Q: #316. What is the significance of the number 10 (ten) in the Bible?
By: Steve Shirley
A: First off, let me begin by saying that I think we need to be careful about searching for hidden messages, meanings, or codes in certain significant numbers in the Bible. If you put the word "Numerology" in a Google search, what you get for a definition is: "The branch of knowledge that deals with the occult significance of numbers." Hence, "numerology" is associated with such things as the occult, the paranormal, astrology, paganism, divination, and wiccans." But, if we put "Biblical" in front of "numerology" ("Biblical Numerology"), this is then supposed to make searching for the significance of number meanings in the Bible acceptable.
Now, I am not saying that there isn't some significance to certain numbers in the Bible, all I am saying is that we should be careful about trying to interpret what these meanings are. Ultimately, I believe God did have reasons for using certain numbers over and over in the Bible, but only He may know the true reasons. Having said this, I do think it is fascinating to see how many times certain key numbers are used over and over in the Bible. In six studies, we will be looking at how six of what I believe are the most key numbers in the Bible are used: 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, 40.
Today we look at the number #10. The number "ten" is used 242 times in the Bible ("tenth" is used 79 times). Those who assign meaning to this number generally say that it is one of 4 numbers, along with 3, 7, and 12, that symbolize perfection or completion. This meaning would be carried on today when we say something or someone is a "10," meaning perfect.
Following are some of the "10's" which I consider to be the most significant. (I was going to make a "Top 10" list of significant 10's, but there were too many .)
In Genesis, chapter 1, at the beginning of creation, the term "God said" is used 10 times.
From Adam to Noah was 10 generations (Gen Ch. 5).
A tithe (Heb. = maasrah meaning "a tenth") of 10% was to be given (Gen 28:22)(Lev 27:30-32)(Num 19:26) to God.
God promised Abraham He would not destroy Sodom if 10 righteous men could be found there (Gen 18:32).
God brought 10 plagues on Egypt (Ex 7:14-12:30).
God caused the shadow on a sundial to go backwards 10 degrees (2 Kin 20:8-11).
In the Temple were 10 lavers, 10 lampstands, and 10 tables (2 Chr 4:6-8).
On the 10th day of the first month, a lamb was to be chosen for Passover (Ex 12:2-3).
The 10 Commandments (Ex 20:1-17)(Deut 5:6-21).
Jesus healed 10 lepers (Lk 17:11-19).
Jesus told several parables which focus on the number 10: 10 virgins (Mt 25:1-13), 10 coins (Lk 15:8-10), 10 minas (Lk 19:11-27).
There were 10 days between Jesus' ascension to Heaven and Pentecost: (See: Q: #121).
God created us with 10 fingers and 10 toes.