The Meaning Of Purple In The Bible And Its Symbol

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Published by Shannon Jacobs



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The purple meaning in the Bible evokes a feeling of royalty, importance, and honor. Purple also constitutes wisdom and spirituality. Purple is a secondary color that is formed by combining the primary colors blue and red. Many shades of the color purple are often confused with lilac and violet.

The word purple is the fourth most frequently mentioned color in God’s Word (48 times). It represents and symbolizes kingship, royalty, luxury, and wealth. Purple is very rare, giving it a great deal of prestige when creating its dye. The purple dye, especially Tyrian purple, is also expensive because it is sourced from snails.

What Does The Bible Say About Purple?

The Kingship Of Jesus Christ

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 

Matthew 27:27–28

In the Bible, Jesus is called the “King of the Jews.” During his torture at the hands of the Roman soldiers[1], he was given a scarlet-colored robe to mockingly identify Him as the ruler of the Jewish nation. Although described as scarlet, many scholars and historians believe that the robe is reddish-purple. 


The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants, and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. 

Judges 8:26

Gideon, also called Jerubbaal and Jerubbesheth, was a prophet, judge, and military leader who conquered the Midianites for the Israelites. As a leader of the Jewish nation, he won a decisive victory over a Midianite army with only 300 valiant men against the huge number of the enemy.

Purple clothes, royal robes, and gold earrings were given to Gideon as prizes for conquering the Midianites. The color denotes the royalty of a person, particularly a king.

High Position

When Mordecai left the king’s presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold, and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration.

Esther 8:15

Mordecai is a major character in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible. He is described as the son of Jair, of the tribe of Benjamin, and was promoted to vizier after Haman was killed. Through the intervention and influence of Esther, he was able to foil the assassination attempt on the king by Haman. Because of his heroic and gallant act, the king honored Mordecai with royal garments, a golden crown, and a purple robe.

Priestly Robes

They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.

Exodus 28:4–5

The spiritual meaning of purple alludes to the holiness of Israel. The color “purple” and “fine linen” are important and mandatory requirements in many ways and ordinances in the Old Testament. The color was used for the ephod, girdle, and breastplate of the high priest. It was also used as a curtain for the tabernacle and the temple of the Israelites.

purple smoke and purple meaning in the bible

What Are The Symbolic And Spiritual Meanings Of Purple In The Bible?

  • The central symbolic meaning of purple in the Bible is the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Messiah, Jesus Christ.
  • Daniel was elevated to third in command or rank and clothed in purple by King Belshazzar of Babylon after he interpreted a dream (Daniel 5:16).
  • As a symbol of royalty, Roman magistrates and rulers of the Byzantine Empire wore purple-colored robes. 
  • In the Bible, the color purple represents the faith and obedience of Lydia, a dealer of purple cloth.
  • The kings of Ptolemaic Egypt had purple clothes like Alexander the Great.
  • The color purple represents the Byzantine Empire.
  • The Assyrian governors and warriors wore clothes of the color purple (Ezekiel 23:6).
  • The color purple represents the shroud of the burial site of Charles the Great, also called Charlemagne.
  • In Revelation 17:4, a decadent and immoral woman is dressed in purple. This is the time of God’s judgment on the nations that represent the wicked Babylon of old.
  • The color purple is first seen in the Bible as the fabric used for the hangings and curtains in the tabernacle.

What Does Purple Represent In The Bible? 

The Goodness Of Lydia

One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.

Acts 16:14 

Lydia is a minor character in the Book of Acts, but her faith and love for God and other people earned her the respect and praise of the people, including the apostles. She is a maker of fine clothing, including fine twined linen. Lydia’s purple fabric brought her wealth and prosperity. She worshiped God and gave her income to propagate the gospel of Jesus. She also opened her home to other people and disciples of Christ.

Wealth And Luxury

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.

Luke 16:19 

Many people know about the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man. The Bible mentions the wealthy man as being arrogant and selfish. He was dressed in purple clothing. Lazarus had to eat the leftover food that fell from the table. Later, both of them died, and Lazarus found himself on God’s side through Abraham, and the rich man was in torment in Hades.

Corruption And Abomination

The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet and was glittering with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.

Revelation 17:4 

The Bible verses from the Book of Revelation are the primary sources of the predictions and prophecies concerning the end of times. The color purple represents a mirror of Babylon, the corrupt and immoral person who subjugates the earth. God warns us of His impending severe judgment on all people who continue to follow Satan and his evil ways.

Who Wore Purple In The Bible? 

  • Jesus wore a purple robe during His suffering (Mark 15:17).
  • Aaron and the High Priests wore purple clothing (Exodus 39).
  • The kings of Midian wore purple robes (Judges 8:26).
  • The Rich and Arrogant Man (Luke 16:19).
  • The Woman of Noble Character (Proverbs 31:22).
  • The Great Harlot (Revelation 17:4).
glitter stars in purple sky and purple meaning in the bible


Purple plays a significant role in the history of mankind. In Bible verses, it has been depicted as the color of royalty, kings, and wealth. As the King of Kings, Jesus had a purple robe during His suffering that culminated in His crucifixion at Calvary.

Today, the color purple is a favorite shade among many people on Earth when choosing clothes, designs, and other things. The color still remains significant until the end of times, when the prophecies in the Book of Revelation will be fulfilled and accomplished. 

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