The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 48
The meaning of the number 48 is linked to several facts both in and related to in Scripture.
The tribe of Levi, because they were dedicated to serving God, did not receive an inheritance of farmable land in Canaan (Num. 18:20, Deuteronomy 18:1 - 2). The Eternal, using the tithes and offerings Israelites gave, was to be their primary means of support. They did receive, however, 48 cities in which they could live, six of which were to be designated as cities of refuge (Num. 35:7, Joshua 20, 21:41).
In 48 A.D., both the Apostle Paul and Barnabas reside in the city of Syrian Antioch. They began their stay in the city in 46 A.D. after completing Paul's first missionary journey. Unfortunately, Paul's first tour will be the only one they will carry out together. The pair separate over the issue of John Mark before the second missionary journey starts in late autumn of 49 A.D. Paul takes Silas on his second evangelistic trip while Barnabas takes John Mark on a preaching tour back through the island of Cyprus.
The Apostle Paul was roughly 48 years old when he met Timothy in the city of Lystra during his second missionary journey. Timothy, a young man of 33 in early 50 A.D., would ultimately become Paul's closest and most trusted friend!
Appearances of the number forty-eight
The word "milk," in the King James Bible, is used 48 total times.
Ezra mentions Jerusalem forty-eight times in the King James translation of his book.
Galatians and number 48
The book of Galatians, written by the Apostle Paul in 53 A.D., is book number 48 found in most modern translations. This controversial work, which covers several subjects, also reveals what was likely Apostle Paul's mysterious "thorn in the flesh" (2Corinthians 12:7 - 9).
Now you know that at first I preached the gospel to you in the weakness of the flesh; And the temptation - namely, my trial in my flesh - you despised not . . . For I bear you witness that, if it were possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me . . .
See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand . . . (Galatians 4:13 - 15, 6:11).
Paul's thorn was possibly an inflammation of the eyes called ophthalmia.
The forty-eighth book of the originally inspired arrangement of forty-nine books, organized by the Apostle John, is Philemon.
Additional info on Biblical Meaning of 48
Only the books of Genesis, Psalms, Isaiah and Ezekiel have 48 or more chapters.
Genesis 48 is the pivotal chapter that records Jacob, near death, blessing Joseph's two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. It is through these two sons that God would fulfill a giant part of his promise to Abraham that his descendants, who would number like grains of sand on a beach, would ultimately bless all the nations on earth (Genesis 22:17 - 18)!