Gold & Silver in the Bible


by Joel Baumann, Schiff Gold:

The Bible features more than 700 references to gold and silver, emphasizing their timeless significance. The term ‘gold’ alone appears in 47 of the 66 books of the Bible.

Beyond their current cultural relevance, these precious metals play a crucial role in scripture, highlighting three key attributes: their divine origin, intrinsic value, and monetary quality.


Divine Origin

The Bible asserts that God is the creator of gold and silver. These metals are products of God’s design rather than byproducts of human invention.

In Colossians 1:16 we know all things were created and established by the Lord, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him

Gold has its origin in the beginning of creation, rooted in the Edenic vision. Genesis 2:10-12a says…

“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.”

The Lord even claims his sovereign ownership, Haggai 2:8 states, ‘The silver is mine, and the gold is mine.

Intrinsic Value

God who is the one who esteems value. He does this with mankind itself, who bears the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Similar to how God ascribes value to humanity, He is one who establishes value to all of His creation, including gold.

Interestingly, Genesis 2:10-12 marks the first instance in scripture where, apart from the creation of light and the earth itself, God designates a non-living thing as ‘good.’ Standing out amidst other elements mentioned, such as the land of Havilah, the onyx stone, bdellium, or the rivers—all of which are eclipsed by the divine acknowledgment of the inherent ‘good’ness of gold.

With distinct qualities, gold and silver not only withstand fire but also symbolize enduring value through the process of refinement. Intrinsically valuable with enduring beauty, these metals are designed never to tarnish or corrode. Gold’s malleability allows it to be hammered thinly, covering a 100 sq. ft. area with a single ounce. Silver, a phenomenal conductor of heat and electricity, reflects light superbly, resembling a perfect mirror when fully refined.

They serve as a precedent for comparing and illustrating deep spiritual truths. This concept is exemplified in 1 Corinthians 3:12-13.

“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”

In this passage, Paul highlights gold and silver’s ability to withstand fire. Precious metals are not only unharmed when tried by fire but they become refined and pure. This verse is a powerful comparison between a man’s good work on the foundation of Christ and the qualities of gold and silver.

When the Lord instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle, a dwelling place for His divine law personally inscribed by the finger of God (Exodus 31:18). The chosen material to overlay the Ark of the Covenant was none other than gold.

“And thou shalt overlay it (Ark of the Covenant) with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.”’ Exodus 25:11

Lastly, gold earned its mention as a worthy royal gift for the birth of the very Son of God, Jesus Christ. It served as an offering befitting the King of Kings!

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

Monetary Quality

In ancient times, gold and silver were synonymous with money, and in the Bible, every reference to “money” pertains to a unit of weight in these precious metals. Regardless of geographical location, gold and silver were universally recognized and valued as wealth.

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