The Letters & Their Meaning
The Christian Alphabet Symbology
A symbol is an outward, visible form of something inward and invisible.
“Symbols are the language of the soul.” George Ferguson 1954
Each letter is its own work of art!
They all contain a word and have a Bible verse that correlates.
See all the symbology explained below.
Know the meaning in The Christian Alphabet…
Click on Letters to Enlarge
A = ALWAYS (Matt 28:20)
A1- Alpha Omega (Green A)
This is a mix of two Greek letters which are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet: an A for Alpha and an O for Omega (The Greek “O” looks like and upside down U )
God said he is “the Alpha and the Omega” which means He is the beginning and the end. (Rev 1:8, 21:6 22:13 )
There is an infinity sign because God’s love endures forever. (Psalms 100, 106, 107, 117, 118, 136 )
The green colors and the ivy represent evergreens and always growing.
The cross at the top is for Christ, who died on the cross to save the world.
I wanted this letter to look a bit futuristic because eternity is a long time :) and that is what Jesus promises us- Eternity in heaven with Him. Heaven is our hope and Final home. It is where every tear is wiped away and there is only love and goodness. (Isaiah 25:8)
A2- Merciful Heart
This “A” is a combination of two iconic images:
1.) The Sacred Heart of Jesus
2.) The Divine Mercy image of Jesus
The Sacred Heart of Jesus burns with love for us. The Heart is the symbolic center of feeling and emotion, and it represents Jesus’ deep love and affection for us. It is red, the color of blood, which Jesus poured out for us (Jn 19:34). Red signifies fervent love, and Jesus loves us so much that he laid down his life for us. (Jn 15:13).
The Flames of fire represent the intensity of the warmth of Jesus’ love for us.
The cross, and crown of thorns (Mt 27:29; Mk 15:17; Jn 19:2,5), also represent the love of Jesus for the entire world. Jesus suffered on our account. He died for this love. Then, He rose from the grave and continues to pour out his Heart/Love to us.
The red rays of light represent the Blood of Jesus poured out for the life of souls. The blue rays of light represent the water of Baptism which makes souls righteous. St. Faustina helps us remember to say the prayer “Jesus, I trust in you.” “Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.” – Jesus, from the diary of St. Faustina.
A3-13- Praying Person
Praying hands - Jesus tells us to watch and pray all the time. (Matthew 26:41) St. Paul said to be joyful always, and to pray continually. Prayer is simply lifting your heart to God, being grateful, praising Him and spending time with Him. (1Thessalonians 5:16-17)
The cross is the best known symbol of Jesus because Jesus died on a cross for each of us. (John 19:17) In a broader sense, the cross is the sign of redemption, salvation, and Christianity. (Revelation 12:10)
B = BELIEVE (John 3:16)
B1 – Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments - God gave these laws to Moses on two tablets of stone. These are rules that God wants us to follow in order to make our lives holy. (Exodus 19-20)
The three leaf clover (shamrock) is a symbol of the Holy Trinity - the mystery of our one God in three persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. (1 Timothy 3:16)
The holly, because of its thorny leaves and red berries, is symbolic of Christ’s crown of thorns and blood. (John 19:2)Legend tells us that it was the tree used for Jesus’ cross.
The ivy, because it is evergreen, is a symbol of eternal life. Because it clings as it grows, it reminds us to cling to Jesus in order to grow in holiness. (Psalm 136)
B2 - The Lion B
The Lion represents our great, big, powerful God (Revelation 5:5)- Our Creator who became human to show us how to love each other and get to heaven.
The Lamb = Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29) Jesus sacrificed his life on a cross to save us from our sins. Jewish tradition was to sacrifice a lamb to God, but since Jesus died for all of us on the cross about 2022 years ago, He changed everything!
Jesus Christ is our strong Lord and humble Savior. We BELIEVE He is the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God.
C = CHRIST (Galatians 2:20)
C1 – Shepherd
Jesus tells us that he is the good shepherd. (John 10:7-18) He lays down his life for his sheep. Also, Jesus tells us in a parable (Matthew 18:10) that our Father, in heaven, is like the shepherd. He wants all of his sheep to be with him and is very happy to find the lost one. (God/Jesus is our shepherd who watches over us. We are his sheep, sometimes lost, but He always loves us.)
The nail, wood, and cross represent the suffering and death of Jesus. Read about Thomas and the nail prints on Jesus’ hands. (John 20:24-29)
C2 - Baby Jesus
Mary and baby Jesus are pictured playing joyfully.
Mary has a halo to show her unique favor with God. All generation still call her blessed because she trusted God and bore His Son. (Luke 1:30)
Jesus has a wooden crown made by his earthly father, Joseph - the carpenter. Jesus is our King of Kings and the Prince of Peace. (John 18:37 & Isaiah 9:6)
D = DEVOTION (Jeremiah 29:11)
D1 - Dove
The dove is the symbol of purity, peace, and the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26) It appears at Jesus’ Baptism; “…he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and it abode upon him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:10-11)
The olive branch is a symbol of peace with God. Because the dove returned with the olive branch, “Noah knew the waters were abated from the earth.” (Genesis 8:11) Also, because the olive tree produces much oil, it symbolizes the abundance that God gives to us. (Judges 9:8)
The Bible/Sacred Scripture is one of God’s ways of teaching us and speaking to us.(2 Timothy 3:16 and John 20:30-31).
Fish (See “F”) Hearts (See “R”)
D2 -Musical D
The Trumpet – is famous for the fall of Jericho (Joshua 6:20) & there is the “Feast of trumpets.” (Numbers, chapter 29)
The Harp - a biblical instrument that King David played (1 Samuel 16:23) and you might think of angels playing these instruments also. (Rev 15:2) The harp has a menorah on it to show our Jewish heritage. (Exodus 25:32 & 1 Maccabees 4:56) Did you know?…Abraham, Moses, David, & Jesus were all Jewish!
The musical notes are the start of the song “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God” ( Matthew 6:33) – my favorite song I had played at my wedding.
Notice how the notes turn into praises and thanksgiving to God. Playing music and singing to God is one of the best ways to worship Him.
Hosanna means “please save us.” (Matthew 21:9-16)
Alleluia is a joyful word of praise to God! (Psalm 105 & Rev 19)
E = EMMANUEL which means “God is with us”(Isaiah 7:14)
E1 - The Flowery E
The flower is called a columbine. Columbine comes from the Latin word for dove, columba. Therefore, this is another symbol of the Holy Spirit.
The sun is symbolic of Christ. It rises as Christ rose from the dead. (Malachi 4:2)
The sun and moon represent the sadness of all creation when Jesus died. Also, they are attributes to the Virgin Mary -“woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet” (Revelation 12:1). The crescent moon represents Mary, mother of Jesus. Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, Mary reflects the light of the Son of God. Mary always points us to Jesus.(John 2:5)
Clouds are used as the symbol of the unseen God. (1 John 4:12)
The star, lighting the darkness of night, is a symbol of divine guidance. A star helped guide the three Wise Kings to Bethlehem in order to worship the newborn Savior of the world! (Matthew 2:2)
E2 - The Lighthouse E
The lighthouse represents God, the one who gives us light (Genesis 1:3), and is our guiding light. (1 John 1:5-7) Moreover, Jesus said “You are the light of the world…Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14)
The pelican symbolizes Jesus. The legend of the pelican says that they have the most love for their offspring. People thought that pelicans would pierce their own bodies with their long beak in order to feed their starving young. This sacrifice mirrors Christ’s on the cross. Jesus gives us his body and blood. In this sense, the pelican also symbolizes the Eucharistic Sacrament, where Jesus gives us His body and blood from the altar, using bread and wine. (Luke 22:19-20)
Footprints in the sand represent Jesus walking with us, sometimes carrying us, through this earthly life. (Proverb 3:23)
(Moon, stars, and clouds- see other “E”)
E3 - God with us
This letter shows our triune God: God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
The dove represents the Holy Spirit.
Can you see the word God? The circular holy host is the “O” for the word “God.” The holy chalice is the “t”. God is with us in Spirit and in holy Communion. Together you can see what the word Emmanuel means = “GOD WITH US”
The bright star appeared in the sky to lead the 3 Wise men to holy baby Jesus.
Remember God is always with us here on earth and He is also in heaven.
F = FAITH (Hebrews 11:1)
F1 – 3 Candles
Smoke quickly disappears, reminding us of how short this life on earth is, and how useless it is to seek earthly glory. (Matthew 6:20) “Store up your treasures in heaven...For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
The candles give light to the world, as Christ does. Jesus said he came “as light into the world that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” (Luke 12:46) Candles symbolize prayer, devotion, the coming of Christ in Communion, and (at Easter) that Jesus has risen. Three candles represent the Holy Trinity.
The fish is one of the first Christian symbols of Christ. The five Greek letters that form the word ‘fish’ (I, ch, th, u, s) are the initial letters of these five words: ‘Jesus Christ God’s Son Savior’ (Iasous =Jesus, Christos = Christ, Theos = God’s, Uios = Son, Sotar = Savior). The fish also reminds us to be “fishers of men” –to share the gospel with all. (Mark 1:17)
Water (See “R”)
F2 - Angel with trumpet
The verse Matthew 24:30 is what inspired this letter. It says that Jesus will return to earth again, with power and glory! When he will come again is unknown, but His angels will blow their trumpets and He will come on the clouds. Will you be ready for Him? He loves you and wants you with Him in His Heavenly Home where He has prepared a place for you. (John 14:3)
Jesus’ Second glorious coming -on the clouds- is in the background of this letter.
As Christians, we have Faith that He Will Come Again to judge the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42 & 1 Peter 4:5)
G = GOD (Genesis 1:1)
G1 - Genesis
The stars and planets represent God’s creation of the universe. (Genesis 1)
The tree is the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve sinned for the first time when they disobeyed God and ate the fruit from it. (Genesis 3:3)
The serpent represents Satan, who tempted Adam and Eve, and tempts us, to sin. (Genesis 3)
The dolphin symbolizes resurrection and salvation. The legend is that carries the souls of the faithful departed across the waters to eternal life.
G2 = Names for God
There are 10 names for God in this G. Can you find them all? What other names for our King of Kings can you think of? Bread of life, Redeemer, The Truth….
“The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit” is how Jesus instructed us to baptize His disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:19)
H = HEAVEN (John 14:2)
H1 – Heaven’s Gate
This is the artist’s vision of the pearly gates at the entrance of heaven. (Rev. 21:21)
“Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven...” (Matthew 6:33)
The pearl, a most precious jewel, is known as a symbol of salvation or heaven.“ The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45)
Jesus prepared a place for us in heaven. (John 14:3)
H2 - Pillars and Altar
The columns (or pillars) represent God. He delivered the Israelites from slavery and led them through the dessert. God never left his place in front of the people. Exodus 13:21 shows us: “The Lord preceded them, in the daytime be means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night by means of a column of fire to give them light.
The altar is “God’s table.” It is a sacred place to offer up sacrifices and where Communion (the Eucharist) is celebrated to remember the Last Supper where Jesus “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) The act of building an altar means that we are offering everything we have to God. It is a reminder that everything belongs to God.
Book of life, (Phil 4:3, Rev 3:5, 13:8…) or the Book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16) is sometimes called the Lamb’s book (Rev 21:27) or Lord’s book (Exodus 32:32). Jesus says “…rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven!” (Luke 10:20)
The angels worshiping under the altar have placed their wings to form the “mercy seat.” This is part of the arc of the covenant that God designed and told the Israelites to build for Him. (Exodus 25:18-20)
I = I AM (Exodus 3:14)
I1 – Jerusalem Cross
IHS is a monogram for Christ that dates back to the first century. These are the first three letters of the word for Jesus in Greek, Ihsus.
The Jerusalem cross (in red) is a Greek cross because it has arms of equal length. The four smaller crosses represent the four gospels. The Latin cross, the most popular one today, has the shorter cross bar raised above the center.
The eye of God is the “all seeing eye”. God sees, knows, and loves us. (1 John 3:20, Psalm 33:18)
This is also a monstrance which holds the body of Christ.
Fleur de lis –French for “flower of the lily”. (At the three points of this cross) It is not an actual flower but a symbol of the Trinity because of its three petals. It also represents The Virgin Mary.
I2 – Banner Cross
This is a very decorative cross with three cross bars. This type of cross is used by the Pope. Halo (See “K”)