Gematria

Gematria is the study of the numeric equivalents of Hebrew and Greek letters in order to find hidden meanings in the words. In both Hebrew and Greek (the languages in which the Bible was written), there are only alpha characters. There are no numeric characters. Therefore, when a Hebrew would want to write a number, he would use the corresponding Hebrew letter.

Various numbers are supposed to have spiritual meanings. Here are a few examples:

  • 4 is the number of creation (the earth mentioned on the fourth clause of the Lord's Prayer; North, East, South, West; four corners of the earth)
  • 5 is the number of grace
  • 6 is the number of man (man was created on the 6th day; the sixth commandment says "Thou shall not murder)
  • 7 is the number of spiritual perfection
  • 8 is the number of new beginnings (eight people on Noah's Ark; baby is circumcised on the 8th day; Jesus rose on the first day (8th) of the week)
  • 9 is the number of judgment
  • 39 is the number of mercy
  • 40 of testing and judgment
  • 666 is the number of the antichrist, the numeric value of his name in Greek equivalent gematria.

There are some amazing numeric patterns found in the Bible.

  • "There are 21 Old Testament writers whose names appear in the Bible (3 x 7). The numeric value of their names is divisible by seven. Of these 21, seven are named in the New Testament: Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea and Joel. The numeric values of these names is 1554 (222 x 7). David's name is found 1134 times (162 x 7)." (www.wordworx.co.nz/panin.html)
  • The gematria of the name "Jesus" in Greek results in 888. In John 21:11, after the resurrection the disciples caught 153 fish. The word "fish" in Greek is 'ixthus' which has a numerical equivalent of 1224, or 8 x 153. Also, 153 people received a blessing from Jesus in the four gospels (not counting the 5000 and examples like that).
  • The Greek word for "law" is nomos which has a gematria of 430. Paul says that the Law came 430 years after Abraham went to Egypt (Gal. 3:17). The Jews were in Egypt 430 yeas and after being freed, they received the Law of Moses (Exodus 12:40).
Hebrew
Letter
Hebrew
Name
English
Letter
Numeric
Value
 Hebrew
Letter
Hebrew
Name
English
Letter
Numeric
Value
אalephsilent (א)1 or 1000לlamedlow30
בBetboy2מ),ם)*memmike40 (600)
גgimelgod3ן),נ)*nunnew50 (700)
דdeleddog4סsamechsam60
הhehhi5עayinsilent70
וvavvery, up6ף),פ)*peypet, phone80 (800)
זzayinzebrea7ץ),צ)*tzadinets90 (900)
חchesbach8קkufq, kit100
טtestest9רreishrace200
יyodyou10שshinsam, shem300
ך),כ)*chofkit20 (500)תtoftest400

*final form is form of letter found when it occurs at the end of a word. Greek Letter Equivalents

Greek LetterGreek
Name
English LetterNumeric
Value
 Greek LetterGreek NameEnglish LetterNumeric
Value
A,aalphafather1N,nnunew50
B,bBetaboy2X,xxibox60
G,gGammagod3O,oomikronoff70
D,ddeltadog4P,ppipet80
E,eepsilonend5   90 is
R,rrhorat100
   6 is sigma, V final formS,s,V*sigmasam (s,V)6, 200
Z,zzetazebra7
H,hetahey8T,ttautest300
Q,qthetathick (q)9U,uupsilonup400
I,iiotait10F,fphiphone (f)500
K,kkappakit20C,cchibach600
L,llamdalow30Y,ypsicups (y)700
M,mmumike40W,womegaorange (w)800
900 = sampsi

There are many Gematria relationships found in both the Old and New Testament writings. As you can see from the citations given above, mystical interpretations could can be discovered as well as "inferred" by examining the mathematical equivalents of various numeric words and then attempting to discover what those mathematical relationships might mean. Though it does seem that there are some very legitimate and interesting Gematria relationships found in the Bible, we can also see that Kabbalists could take the phenomena too far in their esoteric and mystical explanations of Scripture.

 
 
About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.