What does wood symbolize in the Bible? (Symbolism and Meaning)

During our Bible study last week, we were discussing the story of Noah. As we were going through the instructions he received to build the ark, a member asked whether the type of wood he was instructed to use had any significance. This question made us all ponder whether wood holds any symbolic meaning in the Bible and, if so, what it might be. As a result, the discussion, “What does wood symbolize in the Bible?” arose.

According to Christian scholars, wood in the Bible symbolizes the humanity of Jesus Christ, his sacrifice, and the cross. In the Old Testament, wood is often associated with the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle. In the New Testament, the cross, made of wood, represents the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the redemption of humanity as implied in 1 Peter 2:24, and Galatians 3:13. Theological studies also suggest that wood represents the connection between heaven and earth, and the divine presence.

In this article, I invite you to join me as we delve into this discussion and learn the symbolism of wood in the Scriptures. To also discover what kind of woods were used in the Bible and what various dreams about wood mean, keep reading.

What does the bible say about wood?

The Bible talks about wood in various contexts such as a material for construction and as a symbol for various themes. Also, the Scriptures talk about wood in various forms like trees. For instance, in Genesis 2:9 the Bible mentions trees, the source of wood, for the first time, during their creation.

Additionally, wood is discussed in the Bible as one of the materials used to make the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle, both of which played crucial roles in the religious life of the Israelites. The Ark of the Covenant was constructed of acacia wood, as described in Exodus 25:10-22, overlaid with gold, and served as a symbol of God’s presence among his people. The Tabernacle, where God’s presence dwelled, was also made of wood, as implied in Exodus 26:15-30 and Exodus 25:1-5.

The New Testament also talks about wood in the making of Jesus’ cross as suggested in Matthew 27:31-32, where it states that the Roman soldiers made a cross out of wood and forced Jesus to carry it to the place of His crucifixion. The wooden cross is also talked about in John 19:17, Acts 5:30, and Acts 10:39. Generally, according to theologians, besides its practical uses, the Bible uses wood as a powerful symbol to convey theological concepts and themes.

What was the significance of wood in the bible?

Wood plays several significant roles in the Bible, both as a physical material and as a symbolic element. According to the Old Testament, as seen earlier, wood is significant as it was used to build the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle, both of which were central to Israel’s worship of God.

As Christian scholars suggest, the use of wood in these structures highlights the significance of human craftsmanship in creating holy spaces. In the New Testament, wood takes on an even greater significance with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Wood is significant in this context as it made the cross, a symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice and the redemption of humanity. Theologians suggest that the use of wood in the cross highlights the physical and human nature of Jesus’ sacrifice, as well as the centrality of the cross in Christian theology. Theological studies also suggest that the use of wood in the Bible also points to the connection between heaven and earth.

What kinds of woods were used in the bible?

The Bible mentions several kinds of wood that were used for various purposes and some of them include;

  • Acacia wood: This type of wood was famously used in the construction of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant as mentioned before and it was valued for its durability and resistance to decay. Acacia wood was also used on the altar on which burnt offerings were offered as implied in Exodus 27:1-8.
  • Cedar wood: Cedar wood was used for building the temple of Solomon as implied in 1 Kings 5:6, 1 Kings 7:2, and 1 Kings 6:9-10. This wood was also valued for its durability and resistance to decay.
  • Olive wood: This wood was used for carving various objects, such as the cherubim in the temple of Solomon as implied in 1 Kings 6:23-33. Scholars suggest that olive wood was also used as a trading commodity.
  • Almug wood: Scholars interpret 1 Kings 10:18-20 and 2 Chronicles 9:17-19 suggesting that this wood was used to make the steps of Solomon’s throne, as well as for other decorative purposes. It’s worth knowing that the exact identity of this wood is still debated, but many suggest that it’s a type of sandalwood or cedar.
  • Cypress wood: Cypress wood was used for building structures, as implied in 1 Kings 5:8-10. This wood was appreciated for its versatility.

How were woods used in the bible?

Wood was used for various purposes mainly for building or construction as seen in the previous subheading. Besides construction, wood was also used to make tools and implements used in various tasks. For instance, historical studies suggest that the plows used in farming were typically made of wood, and wooden yokes were used to harness oxen for work. Additionally, wood was an essential source of fuel for cooking and heating given that there was no other source of fire or fuel at the time. Wood was also used to create containers for storage, such as barrels and crates during biblical times. Finally, like today, wood was also used by skilled craftsmen to create furniture.

From a theological standpoint, the use of wood in the Bible was also symbolic. For instance, the wooden staff carried by Moses symbolizes the authority and power given to him by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and similarly, the wooden cross on which Jesus was crucified represented His human nature through the physical suffering he endured and the spiritual redemption that his sacrifice made possible for all of humanity.

6 symbolic meanings of wood in the bible

What wood symbolize in the Bible
Symbolic meanings of wood in the bible. Image source: Pixabay

Some of the symbolic meanings of wood in the bible include;


In the Bible, wood is symbolic of life, as it represents the source of our physical existence as implied in Psalm 1:3, where the righteous person is compared to a tree planted by streams of water. This imagery symbolizes the vitality and abundance of life that comes from a deep relationship with God.

Strength and Stability

Wood is also symbolic of strength and stability, as it’s a solid and durable material. In Isaiah 11:1-2, where the Messiah is described as a shoot that’ll grow from the stump of Jesse, and some suggest that this symbolizes the strength and resilience of the royal line of David.


Theologians also suggest that wood can symbolize transformation, as it represents the transformation of something raw and rough into something beautiful and useful. This suggestion is supported by the imagery in Isaiah 60:13 which talks about the transformative power of God’s grace in our lives.


Wood can also symbolize sacrifice, as it was the material used to make the cross on which Jesus was crucified. In John 19:17-18, we read that Jesus carried his cross, symbolizing his willingness to take on the burden of our sin and to suffer for our redemption. The wooden cross thus serves as a powerful symbol of sacrificial love and divine grace.

Divine presence

Theological studies also suggest that wood in the Bible represents the divine presence as it was one of the materials used in the construction of the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle. The use of wood in these contexts symbolizes the tangible presence of God among his people.


Theologians suggest that wood in the Bible can also be seen as a symbol of humanity. Scholars also interpret Isaiah 11:1-2 as the described shoot representing the human lineage of Jesus Christ.

The symbolic meanings of wood in the Bible are diverse and multifaceted, reflecting the many different ways in which this material was used and valued in biblical times. Also, depending on how one interprets the Bible, these meanings may vary from believer to believer.

Is there any spiritual significance of wood?

Yes, wood has a spiritual significance that extends beyond the biblical significance discussed earlier to various religions, cultures, and practices. For instance, in Chinese culture, wood is one of the five elements of feng shui, an ancient system that seeks to harmonize individuals with their environment. Wood is associated with growth, vitality, and abundance, and is believed to promote good health, prosperity, and spiritual well-being.

In Hinduism, wood plays an important role in religious rituals and ceremonies where woods like sandalwood are burned as incense offering to the gods. In Buddhism, wood is used to make statues and other objects of devotion, which are believed to embody the presence and teachings of the Buddha. Many Native American spiritualities also view trees and wood to an extent, as sacred to possess spiritual power.

What does it mean when you dream about wood?

What wood symbolize in the Bible
What does it mean when you dream about wood? Image source: Pixabay

Dreaming about wooden objects

Dreams about wooden objects can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and one of the interpretations of this dream is that it represents one’s inner strength and resilience in the face of challenges they’re facing in their waking life. Dreaming about a beautiful wooden object, such as a carved sculpture may represent one’s appreciation for the natural world and its beauty or their desire for beautiful experiences.

Dreaming of wooden objects can also represent hypocrisy, in which a person is presenting a false exterior that doesn’t match their true self. This interpretation may stem from the fact that wood can be easily carved and shaped into something that looks like one thing on the outside but may be something different on the inside. Alternatively, this dream might mean that the dreamer or someone they know is not being honest with themselves or others and that their true intentions or beliefs may be hidden behind a façade. It may be a call to examine one’s motives and actions to ensure they align with their true values and beliefs.

Dreaming about a wooden boat

One of the interpretations of this dream is that you’re planning a journey or voyage, and this could be a journey of self-discovery, a new job or relationship, or a spiritual quest. A wooden boat can also represent stability and security, as it is a sturdy vessel that can withstand rough waters, therefore, dreaming about it may also represent a need for safety and security in one’s life, or a feeling of being adrift or lost and seeking a safe place emotionally. Additionally, dreaming about a wooden boat may represent a need to express oneself creatively or to develop new skills and talents. This dream may also represent a need for spiritual guidance or a desire to connect with a higher power.

To add to that, wooden boats are often associated with tradition and nostalgia, especially if the dreamer has fond memories of being on a wooden boat in the past, therefore, dreaming of a wooden boat may symbolize a desire to return to a simpler, more peaceful time in life or simply nostalgia. Finally, wooden boats can be seen as works of art and craftsmanship thus dreaming of them may indicate a desire to explore one’s creativity or to express oneself through art or other forms of craftsmanship.

Dreaming you have wooden hands

Dreaming of wooden hands may carry symbolic meanings of a loss of freedom and potential danger. The hands are an important part of the body associated with power and control, therefore, dreaming of wooden hands may indicate a loss of these qualities. Wooden hands may also represent a lack of touch or sensitivity, and an inability to connect with others and this dream may indicate a need to break free from rigid thinking or a situation that is limiting personal growth and self-expression. Dreaming about wooden hands may represent the dreamer’s desire to be more resilient, reliable, or dependable. This dream may also indicate that the dreamer feels emotionally or physically numb or limited in their ability to take action. Dreaming about wooden hands may represent the dreamer’s need to find a balance between their personal and professional life, or between their inner and outer selves.

Dreaming of people made of woods

Wood is a solid and sturdy material and dreaming about people made of wood may represent the dreamer’s perception of others as inflexible or resistant to change. This dream may also indicate that the dreamer feels stuck in a situation where they are unable to make progress or find a way out. Another possible interpretation of dreaming about people made of wood is that it may indicate the dreamer’s need for a sense of stability and security in their life. Also, wood isn’t a living material, and dreaming about people made of wood may represent a lack of emotional connection or empathy with others, therefore, this dream may indicate that the dreamer feels isolated or disconnected from the people around them.

Additionally, wood is a material that can be carved and shaped into different forms, and dreaming about people made of wood may represent the dreamer’s creativity or desire to express themselves in a new way. This dream may indicate that the dreamer is exploring different aspects of their identity or trying to break free from their usual patterns of behavior.

Are woods still important today?

Yes, wood is still important today as it’s a sustainable and renewable resource that remains a popular choice in the construction industry. Research has shown that using wood in construction can have environmental benefits, such as reducing carbon emissions and improving indoor air quality. Also, wood is still a popular and major material for furniture and home decor due to its durability, versatility, and natural beauty. While digital technologies have reduced the demand for paper, wood pulp is still used to make a variety of paper products, including newspapers, magazines, and books making it an important resource to date. To add to that, wood is a renewable energy source, and it can be burned to generate heat and electricity, making it an efficient and important resource.

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