Biblical numerology is the study of how numbers are used in Scripture and, for the sake of our series, what their usage may reveal about God. For example, the number seven is consistently used to show what God considers complete and perfect (seven days of creation, God's seven spirits, etc.). Twelve is used to denote God's establishment of a foundation (e.g. twelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostles) or the perfection of his authority. Other numerals such as three, four and ten are also symbolic.
Gematria, which is a subset of numerology, is the search for hidden meanings based on the Hebrew letters in a word and their corresponding numerical representation.
A simple example of Gematria is the following. The Hebrew word for father, ab, is composed of the first two letters of the language's alphabet. The numeric value for each letter, 1 + 2, equals 3 (see numeric values table below). The two letters in the word for mother, em, adds to 41 (1 + 40). Added together, both words equal 44. The sum of the letters in the Hebrew word for child (yaelaed) is also 44, showing that it takes the "sum" of a mother and father to create a child.
A Christian version of Gematria (which some label Biblical numerology) uses the Greek values of its letters to hunt for symbolism in words used in, and related to, the New Testament.
Biblical Hebrew with numbers
The numeric representation of each of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet is below. Hebrew contains twenty-two letters, with five of them taking on a slightly different shape if they are found at the end of a word (Hebrew is written right to left). These five exceptions are the letters final kof, final mem, final nun, final pe and final tsade.
with their numeric values
Biblical Greek with numbers
The original Greek alphabet had 22 letters. Early in its history, however, it dropped the letter digamma (also known as stigma, the sixth letter). It also soon dropped the letters koppa and san (also called sampi), as well as adding letters upsilon, phi, chi, psi and omega. This meant that what we consider classical Greek ultimately had twenty-four letters when it took shape in the fourth century B.C. (The Universal History of Numbers, page 219).
When it came to having letters represent numbers, however, the Greeks utilized their classic twenty-four character alphabet but added back the letters digamma (stigma), koppa and san (sampi). The below twenty-seven letters, with the numeric values they represent, have been in use from at least the third century B.C. to modern times (ibid. page 220).
with their numeric values