The Bible on Building


There is no specific chapter in the Bible for architects, nor for anyone else; it is all there for everyone and as seen in the last section gives general principles rather than detailed instructions.

However there are architectural events in the Bible and we can learn from the particular points they are making, though the subject is usually a wider one than architecture or building



Genesis 11 v1-9

In his pride man begins to build the tallest building in the world to make a name for himself. Sounds familiar? This first time God intervenes and frustrates the plan.

More important are the linguistic and geographical aspects.

Daniel 4 especially v28-32
Here an emperor exults in his pride over the palace he has built. God punishes him for his pride, until he acknowledges that God is Sovereign.
Ecclesiastes 2 v1-11
King Solomon acknowledges that if just constructed for his own pleasure building and landscape projects are meaningless, because they will be inherited by others who may not appreciate them.
1 Chronicles 28 v11-19

The history of the Temple is of great spiritual significance, and in the New Testament Christians are described as temples of the Holy Spirit.

The verses referred to show that King David received its specification from God but it was his son Solomon who built and dedicated it.

It was a magnificent structure adorned with bronze decorations and covered with beaten gold. God delights in man's handiwork, which should be the best he is capable of.


Nehemiah - the whole book

The whole Book of Nehemiah is about his achievements in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after the Jews returned from exile in Babylon in the sixth century BC.

The principles are just as relevant today for managing a project such that those involved own it, and for outside professionals or aid workers promoting community development.

What Nehemiah achieved was physical and visible, but it set the scene for the important spiritual preparation of the Jewish people for the coming Messiah as Ezra taught them the Law.


Isaiah 61 v1-4

This is a prophecy about what the Messiah would accomplish when he came, part of which is rebuilding ancient ruins and restoring devastated places. While being a metaphor for spiritual restoration, to be effective as such it must be based on temporal truth.

The practice of building conservation cannot and does not rest on this passage alone, but the Bible does teach the importance of restoration and continuity, here and in other passages.


Luke 14 v28-30

This parable assumes rather than teaches that you should estimate the cost of a building before beginning, and applies the principal to the cost of following Jesus.

Revelation 21 v1-2 & 24-26

While we are to strive to build a just world, and one with fine architecture, ultimately it will come from God, be His work, not ours, though it will contain the cultural (including architectural) wealth of the nations.

The above extracts begin to show the continuous theme through the Bible of Jerusalem and Babylon, representing God's people and the world, which culminates in the New Jerusalem from which unbelievers will be excluded.

Life begins in the Garden of Eden, but heaven is not a garden of paradise but is described as a city into which the treasures of the nations are brought. To follow and understand this theme needs a whole book, not one web page.

The following are more in depth articles relevant to a Christian approach to architecture
A Theology of Place
Sustainable Architecture

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