Article’s about last night’s total “blood moon” lunar eclipse (where the red part of light is cast onto the moon’s surface) evoked all kinds of comments about science versus religion. “Light”, of course, being a BIG word in both circles. I got to wondering, how many times does the word light appear in the bible? So I looked it up.
Using the bible and an online Christian reference*, here are the results:
Light appears 272 times. This includes both the Old and New Testament, but does not include variations of light (Lighted, Lighting, Daylight, etc.)
To gain a comparison of its usage and importance, I looked up these other words (again, this does not include variations):
Faith appears 247 times.
Wisdom – 234 times.
Grace – 170 times.
Joy – 165 times.
Salvation – 164 times.
Believe – 143 times.
Forgive – 56 times.
Redemption – 20 times.
Obviously, light is an important word in biblical circles.
Some of these words (specifically: salvation and redemption) were not listed on the Christian reference site I used and I needed to combine information from various avenues. I suspect that may be because of translation issues.
Light, however, was on every resource I viewed. No doubt someone could dispute me on this, it was hardly exhaustive research. Nonetheless, there is no disputing the importance of light in the bible, and given our nature of always looking for answers, is it any wonder we’re all fascinated with it?
Light was right up there, comparable or only slightly under some heavy hitting words. Like:
Pray (313 times), Love (310 times), Covenant (292 times).
The really Big Words? The one’s that were literally off the charts in distance from all the rest? No surprise there:
Jesus – 983 times, (all in the New Testament).
God – 4,444 times.
Lord – 7,946 times.
Much of the time, when the word light appears in the bible, it is referring to God’s light inside of us. As in:
- In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.
- … arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
- The spirit of man [is] the candle of the LORD.
- …thy whole body also is full of light.
- … for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [is] the light thereof.
- For God… hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
- Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
- He knoweth what [is] in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him.
It’s not hard to think that perhaps light is an integral part of God’s nature, and perhaps even is One with the Holy Spirit, as well as part of our own nature and the natural laws of the universe.
For the record, the words:
Holy Spirit appears 7 times (3 times in the Old Testament and 4 times in the New Testament).
Holy Ghost appears 89 times, in the New Testament only.
Might it be that a quest to understand light could really just be the Holy Spirit within, driving us ever closer to understanding the nature of God?
Then again: how did we get here; do we have a purpose; where are we going… isn’t this also a quest that we’re all on? Whether we consciously state it in those terms, doesn’t everyone ponder the Big questions in life?
And given how physically we respond to light, and that every cell in our body has light receptors (see: Clocking The Light), could it be that both scientist and theologian are just using different protocols to study the same thing?
Note: Translating the biblical manuscripts is difficult. Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic usage differs from English in grammar and structure, so there is no definitive translation. Also, the number of times the word light (and its derivatives) appear in the bible depends on which bible version you are using. For the sake of this article, I used the King James (KJV) version. The KJV was translated by the combined efforts of approximately 50 scholars and all scripture quotes are in the public domain.
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(Re: usage of light in the Bible.)