June 26, 2023

What Does the Color Purple Mean in the Bible?

by SARAH in Biblical Interpretation and Symbolism0 Comments

The color purple has a long history of being connected in the Bible to royalty, money, luxury, and power, which also carries a deeper metaphorical connotation (Judges 8:26 & Exodus 28:5). 

In biblical times, purple was frequently associated with an extravagant robe that wealthy elites could only afford due to its high production cost. As a result, the ancient Egyptians and Phoenicians had to import large quantities of shellfish from the Mediterranean to create their famed Tyrian purple dye color. For this reason, purple evolved to become a signifier of affluence and authority.

Purple in History

The earliest known use of the dye was by the Phoenicians, who extracted it from a species of sea snail known as the murex. The required fluid to produce it came from a snail’s gland found in the Mediterranean Sea. As each snail only produced one drop, it took four million mollusks to create just one pound of dye. 

Back in the day, only the aristocracy could shell out for clothing dyed with Tyrian purple because it was pretty rare and expensive. The color represented riches and authority and was often used as a sign of someone’s social standing. For instance, Constantine VII was given the title of Porphyrogenitus, translated as ”born of the purple room.” 

Until then, purple has spread throughout the world. In fact, the Prophet Ezekiel says that Tyrians obtained it from Elishah and through the people from Syria: 

  • “Fine embroidered linen from Egypt was your sail and served as your banner; your awnings were of blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah.” (Ezekiel 27:7)
  • “‘Aram[a] did business with you because of your many products; they exchanged turquoise, purple fabric, embroidered work, fine linen, coral and rubies for your merchandise.” (Ezekiel 27:16)

Today, the purple’s hue is still popular among high-end fashion apparel and accessories and is associated with luxury and wealth. It is often used to symbolize calmness, peace, creativity, and imagination. 

Where Did the Color Purple Appear?

The color purple  appears many times in different Bible versions. In the King James Version (KJV) Bible, for example, purple shows up 48 times; nine of which are in the New Testament.

Below are the Bible verses where the color purple was mentioned:

  • “The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks.” (Judges 8:26)
  • “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. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration.” (Esther 8:15)
  • “Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.” (Exodus 28:5)
  • “She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.” (Proverbs 31:22)
  • “Its posts he made of silver, its base of gold. Its seat was upholstered with purple, its interior inlaid with love. Daughters of Jerusalem,” (Song of Solomon 3:10)
  • “Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses.” (Song of Solomon 7:5)
  • “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.” (Luke 16:19)
  • “One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” (Acts 16:14)
  • The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.” (Revelation 17:4)
  • cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble;” (Revelation 18:12)
  • “and cry out: “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls!” (Revelation 18:16)
  • “blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair;” (Exodus 25:4)
  • “Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim woven into them by a skilled worker.” (Exodus 26:1)
  • “For the entrance to the tent make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer.” (Exodus 26:36)
  • “They are to remove the ashes from the bronze altar and spread a purple cloth over it.” (Numbers 4:13)
  • “Send me, therefore, a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in the art of engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with my skilled workers, whom my father David provided.” (2 Chronicles 2:7)
  • “They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.” (Mark 15:17)
  • And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.” (Mark 15:20)
  • “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe” (John 19:2)
  • “When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”” (John 19:5)

These verses show that the color purple was not only used for garments but also for other objects such as curtains, a throne, and even ashes. These objects were either made of purple fabric or had purple embroidery.

What Does It Mean When We Say God Is Wealthy?

You may have already heard people proclaim that “God is wealthy!” But what does this mean? Does it mean God has a lot of money and gold stored away?

 We declare God’s richness upon acknowledging that He has more than enough of all He requires. Thus, He can bestow us His wealth by providing our needs and wants. We also know that God can meet our needs, whether it is physical healing, emotional healing, or financial provision.

And yet, even if God has an abundance of these things, we must still work hard to receive His blessings. We can’t just sit back and expect things to be handed to us. As we seek Him and work hard, we can trust that He will provide for us in His perfect timing.

However, remember that the Bible tells us not to put our trust in money or anything else that the world has to offer because those things will eventually fail us. Instead, we are told to put our trust in God alone, as He is the only one who is truly reliable and will never let us down.

If we show God that we deserve His blessings, He will pour His wealth on us. While this might not always translate to money or gold, it will always be something better than we could have ever asked for. For example, if you have always been a sickly person and you pray for healing, God could bless you with good health. 

How Does the Bible Assure Us That God Will Always Provide for Us?

Worrying about how to make ends meet is a common concern, leading to stress and anxiety. But instead of worrying, have faith in God that He will cast away your worries and will provide for your needs. He  never failed to provide for His people since the beginning of time and will continue to do so.

 This has been attested when Jesus saw a large crowd begging for food. He had compassion on them and gave them food to eat by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish into their basketfuls and feeding five thousand men (Matthew 14:13-21). 

Indeed, the scripture says that God is a great provider, even though we sometimes doubt His power. He can also make things beyond possible even if it seems impossible to us. Thus, instead of stressing about how you’ll make ends meet, take a leap of faith and surrender it all to God. He will surely provide for you in ways you could never have imagined before. Trust in His kindness and generosity, and be amazed at the blessings He showers on you. 

Below are the Bible verses showing the assurance of God’s provision to His people through His love and mercy.

  • And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
  • Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. (Genesis 9:3)
  • 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (Matthew 6:31-32)

Nine Ways That God Will Provide for Us

There will always be days when it becomes too hard to get up in the morning and face a new day where our bills and problems will haunt us again. These days, we wish we had a magic wand to make all our troubles disappear. But what if we do have something that can help us? What if there’s a source of strength and hope that we can always turn to?

The very first thing we need to remember on days like these is that we must never let the devil win. He is the one who keeps on reminding us that we’re not good enough, that we can’t make it on our own, and that we’re going to fail. But the truth is, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.

In the following verses, God reminds us of nine ways He will provide for us:

1. He promises to take care of our physical needs.

God is a reliable provider. He does not only create the universe but also maintains it by providing food for every living thing. As Philippians 4:19 states, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19). For instance, after Adam and Eve sinned, they felt embarrassed by their nakedness for the first time. So, God provided clothes for them as a way of showing His love. 

This example shows that even when we make mistakes, God is always there to provide for us. He is a faithful provider who always keeps His promises. Thus, when we are facing tough times, we can rest assured that our loving Father will meet our physical needs.

2. He promises to give us rest.

It can be so overwhelming to stay in control day by day that we sometimes just need to let go.  But fret no more! In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” This gives relief that we don’t have to carry the world on our shoulders; we can let God take the wheel for a while. We should not worry about this because we know that God is great all the time.  So, when we’re feeling run down, it’s okay to take a break and let God carry us through.

3. He promises to provide direction for us.

All of us have a purpose on earth. And while most of us have not yet discovered what that purpose is, God already has a plan for each and every one of us. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

We can trust that God will guide us if we feel lost or confused about our next steps. He knows what we are supposed to do with our lives and will provide the direction we need. All we have to do is ask Him for help and then be willing to follow His lead.After all, God loves us unconditionally and will never lead us astray, even amid difficulties.

4. He promises to give us grace.

God’s favor is lavished on us through His unmerited grace that makes our life easier to live. For example, when someone sins against us, we can easily forgive them because of God’s grace. And when we serve our families, we can do it with a joyful heart because we know God’s grace is sufficient for us. The same goes with just going through the day each day. His grace gives us strength and inspiration, even in difficult circumstances. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

5. He helps us avoid temptations.

Living in a world full of temptations is not easy to resist. But God is always there to help us, and He will give us the strength we need to overcome them through His Word and His Spirit. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 

6. He comforts us when we’re hurting.

Sometimes, we encounter pain that feels like it’s too much to bear. When this happens, we often feel like God is distant and doesn’t care. But the truth is, He does care. In fact, He comforts us in our times of need. So, we must never lose hope even when we face difficulties. We can trust that God will always be there for us, no matter what happens. 

Here are the scriptures saying that God comfort us, even in a way we never expected:

  • “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 19Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. 20He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.” (Psalm 34:17-20)
  • “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

7. He promises to save us.

 Although we are sinners, God promises to save us from eternal damnation. As John 3:16 tells, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” However, this won’t happen if we aren’t faithful to Him. God wants us to repent first and promised to turn away in wickedness (Acts 26:20).

When we trust in Jesus, God forgives our sins and gives us eternal life. This promise of salvation is enough to get us through life without fear: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

8. He promises to give us peace.

We live in a chaotic world where it feels like peace is impossible to find. But God tells us that He will give us His peace if we trust in Him: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Therefore, whenever we feel anxious or afraid, we can remember that God has promised us His peace. This is enough to get us through any situation we may face in this life. And one thing is for sure: God’s promises are always candid.

9. He promises to always point us to the truth.

We may not realize it, but there are so many lies around us. The devil works hard to let us feel like we are not good enough, that God doesn’t love us, and that we will never be forgiven. And yet, God will always find a way to point us to the truth and assure us that what the devil is saying is a lie. When we rest in God’s word, everything is in His right hands. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

Therefore, when we feel like we are in the dark, we all need to look to God’s promises and let His light guide us. This will be more than enough to conquer the devil’s lies and help us see the truth. 

Bottom Line

In the Bible, purple is often associated with royalty, particularly with Christ as the King of Kings.  It also has a long history of being associated with power and wealth. For this reason, we can say that God is wealthy, and He uses His wealth to share with us His blessings whenever we seek Him.

Indeed, God is the ultimate source of all good things. Seeing purple reminds us of how blessed is God yet remains humble and content. This serves as an inspiration for us to do the same, reminding us that even if we are not so fortunate enough, we must instead be rich in heart and in soul, as God’s blessings will eventually follow.


Sarah Goodwin

A passionate Christian and Bible enthusiast, I find joy in delving deep into Scripture and sharing its timeless wisdom with my readers. Through words, I aspire to illuminate the profound lessons the Bible offers, hoping to inspire faith and purpose in every heart. Join me on a journey of biblical exploration and spiritual growth.Enter your text here...

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