In this article, we go on adventure looking at the color green in the Bible. We will check out the symbolic and spiritual meaning behind this beautiful color. So, grab your Bibles and let’s get started…
Growing up I had a hard time deciding what my favorite color was. It was a hard toss up between pink and green. To this day I still love both colors, but green has always been a color that I love as it reminds me of beautiful gardens.
Green is probably one of more interesting colors in the Bible. Out of all the colors, green is the first mentioned color. We see this in Genesis 1:30 when God tells us that he gave green plants for food. But it doesn’t stop there!
We see the color green mentioned from Genesis all the way to Revelation. This color conveys so much and we going to dig deep and learn about it!
A Deep Look at Green in the Bible
How many times is the color green mentioned in the Bible?
According to the King James Bible, we see that green is mentioned a total of 44 times. 40 within the Old Testament and 4 times in the New Testament. In Hebrew we see quite a few different words used to describe green.
Green in Hebrew
Below is a list of different Hebrew words that make for the English translation of green. I go into the main words and just mention the others.
רַעֲנָן raʻănân, rah-an-awn’; from an unused root meaning to be green; verdant; by analogy, new; figuratively, prosperous:—green, flourishing.
Out of the 44 times green is mentioned, 20 of those use the Hebrew word raanan. This type of green is lush and full of life. Strong’s concordance even mentions how it is figuratively (symbolically) used to mean prosperous or to flourish.
יֶרֶק yereq, yeh’-rek; from H3417 (in the sense of vacuity of color); properly, pallor, i.e. hence, the yellowish green of young and sickly vegetation; concretely, verdure, i.e. grass or vegetation:—grass, green (thing).
יָרָק yârâq, yaw-rawk’; from the same as H3418; properly, green; concretely, a vegetable:—green, herbs.
Yereq is the first word for green used in scripture. It is found in Genesis 1:30. It describes the color of vegetation that the animal kingdom can eat.
אָבִיבʼ âbîyb, aw-beeb’; from an unused root (meaning to be tender); green, i.e. a young ear of grain; hence, the name of the month Abib or Nisan:—Abib, ear, green ears of corn (not maize).
Âbîyb is used in Leviticus to describe young grain like ears of corn used in first fruits offering.
דֶּשֶׁא desheʼ, deh’-sheh; from H1876; a sprout; by analogy, grass:—(tender) grass, green, (tender) herb.
Deshé describes a tender shoot springing forth out of the ground. Most sprouts or new grass has a bright green with a slight yellow tint. This is the kind of green that is described in Psalm 23:2 when King David says, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.”
לַח lach, lakh; from an unused root meaning to be new; fresh, i.e. unused or undried:—green, moist.
כַּרְמֶל karmel, kar-mel’; from H3754; a planted field (garden, orchard, vineyard or park); by implication, garden produce:—full (green) ears (of corn), fruitful field (place), plentiful (field).
כַּרְפַּס karpaç, kar-pas’; of foreign origin; byssus or fine vegetable wool:—green.
רָטֹב râṭôb, raw-tobe’; from H7372; moist (with sap):—green.
פַּג pag, pag; from an unused root meaning to be torpid, i.e. crude; an unripe fig:—green figuratively
Green in Greek
The New Testament only has four mentions of the color green.
χλωρός chlōrós, khlo-ros’; from the same as G5514; greenish, i.e. verdant, dun-colored:—green, pale.
When studying etymology (the study of the origin of words) we see that the Greek word chlōrós is where we get our English word chlorophyll. This word is used 3 times within the New Testament.
chlorophyll (n.)green-colored stuff in plants, 1819, from French chlorophyle (1818), coined by French chemists Pierre-Joseph Pelletier (1788-1842) and Joseph Bienaimé Caventou (1795-1877) from chloro-, from Latinized form of Greek khlōros “pale green, greenish-yellow” (from PIE root *ghel- (2) “to shine,” with derivatives denoting “green” and “yellow”) + phyllon “a leaf” (from suffixed form of PIE root *bhel- (3) “to thrive, bloom”). (source)
ὑγρός hugrŏs, hoo-gros’; from the base of G5205; wet (as if with rain), i.e. (by implication) sappy (fresh):—green.
The Symbolic and Spiritual Meaning of Green
Green is one of the easier colors to grasp a symbolic and spiritual meaning. Most scriptural reference show green to mean life. But not just your normal run of a mill life…but bright, flourishing, thriving life. When a plant or tree is fully green and growing it bursting full of life.
One of the greatest example of this is in Psalm 1:3…
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
This tree is a tree covered in green leaves and bearing fruit. A green tree is a tree that is healthy, growing, and full of life.
But a green tree in Jeremiah 2:19-21 is symbolic of lawlessness and even pride. We also see this in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 4 when he is like a mighty tree.
In the book of Revelation, one of the horsemen is said to ride a pale horse. That word pale is actually the Greek word chlōrós, which we know to be a greenish yellow. This is a sickly green color. Which happens to the body when their is oxygen deprivation.
So, you can see like many other colors in the Bible. You have two sides to what it spiritual means.
|SPIRITUAL MEANING OF GREEN||BIBLE REFERENCE|
|Life/Thriving/Flourish/Growth||Jeremiah 11:16, Isaiah 15:6, Psalm 1:3,|
|Lawlessness and Pride||Jeremiah 2:19-21, Daniel 4|
|Fruitful||Psalm 92:13-13, Jeremiah 11:16,|
|Frailty and Sickness||Psalm 37:2, Revelation 6:8|
|God’s Throne||Revelation 4:1-3|
Green Stones in the Bible and Emeralds in Heaven
The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, – Revelation 21:19
Another way we can see green in the Bible is through different gemstones. We see about 4 stones that are naturally green. The tricky thing about precious stones in the Bible is that different translations mention different stones. For example the NIV says the 10th stone in the New Jerusalem wall is topaz while the NKJV says it chrysoprase.
- Emerald – Revelation 21:19
- Jasper – Ezekiel 28:13
- Peridot – Exodus 28:17 “Nine out of the ten Biblical translations used in the series translate pitdah in Exodus 28:17 and Ezekiel 28:13 as topaz, while the NLT calls it “a pale green peridot.” Other research, however, indicates that this Hebrew word likely refers to a peridot and not a topaz or other precious gemstone.” (source)
- Chrysoprase – Revelation 21:20
Green stones are found on the breastplate of the high priest, and the foundation of the new Jerusalem.
Let’s talk about Rainbows…Green Rainbows!
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. – Revelation 4:1-3
When the apostle John saw the throne room of heaven, he saw around encircled around the throne a green rainbow. It must have been brilliant green and shimmered for John to describe it as an emerald. The Greek word used is smarágdinos. Which is interesting, because the Latin word, smaragdia is a type of green sea snail.
So, green is not just something we see on the earth but in heaven it’s seen within it’s very foundation and around God Himself! Jonathan Edwards, a famous minister in the during the 18th century, made a commentary on Revelation 4:3.
This rainbow was ‘in sight like unto an emerald,’ which is a precious stone of an exceeding lovely green color, so green that this color appears in nothing else so lively and lovely. This color is a most fit emblem of divine grace; it is a very lively color, not so dull as blue or purple, and yet most easy to the sight, more easy than the more fiery colors of yellow and red. It is the color of all the grass, herbs, and trees, and growth of the earth, and therefore fitly denotes life, flourishing, prosperity, and happiness, which are often in Scripture compared to the green and flourishing growth of the earth. As the benign influence of the sun on the face of the earth is shown by this color above all others, so is the grace, and benign influence, and communication of God fitly represented by this color.
σμαράγδινος smarágdinos, smar-ag’-dee-nos; from G4665; consisting of emerald:—emerald.
Discover More Colors in the Bible
Has learning about green in the Bible stirred you up to learn more about colors?? I know for me when I started studying colors, it opened up my eyes to how rich God’s symbolism is. This is why I created the Ultimate Guide to Colors in the Bible. This goes deep into everything that deals with colors in the Bible. Check it out if you want to learn more!
If you would like to learn about individual colors, then click on the links below:
What about dreams about colors?
I hope you have enjoyed this study on the color green in the Bible. The symbolic meaning is amazing especially when see that color is both on the earth and in the heavens! I really encourage you to check out the other colors as well. there is so much we can learn when we dig deep into the Lord’s Word!
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…