What Does Purple Symbolize in the Bible? Understanding The Spiritual Meaning of Purple

Did you know that the color purple holds significant symbolism in the Bible? It’s a color that’s often mentioned in various scriptures, and its significance is vital to understanding the context of those passages. For example, did you know that purple is one of the colors reserved for royalty in ancient times? In the Bible, purple symbolizes royalty, wealth, and even the humility and suffering of Jesus Christ.

The first mention of purple in the Bible is in the book of Exodus, where it describes the construction of the Tabernacle. It was woven with a variety of colors, including purple, which signified the majesty and regal power of God. Since then, purple has been a symbol of power, royalty, and divinity in many societies, including in Greece and Rome. Even today, purple is the color of royalty, and it’s often associated with luxury, sophistication, and wealth.

In the New Testament, the color purple appears in the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. The Roman soldiers mocked him and dressed him in a purple robe, symbolizing his alleged royal claim and his mockery as a potential “king.” Moreover, purple was also a symbol of suffering and humility among some early Christians. It was a sign of repentance, penitence, and humility to wear purple to symbolize the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Overall, purple holds considerable significance in the Bible, and it’s essential to understand its cultural and historical context to appreciate its meaning fully.

Jesus’ Robe of Purple

When we think of purple in the Bible, the image of Jesus wearing a robe of purple may come to mind. This is a significant detail in the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, as the purple garment was used to mock and humiliate him. But what does purple represent in this context?

  • Purple was a color associated with royalty and wealth in ancient times. It was an expensive dye made from a particular type of mollusk found in the Mediterranean Sea. Roman emperors and high-ranking officials often wore purple robes to signify their status and power.
  • When Jesus was dressed in a purple robe, it was meant to be a form of mockery by his captors. They were taunting him, insinuating that he was claiming to be a king but was really nothing more than a criminal.
  • However, some interpretations of this event suggest that there may have been a deeper significance to Jesus wearing the purple robe. It could be seen as an ironic twist, as the very people who were mocking him with the clothes of a king were unknowingly fulfilling prophecy. In Psalm 45, it is written that the Messiah will be “clothed in robes of many colors” – purple being one of the colors mentioned.

Overall, the purple robe that Jesus wore at his trial and crucifixion is a poignant symbol of the power dynamics at play during his time on earth. It represents both the deep-seated prejudices and cruelty of those in positions of authority, as well as the subversive nature of Jesus’ message and mission.

Purple as a Symbol of Royalty and Wealth

In the Bible, purple is often seen as a symbol of royalty and wealth. This is because purple dye was very expensive and difficult to produce in ancient times. The purple color came from the murex snail, a rare and elusive creature that could only be found in certain parts of the Mediterranean. Because of the high cost of the dye, purple became associated with the wealthy and powerful.

  • One of the most well-known references to purple as a symbol of royalty can be found in the book of Esther. In this story, King Ahasuerus gives his queen, Esther, a royal crown adorned with purple and gold. The colors symbolize her position of authority and power as queen.
  • In the New Testament, purple is associated with wealth and luxury. In the book of Luke, Jesus describes a rich man who is dressed in purple and fine linen, and who dines sumptuously every day. This description emphasizes the man’s wealth and extravagance.
  • The book of Revelation also mentions purple as a symbol of royalty and wealth. In one of the visions, John sees a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, dressed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold, jewels, and pearls. This woman is described as being rich and powerful, and her clothing symbolizes her status.

Another example of purple as a symbol of wealth can be seen in the story of Lydia, a wealthy businesswoman who appears in the book of Acts. Lydia was a dealer in purple cloth, which indicates that she was a woman of means. Her profession also suggests that she had connections to the upper classes and was able to trade in luxury goods.

PurpleRoyalty, power, wealth, luxury
GoldDivinity, kingship, wealth
Scarlet/RedSin, judgment, sacrifice, blood

Overall, the color purple in the Bible represents wealth, power, and authority. It was a rare and expensive color in ancient times, which made it a symbol of luxury and status. As a result, purple has been associated with royalty and the wealthy throughout history, and continues to be a popular color for high-end fashion and design.

The Significance of Purple in the Tabernacle

Throughout the Bible, purple is considered a color of royalty and luxury. Its meaning and symbolism have been interpreted in many ways, representing wealth, power, honor, and even divine grace. In the context of the tabernacle, however, purple took on a more specific significance.

  • Purple was one of the primary colors used in the entryway curtains of the tabernacle. This color stood for the royalty and majesty of God.
  • The high priest wore a garment made of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, among other things. This robe symbolized the heavenly realm and was a representation of God’s glory and honor.
  • The veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was made of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, illustrating the heavenly realm and God’s majesty and glory.

Of these three subtopics, the significance of the high priest’s robe is the most interesting. It is woven with gold thread and adorned with precious stones, signifying the richness and value of God’s glory. The robe itself is also symbolic of Christ, who fulfilled the role of high priest and interceded on our behalf.

While the color purple in the tabernacle may have a specific significance, it is clear that its symbolism extends far beyond this one context. Purple is a color that represents royalty, luxury, and divine grace, and its use in the tabernacle serves to emphasize these qualities of God’s character.

Symbolism in the TabernacleColor UsedMeaning
Heavenly realmBlueGod’s glory and honor
Royalty and majesty of GodPurple
Divine sacrificeScarletJesus’ blood shed for us
Purity and holinessWhiteGod’s righteousness

Overall, the use of purple in the tabernacle serves as a reminder of God’s majesty, glory, and royal nature. It is a color that symbolizes the richness of His character, and it points us towards Christ, who fulfilled the role of high priest and interceded on our behalf.

The Purple Thread in Rahab’s Story

As one of only two women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, Rahab is a celebrated figure in the Bible. She is most remembered for her bravery in protecting two Israelite spies in Joshua 2, but her story also features a significant use of the color purple.

  • Purple as a symbol of royalty – In ancient times, purple was a highly valued and expensive color, often reserved for royals and high-ranking officials. In Joshua 2:8-21, Rahab tells the Israelite spies that the people of Jericho are afraid of them and their God because of their reputation as conquerors. She recognizes their authority as representatives of the God of Israel and seeks protection under them. By offering them hospitality and hiding them from the king’s men, she essentially pledges allegiance to the Israelites and their God.
  • Purple as a symbol of redemption – In the same story, Rahab hangs a scarlet cord from the window of her house as a sign to the Israelites to spare her and her family when they attack Jericho. Some biblical scholars believe that this scarlet cord may have been dyed with purple, which would make sense given the symbolism of purple as a color of royalty and power. The cord serves as a physical representation of Rahab’s faith and trust in God’s promise of protection, and it ultimately leads to her salvation when Jericho is destroyed.

Overall, the use of purple in Rahab’s story highlights her faith, courage, and recognition of the authority of God and His representatives. It also serves as a reminder of the power of redemption and the willingness of God to extend salvation to all who put their trust in Him.

As we reflect on Rahab’s story and the importance of the color purple in it, we can be inspired to recognize God’s authority in our own lives and to place our faith in His promises of protection and salvation.


Boyd, J. P. (2004). Colors in the Bible. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (pp. 677-683). Moody Publishers.Esqueda, E. T. (Ed.). (2014). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Ethics: Two-volume Set. Oxford University Press.

Photo by Keffer Laitr on Unsplash

Purple as a Symbol of God’s Judgment

In the Bible, purple is often associated with royalty and luxury but it is also a symbol of judgment and penitence. The color purple was obtained from the murex sea snail which was a difficult and costly process, and therefore only the wealthy and the elite were able to afford it. Thus, purple was a color that represented power, wealth and status.

  • In the book of Esther, purple was used to symbolize King Ahasuerus’ judgment on Queen Vashti for disobeying him.
  • In the New Testament, purple was used to clothe Jesus Christ before his crucifixion, symbolizing the mocking and ridicule that he had to endure before his ultimate sacrifice for humanity.
  • Moreover, in the book of Revelation, the color purple is used to describe the Great Whore of Babylon, who symbolizes the corruption and moral decay of humanity.

The use of purple as a symbol of judgment conveys a powerful message about the consequences of disobedience and sin. It reminds us of the importance of personal accountability and the need to repent for our wrongdoings.

Additionally, the number 5 also plays a significant role in the symbolism of God’s judgment. In the Bible, the number 5 represents grace and redemption. It is the number of wounds that Jesus received during his crucifixion and the number of loaves of bread used to feed 5,000 people in the miracle of the loaves and fishes. On the other hand, in Revelation, the number 5 also represents judgment and punishment, with the fifth seal being broken to reveal the souls of the martyrs who cried out for justice.

Symbolism of the Number 5 in the Bible
Grace and redemptionMiracle of the loaves and fishes; the wounds of Jesus
Judgment and punishmentFifth seal in Revelation; the five foolish virgins

In conclusion, the use of purple as a symbol of God’s judgment in the Bible conveys a powerful message about the consequences of sin and the importance of personal accountability and repentance. The number 5 also holds significant symbolism in the Bible, representing both grace and redemption as well as judgment and punishment.

The Purple Veil in the Temple

In the Bible, purple is a color that represents royalty and wealth. In ancient times, purple dyes were very expensive, so only the wealthiest individuals could afford to wear clothing dyed in this color. Purple is also used to symbolize nobility and authority, as well as the righteousness of God.

  • In the temple, the veil that separated the Holy place from the Holy of Holies was made of fine linen and dyed purple.
  • This veil was a symbol of the separation between God and man and the need for a mediator to bridge the gap.
  • Only the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies once a year, on the Day of Atonement, and he had to be dressed in purple robes.

The purple veil in the temple was a reminder of the holiness of God and the need for purification and forgiveness of sins. It represented the separation between God and man and the great lengths that God went to in order to provide a way for man to be reconciled to Him.

It is interesting to note that the veil was torn in two at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross, symbolizing the end of the separation between God and man. This event opened up a way for all people to have direct access to God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Symbolism of Purple in the Bible
Royalty and WealthPurple dye was expensive and only the wealthy could afford clothing dyed in this color
Nobility and AuthorityPurple is associated with nobility and kingship in the Bible, symbolizing the authority of God and his chosen leaders
Righteousness of GodPurple is also used to symbolize the righteousness of God and the holiness of His kingdom

The use of purple in the Bible, particularly in the temple, is a powerful symbol of the separation and reconciliation between God and man. It reminds us of the high cost of sin and the great lengths that God went to in order to provide a way for us to be reconciled to Him. Today, we can approach God with confidence through faith in Jesus Christ, who tore down the veil that separated us from God.

The Conversion of Lydia, the Seller of Purple

Lydia, the seller of purple, is a significant character in the Bible. She is known for being the first documented convert to Christianity in Europe. Her story can be found in the New Testament book of Acts, chapter 16.

The Color Purple in the Bible

  • In the Bible, the color purple is often associated with royalty and wealth. It was a luxurious and expensive dye, only affordable by the wealthy.
  • Purple is also linked to the presence of God and represents His sovereignty and authority.
  • Additionally, purple symbolizes spiritual authority and signifies the level of anointing or power from God.
  • The color purple is also associated with humility and repentance.

The Number 7 in the Bible

The number 7 is significant in the Bible and is often associated with completion and perfection. It can be found throughout the Bible, from the creation story to the book of Revelation. Here are some examples:

  • The world was created in 7 days, and on the 7th day, God rested.
  • There are 7 days in a week.
  • There are 7 colors in the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
  • There are 7 churches mentioned in the book of Revelation.
  • Jesus forgave sins 7 times 70, signifying unlimited forgiveness and mercy.

Lydia’s Conversion and the Number 7

Lydia’s conversion story is also connected with the number 7. In Acts 16:14, it says that Lydia was a worshiper of God and that she and her household were baptized by Paul. Interestingly, she was also a seller of purple cloth. The number 7 is significant in Lydia’s story in two ways:

Lydia’s Conversion Story and the Number 7
1. Lydia was the 7th person to be mentioned by name in the book of Acts who was converted to Christianity.
2. Lydia’s household was baptized, which is significant because the number 7 represents completeness and perfection. Her entire household was saved, symbolizing their completeness in Christ.

Lydia’s story shows us the power of God’s love and grace in transforming people’s lives. It also highlights the symbolism behind the color purple and the number 7 in the Bible. Through her conversion, Lydia’s life was forever changed, and she went on to become a significant figure in the early Christian church.

The Purple Garment in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a well-known story in the Bible that teaches us about the consequences of neglecting the needs of the poor. The rich man in the parable lived a life of luxury, while the poor beggar, named Lazarus, was covered in sores and had nothing to eat. When they both died, Lazarus was taken by angels to Abraham’s side, while the rich man went to Hades.

  • The rich man, in Hades, looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.
  • The rich man, in agony, asked Abraham to send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue, but Abraham refused.
  • The rich man then asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his brothers so they would not end up in Hades, but Abraham replied that they had Moses and the Prophets to listen to.

However, there is another detail in this parable that is often overlooked – the fact that the rich man is wearing purple. In the Bible, purple is often associated with royalty and wealth. In the times of Jesus, only the rich and powerful were able to afford garments of purple. It is no coincidence that the rich man in the parable is wearing purple. It symbolizes his wealth and status, but also his pride and disregard for the poor.

The purple garment is a reminder that our possessions and status in this world mean nothing in the eyes of God. We are called to love and care for our brothers and sisters, especially those in need. Neglecting the poor will not only lead to our spiritual downfall but also to our eternal separation from God.

Purple in the BibleMeaning
Exodus 25:4Purple was used to make curtains in the Tabernacle
Esther 8:15Purple and white were used as the colors of Mordecai’s clothing when he was honored by King Xerxes
Mark 15:17Jesus was mocked by the soldiers who put a purple robe on Him before His crucifixion

In conclusion, purple in the Bible symbolizes not only wealth and royalty but also pride and neglect of the poor. The Purple Garment in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a reminder that we should always prioritize the needs of others before our own, and that our possessions will not guarantee our salvation. Let us strive to live a life of humility and generosity, following the example of Jesus Christ.

Purple as a Symbol of Christ’s Suffering

Throughout the Bible, the color purple is often associated with royalty, honor, and wealth. It was the color of choice for Caesar and his Roman cohorts, as well as for Jewish kings and leaders. But in the New Testament, purple takes on an entirely new meaning as a symbol of Christ’s suffering.

  • Purple was the color of the robe that Roman soldiers put on Jesus before they mocked and crucified him (Mark 15:17).
  • Purple is also mentioned in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man was dressed in purple and fine linen, while Lazarus was covered in sores and begged for scraps from the rich man’s table (Luke 16:19-31).
  • Additionally, in the book of Revelation, John sees a woman dressed in purple and scarlet, symbolizing the wealth and corruption of Babylon (Revelation 17:4).

But why purple? What is it about this color that makes it an appropriate symbol for Christ’s suffering? One explanation is that purple was made by combining two colors – blue, which represents heaven or divine power, and red, which represents blood or human life. By combining these two colors, purple symbolizes the joining of heaven and earth, of divine power and human suffering.

Another possibility is that purple, as a color traditionally associated with royalty and power, was used to mock Jesus and emphasize the injustice of his suffering. By forcing him to wear a purple robe, the soldiers were deriding his claim to be a king.

Old Testament References to Purple:New Testament References to Purple:
Exodus 25:4Mark 15:17
Exodus 26:1John 19:2
Exodus 28:5Acts 16:14
Exodus 28:6Acts 16:15
Exodus 28:8Revelation 17:4

Whatever the reason for its use, purple is a powerful symbol of Christ’s suffering and the injustice he faced. As we remember his sacrifice, let us also remember those who suffer unjustly in our world today.

The Purple Crown of Thorns Worn by Jesus

One of the most significant examples of purple symbolism in the Bible is the purple crown of thorns worn by Jesus during his crucifixion. The crown was not only an instrument of torture but also a powerful symbol of the kingship and sovereignty of Jesus Christ. Here are some insights on the symbolism of the purple crown of thorns:

  • Physical Pain: The crown of thorns was made of long and sharp thorns that pierced through the scalp of Jesus, causing excruciating pain and bleeding. This physical torment represents the suffering and sacrifice of Christ for the redemption of humanity.
  • Symbol of Kingship: The purple color of the robe and crown represents royalty and authority. The Roman soldiers who mocked Jesus by putting a purple robe and crown on Him were actually acknowledging His divine kingship, albeit unwittingly.
  • Sign of Humility: Despite His status as the King of Kings, Jesus chose to humble Himself by taking the form of a servant and enduring the shame and suffering of the cross. The crown of thorns represents His humility, meekness, and love for humanity.

In addition, the crown of thorns has other spiritual meanings and applications. For example, it signifies the curse of sin that came upon humanity as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:17-19). Jesus bore this curse upon Himself and broke its power through His death and resurrection. Moreover, the crown of thorns points to the victory of Christ over death and Satan, who tried to destroy Him but ultimately failed (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Purple ColorRoyalty and authority
ThornsCurse of sin and physical suffering
HumilityMeekness and love for humanity
VictoryOver death and Satan

The purple crown of thorns is a powerful reminder of the love, sacrifice, and victory of Jesus Christ. It inspires us to follow His example of humility, compassion, and perseverance in the face of trials and hardships. As we contemplate the symbolism of the purple crown of thorns, let us renew our faith, hope, and gratitude towards the One who gave His life for us.

What Does Purple Symbolize in the Bible?

1. What does purple represent in the Bible?

In the Bible, purple is associated with royalty, wealth, and sovereignty. It was a symbol of honor and power.

2. Who wore purple in the Bible?

Kings such as Saul, David, and Solomon, as well as high-ranking officials like Esther and Mordecai, wore purple.

3. What is the significance of the purple veil in the temple?

The purple veil in the temple separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. It symbolized the separation between God and man.

4. What does the purple robe worn by Jesus signify?

The purple robe worn by Jesus before his crucifixion was meant to mock him as the “King of the Jews.”

5. What is the meaning of the woman in purple in the book of Acts?

The woman in purple mentioned in Acts was Lydia, a wealthy businesswoman who became one of the first Christian converts in Europe.

6. What does the color purple represent in the book of Revelation?

Purple is associated with the robes of the angelic and divine beings, as well as the colors of the precious stones in the heavenly city.

7. What is the spiritual significance of purple?

Purple represents the majesty and glory of God, as well as spiritual wealth and prosperity.

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