The following are objects named as “beauty” or “beautiful” in the Bible. These are a summary of 100 verses found on a concordance search of these two words in the NJKV. Virtually all are listed except for a limited list of “certain women,” as far and away the most common usage in the Bible.

I am aware of the limitations of this exercise. Other words, such as, splendid, majestic, or elegant could have been searched. However, my limitation to “beauty” and “beautiful” seems to illustrate what is necessary for a consideration of “art” and “the arts” in the Bible.

Certain women: Genesis 6:2; 12:11; 24:16; 29:17; Esther 1:11; II Samuel 11:12

*Words: Genesis 49:21

*Garments for the priest in the tabernacle: Exodus 28:40

Certain trees: Leviticus 23:40

Certain cities: Deuteronomy 6:10, Isaiah 13:19 (Babylon); Ezekiel 27:3, 4, 11, 12, 17 (Tyre)

Jerusalem: Psalm 48:2, 50:2; Isaiah 52:1; Lamentations 2:15

Certain houses: Deuteronomy 8:12, Isaiah 5:9

Other garments: Joshua 7:21;

*David’s praise of Saul and Jonathan: II Samuel 1:19

*Beauty of God’s holiness: I Chronicles 16:19; II Chronicles 20:21; Psalm 29:2, 96:9

Precious stones: II Chronicles 3:6; Luke 21:5

The make-up that women use: Esther 2: 3, 9;

*Of God (or praise of Him): Job 40:10; Psalm 27:4; Psalm 33:1, 90:17, 96:6, 147:1; Isaiah 28:5

In salvation: Zechariah 9:17

Of His governance of Israel: Zechariah 11:7, 10

*Of Christ: Isaiah 4:2, 33:17, 52:7

Lacking beauty: Isaiah 53:2

“Man”: Psalm 39:11, 49:14

Adulterous woman: Proverbs 6:25

God’s creation: Ecclesiastes 3:11

Ships: Isaiah 2:16

Flowers: Isaiah 28:4; James 1:11

An idol man in the image of a man’s body: Isaiah 44:13

Contrasted with ashes: Isaiah 61:3

*Temple: Isaiah 64:11; Acts 3:2, 10 (gate in the Temple)

The nation Israel: Jeremiah 3:19, 13:20; Lamentations 2:1; Ezekiel 16:14, 15, 25; Hosea 14:6 (restored)

The people of Moab, symbolized by their “rod” of rule: Jeremiah 48:17

Physical riches that God gives: Ezekiel 16:7, 12, 17, 39; 23:26, 42

Of cedars in Lebanon (as a symbol of Egypt): Ezekiel 31:7, 8, 9; 32:19

*The Kingdom of God: Matthew 13:45 (likened to pearls)

Whitewashed tombs (outward beauty that covers inward corruption): Matthew 23:27

The feet of him who brings good news: Romans 10:15

Moses, as a child: Hebrews 11:23

*A gentle and quiet spirit: I Peter 3:4

Some Conclusions

  1. The Bible commonly uses “beautiful” and “beauty” in the same ways that virtually all peoples use them.Illustrations include women (the most frequent use in the Bible, and perhaps commonly), ships, trees, world and universe, etc.
  2. The distinctive use of these two words in the Bible apply to God’s being or praise (worship) of Himself (in the Persons of the Trinity) and in salvation.Thus, “beauty” and “beautiful” are not limited to the of physical objects, but to the Creator of beautiful things, as a spiritual being and His salvation of those that He has called to Himself.
  3. A summary of “beauty” and “beautiful,” then, might be the focus of God’s being and His two great acts, Creation and Salvation.All persons, at some time in their lives (before some of their hearts are hardened) esteem God’s nature and the beauty of His Creation (Romans 1:18-23). Their failure is to exclude His third dimension of beauty, salvation, in which they become able to “worship Him in the beauty of His holiness” (above references).
  4. “Western history teaches that ‘the experience of beauty does not survive the cessation of worship. Precisely those who thematically dedicate themselves to beauty, and who within the modern Western tradition regularly just so abandon worship, are in wave after wave driven at last to deny beauty as well. The avant-gardes of nineteenth and twentieth-century art have one upon the other denounced beauty, proclaiming that to be art which anybody calls such. And if the one artist hangs a toilet seat on the gallery wall, only to have it pointed out that he chose a fine example and placed it artfully, the next ideologist will choose a wretched example and bury it underground.'”Peter Leithart quoting Robert Jensen

* References to God, His worship, or spiritual concepts that are not physical in their being perceived by man’s senses.