Three is a magic number, as the famous Schoolhouse Rock song suggests. In fact, it’s a number that has held great significance throughout history and across cultures. And this is no less true when it comes to the Bible. The number three appears repeatedly throughout scripture and carries a wealth of symbolism.
One of the most famous examples of the significance of three in the Bible is the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This concept has been central to Christian theology for centuries, with the number three serving as a powerful representation of the Godhead. But the symbolism of three goes even deeper than this fundamental belief. From the three wise men who brought gifts to Jesus, to his three days in the tomb following his crucifixion, to Peter’s three-fold denial of Christ before the rooster crowed, the number three is woven throughout the New Testament.
So why is three so important in the Bible? Scholars have posited a variety of theories, including its association with completeness (since three represents beginning, middle, and end), its links to the three dimensions of space (length, height, and depth), and its representation of balance and harmony. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that the number three holds a special place in the hearts and minds of believers – and that it continues to inspire and intrigue people of all walks of life to this day.
One of the most significant representations of number three in the Bible is the concept of the Trinity. The Trinity is the Christian doctrine that explains that there is only one God who exists in three persons or entities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. While each person of the Trinity has their unique attributes, they are equal in power, essence, and eternity.
- The Father: The Father is the first person of the Trinity, who is the creator of the universe and all beings. He is often depicted as the authority figure and the source of all life.
- The Son: The Son is the second person of the Trinity, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is said to have incarnated in human form and died on the cross to redeem humanity from sin.
- The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, who is the helper, guide, and comforter of believers. He is often described as a dove or flames of fire and is responsible for spiritual awakening and transformation.
The concept of the Trinity is crucial to the Christian faith as it helps to understand the nature of God, the relationship between God and humanity, and the way of salvation. It highlights the communal nature of God, who exists in perfect unity and harmony. The number three, therefore, carries significant theological and symbolic meaning and signifies the completeness and perfection of God’s nature.
Three days in the tomb
The number three is mentioned numerous times in the Bible, and one of the most significant events that involve the number three is the three days that Jesus spent in the tomb after being crucified. This event is significant as it is seen as a fulfillment of the prophecy that Jesus himself made, in which he said that he would be killed and raised again on the third day.
- In Matthew 12:40, Jesus makes the prophecy, stating, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
- After Jesus was crucified, he was buried in a tomb, and the scripture tells us that he was there for three days before being raised from the dead.
- Jesus’ resurrection after three days is seen as proof of his divinity and has great significance in Christian theology, as the event is central to the Christian teachings regarding salvation and redemption.
The number three itself also has various symbolic meanings in the Bible. It is seen as representing completeness and perfection, as well as being symbolic of the Trinity, which is the belief in one God who exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The three days in the tomb, therefore, underscores the importance of the number three both in the context of the event and symbolically. It illustrates the fulfillment of a prophecy made by Jesus himself and emphasizes the significance of the number three in Christian theology.
The three days in the tomb are an essential event in Christian theology, representing the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy and emphasizing the significance of the number three in the Bible. The three-day period marks the completion of one phase and the beginning of a new one, serving as a reminder of the value of patience and faith in the face of difficult situations.
|Symbolic Meanings of the Number Three (in the Bible)
|Completeness and Perfection
|Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
|Resurrection after three days in the tomb
Ultimately, the number three and the three days in the tomb are a reminder of the power of God and the significance of His involvement in our lives. As we reflect on this event and the symbolism of the number three, we must be grateful for the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins and seek to live a life that aligns with His teachings.
Triple Repetition in Isaiah’s Vision
The number 3 has significant meaning in the Bible and is often symbolic of completeness, wholeness, or perfection. One notable example of the use of the number 3 is in Isaiah’s vision in Isaiah 6:1-8. In this vision, Isaiah sees the Lord sitting on a throne, and angels flying around him crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3, NIV).
- The triple repetition of “Holy” emphasizes the absolute holiness and perfection of God and serves as a reminder of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
- The repetition of “holy” is symbolic of completeness or fullness, with God’s holiness being so great that it could not be conveyed by a single “holy” but required threefold repetition to fully communicate its magnitude.
- The threefold repetition also serves to emphasize the importance and significance of the message that Isaiah is receiving from God in this vision, as it is a clear and unmistakable declaration of God’s holiness and glory.
As mentioned earlier, the use of the number 3 in Isaiah’s vision is symbolic of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is a central doctrine of Christianity and is often considered to be one of the cornerstones of the faith.
The three persons of the Trinity are distinct but inseparable, with each playing a unique role in the work of salvation. God the Father is the creator and sustainer of all things, God the Son (Jesus Christ) is the redeemer who offers salvation to all who believe in him, and God the Holy Spirit is the comforter and guide who empowers believers to live a life pleasing to God.
The Threefold Cord
In Ecclesiastes 4:12, the author writes, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (NIV). This verse is often used in marriage ceremonies to represent the joining together of three entities: husband, wife, and God.
|Strength and leadership
|Nurture and support
|Foundation and guidance
The use of the number three in this context emphasizes the importance of God’s presence in the marriage and the need for both husband and wife to rely on Him as the foundation for their union.
In conclusion, the number 3 has significant meaning in the Bible and is often used to convey the ideas of completeness, wholeness, and perfection. The triple repetition of “Holy” in Isaiah’s vision serves to emphasize the absolute holiness and perfection of God and is symbolic of the Trinity. The use of the number three in the context of marriage also emphasizes the importance of relying on God as the foundation for a strong and lasting union.
The three Magi
In the Bible, the three Magi, also known as the three Wise Men or three Kings, played a significant role in the birth of Jesus Christ. They were mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew and were said to have followed a star that led them to the place where the baby Jesus was born. Their story is a famous symbol of faith and the pursuit of truth.
What does three symbolize in the Bible?
- The number three is significant in the Bible as it is often associated with completeness and perfection. It represents the Holy Trinity, which consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Furthermore, the number three is also related to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He rose from the dead on the third day, which emphasizes the power of faith.
- The three Magi also represent the three gifts they presented to baby Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts symbolize Jesus as the King, the high priest, and his humanity, respectively.
The Significance of the Gifts of the Magi
The three gifts given by the Magi are full of symbolism, and each has a deeper meaning:
|Represents Jesus as a king and symbolizes his sovereignty, power, and wealth.
|Represents Jesus as a high priest and symbolizes his divinity and his role as a mediator between God and humanity.
|Represents Jesus as a human and the suffering he was to endure on the cross. It also symbolizes his eventual death and burial.
The gifts of the Magi demonstrate the importance of recognizing the different aspects of Jesus’s identity and the significance of his role in salvation and redemption.
Three Temptations of Christ
The number three is significant in the Bible, representing completeness and perfection. One example is the three temptations of Christ in the wilderness as recorded in Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13. Satan tempted Jesus three times, each time tempting Him to sin in a different way but with the same goal: to get Jesus to abandon His purpose and worship Satan instead.
- The first temptation was for Jesus to turn stones into bread to satisfy His hunger, but Jesus responded with Scripture, saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
- The second temptation was for Jesus to throw Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple to test whether God would save Him. But again, Jesus responded with Scripture, saying “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Matthew 4:7).
- The third temptation was for Jesus to bow down and worship Satan in exchange for all the kingdoms of the earth. Yet again, Jesus responded with Scripture, saying “Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve'” (Matthew 4:10).
In these three temptations, Satan sought to attack Jesus with the three fundamental temptations we all face: the lust of the flesh (hunger), the lust of the eyes (power), and the pride of life (worship). But Jesus, the Son of God, overcame all three by relying on the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. In doing so, He provided an example for us all to follow when we face our own temptations in life.
The significance of the number three in the Bible extends beyond just the temptations of Christ. Throughout Scripture, we see three representing completeness and perfection, as seen in the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and Jesus rising from the dead on the third day. As we study the Bible, let us seek to understand the deeper meanings behind the symbols and patterns that God uses to reveal Himself and His will to us.
|Stone into bread
|Jump from temple
|Bow down and worship Satan
|Desire for material possessions (lust of the flesh)
|Desire for power and prestige (lust of the eyes)
|Desire for control and recognition (pride of life)
|Jesus answers with Scripture, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
|Jesus answers with Scripture, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Matthew 4:7).
|Jesus answers with Scripture, “Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve'” (Matthew 4:10).
In summary, the three temptations of Christ serve as a powerful example of how we can overcome temptation in our own lives by relying on the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. The number three also represents completeness and perfection throughout Scripture, pointing us to the perfect and complete work of Christ on the cross for our salvation.
Three denials of Peter
One of the most famous stories in the New Testament is Peter’s denial of Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. This event happened shortly before Jesus’ crucifixion, and it is a powerful example of human weakness and the importance of forgiveness.
- Peter’s first denial came when a servant girl asked if he was with Jesus. Peter replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” (Matthew 26:69-70)
- The second denial came when another servant girl asked Peter if he was one of Jesus’ followers. Peter again denied it, this time with an oath. (Matthew 26:71-72)
- The third denial came about an hour later when those standing nearby accused Peter of being one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter vehemently denied it, and immediately the rooster crowed. (Matthew 26:73-74)
Peter’s denials were a devastating moment for him, but they also illustrate the depth of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter and gave him the chance to affirm his love three times, replacing his earlier denials with a powerful affirmation of faith. (John 21:15-19)
The number three in this story symbolizes the completeness of Peter’s failure and the completeness of Jesus’ forgiveness. It also reminds us of the importance of accepting forgiveness and moving beyond our mistakes.
Three crosses at Calvary
According to the Gospels, Jesus was crucified alongside two criminals. This event is often depicted with three crosses at Calvary, representing the three men who were executed that day. The symbolism of three crosses at Calvary is rich and meaningful in Christian theology and tradition.
- The three crosses symbolize the three types of people in the world: the saved, the unsaved, and the Savior Himself. Jesus hung between the two criminals, showing that He was the mediator between God and man.
- They also demonstrate the power of choice. The two thieves had the same opportunity to repent and turn to Jesus, but only one did. The third cross represents our own decision to either accept or reject Jesus.
- The three crosses remind us of the depth of God’s love for us. He was willing to send His Son to die on a cross for our sins, even though we are undeserving. This act of sacrificial love is symbolized by the three crosses at Calvary.
Overall, the three crosses at Calvary serve as a powerful reminder of Christ’s sacrifice and our own salvation. They represent the choice we have to accept or reject Jesus, and the depth of God’s love for us.
In addition to the three crosses at Calvary, the number three has several other significant meanings in the Bible. Let’s take a look:
Three Parts of the Tabernacle
As described in the Old Testament, the Tabernacle was a portable sanctuary where the Israelites worshiped God during their time in the wilderness. It was divided into three parts: the Outer Court, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place. Each part held significant meaning and purpose in the worship of God. In this article, we will explore the significance of the number three in the Tabernacle and what each part represents.
The Outer Court was the first part of the Tabernacle. It was the largest area and contained the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Bronze Laver. This is where the Israelites would bring their animal sacrifices as a form of atonement for their sins. The Outer Court represents the forgiveness of sins through sacrifice and the importance of repentance.
- The Altar of Burnt Offering – This was where the Israelites would bring their animal sacrifices and offerings to God. It was made of bronze and fire would continually burn on it, representing the consuming nature of God’s holiness and judgment on sin.
- The Bronze Laver – This was a basin of water used for ceremonial cleaning. It represents cleansing and purification before approaching God.
The Holy Place was the second part of the Tabernacle. It was separated from the Outer Court by a veil and contained the Golden Lampstand, the Table of Showbread, and the Altar of Incense. This is where the priests would enter to perform their duties and represents the importance of worship and service to God.
- The Golden Lampstand – This was a seven-branched lampstand made of pure gold. It represents the light of God shining in the darkness and the importance of fellowship with God.
- The Table of Showbread – This was a table made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It held twelve loaves of bread, which represented the twelve tribes of Israel. It represents God’s provision and the importance of regular communion with Him.
- The Altar of Incense – This was an altar made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It held burning incense, which represented the prayers of the people going up to God. It represents the importance of prayer and intercession.
The Most Holy Place was the third and innermost part of the Tabernacle. It was separated from the Holy Place by a veil and contained the Ark of the Covenant. This is where the High Priest would enter once a year on the Day of Atonement to make atonement for the sins of the people. The Most Holy Place represents the importance of God’s presence and the need for repentance and atonement.
|Ark of the Covenant
|Acacia Wood, overlaid with pure gold
|Contained the tablets of the Ten Commandments, the rod of Aaron, and a jar of manna. It represented God’s presence among the Israelites and the importance of obedience to His commands.
In conclusion, the number three in the Tabernacle represents the completeness of God’s presence and His plan for redemption. Through the forgiveness of sins, worship and service, and repentance and atonement, the Israelites were able to experience the fullness of God’s presence in the Tabernacle. Today, we can experience this same presence through faith in Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of our sins.
Three Agricultural Feasts in Jewish Calendar
In the Bible, the number three represents divine wholeness, completeness, and perfection. Three is considered to be a powerful and holy number, and it is often associated with the Trinity in Christianity. When it comes to the Jewish calendar, there are three major agricultural feasts that are celebrated: Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. Each of these feasts has significant spiritual and historical meanings that are deeply rooted in Jewish tradition and belief.
- The Passover feast is one of the most significant and widely celebrated Jewish holidays. It commemorates the Exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and their journey to freedom.
- This feast is observed in the spring, during the Hebrew month of Nissan, which usually falls in March or April. It lasts for seven days and is marked by the eating of unleavened bread, the telling of stories, and the singing of songs.
- Passover is a celebration of rebirth, renewal, and hope. During this time, Jews reflect on their history and the miracles that God has performed in their lives.
Shavuot, which is also known as the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, is a celebration of the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. It is observed seven weeks (or 49 days) after Passover, and it marks the end of the spring harvest. This feast is a time of spiritual renewal and rededication to God.
Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, is a celebration of the autumn harvest and the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness in search of the Promised Land. It is observed for seven days in the fall, during the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which usually falls in September or October. This feast is marked by the building of temporary shelters (or sukkot) and the gathering of family and friends. It is a time of gratitude for the blessings of the harvest and a reminder of God’s protection and provision.
The Importance of Three in Jewish Tradition
As we can see from the three agricultural feasts in the Jewish calendar, the number three holds great significance in Jewish tradition and belief. It represents wholeness, completeness, and perfection, and it reminds us of the power of God’s presence in our lives. Whether we are observing Passover, Shavuot, or Sukkot, we are reminded of the three-fold nature of God and the power of His love and grace.
|Exodus from Egypt
|Seven weeks after Passover
|Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai
|Autumn harvest and journey through the wilderness
Overall, the number three in the Bible and Jewish tradition represents the spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects of humanity and the divine nature of God. Whether we are celebrating Passover, Shavuot, or Sukkot, we are reminded of the power and presence of God in our lives and the importance of living in harmony with His divine will.
Three Patriarchs of Israel
In the Bible, three is a significant number and is often used to represent completeness. One example of this is the three patriarchs of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These three men are considered the founding fathers of the Jewish people.
- Abraham: Abraham was the first patriarch of Israel and is known for his great faith in God. He received a promise from God that he would become the father of many nations, and his faith was tested when he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. God provided a ram as a substitute, and Abraham’s faith was rewarded.
- Isaac: Isaac was born to Abraham and his wife Sarah when they were both very old. He was almost sacrificed by his father, but God intervened. Isaac’s name means laughter, as he brought joy to his parents’ lives.
- Jacob: Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah and was known for his cunning nature. He wrestled with an angel and received a new name, Israel, which means “he who struggles with God.”
The three patriarchs represent the generations of the Jewish people. Abraham was the first, Isaac continued the lineage, and Jacob was the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The number three also represents the trinity in Christianity, which includes the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This connection to the concept of the trinity further emphasizes the significance of the number three in the Bible.
The lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are integral to the history and formation of the Jewish people. Their stories demonstrate the importance of faith, family, and perseverance. The number three is a powerful symbol in the Bible and emphasizes the completeness and perfection of God’s plan for his people.
What Does Three Symbolize in the Bible?
Three is a significant number in the Bible, but what does it symbolize? Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the symbolism of three in the Bible:
Q1. What is the significance of three in the Bible?
Three is often seen as the number of completeness or divine perfection in the Bible. It is also associated with the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Q2. What are some examples of three in the Bible?
There are many examples of three in the Bible, including the three wise men who visited Jesus after his birth, and Jesus being in the tomb for three days before his resurrection.
Q3. Are there any significant events that happened on the third day in the Bible?
Yes, there are several significant events that happened on the third day in the Bible, such as the creation of plants and trees on the third day of creation in Genesis, and Jesus’ resurrection on the third day after his crucifixion.
Q4. Is there any significance to the number 33 in the Bible?
33 is considered to be a significant number in the Bible because Jesus was 33 years old when he was crucified. It is also believed to represent promise, deliverance, and the concept of divine completeness.
Q5. What does the three-fold repetition of “holy” in Isaiah 6:3 signify?
The three-fold repetition of “holy” in Isaiah 6:3 signifies the complete holiness and perfection of God. It is also believed to represent the Holy Trinity.
Q6. What does the number three signify in the Book of Revelation?
In the Book of Revelation, the number three is associated with the Trinity and the three-fold nature of God. It is also seen as a symbol of completeness and perfection.
Q7. What is the significance of the three temptations of Jesus?
The three temptations of Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 4:1-11, represent the three primary areas of temptation: physical desire, personal gain, and earthly power. Jesus’ resistance to these temptations demonstrates his complete devotion to God and his rejection of worldly desires.
Thank you for reading our article about what three symbolizes in the Bible. We hope this information has been helpful and informative. Remember, three is a significant number in the Bible and represents divine perfection and completeness. Please visit us again for more insights and interesting articles related to religion and spirituality!