Introduction to a Biblical Understanding of Light

The Bible provides us with an absolutely stunning account of light.

In the Old Testament (which was written in Hebrew between ~1500 BC and ~400 BC), the Bible gives an account of light in its visible form with very strong hints at what’s coming later on in the New Testament (which was written in Greek between ~30 AD and ~100 AD) when the full Light (in Jesus) is revealed to the world.

For Further Study: For more information on the Old Testament, New Testament, and the 66 books of the Bible, you can jump into My Case for God. My Case for Christ.: A Case for Jesus (Introduction) from my book, Dear Friends, Family, Neighbors, World…)

The Old Testament: God Creates Visible Light

Definition - א֑וֹר (’ō·wr): light, visible light: electromagnetic radiation of a frequency perceptible to the eye. (Strong's Hebrew: 216)

+ + + + +

Here is the first thing we learn from the Old Testament about light:

God creates visible light.

And God said, "Let there be light [א֑וֹר]," and there was light. And God saw that the light [א֑וֹר] was good. And God separated the light [א֑וֹר] from the darkness. God called the light [א֑וֹר] Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:3-5)

As we read in the third verse of the Bible, we see that one of the first things that God ever created was visible light [א֑וֹר]. As I discussed in a previous section, How Much Can We Actually See?light comes in all kinds of forms and is represented scientifically by a term we’ve called the electromagnetic spectrum: there are gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet, infrared, microwaves, radio waves, and visible light. The very small sliver of light that we can see with our human eyes falls under the category of visible light. Hence, we are only seeing a tiny glimpse of what God has actually created.

For Further Study: To learn more about the Hebrew word א֑וֹר (’ō·wr) as referenced in 122 locations of the Old Testament, visit Bible Hub’s Strong’s Hebrew concordance.

The New Testament: A Revelation of Light


φῶς (phōs): Light, radiance, luminousness. (Strong's Greek: 5457)

Παράκλητος (Paraklētos): The Holy Spirit -- an advocate, intercessor, consoler, comforter, helper. (Strong's Greek: 3875)

+ + + + +

Here are some things we learn from the New Testament about Light:

God is Light.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light [φῶς], and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

Jesus and the Father are one.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the Light [φῶς] of men. The Light [φῶς] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the Light [φῶς], that all might believe through him. He was not the Light [φῶς], but came to bear witness about the Light [φῶς]. The true Light [φῶς], which gives light to [φωτίζει] everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)

Jesus is the Light of the world.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light [φῶς] of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light [φῶς] of life.” (John 8:12)

Jesus reveals himself as the Light.

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as Light [φῶς]. (Matthew 17:1-2) 

Everyone has seen the Great Light in Jesus.

The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great Light [φῶς], and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a Light [φῶς] has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)

Whoever believes in Jesus comes into the Light.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the Light [φῶς] has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light [φῶς] because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the Light [φῶς] and does not come to the Light [φῶς], lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the Light [φῶς], so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. (John 3:17-21)

Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are One.

And the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." (Luke 3:22) But the Helper [Παράκλητος], the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26) For through Him (Jesus) we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:18)

Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit (Helper).

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper [Παράκλητος] will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:7-11)

Followers of Jesus are called to reflect the light of God to the world.

You are the light [φῶς] of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)

For Further Study: To learn more about the Greek word φῶς (phōs) as referenced in 73 locations of the New Testament, visit Bible Hub’s Strong’s Greek concordance.

Copyright Ray Majoran Light, Darkness & The Upright
Andhra Pradesh, India
+ View Photo

Navigate The Theology of Light

Subscribe to Glimpse of Infinity

Every morning, I send an email featuring photos that I've taken from around the world, along with a Scripture verse. If you'd like to receive these emails, please enter your information below.

My Last Lecture

Dear Friends, Family, Neighbors, World...If you were dying and you had one last chance to talk with the people that matter most to you, what would you say? If everything was on the line, and nothing was left on the table, what wisdom would you impart? My name is Ray Majoran, and this book is my last lecture.

Read My Last Lecture

5 out of 5 stars, based on 25 reviews. unOblivious

Do we see the amazing beauty in the things that God has created, the people He's brought into our lives, the situations He's put us in? Or do we live in a bubble, oblivious to His amazing wonder happening all around us? unOblivious is a 160-page photo-essay that helps answer that question.

Buy in Canada Buy in USA