How many times is purple mentioned in the Bible? (what does the Bible say about the color purple?)

During last Sunday’s bible service, instead of a regular study session with the members, I decided to change things up and do a random biblical quiz session to liven things up. I was part of the randomly quizzed group and was ready for it. However, during the session, one of the members asked me a very intriguing question that made me smile and want to write this article. The question was, how many times is purple mentioned in the Bible?

Some sources state that the name purple has been mentioned 53 times in the Bible. On the other hand, the color purple, according to the King James Version Bible, has been mentioned 48 times; in the new testament, it is mentioned nine times, and in the old testament 39 times.

In this article, I will delve into the color purple by looking at what the Bible says about it, its significance, and how it was used in the Bible, among others. Follow along to get answers to these questions and more.

What Does the Bible Say About the Color Purple?

what does the Bible say about the color purple?
What Does the Bible Say About the Color Purple? Image source: Freepik

Purple was made for royalty

The Bible says that luxurious materials were colored purple and were therefore made for royalty. Many kings and rulers wore the color in their garments. For instance, in Genesis 49:8-12, the tribe of Judah is described as royal. The verse metaphorically describes a garment washed in wine and purple clothes. Esther 1:6 describes using purple hangings during a banquet held at King Ahasuerus’ palace.

The wealthy wore purple

Purple was associated with wealth in the Bible, as it was always worn by the rich. The reason was that extracting and making the dye was labor-intensive and time-consuming, making purple an expensive color. Luke 16:19 gives the story of the rich man clothed in fine and purple linen. Likewise, Revelation 18:12 gives examples of luxurious materials where purple was included.

Mocking Jesus’s Kingship

According to Mark 15:17-20, purple was also used to mock Jesus during his crucifixion. The purple color was used to represent royalty and kingship. Since Jesus called himself the King of the Jews, the soldiers put him in a purple robe with a crown of thorns to mock his claim as the King of the Jews.

Purple was Holy and Revered

In God’s Tabernacle, purple was prevalent as God wanted Israel to see he was the greatest royalty. In Exodus 26:1; 26: 36, purple was displayed in multiple places in the temple.

What does the Color Purple represent in the Bible?

The color purple in the Bible represents royalty, wealth, divinity, and suffering. The color purple has been mentioned several times in the Bible. What the Bible says about the color purple represents many things. As mentioned earlier, purple signifies royalty and kingship, as it was worn among many royals in the Bible. It also represents divines and holiness in the Bible, as purple was adorned in several places in the temple in the Old Testament. Additionally, purple was used to reflect the wealthy and affluent in the Bible, as the purple dye was rare and expensive.

However, purple was also used to negatively mock Jesus, who claimed to be the King of the Jews. Soldiers dressed him in a crown of thorns and a purple robe, calling him the King of Jews. It represented Jesus’s suffering and the sacrifice he had to make for the sake of humanity.

How was the color purple used in the Bible?

How many times is purple mentioned in the Bible?
How was the color purple used in the Bible? Image source: Freepik

Temple and Tabernacle

Purple was used during the construction of the Tabernacle and later on the temple. According to Exodus 26:1; 26:31, purple was used for the curtains, coverings, and veils.

Priestly attire

High priests wore garments that incorporated purple. In Exodus 28:4-5, garments for the high priest were made with gold, purple, blue, and scarlet threads.

Royal attire

Purple was incorporated in the royal garments of nobles, kings, or those in authority to show their status: Judges 8:26 talks of Kings of Midian wearing purple clothing. The book of Esther 8:15 mentions Mordecai was clothed in royal wear, including a robe of fine linen and purple.

Symbolic purposes

Purple was used symbolically in some bible verses. For example, Revelation 17:4 describes a woman dressed in purple and scarlet to represent a great prostitute, and the colored clothes she wears and accessories signify her luxurious, alluring life. She represents immorality that entices people to move away from God.

Why is the color purple significant in the Bible?

How many times is purple mentioned in the Bible?
Why is the color purple significant in the Bible? Image source: Freepik

The color purple is significant in the Bible because it is associated with concepts like wealth, royalty, divinity, suffering, and sacrifice. Purple was very rare and thus considered a valuable color during biblical times. The color was sourced from a tiny sea snail in the Mediterranean. Acquiring the dye was laborious, making it expensive and valuable. Therefore, it was mostly worn by royalty, those in authority, and the wealthy.

In the same regard, God instructed the high priests and the Tabernacle to be clad in purple in the Old Testament to show the Israelites that God was to be coveted and that he was royal and sacred. As it was seen as a garment for royalty, the soldiers in Mark 15:17, who crucified Jesus, clothed him in a purple robe to mock him for being a supposed King of the Jews.

Who was the purple woman in the Bible?

The purple woman was referred to as Lydia of Thyatira. She was also given names like St. Lydia or the woman of purple. She is introduced in the New Testament in the Book of Acts 16:11-15 as a woman known for dealing in purple clothes, hence the name woman of purple. She is also known as the First ever recorded convert to Christianity. That was why many Christian denominations called her a saint.

Where in the Bible does it say she is clothed in purple?

In Proverbs 31:22, there is mention of a woman that is clothed in purple. This verse is part of a poem that describes a virtuous woman who cares for her husband and a woman that fears the lord. The woman is known as the Proverbs 31 woman. The proverb 31 woman is considered virtuous and described as clothed in purple. The woman is known to be virtuous, wise, noble, and industrious. Moreover, the woman is described as clothed in fine linen and purples, which signifies that she is dignified, wealthy, and righteous in Christ, who covers her because he is his bride.

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