Birds have been used as powerful symbols in religion, myth, and folklore around the world for over thousands of years – with the messages that they bring holding up and remaining just as relevant now more than ever. Let’s learn more about the Spiritual Meaning of Birds in the Bible.
These symbols, metaphors, and stories have left an imprint on the human consciousness and resonate with the deepest parts of our psyches; whether we’re aware of it or not. And no stories are more profound than those found in the Bible, with the symbolic birds in the Bible reflecting back to us our own innate powers, characteristics, and qualities—for better and sometimes for worse.
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Birds and Their Spiritual Messages
Birds are an occurring theme throughout the Bible that represents both the “good” and “bad”. Many of the birds in the Bible represent the best in us – what’s noble – pointing us towards the best versions of ourselves. These are the messages brought to us courtesy of the dove, sparrow, robin, peacock, eagle, and other winged creatures.
Some of the birds in the bible – like the blackbird – touch on the darker aspects within us, the parts of ourselves that we don’t particularly like to look at. However, life eventually forces us to look at them; we’d only be the wiser to take heed to the spiritual messages that the birds in the bible bare onto us.
Case and point: death. It comes for everyone eventually. The raven in the Bible kindly reminds us of this fact of life, which we love to deny.
But the raven and other birds in the Bible are much like us. They represent a duality of both desirable traits and sinful (or “unskillful”) ones. Throughout the Bible, Jesus often teaches us to “look at the birds in the sky”, declaring that they are “much like us”.
I suggest that you also read more about the Contemplative Meditation which connects us with God!
The Most Common Birds Found Throughout The Bible
Birds swoop in all throughout the Bible—about 300 times – and bring with them important spiritual teachings. Below I’ve listed some of the more common birds in the Bible and their spiritual meaning.
The white dove is without a doubt the most important bird in Christianity. In fact, it could be the most important imagery within Christianity, right next to the Holy Cross. The dove most famously represents the Holy Spirit, but also symbolizes other positive qualities; such as: innocence, purity, peace, and blessings. The dove throughout the Bible is only seen representing the positive.
The red belly robin is another important bird in Christianity. Legend has it that the robin got its red belly from a fire in which it was trying to protect Jesus. The robin represents selflessness for a higher truth (or love).
There are a lot of references to the eagle in the Bible. The eagle represents bold positive qualities: strength, power, bravery, courage, renewal, and rebirth.
The sparrow is another common bird in the Bible. The sparrow is used to symbolize an offering. In the Bible, the sparrow is painted as something that “isn’t worth much”, yet as something that God deeply cares for. Sparrows, in deeper regard, point to our own human incarnation here on Earth.
The blackbird symbolizes temptation and sin and is even attributed to the devil’s workings. The blackbird signifies darkness and evil. In the Bible the blackbird is sent by Satan himself to tempt humans with worldly desires.
The falcon in the Bible carries a message of duality. On one hand, the falcon represents evil thoughts. Other times in the Bible, the falcon represents turning to Christianity.
The raven is another bird in the Bible which represents duality. It was expected to be like the dove, as the first animal that Noah released from the ark. The raven is often condemned in the Bible, and many view the raven as a symbol of Satan. But the raven was also capable of great good – flying to feed Moses when he was stranded in the desert, for example.
Jesus uses the raven as a lesson to be studied. He states that the raven is just like us, “The raven isn’t pure or innocent — it fails, it blunders, it’s noble, it’s shifty — much like us.”
The peacock represents eternity and the immortality of the soul. It’s thought that the body of the peacock doesn’t rot after its death. The peacock in the Bible represents wealth and prosperity and is often associated with emperors and kings.
The goose represents providence and vigilance.
In the Bible, the lark is used as a symbol for humility and modesty.
The owl represents a bird of Satan.
The woodpecker is another bird in the Bible used to represent Satan. The woodpecker is said to symbolize death and destruction.
In the Bible; the stork symbolizes vigilance, piety, and chastity.
Used in the Bible to symbolize the passion of God, the goldfinch can be seen in Christian imagery and paintings; pictured along with baby Jesus.
The partridge is another bird in the Bible that signifies a duality. In the Bible, the partridge is used to symbolize God and truth but also used as a representation for Satan and deceit.
The Bible is Full of Bird References
These are the most common birds in the Bible, the most central to the text, and the ones that have come to represent the Christian religion (to their respective varying degrees, of course).
It’s important to note that the Bible is absolutely littered with bird references. Sometimes the references are used in a general sense – describing them as “winged creatures”, “fowls”, or simply just as “birds”.
But there are still many more species of birds in the Bible that carry spiritual meaning, other than the ones listed above.
The Bible also gives references to the following birds: turtles (turtledoves), swallows, hens, bats, herons, cranes, hawks, chickens, lapwings, quails, ostriches, pelicans, pigeons, swans, cocks, bitterns, ospreys, kites, cormorants, and other species of birds in the Bible – each carrying their own messages and spiritual meaning.
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