God’s planting a garden in Eden was just the beginning of His love affair with creating garden spaces and surrounding intimate encounters with His people in plants. Do you know the Top 10 gardening verses of the Bible? As we countdown, you may find a few surprises.
Actually, I found at least 29 initial, get-to-know Scriptures concerning gardens and their care and history, but a Top 10 list seems easier to manage! Let’s hit these highlights, with links to more for a time when your curious glance can click to a deeper dig.
The grounding relationship between the Word and the land looks forward to eternity to fully reveal, but this list will introduce you, at least, and grow your acquaintance with gardening in the Bible.
The First & the Forever Garden
Let’s start at the beginning: The Lord God planted the first garden.
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Genesis 2:8 NRSV
Now see His throne established in Revelation’s forever garden:
Next the angel showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Between the main street and the river was the Tree of Life producing twelve kinds of fruit, a different kind every month; and the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations — no longer will there be any curses.
Revelation 22:1-3 CJB
More verses on gardens from the First to Forever:
• people began to tend and keep the garden GENESIS 2:15
• …but sometimes they don’t! PROVERBS 24:30-34
• keeping God’s Word parallels garden-keeping PSALM 1:2-3
• keeping a garden keeps national peace MICAH 4:3-4
Plenty of Plants
All the gardens in between Eden and Revelation are filled with immense botanical variety. Find lists of plants spicy and fragrant—
Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits,
with henna and nard,
nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices.
You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.
She: Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere.
Song of Songs 4:13-16 NIV
—as well as the grains and fruits cultivated throughout ancient civilization:
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and [date] honey;
Deuteronomy 8:7-8 NKJV
More verses listing all kinds of plants:
• God created plants GENESIS 1:11-13
• list of native plants for foraging GENESIS 43:11
• list of cultivated vegetables NUMBERS 11:5
• list of water-savvy trees and shrubs NEHEMIAH 8:15
Lots to Learn
Throughout Scripture, the plant kingdom and the particulars of its cultivation reveal the workings of God’s kingdom. Fields of wildflowers teach of His pleasure to provide for each of us, even our clothing—
Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!
Luke 12:27-28 NIV
see also Matthew 6:28-30
—while groves of trees changing with the seasons teach us to watch for God to change things up:
He told them a story. “Look at a fig tree. Any tree for that matter. When the leaves begin to show, one look tells you that summer is right around the corner. The same here—when you see these things happen, you know God’s kingdom is about here. Don’t brush this off: I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will happen.
Luke 21:29-32 The Message
see also Mark 13:28-30
More verses on learning from plant cultivation:
• King Solomon’s plant knowledge 1 KINGS 4:33
• God’s attention to harvest details ISAIAH 28:23-29
• God and Jesus’ pruning relationship JOHN 15:1-10
• God and Israel’s grafting relationship ROMANS 11:17-21
Plenty of Passion
Gardens are usually imagined as peaceful places, yet the Bible’s gardens confront plenty of passion and fury as well. No surprise, since the first garden blessing gave way to cursing—
To Adam [Adonai, God] said, “Because you listened to what your wife said and ate from the tree about which I gave you the order, ‘You are not to eat from it,’ the ground is cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat field plants. You will eat bread by the sweat of your forehead till you return to the ground — for you were taken out of it: you are dust, and you will return to dust.”
Genesis 3:17-19 CJB
—and death’s pressing came to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane:
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Mark 14:32-36 NIV
More verses on God’s Passion in a plant or garden context:
• God’s fervor for loving people, not religion MATTHEW 23:23-24
• Jesus’ fury at fruitlessness MARK 11:12-14
• gentle herbal gesture at Jesus’ passing JOHN 19:29-30
• his body laid to rest in a garden JOHN 19:41-42
Fun & Faithfulness
Yet through it all, God’s gift of playful fun in the adventure of gardening continually appears:
Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom— there I will give you my love.
Song of Songs 7:12 NIV
Find His garden devotion simultaneously spirited:
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you carried him off, tell me where you laid him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned and replied in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means, “Teacher”).
John 20:15-16 EHV
More verses filled with God’s fun and faithfulness:
• adventurous, lively landscape DEUTERONOMY 11:11-12
• rejoicing in the return of desert flowers ISAIAH 35:1-2
• clapping with evergreen trees ISAIAH 55:12-13
How did you do, find anything new? Are these the Words you would choose? Write any that you would add to the Top 10 gardening verses of the Bible in the comments below, and be sure to note which Word you love the best.
Gardening is the great context for the Bible. From delight to despair, it’s all there! Within Scripture, the whole human experience is championed in the garden: the place to let sorrows find new life in joys; the place for learning and challenge—where we grow like the plants! The place where God meets His people.
Prayer: Dearest Father, let me embrace the wide-open view of gardening in the Bible, yet see your closeness to your creation. You see to elegant arrangements in mindful detail. What a grand invitation for me to come to you with all my curiosity. There is so much to take in, show me where to begin! Delight me, O Lord, in your garden Words and bring me through confrontation and pressing despair. What Word may I reflect, what pattern of yours can I plant, to reiterate your garden work in mine?
The Bible is filled with plants and gardening from beginning to end, Eden to Revelation. If you have enjoyed this focused overview of gardening verses, try this article on 8 Great Plant Lists
My Father is the Gardener is my newest book, featuring devotional essays on gardening themes and plants of the Bible, beautifully crafted with original artwork, mesmerizing macrophotography, and classic botanical illustrations to bring you pleasing-to-the-eye pages that are sure to delight!
Take an in-depth tour of the gardens of the Bible in God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, beginning with the Garden Tour on page a-12
©2017-20 Shelley S. Cramm
CJB notes Scripture quotations taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
EHV notes Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® , EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
The Message denotes Scripture quotations taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries.
NIV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.®
NKJV denotes Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
NRSV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Oh, Shelley, once again you have pulled together so many scriptures where God uses the garden to relate more closely to us. Since gardening is such a universal pastime, we can more easily understand his lessons for us through his use of the gardening metaphor.
Shelley S. Cramm
So glad you see and share the joys of gardening and the gardening metaphor in the Bible!! Wonderful to have your faithful comments!!
Just started gardening. Feel like a scriptural journey. The many parables come to life. And I discover some of my own.
I’m really glad I came across this. It’s full of all kinds of information I find very useful. I can tell you have a love for God, Jesus and nature. I really enjoyed this article. Thank you.
Shelley S. Cramm
Thank you, I am so glad you have found it useful, may God bless you!