Biblical numerology is the study of numbers in the Bible. Two of the most commonly repeated numbers in the Bible are 7 and 40. The number 7 signifies completion or perfection (Genesis 7:2-4; Revelation 1:20). It is often called “God’s number” since He is the only One who is perfect and complete (Revelation 4:5; 5:1, 5-6). The number 3 is also thought to be the number of divine perfection: The Trinity consists of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The number 40 is often understood as the “number of probation or trial.” For example: the Israelites wandered for 40 years (Deuteronomy 8:2-5); Moses was on the mount for 40 days (Exodus 24:18); 40 days were involved in the story of Jonah and Nineveh (Jonah 3:4); Jesus was tempted for 40 days (Matthew 4:2); there were 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:3). Another number repeated in the Bible is 4, which is the number of creation: North, South, East, West; four seasons. The number 6 is thought to be the number of man: Man was created on the 6th day; man labors 6 days only. Another example of the Bible using a number to signify something is the number 666, the number of the Antichrist in Revelation chapter 13.
Whether or not the numbers really do have a significance is still debated in many circles. The Bible definitely seems to use numbers in patterns or to teach a spiritual truth. However, many people put too much significance on “biblical numerology,” trying to find a special meaning behind every number in the Bible. Often a number in the Bible is simply a number. God does not call us to search for secret meanings, hidden messages, and codes in the Bible. There is more than enough truth in the words and meanings of Scripture to meet all our needs and make us “complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work” (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17).