What Does The Number Five Mean In The Bible

The number five plays a surprisingly significant role in the Bible. Depending on the context in which it is used, it can possess various symbolic meanings, often in relation to faith and worship. From the Pentateuch to the Gospels, the number five has a significant presence in the Old Testament and New Testament, signifying the grace and protection of God.

In the Pentateuch, the number five appears multiple times in the descriptions of the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle.The Ark of the Covenant is described as a wooden chest overlaid with gold and containing five items – two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments, a golden altar, a pot of manna and Aaron’s rod.The Tabernacle also contains five pillars, five curtains, five bars and five rings, among other elements.

In the Gospels, Jesus performs several miracles involving five items or five groups. One of the most striking examples is in the Feeding of the Five Thousand, when Jesus uses five small loaves of bread and two fish to feed a large crowd. Furthermore, Jesus’ disciples number five, and Jesus chooses five individuals for particularly meaningful moments, such as the Transfiguration and His arrest.

From a more generic perspective, some experts have put forward the idea that the number five may represent fulfilment and wholeness in a spiritual sense. The number five is thought to represent the number of letters in the Hebrew name of God – ‘YHWH’. It is often used to represent the five books of the Law, which form the Pentateuch and comprise the bedrock of religion.

When considered in this light, the number five can signify the whole of the Law, either directly or indirectly. It can stand for God’s spiritual blessings and His protection, His faithfulness and His laws. This follows that it also serves as a reminder of man’s gratitude to God and his commitment to their Lord and Saviour.

The number five also often appears in relation to the number seven. Seven, according to the Bible, is the number associated with perfection and completion, and the two are often used in tandem. Five and seven are often used together to signify the fullness of a passage or to emphasize its completeness.

In Numbers

In the Book of Numbers, the number five appears to represent the Israelites as a whole. In the thirty-eighth chapter of Numbers, God commands that five of the princes of Israel approach Him with offerings: one for each of the five major clans of the Israelites. These five princes represent the essential parts of a single nation – the underlying unity of the Israelites.

Similarly, the Book of Deuteronomy repeatedly uses the number five to represent the unity and collective faith of the Israelites. God commands that they remember and obey the laws of the five books of the Torah and threatens them with punishment if they stray. The nation is called upon to recognize God’s grace and provision, and to remain united in their obedience and faith.

In addition, the phrase ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace’ appears five times throughout the Bible. This phrase is widely seen as a blessing from God, and its use of the number five is thought to signify God’s complete and perfect blessing over His people.

In Psalms

The Psalms likewise uses the number five in various ways. Psalm 23, for example, is composed of five verses, each one signifying an aspect of God’s good-heartedness and protection. Another example is Psalm 37, which is composed of five ‘woes’ that warn believers against sinning. In both cases, the number five is used to signify the fullness of God’s benefaction.

The number five can also represent man’s obligation towards God. The Psalmist often speaks of offering five sacrifices to God, signifying his commitment to his Lord and his recognition of His grace and protection. Furthermore, when speaking of prayer, the Psalmist often encourages believers to offer five prayers each day, stressing the importance of frequent and earnest devotion.

The number five appears in many other Psalms as well, often as a symbol of unity and completion. In addition, it is often used to signify the fullness with which God pervades the world, making it easy to understand why the number five is so often regarded as a symbol of God’s grace and favour.

In Symbolism

The number five often appears in symbolism as well. In Christianity, it is often associated with the five wounds of Jesus, which represent his suffering and sacrificial love for his people. Additionally, the five pointed star is often used as a symbol of Christianity, with each point representing the five books of Moses. This symbol also often signifies the five members of Jesus’ earthly family: Mary, Joseph, James, Joses and Jesus himself.

In Judaism, the number five is often symbolized by the five books of the Torah, which form the foundation of the entire Jewish law. These five books are the starting point from which all of religious inquiry must begin. The Kabbalistic tradition, which is a major mystical tradition of Judaism, also places a great deal of emphasis on the number five, often using it to represent the four worlds of creation and a fifth, divine world.


In summary, the number five appears throughout the Bible, often as a symbol of grace and protection. From the Pentateuch to the Gospels, it is often used to represent unity and completion, as well as man’s obligation to turn to his Lord in prayer and acknowledgement of His grace. Additionally, it appears in symbolism, often in relation to the five members of Jesus’ earthly family or the five books of the Torah. Although it appears frequently throughout the Bible, its presence is often subtle but meaningful, signifying the fullness of God’s provision and the unity of mankind.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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