Purple In The Bible: Powerful Symbolism, Meaning And More | Think About Such Things (2023)

In this article, we will explore the color purple in the Bible. We will look into scripture and discover the symbolic and spiritual meaning behind the color. Grab you Bibles, it’s going to be fun!

As we have gone through the colors of the Bible we have now landed on the color purple! When you take primary colors, red and blue you come up with the wonderful color of purple. This means it’s a secondary color. In nature this color is quite rare, we usually see it within plants and a small amount of animals like mussels, snails, birds, and more.

When it comes to the Bible, we see the color purple strategically placed. This gives the color such a rich symbolic meaning. But before we dig into the symbolic and spiritual meaning of purple let’s take a look at the color in the Hebrew and Greek.

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An In-depth Look at Purple in the Bible

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Purple is found mostly in the book of Exodus. This is because purple thread and fabric was extensively used on the Tabernacle. This conveyed God’s royalty, wealth, power, and more. To create this purple dye they would use marine snails called murex mollusc. It was a tedious and long process, but more on that later…

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The Hebrew and Greek Words for Purple

In the Hebrew we see argâmân used for the word, purple for all references except for one. In 2 Chronicles 2:7 we see a variation of the same word. Both clearly mean the color purple.

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אַרְגָּמָןʼ argâmân,ar-gaw-mawn’; of foreign origin; purple (the color or the dyed stuff):—purple.

אַרְגְּוָןʼ argᵉvân,arg-ev-awn’; a variation forH713; purple:—purple.

In the Greek we see three different variations of the word purple used. This could be a way to distinguish certain shades of purple. As you can see ραporphýra mentions it’s a red-blue color, while porphyroûs is more of a bluish red.

πορφύ ραporphýra,por-foo’-rah; of Latin origin; the “purple” mussel, i.e. (by implication) the red-blue color itself, and finally a garment dyed with it:—purple.

πορφυροῦς porphyroûs,por-foo-rooce’; fromG4209; purpureal, i.e. bluish red:—purple.

πορφυρόπωλις porphyrópōlis,por-foo-rop’-o-lis; feminine of a compound ofG4209andG4453; a female trader in purple cloth:—seller of purple.

In the Gospels of John, and Mark we the color purple noted as the robe they placed on Jesus when being mocked as the King of the Jews. But in Matthew 27:28 the robe is described as scarlet. Perhaps the robe was a reddish purple making it hard to describe the exact color.

How Many Times Is the Color Purple Mentioned in the Bible?

According to the KJV Bible we see that purple is mentioned 48 times; 39 times in the Old Testament and 9 times in the New Testament. You can click the books below and read the Bible verses on purple.

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Old Testament Bible Verses on Purple

New Testament Bible Verses on Purple

Who Wore Purple in the Bible?

Here are some key people who wore purple in the Bible.

  • Holy garments for Aaron and High Priest – Exodus 39
  • Jesus wore a purple robe – Mark 15.17
  • A Rich man in the Book of Luke – Luke 16.19
  • The Kings of Midian – Judges 8:26
  • The Woman of Noble Character – Proverbs 31:22
  • The Great Harlot – Revelation 17:4

The Symbolic and Spiritual Meaning of Purple

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Purple, like red, and blue are rich in symbolism. I will note the purple seems to have a clearer meaning then the other two as purple was used mainly in fabric. Wearing purple in the Bible or in ancient times always expressed power, position, and wealth. Here are two simple example in scripture:

Lydia was known as a seller of purple…

Now a certain woman named Lydia heardus.She was a seller of purple from the city ofThyatira, who worshiped God.The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.15And when she and her household were baptized, she beggedus,saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” Soshe persuaded us. – Acts 16:14-15

Her work with purple fabric brought her prosperity and wealth. The awesome part is that Lydia used her income and homes to further the gospel of Jesus! She embody being a Proverbs 31 women!

The second example is from the book of Esther when Mordecai was gifted a robe and crown from the King of Babylon.

So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen andpurple; and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. – Esther 8:15

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Royalty & High PositionJudges 8:26, Esther 8:15
Wealth & LuxuryExodus 28:5, Luke 16:19, Daniel 5:29, proverbs 31:22, Revelation 18:16
Corruption of WealthRevelation 17:4

Purple and Royalty

Throughout ancient history purple was associated with royalty. The cost of purple dye was extremely expensive not to mention time-consuming to make. To make this famous Tyrian purple, it would take marine snails that were boiled for days. This method helped create a chemical reaction which gave us that beautiful purple color.

They say that to produce just one 1 gram of Tyrian purple dye it takes approximately 10,000 marine snails. The highest quality Tyrian purple fabric was called dibapha. The fabric would be dipped in the dye twice. So, we can see why purple was heavily used within nobility since 950 BC.

Historically, it is said that after the fall of the Constantinople purple took a back seat and was replaced with scarlet ( A dark purplish red), but regained popularity in the 18th and 19th century. When some leading ladies…Queen Victoria and Catherine the Great decided to bring it on back!

I found this video that shares a little history of how purple dye was made and even crimson. This really brings clarity to why purple fabric was only reserved for the royal and wealthy.

About the Video….”Discover the animals which made the ancient world a more colourful place! How did sea snails give us the colour purple, and how did an unassuming sap-sucking insect supply us with luxurious crimson? This is the tale of Tyrian purple – fame of the Phoenicians – and kermes dye, extracted from murex shells and scale insects respectively. So next time you don purples or reds, spare a thought for the hapless invertebrates which provided those hues for history’s great civilizations.

Here is another great video on Tyrian purple.

Discover More Colors in the Bible

Purple is just one color amid many beautiful colors that God created. If you are hungry to learn more about other colors, I then encourage you to check out my Ultimate Guide to Colors in the Bible. It’s so eye opening what certain colors represent. Red always blow my mind!

If you would like to check out individual colors, then click on the links below:

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  • Yellow in the Bible
  • Orange in the Bible
  • Green in the Bible
  • Red in the Bible
  • Blue in the Bible

Dreaming of Colors?

Scriptures is clear that God uses dreams to speak to us. And sometimes in those dreams a color is emphasised. If you have ever wanted to learn what colors could mean in those dreams check out my article on The Biblical Meaning of Colors in Dreams.

Well, I sure hope you have enjoyed this study on the color purple in the Bible. it’s amazing how simple color can convey such rich spiritual and symbolic meaning. Feel free to leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

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Melissa Tumino

Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.

She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…

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What is the meaning of purple color in the Bible? ›

Purple as a color in the Bible represents wealth or royalty. Purple dye was made from the blood of tiny sea snails from the Mediterranean Sea. Wearing purple symbolizes royalty, grandeur, independence, wisdom, devotion, extravagance, pride, and creativity, just to mention a few.

What is the symbolic meaning of purple? ›

The color purple is associated with a variety of meanings, including wisdom, creativity, royalty, power, ambition, and luxury. It can also represent magic, extravagance, peace, pride, independence, and wealth.

Why is the color purple associated with Jesus? ›

Likewise, the Veil in the Temple that tore at Jesus' crucifixion had the same color scheme: Blue for sky was the color for deity; red for the red Judean hills was the color for mankind. Being blended to purple represented the God-Man who, by his death, became the Door, our only Access to the Father.

What is the power of purple? ›

Purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind and nerves, enhancing the sacred, creating feelings of spirituality, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity and encouraging imagination and creativity.

What is the role of God in the color purple? ›

God is God. He gave Celie, Shug emphasizes, life, good health, and "a good woman [Shug] that love you to death." It is absolutely believable that Celie would believe that God was a trifling man. As an oppressed black American, she has been taught that white men are the superior source of authority.

Who is the woman in purple in the Bible? ›

Acts 16 describes Lydia as follows: A certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one who worshiped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened to listen to the things which were spoken by Paul.

What is the purple gospel? ›

The Codex Purpureus Petropolitanus, a Greek manuscript of the Gospels, was written in the 6th century. It gets its name from the fact that it is written on purple parchment. This was made by treating parchment with dye probably derived from the glands of sea snails.

What does purple mean in love? ›

Like the many other heart emoji such as Red Heart ❤️ and Blue Heart 💙, the Purple Heart emoji 💜 is generally used to convey love and other strong, affectionate, positive feelings.

Is purple a powerful color? ›

Because purple evokes so much creativity and imagination, it's no wonder this color resonates with artists of all kinds, from passionate writers to thoughtful painters. Purple is an intense color, but it is also the most powerful visible wavelength of electromagnetic energy.

What does purple energy mean? ›

VIOLET ( PURPLE ) / Violet is the color of the crown chakra which relates to connection to our dreams and higher consciousness. Individuals with violet in their auras are dynamic, charismatic, and have powerful personalities.

What is the benefit of purple? ›

Purple produce provides vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Purple fruits and vegetables are high in anthocyanin, which has a positive effect on brain health, inflammation, and heart disease. Purple foods may also enhance calmness and boost mood, giving people a few more reasons to add them to their meal plan.

Where did purple come from in the Bible? ›

“Royal” or “Tyrian” purple dye was associated with regality and wealth in the ancient world and is believed to have been more valuable than gold. The use of the fabric has been mentioned in numerous Christian and Jewish texts, including in connection with Solomon's Temple.

Who is the God of purple? ›

Nisus, in Greek mythology, king of Megara, a son of King Pandion of Athens. His name was given to the Megarian port of Nisaea. Nisus had a purple lock of hair with magic power: if preserved, it would guarantee him life and continued possession of his kingdom.

How many times is purple mentioned in the Bible? ›

According to the KJV Bible we see that purple is mentioned 48 times; 39 times in the Old Testament and 9 times in the New Testament.

What is the message of purple? ›

The color purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic.

What is the theme of purple? ›

The primary theme of The Color Purple, though, reflects Walker's desire to project a positive outcome in life, even under the harshest conditions. Her central character triumphs over adversity and forgives those who oppressed her.

What happens when see purple? ›

Cones are the cells in the eyes that see color. If you stare at one color for too long, they fatigue. Until they recover, it's a common optical illusion to see the opposite color on the color wheel. So, staring at yellow for too long can make you see purple.

Does purple mean healing? ›

"Purple is associated with power, both earthly and spiritual. In healing, purple is used for mental disorders and also for becoming one with Spirit. In the aura purple signifies higher spiritual development."

Does purple mean loyal? ›

Purple symbolizes loyalty because it's the color of kings in medieval Europe. People loyal to their king used to wear purple to display their loyalty during battle.

What are the 3 colors of God? ›

The 3 Colors of Ministry presents a holistic approach to identifying and developing your spiritual gifts. It is based on the three dimensions of God's nature, for which the author has chosen the colors of green, red and blue.

What is God's favorite color? ›

It is even mentioned in that verse in Isaiah. Red must be God's favorite color since that is the color He gave blood when He created humanity. That blood red color was what the Passover angel saw when he passed over the Israelites as they prepared to leave the bondage of Egypt.

What color is God's spirit? ›

Most of us are familiar with the Holy Spirit being symbolized by a dove and the color white, or as at Pentecost, red for the flames.

What is the color of holy? ›

Byzantine Rite
ColourCommon usage
RedHoly Thursday Feast of the Cross Beheading of St. John the Baptist Feasts of Martyrs Nativity Fast Apostles' Fast
GreenPalm Sunday Pentecost Feasts of Venerable (Monastic) Saints
BlackWeekdays during Great Lent Weekdays during Holy Week (except Holy Thursday)
4 more rows

What color means protection? ›

Black. Black is the color of protection, banishing, grounding, and safety.

What is the color of divine? ›

Gold is the color most used to symbolize the Divine connection and each figure connected to christ, including Jesus himself, has a golden halo drawn around their head to show their loyalty to Jesus during his crucifixion.

What are the colors of heaven? ›

The light of the Trinity, which suffuses the mind in the highest forms of prayer, is sapphire blue, the colour of heaven.

What is God favorite food? ›

"God does not have a favorite food because he doesn't eat because he is always watching over us." It's true God is always watching over us, but he's not trapped by his responsibilities. Jesus took time to enjoy meals with his disciples.


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