Have you ever wondered, what does the color blue mean in the Bible? Well, in this article, we will dig deep into blue in the Bible. We will explore God’s Word and find the spiritual and symbolic meaning. So, grab your Bible and let’s dig in…
As I have been on this adventure of looking at colors in the Bible. It’s funny to note that many people believe that blue is God’s favorite color. But then there is a select few who disagree and say green is God’s favorite color. I don’t think we will ever know the truth till one day we are in the throne room of heaven and we ask Him.
The color blue is seen throughout scripture much like red and purple. It is one of the primary colors and it’s interesting to note that in spectrum of light, blue has the shortest wavelength. It is widely understood that blue represent the heavens, the Holy Spirit, and so much more.
A Look at Blue in the Bible
How Many Times is the Color Blue Mentioned in the Bible?
The color blue (specifically the word) is mentioned 50 times in the Bible and all mentions are found in the Old Testament. This is a break down of where blue is mentioned:
Blue Yarn in the Bible
The first reference to the color blue is found in Exodus 25:4.
These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; – Exodus 25:3-5 NIV emphasis added
As we continue to look at different verses you will see almost all blue references are connected with some type of fabric, yarn, or clothing. We see it mentioned in the construction of the tabernacle (Exodus 26-27), the priestly garments (Exodus 28), the tzitzit (Numbers 15).
It’s interesting to note that both the Tabernacle of Moses and Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 2:7) both use blue yarn and linen. This blue yarn is accompanied with scarlet (red), and purple yarn. But in Revelation the great harlot only wears scarlet and purple. Blue is not mentioned, which reveals something to it’s symbolic connection to God. While red represents man (the flesh/blood/earth) and purple royalty.
In the book of Esther we get a glimpse of how blue clothing was given to those of high position or importance.
When Mordecai left the king’s presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. – Esther 8:15 NIV
Tekhelet – The Hebrew Word for Blue
The word for blue in Hebrew is tekhelet.
תְּכֵלֶת tᵉkêleth, tek-ay’-leth; probably for H7827; the cerulean mussel, i.e. the color (violet) obtained therefrom or stuff dyed therewith:—blue.
As you can see in the Strong’s Concordance there is that connection with fabric, yarn. It was created by some kind of marine shellfish. Strong’s state’s its from mussels and others believe it came from some kind of sea snail like a murex.
Baruch Sterman, the author of, The Rarest Blue: The Remarkable Story of an Ancient Color Lost to History and Rediscovered mentions this in one of his articles…
Moreover, the ancient scholars write about these dyes in great detail. Pliny and Aristotle
describe the snails, how and where to find them, and the procedure for dyeing with them.
Vitruvius mentions that there is a connection between the varied colors (purple through blue)
obtainable from the snails and differing degrees of sunlight to which they are exposed. “For it
does not yield the same color everywhere, but is modified naturally by the course of the sun…
As we proceed between the north and west it becomes a leaden blue.”13 Scholars have
positively identified these shells (purpurae and bucinae in Pliny’s terminology) with the
mollusks Murex trunculus, Murex brandaris, and Thais Haemastoma. (source)
Now, there has been tons of debate on what kind of blue or purple, the tekhelet is. The Biblical Archaeology society lean towards a sky blue for the term tekhelet.
However, important evidence persuasively suggest that Biblical tekhelet was in fact sky-blue. Assyriologist Wayne Horowitz explains that the Sumerian word uqnu, the word for the gem lapis lazuli, was used for the color blue and its shades. The term was applied to the sky and to blue wool (uqnatu). When the foreign word takiltu, Hebrew tekhelet, was adopted into Akkadian, the same cuneiform signs as uqnatu were used.
To the ancient Mesopotamians, therefore, the color of lapis lazuli and the sky were equivalent to the color of tekhelet. So what was the color of Biblical tekhelet? The Jerusalem-based Ptil Tekhelet Foundation believes it was sky-blue derived from the murex dye. For over 25 years, this foundation has produced hundreds of thousands of blue tzitzit strings colored with murex dye. The blue tzitzit on Jewish prayer shawls remind worshipers of the sea, the sky and God’s holy throne. (source)
The Symbolic and Spiritual Meaning of Blue
Like other color, example: green gets it’s symbolic meaning from trees and plants or yellow from gold and fire. The same is with the color blue when it comes to water and the sky. We also see a connection with sapphires and other blue gems.
|SPIRITUAL MEANING OF BLUE||BIBLE REFERENCE|
|The Heavens/God’s Throne||Exodus 24:10, Ezekiel 10:1, Ezekiel 1:26|
|Life – Water||John 4:13-14, Revelation 21:6|
|Healing (The Tallit and Tzitzit) and Cleansing||Matthew 9:21|
|Prayer ( the Tallit and Tzitzit)||Numbers 15:38, Deuteronomy 22:12|
|Royalty/High Position/Wealth||Esther 8:15, Esther 1:6, Ezekiel 23:6,|
|The Lord’s Commandments||Numbers 15:38-40|
Sapphires, Turquoise, and Lapis Lazuli
Some mentions of the color blue in the Bible, don’t actually say the word blue. A perfect example of this is when scripture uses gemstones. We see that in Exodus 24:10 that when the Moses, Aaron (and his two sons), and the seventy elders noticed the flooring (pavement) which was under God’s feet.
Some translations say sapphire, and others say lapis lazuli. Both of these stones only come in the color blue.
Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up [the mountainside], 10 and they saw [a manifestation of] the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, just as clear as the sky itself. 11 Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the Israelites; and they saw [the manifestation of the presence of] God, and ate and drank. Exodus 24:9-11 AMP
According, to Ezekiel 10 we see that God’s throne looked like a large sapphire stone and in Revelation 21:19 sapphire is one of the stones in the foundation of the New Jerusalem. So, we get this amazing connection between blue and the heavens, God’s throne, and His presence!
The breastplate of the high priest also used stones of turquoise and lapis lazuli/sapphire. The turquoise represented the tribe if Benjamin, and lapis lazuli the tribe of Issachar. And in Ezekiel 28:13 a sapphire was used as one of the gemstones to adorn Lucifer.
Blue in Church History
Since, the color blue played such a big part in the Bible. It comes to no surprise that it also was a strong symbol in church history. Have you ever noticed in nativity scenes and paintings that Mary has some form of blue in her outfit? This is because in 431 AD the Catholic church decided to give out colors to certain saints. The virgin Mary was granted the color blue. Thus historically blue has been symbolic of purity and innocence.
Blue dye wasn’t the only things that was super expensive, but so was blue pigment for paint. During the European Renaissance they would take the stone, Lapis lazuil to make ultramarine. It was considered the most expensive of all the pigments and worth more than gold.
So, from antiquity to medieval times the color blue was revered for centuries. It was a color that pointed to the heavens and ultimately to God.
Discover More Colors in the Bible
Red is only one color out of many colors mentioned in scripture. If you are hungry to learn more about these colors, I then encourage you to check out my Ultimate Guide to Colors in the Bible.
If you would like to check out individual colors, then click on the links below:
Dreaming of Colors?
Let’s take a little different turn here and let’s talk about colors in dreams. I’ve talked about how God speaks in dreams and sometimes He will use a color to convey something to us. If you are interested in learning about colors in dreams, please check out my article on The Biblical Meaning of Colors in Dreams.
I hope you have enjoyed studying the color blue in the Bible. Don’t forget to check out the other colors! You will love what you will learn in God’s Word. If you would like to leave me a comment you can do so below. I would love to hear from you.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…