Biblical Meaning of Red in Scripture

By Carly

As a professional copywriting journalist, I have delved into the powerful symbols and meanings contained within the pages of the Bible. One such symbol is the color red, which appears frequently throughout Scripture and carries significant meaning. In this long-form article, we will explore the biblical meaning of red and its significance within a religious context.

Key Takeaways:

  • The color red holds great significance and symbolism in the Bible.
  • Biblical references to the color red can be found throughout Scripture.
  • Red is used symbolically to represent sacrifice and atonement, God’s judgment, love and passion, and royalty and authority.
  • The color red serves as a powerful reminder of the diverse ways in which God communicates through symbols in the biblical narrative.

Symbolism of Red in the Bible

As a color that stands out from others, red inevitably catches our attention. In the Bible, the color red serves as a symbol of various concepts, such as sacrifice, divine judgment, love, passion, and authority.

The color red is used symbolically in biblical context to convey deeper meanings. For instance, in the Old Testament, the blood of animals was used as an offering to atone for sins. Therefore, red represents sacrifice and atonement. On the other hand, in the New Testament, red symbolizes Jesus’ blood, which he shed on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for humanity’s sins.

Another biblical interpretation of the color red is divine judgment. In the book of Revelation, red is associated with the wrath of God and his judgment upon the wicked.

Red is also linked to love and passion, particularly in the Song of Solomon. In this book, the bridegroom describes his lover’s cheeks as “roses” and her lips as “a scarlet thread.” This imagery portrays the intense love and passion between the two lovers.

Furthermore, red is also a symbol of royalty and authority. In ancient times, red was a color reserved for royalty and was used to represent power and wealth. In the Bible, the color red represents the divine authority of God as the King of Kings.

In conclusion, the symbolism of red in the Bible is multi-layered and complex. The color red serves as an important symbol in conveying deeper meanings throughout the biblical narrative. Its significance in relation to sacrifice, divine judgment, love, passion, and authority is a testament to the power of symbolism in communicating complex concepts.

Biblical References to the Color Red

Throughout the Bible, references to the color red hold significant symbolism and meaning. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the color red is used to convey a range of emotions, concepts and themes.

In the book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, red is used to describe Esau, the elder twin brother of Jacob, who was a skilled hunter and sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. In Genesis 25:25, it states “The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau.” Esau’s redness is said to represent his “earthly” nature, as opposed to his younger brother Jacob’s “heavenly” nature.

Red is also used in the context of sacrifice and offerings in the Bible. In the book of Leviticus, the priest is instructed to slaughter a red bull as part of the sin offering ceremony. The blood of the bull is then sprinkled on the altar as a symbol of atonement for sins. This sacrifice is meant to represent the seriousness of sin and the need for repentance.

Another instance of red being used symbolically can be found in the book of Exodus. In chapter 12, the Israelites are instructed to use the blood of a lamb to mark the doorposts of their homes. When the angel of death came to Egypt to kill the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, he “passed over” the homes that were marked with the lamb’s blood. This event became known as the Passover, and the use of red in this context represents salvation and redemption.

In the New Testament, red is used to depict the bloodshed of Jesus Christ on the cross. In Matthew 27:28, it states “They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him.” The scarlet robe was placed on Jesus as a symbol of mockery and humiliation, but it has come to represent the blood that he shed for the salvation of humanity.

Overall, the references to the color red in the Bible reflect the rich symbolism and meaning that can be found in religious texts. Red is used to represent sacrifice, sin, redemption, and salvation. It serves as a powerful reminder of the divine nature of scripture and the significance of the events and individuals described within it.

Red Symbolism in Biblical Literature

Red is one of the most prominent colors in biblical literature and holds significant symbolism throughout various stories and parables. For instance, the story of Jacob and Esau highlights the importance of the color red as Esau was born covered in hair, which was red in color. In this story, the red color symbolizes both power and temptation as Esau was willing to give up his birthright for a bowl of red stew.

The symbolism of red is also evident in the story of Rahab, a prostitute who helped the Israelite spies in Jericho. When the spies promised to spare her life and those of her family members during the invasion of Jericho, they instructed her to hang a scarlet cord from her window. The scarlet cord represented her faith and willingness to help the spies and became a symbol of salvation for her and her family. The cord’s red color symbolized the blood of the sacrificial lamb and marked her house as a place of protection during the invasion.

The book of Exodus also highlights the significance of the color red in the biblical narrative. In this book, God instructed the Israelites to use red dye to color the curtains and covers of the tabernacle as a symbol of sacrifice and atonement. The red color of the curtains represented the blood that was shed during the sacrificial offerings made in the tabernacle.

Overall, the color red holds a prominent place in biblical literature and serves as a symbol of power, temptation, sacrifice, and atonement. It reminds us of the deep symbolism and meaning that exists within the biblical narrative.

The Divine Significance of Red

As a journalist with a deep interest in biblical symbolism, I have found that the color red holds great importance in Christian symbolism. Its use in the Bible communicates many essential themes, from sacrifice and judgment to love, passion, and authority. In this section, we will explore the divine significance of the color red in Christian symbolism and how it is connected to significant individuals, events, and themes.

The color red represents the blood of Christ, shed for the forgiveness of sins. It is a symbol of atonement, sacrifice, and redemption. Many passages in the Bible reference the blood of Christ, from Matthew 26:28, where Jesus says, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins,” to Hebrews 9:22, which states, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.”

Red is also a symbol of God’s love for humanity. In John 3:16, it states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The love that God has for humanity is compared to the deep, vibrant color of red, which represents passion, devotion, and intensity.

The color red also symbolizes royalty and authority. In the Bible, red is often associated with kingship and power. For example, in Revelation 19:13, it states, “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” This passage refers to Jesus’ ultimate authority as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

In conclusion, the color red in Christian symbolism holds significant meaning and serves as a powerful reminder of the many themes found throughout the Bible. From atonement and sacrifice to love, passion, and authority, the color red is a symbol that communicates the central themes of the Christian faith.

Red as a Symbol of Sacrifice and Atonement

Throughout the Bible, the color red is symbolically linked to sacrifice and atonement. In Leviticus, we learn of the importance of blood sacrifice in atoning for sin. The blood of a sacrificial animal was spilled on the altar to pay the price for the sins of the people. The blood was considered sacred and carried great significance in the atonement process. This practice continued until Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, became the ultimate sacrifice for all humanity.

At the Last Supper, Jesus shared bread and wine with His disciples, telling them that the bread represented His body and the wine represented His blood. He instructed them to eat and drink in remembrance of Him. By dying on the cross, shedding His blood as the perfect, spotless Lamb of God, Jesus made atonement for our sins and reconciled us to God. The color red, then, is a powerful reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice and the atonement He made possible.

In addition to its connection to sacrifice and atonement, the color red also represents the love and passion that motivated Jesus’ selfless act of sacrificing Himself for our salvation. The divine significance of the color red is thus multifaceted and deeply rooted in the Christian faith.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

The symbolism of red in the Bible reminds us of the depth of God’s love and the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice. It encourages us to reflect on the significance of the blood that was shed for the forgiveness of our sins and to live in gratitude for the atonement we have received.

Red as a Sign of God’s Judgment

In the Bible, the color red is frequently associated with divine judgment and wrath. We see this symbolism in the plagues that afflicted Egypt, with the Nile turning to blood, redness covering the land, and ultimately resulting in the death of the firstborn sons. The book of Revelation also mentions a “great sword” turning every sea and river into blood, highlighting the severity of God’s judgment.

Red often represents the consequences of disobedience and sin, bringing to mind the idea of fiery judgment and the punishment of the wicked. The prophet Isaiah speaks of the Lord coming with wrath, describing him as wearing “a robe dipped in blood” (Isaiah 63:1-6), a clear image of judgment and retribution.

However, it is important to note that God’s judgment is always just and righteous. It is not arbitrary or vengeful but is founded on love, justice, and truth. The color red, in this context, serves as a powerful reminder of the seriousness of sin and the need for repentance and reconciliation with God.

Red as a Symbol of Love and Passion

Red has long been associated with love and passion, and this symbolism is prevalent in the Bible as well. In the Song of Solomon, the lover describes his beloved’s cheeks as “like a bed of spices, with sweet-smelling herbs” and her lips as “like a thread of scarlet” (Song of Solomon 5:13). This vivid imagery associates the color red with the intense emotions of romantic love.

Furthermore, the New Testament describes the ultimate act of love through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The redness of his blood embodies the depth of his love for humanity, as he laid down his life for their salvation. In this way, the color red serves as a symbol of the sacrificial, selfless love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross.

Lastly, the color red is also linked to the love of God for his people. In the book of Isaiah, God says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). In this passage, the color red represents the sins of humanity, which God promises to forgive and wash away. This demonstrates the deep love and forgiveness that God offers to all who turn to him.

Overall, the color red holds powerful symbolism as a representation of love and passion in the Bible. It represents both romantic and divine love, as well as the ultimate act of sacrificial love through Jesus’ death on the cross.

Red as a Symbol of Royalty and Authority

In the biblical context, the color red is often associated with royalty, power, and divine authority. The use of red is frequently found in the Bible to represent kingship and divine leadership. One example is the famous red heifer sacrifice in the book of Numbers, where a red heifer without blemish was used to purify the tabernacle and the priests before performing the sacrificial offerings.

Another example is the use of red in the Book of Esther, where the king’s scepter was extended towards Esther, granting her authority and power to act as the queen and save her people. The royal robe worn by King David’s daughter Tamar was also colored scarlet, symbolizing her royal status.

The use of red in the Bible also extends to the portrayal of God’s sovereignty and authority. In the book of Isaiah, the mighty “King of Kings” is described as wearing a garment dipped in blood. This description highlights the power and authority of God as ruler of the universe.

In addition, the New Testament also connects the color red to Jesus’ divine authority as the savior of the world. In the book of Revelation, Jesus is portrayed as a conquering hero wearing a red robe, symbolizing his victory over sin and death.

Overall, the color red is a powerful symbol of authority and royalty in the biblical context. Its use throughout the Bible highlights the sovereignty of God and the divine status granted to individuals in positions of power.


In conclusion, the color red carries undeniable significance and meaning throughout the Bible. From its symbolic connection to sacrifice and atonement to its representation of love, passion, and authority, the color red is a powerful tool that God uses to communicate important messages to his followers.

Whether in individual biblical verses or across entire stories and parables, the consistent presence of red serves as a reminder of God’s presence and active involvement in our lives. Understanding the symbolism and interpretations of the color red can deepen our connection to God, strengthen our faith, and provide a deeper appreciation for the complexity and depth of the biblical narrative.

As we continue to explore and study the Bible, let us remain aware of the powerful role that symbolism plays in communicating divine truths and messages. Through the color red and countless other symbols within Scripture, we can gain a richer understanding of God’s love, sacrifice, wisdom, and power.


Q: What is the biblical meaning of red?

A: The color red holds significant symbolism in the Bible, representing various themes such as sacrifice, judgment, love, passion, and authority.

Q: How is the color red symbolically used in the Bible?

A: Red is used symbolically in various biblical passages to convey deeper meanings and concepts within a religious context.

Q: Are there specific biblical references to the color red?

A: Yes, there are numerous references to the color red throughout the Bible, each with its own significance and symbolism.

Q: Does red symbolism extend beyond individual verses?

A: Absolutely. The color red carries symbolic representation across entire stories and parables in biblical literature.

Q: What is the divine significance of red in Christian symbolism?

A: Red holds a divine significance in Christian symbolism, connecting to important individuals, events, and themes within the Christian faith.

Q: How does red symbolize sacrifice and atonement?

A: Red is often associated with sacrifice and atonement in the Bible, reflecting the sacrificial offerings made in biblical times and Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice.

Q: What does red symbolize as a sign of God’s judgment?

A: The color red is frequently used in the Bible to represent God’s wrath, justice, and the consequences of disobedience.

Q: Is red also a symbol of love and passion?

A: Yes, red is symbolically linked to love and passion in the Bible, representing deep emotions, romantic love, and God’s love for humankind.

Q: How does red symbolize royalty and authority?

A: Red is often associated with royalty and authority in the Bible, representing kingship, power, and the divine authority of God.

Q: What is the overall significance of red in Scripture?

A: The color red carries profound meaning and serves as a powerful symbol throughout Scripture, communicating important messages and themes in the biblical narrative.