending there to be any kind of deeper meaning.
Many scholars argue that Biblical numerology is overhyped, and that we often place too much emphasis on it. Some are hesitant to assign any kind of deeper meaning to numbers, for fear of placing too much emphasis on numbers and giving them some kind of mystical power. Scripture definitely forbids this kind of divination, and certainly doesn’t affirm anything like angel numbers such as 11 11. Christians should denounce the idea of angel numbers and be cautious when assigning “power” to things like numbers.
Common Numbers Used in the Bible
Some of the most common numbers used symbolically in the Bible include 3, 7, 12, and 40. Let’s take a brief look at each:
- The number 3 is symbolic of perfection and completion. The Holy Trinity is one of the best examples.
- The number 6 is symbolic of man. Man was created on the sixth day and works six days. But the number 666 typically points to satan and evil – almost as if when man places too much emphasis on self, evil unfolds.
- The number 7 is symbolic of spiritual perfection. Much like the number 3, it indicates completion.
- The number 12 is symbolic of spiritual authority. We see twelve tribes, twelve apostles, etc…
- The number 40 is symbolic of testing and trials. We see the Israelites wander forty years in the wilderness and Jesus tested for forty days in the wilderness.