In the past 15 years as an active Christian who spends hours studying the Bible, I have been fascinated with how often the number 3 stands out. I’ve noticed that there are numerous things presented in 3s throughout the Old and New Testaments, and so I mentioned it once to my church pastor, who went on to ask me about what the number signifies because, like everything else in the Bible, 3 could also be a metaphor holding more power and meaning than its surface-level meaning. With this new task, I researched further, and my findings have been mind-blowing. So, what does number 3 symbolize in the Bible?
The number 3 is considered a sign of completion because Jesus prayed thrice at the Garden of Gethsemane in Luke 22:43-44, it also symbolizes harmony and wholeness. Its association with the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) represents perfection, wholeness, and reflections on self-sufficiency. Three is also associated with the righteous patriarchs, the power of God, and it also puts emphasizes on the intensity of God’s power.
In this post, I’ll delve deeper into the significance of number in the Bible, its spirituality, symbolism, and the use of the number 3 throughout the Bible.
What is the meaning of number 3 in the Bible?
The Number three appears several times in the Bible, and it’s believed to represent completeness, perfection, the power of God, wholeness, and harmony. It appears 467 times throughout the Bible, and it derives its meaning from the fact that it’s the first out of the four spiritually perfect numerals. Three is also associated with the righteous patriarchs in the Bible – Abel, Noah, and Enoch, as well as the three righteous fathers mentioned in the Bible, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The details concerning the meaning of this number are as follows:
This number represents completeness, albeit to the third power. It represents the total number of books in the New Testament (27 – which is 3 cubed). It’s worth noting that three means something that is good and complete. Also, the Hebrew word for three is Shelosh, to mean good. This is believed to correspond to the fact that there is no symbol or relationship that seems better or stronger than the Holy Trinity. Together, the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, represent something that is together, perfect or whole.
The use of the number 3 to represent completeness or the end to a task is further referenced in in the Garden of Gethsemane, where it’s inferred that Jesus Christ prayed three times before he was arrested, and led to his crucifixion. But that is not all, it’s recorded that Jesus was crucified on the cross on the third hour of the day and that He died on the 9th hour. Additionally, there were three hours of complete darkness throughout the land after Jesus was crucified – the darkness lasted from the 6th to the 9th hour. Matthew 27:45-54
Resurrection of Christ
Number 3 is also regarded as a sign of Jesus’ resurrection since it’s suggested that Jesus Christ was dead for three whole days and nights or complete 72 hours.
The Trinity is also believed to represent self-sufficiency and God’s aseity, and it points to the importance of The Trinity in Christian Faith. Overall, this wholeness is critical to faith in God while also serving as a reminder of the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, ultimately rose to Heaven and made things complete.
On the contrary, the Book of Revelation 16:13 outlines the existence of the evil trinity made of Satan, the Antichrist, as also the False Prophet. However, it’s worth noting that the evil trinity isn’t comparable or equal to the Holy Trinity (Father, Son & Holy Spirit).
References to Sex Sins
3 is also meaningful because it represents the bible mentions of sex sins and that they mean to Christians. Number 3 is referenced thrice, first in the New Testament in Romans 1:20-32, where the Bible talks about the people who reject God and who defile themselves through sexual immorality. The mention of the sex-related sins also appears in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 where the Bible, through Apostle Paul, was dealing with local church where incest was happening openly. Sex-related sins are also mentioned in scripture in Revelation 2:19-25 where a female presenting as a prophetess with the spirit of Jezebel in the Thyatira Church was teaching different believers about spiritual adultery and sexual immorality.
This number is also a relevant part of the prophesies made in the book of Revelation. Revelation 8:13 implies that there exist three angels who were charged to cry three woes to the individuals living on earth, warning them about all the trials and tribulations that they would face. It’s believed that the bodies of the three would be there for all to see for three days throughout Jerusalem before their resurrection.
It is also believed that it was prophesized that there was a triple threat from unclean spirits (Battle of Armageddon). These spirits would deceive the world, and they’d also fight the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in the battle of Armageddon – Revelation 16:13-16.
The other important prophesy mentioned in the New Testament is suggested in Revelation 21:13, where New Jerusalem would be created by God as a replacement for the new earth. The New Jerusalem would be shaped like a square, with three gates on every side.
Repetition by the threes
It’s suggested that several things or events were repeated three times in several sections in the Bible. In Luke 22:34, it’s implied that Jesus had told the apostle Peter that the rooster would crow after Peter’s denial of Christ thrice. This is believed to have happened because Peter didn’t believe in Jesus as the Savior, and though Jesus told him that he’d reject him, he didn’t agree with that and swore that he’d never deny Jesus. However, the prophesy passed, and Peter denied Jesus thrice. It’s believed that this repetition meant that Peter wouldn’t forget Jesus’ statement.
Why is the number 3 important in the Bible?
The number 3 is quite important throughout the Bible because it represents the number of that different important events happened.
Witnesses to the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ
For starters, this number is important because it represents number of people that witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus Christ on Mount Hermon. These individuals who saw Jesus transfigure in His full glory were Peter, John, and James. Mark 9:2-13.
Paul Quoting Three Greek Poets
The Apostle called Paul is believed to be one of the most exceptional and a highly educated individual mentioned in the Bible. It is implied in Acts 17:28, Titus 1:12, and 1 Corinthians 15:33 that this Apostle quoted Greek poets directly in three primary occasions. It’s believed that the Apostle Paul was also quite privileged, and he got to visit the site of God’s throne or the third heaven –2 Corinthians 12:2-4.
Three is also an important number in the Bible because there are several events that took place over a span of three days. It is implied in John 2 that Jesus Christ prophesized the temple’s destruction and its reestablishment in a period of three days.
Before Jesus was crucified, it is believed that he was spoke to his disciples and made them aware of the fact that He’d be delivered to men who would kill him, but he’d rise to heaven after 3 days – Matthew 17:22-23.
After Lazarus passed on, John 11:39 suggests that Martha warned Jesus Christ against removing the stone from the tomb that Lazarus lay because there would be a stench – at the time, it’s believed that three days had lapsed after the death of Lazarus.
Also, Matthew 12:40 suggests that Jonah was in the belly of a great fish for a total of three days and nights.
Three words repeated
The number 3 is also important because it’s believed to place importance on certain words. In Isaiah 6:3, the word ‘holy’ is repeated thrice, and Jeremiah 22:29 suggests that the word ‘land’ is repeated three times.
Three also symbolize the three prayers that the early Christians were required to make throughout the day, as implied in Daniel 6:10 and Psalm 55:17.
Three days in the tomb
After his crucifixion, it’s suggested that body of Jesus Christ lay in the tomb for three days before his resurrection as implied in Matthew 28:1.
Three primary angels
Scripture suggests that there were three main angels – Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer; as implied in Jude 1:9, Revelation 12:7, Daniel 12:1, 2 Corinthians 11:14, Luke 10:18, Luke 1:19, and Daniel 8:16.
Three words appearing once throughout the Bible
Number 3 is also symbolic because there only are 3 words which appear only once in the scripture – throughout the Bible. These words are Scripture as it appears in Psalms 111:9, Eternity in Isaiah 57:15, and the word Grandmother that is found in 1 Timothy 1:5.
Three also represents three important times and things in life – that which is, that which was, and what’s to come. This is implied in Revelation 1:4 and Revelation 4:8.
Lastly, this number represents the three great periods during which the annual Feast Days of Worship took place. These Festivals include Passover and the Days of the Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, that’s a Summer Festival, and lastly, the fall festivals -Feast of the Trumpets, Feast of the Tabernacles, and Atonement.
Examples of the Number 3 Being Used in the Bible
Old Testament use
Genesis 6:10 – Here, the Bible suggests that Noah had three sons.
Job 1:2 – This verse implied that Job had three daughters.
Hebrews 9:4 – This verse infers that there were three sacred objects in the Ark of the Covenant – the stone tablet of the covenant, Aaron’s staff, and the gold jar containing manna.
1 Kings 7:4-5 – These verses imply that Solomon’s Palace located in the Forest of Lebanon, had three sets of windows facing each other and that the palace also had rectangular doorway frames in sets of three, all facing each other.
1 Samuel 20:41 – The verse suggests that David bowed before Jonathan thrice.
Daniel 6:10-13 implies that Daniel prayed to God thrice daily for thanksgiving.
Deuteronomy 16:16 – this verse suggests that the Israelites were commanded to appear before thrice each year to mark the three festivals – Feast of the Unleavened Bread, Feast of the Tabernacles, and the Feast of Weeks.
Exodus 5:3 – this verse shows how the number 3 appeared in the Old Testament as a way of measuring time. It’s suggested that Aaron and Moses petitioned Pharaoh by asking that they take the three-day journey to the desert where they’d make their sacrifices to God.
Exodus 15:22 – Here, scriptures suggest that the Hebrews, while traveling through the Desert of Shur, stayed three days without water.
Numbers 10:33; 11 – Here, it’s suggested that the Hebrew people started complaining after three days as they traveled from Mount Sinai, where they were given the Ten Commandments.
Judges 14:14 – Number 3 is used here to suggest that the men of Timnah had been stumped by the riddle posed by Samson for three days.
Exodus 2:3 – this verse implies that Moses’ mother was able to successfully hide Moses for three months.
Leviticus 19:23 also mentions three, specifically three years, during which the Hebrews were instructed to plant fruits trees in the Promised land but were also forbidden from eating the fruits from the trees.
New Testament use
Matthew 4:1-11 – this passage represents an account in which Jesus cited three scriptures in the Bible when answering the three temptations by Satan.
2 Corinthians 11:28 suggests that the Apostle Paul came across three shipwrecks.
2 Corinthians 12:7-8 suggests that Paul prayed to the Lord thrice, asking Him to remove the thorn that was in his flesh.
John 2:16 – this verse implies that Jesus promises to rebuild the temple that they’d destroyed in three days, and this was later suggested and recounted by His disciples in John 2:22.
Luke 1:56 also mentions 3 while referring to the New Testament account in which Mary, the mother of Jesus, visited Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, and stayed with them for a period of three months.
Revelation 21:13 suggests that John’s vision featured a triple entrance marked on the 4 sides of the city in New Jerusalem.
Acts 19:8 suggests that Apostle Paul lived in Ephesus for a period of three months and that while there, he spoke boldly at the Synagogue. Acts 20:3 suggests that he went to Greece, where he also stayed for 3 months, then in Acts 28:11, it’s implied that he went to stay in Malta for another 3 months.
6 symbolic meanings of the number 3 in the Bible
The number 3 is regarded as an important symbol in the grand scheme of things, albeit biblically, because it was on the third day that Jesus Christ resurrected. Prophesies about Christ’s or Messiah’s resurrection on the third day were made by several prophets, including Hosea, who is believed to have also prophesized about the future of Israel, the healing and restoration of Jesus through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus also told his disciples that he’d be killed, but he would rise again on the third day – Matthew 16:21, Luke 9:22, and Mark 8:31. It’s suggested that Jesus also made his disciples aware of his looming death and resurrection very shortly after the transfiguration – Matthew 17:22-23.
It’s also implied in Luke 13:32 that Jesus spoke about his death and the subsequent resurrection on the third day, and that He referred to these events as the goal for his life.
Further suggestions regarding the resurrection taking place on the third day are mentioned in John 2:19, where it suggests that Jesus informed the Jews of rebuilding the temple in 3 days. Jesus also taught about his death after condemnation by the teachers of the law and chief priests and his resurrection on the third day as implied in Mark 10:33-34, Acts 10:40-44, 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, Luke 24:5-7, 24:21; and 24:45-46.
Completion or End To A Period of Preparation
It’s also believed that the number three represents the completion of a period that had been spent waiting. Joshua 2:15-16 implies that important decisions were made three days after the end of a waiting period, and it’s suggested that Rehab had instructed the Hebrew spies to remain in hiding for a period of three days before they could make any attempts of rejoining the Israelite forces.
New information and instructions
The number three is one of the most symbolic numbers in the Bible, and in some contexts, three or three days is believed to represent some kind of new information that is believed to generate further activity around something else. Genesis 31:22, for example, implies that Laban learned about Jacob fleeing with his property and wives on the third day. Also, it wasn’t until the third day that Joshua, along with the Israelites, learned of the use of deception by the Gibeonites with regards to a treaty that they’d made – Genesis 31:39. Other verses that suggest learning about some kind of new information after three days include 1 Sam 30:2, Genesis 42:18-20, 1 Kings 12:5;12 and 2 Chronicles 10:5, 12.
Why are things repeated three times in the Bible?
Things are repeated three times in the Bible because this is believed to convey the expectations or implications of that event or thing beyond its conventional meaning. The third day, for example, is mentioned severally because it’s believed to carry a nuanced or additional sense. Things were done or selected to happen on the third day, month, or year because of the belief that three carries a special kind of emphasis and helps to make sure that situations are understood.
Sign of a special spiritual activity
It’s also believed that the third day signified a day of careful and special spiritual preparation. This is believed to have been suggested in Esther 5:1, where it’s implied that Esther wore her royal robes then stood at the inner court’s right in front of the Palace’s King’s Hall on the third day. It’s implied that her people were allowed to deliver themselves.
Healing and Purity
The third day is also believed to be of great significance with regards to celebrations, with meats left from different sacrifices destroyed on the third day – Leviticus 7:17-18 and Leviticus 19:6-7.
It’s also believed that the believers would be cleansed, forgiven, healed, and restored on the third day – 2 Kings 20:8. Hosea 6:1-2 implies that the people of God could be healed and restored on the third day.
Prophetic meaning of the number 3 in the Bible
3 is an important number mentioned in the Bible severally. It’s also a number that is believed to represent prophesized events, and so it has a prophetic meaning.
Prophetically, number 3 represents rebirth (of Jesus Christ) as suggested in Revelation 8:13. While this verse suggests that God has commanded his angels to warn humanity about the difficulties that they may face, it’s also believed to represent the evil spirit and the evil trinity which is considered the devil’s way of mimicking God’s work and derailing Christians. So, 3 could also be seen as a kind of warning about the Antichrist, the False Prophets, and the Beast, as suggested in Revelation 16, 19, and 20.
It’s also a forewarning about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (or Christ’s Rebirth), as well as the Battel of Armageddon suggested in Revelation 16:13-16. Therefore, the number three could be seen as a sign that represents the clash of the good and bad as the Holy Trinity and the Evil Trinity clash at the New Jerusalem, which has three gates on the sides – Revelation 21:13.
Spiritual meaning of the number 3
Three is a crucial biblical and spiritual number which represents the Holy Trinity, the three righteous people chosen by God, and also, it’s believed that the number three was repeated severally or phrases with three words repeated severally to point to their significance.
Triad – three is considered a number that explains the process through which things are manifested or how certain things could be returned to the source because those things are believed to be created thanks to interactions between the Monad and the Duad and the Triad (Mother, Father, and Child/ Creation). Together, the three have an unseen creative energy/power that leads to manifestation, albeit threefold. So, the bible story of creation is associated with the number 3.
3’s spiritual significance includes the fact that it’s believed to represent expansion, fertility, and the transference of energy to the planet Jupiter, which in turn, gives people creativity, mobility, and ambition.
People with angel number 3 are regarded as witty, sincere, enthusiastic, sociable, highly adaptable, and risk takers. The number 3 is also believed to represent manifestation, creation, optimism, harmony, and completeness.
Seeing number 3 is believed to be a positive sign that brings people courage, ambition, as well as an adventurous spirit and success. It’s also believed to be associated with creative powers, reunion, and unseen energies.
Reasons why you keep seeing the number 3
It’s believed that the reason why you keep seeing the number 3 could be because the universe and its divine forces, like the angels, are trying to communicate to you, letting you know that you have their support and encouragement. So, if you are trying to start a new career or are pursuing a new dream but are unsure of the path, seeing number three often isn’t a coincidence, but it could be a sign that the angels are cheering you on as you pursue your dreams and also on your personal growth journey.
Seeing number 3 is also believed to be strongly associated with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity, as well as Spiritual gifts.
What you should do when you keep seeing the number 3
If you keep seeing the number 3, you could be in for a good luck streak because this number is associated with good luck, and seeing it means that your guardian angel or the spiritual realm could be trying to communicate to you, asking you to patient because there’s a good season awaiting you. Seeing this number could also be angels reminding you to have faith and to believe in your abilities and your skills.
It could also be a sign that you are a divine individual and that things could be happening in your favor, so you should set aside fear.
Are there any negative meanings of the number 3 in the Bible?
Yes, it’s believed that there is one notable negative connotation associated with the number 3 in the Bible, specifically, the mention of the Evil Trinity made of the Antichrist, the Beast, plus the False Prophet, as implied in Revelation 16, 19, or 20. These are believed to represent what would happen during the end times and how during the rebirth or second coming of Jesus Christ, the battle of Armageddon would ensue between good and evil.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.