What Does A Turtle Symbolize In The Bible?

Similarly to lions, turtles have been held in high esteem not just in cultural contexts but also in spirituality. Right from the ancient civilization, turtles have been admired and revered for their methodical pace and way of life. Many of them enjoyed such a long life. Cultures aside, what does the Bible say about turtles, their way of life and its symbolism? Read on to learn more about what does a turtle symbolize in the Bible.

The Turtle As A Symbol Of Longevity

symbol of longevity

Turtles are known to live for centuries, a life expectancy that humans can only dream of. Periodically, turtles molt hence renewing their vitality which is often seen as a symbol of immortality. The concept of defying death is not just fascinating to humans, but it is also a biblical symbol of heroism.

For instance, people in the Bible like Enoch and Elijah who never tasted death are seen as symbols of mortality meeting the immortal.

Turtles And After Life

what does a turtle symbolize in the Bible

The turtle’s protective barrier symbolized by its shell has intricate patterns that ancient societies took a keen interest on. Some cultures in island communities interpreted the shell patterns as a path that spirits travel when people transition to the other world.

They were connections established between constellations and shell patterns. The symbol of heaven and earth was drawn from the shell of the turtle which made an arc like the firmament and the body symbolized the flat earth.

A Sign Of Fertility

The Bible advocates for fertility and productivity in every sphere of human life. Turtles are known for producing a lot of eggs serving as a universal symbol of fertility. Inasmuch as turtles are reptiles, they spend most of their life in water.

Both biblical and in other human belief systems, water is one of the oldest fertility symbols as it gives life to the earth and ensures all living things are nourished.

As the shelled reptile comes to spawn on the shore, it is interpreted as a symbol of the interconnectivity between life in water and on land.

Symbols Of Virtue

symbols of virtue

The Bible emphasizes through parables and real human stories of the ancients on the need to live a virtuous life. The turtle is known for its slow movements and calculated steps.

This is taken to signify wisdom and patience as important virtues in life. Any determination is to be savored with wisdom and patience if true success is to be realized.

In many verses of scripture especially drawn from the Book of Proverbs, the Bible talks of the hastiness and the lack of wisdom in youth. This emphasis shows just how important wisdom and patience are as virtues.

Even in the age of speed that we live in where faster is better, God still insists that we go with measured steps. In Ecclesiastes 9:11, the Bible tells us “the race is not to the swift”. God is looking for people who will walk in step with him instead of those who will rush through.

In other verses of scripture such as Psalm 84:7, 2 Corinthians 3:8, the Bible talks of step by step, level by level, and little by little. Unlike the blades of grass that grow quickly but also die quickly, the turtle teaches us that we should plod along with God in wisdom and pace.

If you are looking for more articles about bible symbolism, read this one about elephants or this one about horses in the Bible.

4 thoughts on “What Does A Turtle Symbolize In The Bible?”

  1. I have a metal turtle by my waterfall in my yard. This morning during my meditation I was prompted to do a search on what the turtle symbolizes. Thanks for your insight.

  2. A teenage Navajo patient of mine told me of the myth”a great turtle carried my people during the huge flood over the canyon to dry land”.she was from the north rim of the Grand Canyon” a brilliant young lady. NATIVE AMERICANS cherish turtles as sacred…


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