Home Pastors Articles for Pastors What the Bible Says About Dogs – Insights and Interpretations

What the Bible Says About Dogs – Insights and Interpretations

bible says, dogs
Lightstock #369878

Dogs have been man’s companions for thousands of years, and their presence has not gone unnoticed in the Bible. The relationship between humans and dogs has evolved over time, and so has the way dogs are perceived in a religious context. Let’s explore what the Bible says about dogs, from ancient biblical references to the underlying symbolic meanings they may hold.

What the Bible Says About Dogs

In biblical times dogs were seen quite differently than they are today. They often roamed in packs and were associated with being wild, scavenging, and unclean, according to the cultural and hygiene standards of the time. This historical understanding is important because it colors the references to dogs that we find in the Scriptures.

Dogs in the Old Testament

The Old Testament mentions dogs in various passages, but not always in a favorable light. Psalm 59:6, for example, describes them as prowling and howling creatures. This depiction reflects the view of dogs as wild and menacing. However, in 1 Samuel 17:43, where Goliath taunts David by asking if he is a dog, the reference is to a domesticated dog, indicating their potential role as more than just scavengers.

Dogs in the New Testament

In the New Testament, references to dogs often carry a metaphorical or figurative meaning. Dogs were used to signify impurity or those outside the covenant community, as seen in Matthew 15:26-27, where Jesus initially declines to help a Canaanite woman by saying, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”  Yet, the woman’s quick reply showcases both humility and faith, granting her the help she seeks. This exchange challenges the readers to think about who deserves God’s grace.

Christian theology generally holds that all of creation, including animals, is valuable to God. Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 about the shared fate of humans and animals, implicitly acknowledging the significance of animals’ lives.