What do Kidney Represent Spiritually in the Bible?

By Faith Way

What do kidneys represent in spirituality? From a biblical perspective, the kidneys hold significant symbolic meaning. In various scriptures, the kidneys are often referenced as the seat of emotions, thoughts, and even the conscience. According to the Book of Psalms, “I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14). This verse suggests that our innermost being, including our emotions and thoughts, is intricately connected to our kidneys. Additionally, the Book of Proverbs states, “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart” (Proverbs 20:27). This implies that the kidneys serve as a vessel for spiritual discernment and self-reflection. Exploring the symbolism of kidneys in spirituality can offer us a deeper understanding of ourselves and our connection to the divine.

The Significance of Kidneys in Biblical Symbolism

The kidneys hold significant meaning in the biblical context, representing various aspects of spirituality and deeper understanding. In ancient Hebrew culture, the kidneys held a prominent place and were associated with important attributes and beliefs. Let’s explore the two main aspects of the kidneys’ symbolism in the Bible.

The Importance of the Kidneys in Ancient Hebrew Culture

In ancient Hebrew culture, the kidneys were seen as more than just vital organs. They were believed to be the seat of human emotions, thoughts, and intentions. The Hebrew word for kidneys, “kelayot,” is derived from a root word meaning “to ponder” or “to examine.” This highlights the emphasis placed on the kidneys as a center for reflection, insight, and discernment.

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Kidneys as Symbolic of Spiritual Discernment in the Bible

The Bible frequently associates the kidneys with spiritual discernment and the ability to perceive truth. In several scriptures, the kidneys are mentioned in the context of testing, judging, and purifying one’s innermost being.

One such example is found in Psalm 26:2 (NIV): “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” Here, the psalmist uses the metaphor of God examining his kidneys to express a plea for divine assessment of his innermost thoughts and intentions.

Another verse that showcases the symbolic significance of the kidneys is found in Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV): “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” This verse highlights how God’s examination of the kidneys represents His thorough understanding of a person’s true nature and actions.

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In biblical symbolism, the kidneys represent the ability to discern between good and evil, to understand divine wisdom, and to choose the path of righteousness. They signify the internal examination of one’s own thoughts, motives, and desires, as well as God’s careful judgment and evaluation of the human heart.

By understanding the significance of the kidneys in biblical symbolism, we can gain deeper insights into the importance of self-reflection, moral discernment, and aligning our intentions with God’s will. The kidneys, as a symbol of spiritual discernment, remind us to seek clarity, wisdom, and righteousness in our actions and decisions.

The Role of Kidneys in Spiritual Cleansing and Purity

In biblical times, the role of kidneys held significant spiritual symbolism, representing the purification process and the divine assessment of one’s heart. Understanding the spiritual implications of kidneys can deepen our understanding of the biblical concept of cleansing and purity.

Kidneys as a Metaphor for the Purification Process in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, the kidneys were often used as a metaphor for the purification process. The kidneys were believed to be the seat of one’s innermost thoughts and emotions, including the deepest desires and intentions of the heart. Just as the kidneys filter out impurities from the body, they also symbolize the need for spiritual purification.

The book of Proverbs provides insight into this concept, stating, “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the hearts” (Proverbs 17:3). This verse emphasizes that just as precious metals are purified through intense heat, the Lord examines the hearts of individuals to refine their innermost being.

Furthermore, the psalmist David asks God to “examine” and “test” his kidneys, saying, “You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing” (Psalm 17:3). This expression shows the psalmist’s desire for God to purify his innermost thoughts and motives, ensuring they align with God’s will.

The Spiritual Implications of “Washing the Kidneys” in Psalm 26

Psalm 26 provides an intriguing perspective on the spiritual implications of “washing the kidneys.” In verse 2, David declares, “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” The term “reins” refers to the kidneys, symbolizing the core of one’s being.

David’s request to be tested and proved by God reveals his deep desire for spiritual purity. By asking God to examine his “reins,” David is essentially inviting God to assess the innermost depths of his heart and thoughts. This act of self-reflection and surrender to God’s examination demonstrates David’s commitment to living a life of righteousness and holiness.

The metaphorical act of “washing the kidneys” in this context refers to the purification and cleansing of one’s innermost desires and intentions. Just as physical cleansing removes impurities, washing the kidneys spiritually signifies the removal of any impure thoughts, motives, or actions. It reflects a sincere desire to be in alignment with God’s will and to cultivate a pure heart.

Through these passages, we can see that the kidneys hold spiritual significance as a symbol of the purification process and the evaluation of one’s heart and motives. They remind us of the need for continual self-reflection and surrender to God’s refining work in our lives.

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Kidneys as a Symbol of God’s Omniscience and Knowledge

The kidneys, according to biblical perspective, hold great symbolic significance that reflects God’s omniscience and deep understanding of humanity. These vital organs serve as a metaphorical representation of God’s profound knowledge and intimate awareness of our innermost thoughts and intentions.

The Symbolic Connection between the Kidneys and God’s Deep Understanding

Just as the kidneys play a crucial role in the physical body by sifting and purifying the blood, they symbolize God’s ability to examine and discern the depths of our hearts and minds. The kidneys were considered the seat of emotions and thoughts in ancient times, emphasizing their metaphorical association with knowledge and understanding.

In the context of spirituality, the kidneys represent God’s ability to see beyond appearances and comprehend the true essence of individuals. They remind us that God possesses an all-encompassing understanding that surpasses human comprehension.

The Biblical Reference to God Searching the Kidneys in Jeremiah 17

Within the Book of Jeremiah, there is a specific mention of God searching the kidneys to discover the truth about individuals. In Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV), it is written:

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

This verse signifies that God conducts a thorough examination of our hearts and minds, going deep into the innermost recesses of our being. The reference to “searching the heart” is a figurative expression, highlighting God’s ability to intimately know our thoughts, intentions, and character.

In biblical times, the kidneys were also associated with decision-making and moral discernment. Therefore, this biblical passage further emphasizes that God’s knowledge encompasses not only our actions but also our motives and desires.

By examining the kidneys, God reveals His omniscience and communicates His just judgment based on our conduct and the alignment of our hearts with His divine will.

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The Significance of the Kidneys in Offering Sacrifices

The kidneys hold significant spiritual symbolism in the biblical perspective, particularly in the context of offering sacrifices. In the Old Testament, the role of kidneys in ritual sacrifices held great importance, and their symbolism continued to carry profound spiritual meaning.

The Role of Kidneys in the Ritual Sacrifices of the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were instructed to offer various sacrifices as a means of atonement and worship. The kidneys played a crucial role in these offerings. According to Leviticus 3:4, the kidneys were to be taken from the animal being sacrificed and offered to the Lord on the altar. They were considered a valuable and vital part of the sacrifice.

Through this act, the Israelites acknowledged that the kidneys were an offering to God, recognizing His sovereignty and authority over their lives. The ritual of offering the kidneys symbolized the surrendering of one’s innermost thoughts, desires, and emotions to God. It signified a deep commitment and devotion to God’s will and a willingness to align one’s heart with His.

The Symbolism of Kidneys in the Context of Offering Spiritual Sacrifices

Beyond the physical act of offering animal sacrifices, the kidneys held symbolic significance in the offering of spiritual sacrifices as well. Romans 12:1 states, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

In this context, the kidneys represent the innermost being, the seat of emotions and desires. Just as the physical kidneys were offered as a sacrifice, believers are called to offer their very selves, their thoughts, feelings, and aspirations, as a spiritual sacrifice to God. It is an act of total surrender and devotion, presenting all aspects of one’s life to God.

By offering our “spiritual kidneys,” so to speak, we demonstrate our commitment to worshiping God wholeheartedly and living out His purposes. It is an intimate and personal act of worship, demonstrating our trust in God’s guidance and His ability to transform us from within.

By understanding the significance of the kidneys in both the physical and spiritual sacrifices of the Old Testament, we gain insight into the depth of surrender and devotion required in our own lives. Just as the Israelites recognized the importance of offering the kidneys to God, we too are called to offer our innermost selves to Him in worship and obedience.


Kidneys hold significant spiritual symbolism in the Bible. According to scriptures, kidneys are associated with the depths of one’s being, emotions, and spiritual understanding. They represent the seat of one’s conscience and moral discernment.

In various verses, such as Psalm 26:2 and Jeremiah 11:20, the kidneys are mentioned as the place where God tests and examines the hearts of individuals. This suggests that the condition of our kidneys reflects our spiritual state and the purity of our intentions.

Additionally, scriptures like Proverbs 23:16 and Psalm 139:13 highlight how God intricately formed our kidneys, indicating their importance in His divine plan for our lives.

By exploring the biblical references to kidneys, we can gain a deeper understanding of the spiritual significance they hold. It encourages us to be mindful of aligning our hearts and intentions with God’s will, as the condition of our kidneys reflects our spiritual well-being.

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