31 Bible Verses About Snakes (with Explanations)

Snakes in the Bible? Most minds immediately jump to the image of the cunning serpent tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden, a symbol of deceit and sin. But scratch beneath the surface, and you’ll discover a fascinating world of symbolism, where these slithering creatures hold both negative and redemptive connotations.

The serpent’s journey doesn’t exist in isolation. It intricately connects to a larger narrative of redemption woven throughout the Bible. The serpent in Eden foreshadows the coming of Christ, who would conquer the power of sin and temptation through his sacrifice.

We’ll trace this connection, examining how the serpent symbolism becomes a powerful reminder of God’s plan for our salvation.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Protecting Your Home From Evil (with Explanations)

Bible Verses About Snakes

Genesis 3:1

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”‘”

Genesis 3:1 introduces us to the subtle serpent in the Garden of Eden. This cunning creature plays a pivotal role in the fall of humanity by questioning God’s command to Adam and Eve.

The serpent’s craftiness serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the deceitful nature that can lead individuals away from God’s truth. This verse invites reflection on the need for discernment and steadfast adherence to God’s commands in the face of cunning influences.

Numbers 21:8-9

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”

Numbers 21:8-9 recounts the incident of fiery serpents afflicting the Israelites in the wilderness. God instructs Moses to create a bronze serpent on a pole as a means of healing. This symbolic act points to Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, where looking upon Him brings spiritual healing and life.

The bronze serpent becomes a powerful image of God’s mercy and provision, illustrating how God can turn a symbol of affliction into a source of transformative salvation.

Matthew 10:16

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus imparts wisdom to His disciples, using the serpent as a metaphor. He encourages them to be wise and discerning in their interactions, emphasizing the delicate balance between wisdom and innocence.

This verse serves as a reminder for believers to navigate the complexities of the world with shrewdness, while maintaining a spirit of gentleness and purity.

Mark 16:18

“They will take up serpents, and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Mark 16:18 is part of Jesus’ commission to His disciples. This verse has been a subject of interpretation and debate. While some take it literally, others view it metaphorically, emphasizing the believers’ authority over spiritual challenges.

Regardless of interpretation, the verse highlights the transformative power of faith, suggesting that believers, under divine protection, can face dangerous situations unharmed.

Acts 28:3-6

“But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, ‘No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.’ But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.”

In Acts 28:3-6, Paul encounters a viper on the island of Malta. Despite being bitten, Paul remains unharmed, demonstrating God’s protective hand over His faithful servant.

This event serves as a powerful testimony to God’s transformative ability to shield His followers from harm and illustrates the resilience of those dedicated to the ministry despite external threats.

Revelation 12:9

“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

Revelation 12:9 unveils the symbolic imagery of a great dragon identified as the serpent of old, representing the Devil and Satan. This verse underscores the spiritual battle between good and evil.

The serpent’s deceptive nature is emphasized, highlighting the ongoing need for spiritual discernment and resistance against the forces that seek to lead humanity away from God’s truth.

Revelation 20:2

“He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”

Revelation 20:2 portrays the ultimate triumph over the serpent—the Devil and Satan—through the binding during the millennial reign of Christ. This imagery signifies the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan and the eventual defeat of evil.

The serpent’s binding serves as a hopeful reminder that God’s transformative power will ultimately prevail, bringing an end to the deceit and oppression perpetrated by the ancient serpent.

Psalm 58:3-4

“The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; they are like the deaf cobra that stops its ear.”

In Psalm 58:3-4, the psalmist vividly describes the wicked, drawing a parallel with the poison of a serpent. This metaphorical language emphasizes the destructive nature of deceit and wickedness, comparing it to the venomous bite of a serpent.

The imagery underscores the innate tendency of those who turn away from God’s ways, highlighting the need for spiritual discernment to recognize and resist the poisonous influence of falsehood.

Proverbs 23:32

“In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.”

Proverbs 23:32 presents a cautionary reflection on the consequences of indulging in excess, using the metaphor of a snake’s bite. The verse warns that what may initially seem enticing or pleasurable can lead to harm and spiritual poison.

This insight encourages believers to exercise discernment and moderation in their choices, avoiding paths that may lead to detrimental outcomes.

Jeremiah 8:17

“See, I will send venomous snakes among you, vipers that cannot be charmed, and they will bite you,” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 8:17 communicates a divine warning through the imagery of venomous snakes. This prophetic declaration underscores the serious consequences of disobedience and the inability to evade the divine judgment that befalls those who reject God’s guidance.

The imagery serves as a call to repentance and a reminder of the transformative impact of aligning with God’s will to avoid the metaphorical snake bites of spiritual rebellion.

Matthew 7:15

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

In Matthew 7:15, Jesus issues a warning about false prophets, likening them to wolves in sheep’s clothing. This metaphor emphasizes the deceptive nature of those who feign righteousness while harboring harmful intentions.

The verse encourages believers to be vigilant and discerning, emphasizing the importance of identifying false teachings that may lead them astray from the true path of faith.

Luke 10:19

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Luke 10:19 provides a declaration of authority given by Jesus to His disciples. The mention of trampling on serpents and scorpions symbolizes the power believers possess over spiritual adversaries.

This verse encourages a understanding of the authority granted through faith, reinforcing the truth that, with God’s empowerment, believers can overcome the schemes of the enemy.

1 Corinthians 10:9

“Nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted and were destroyed by serpents.”

1 Corinthians 10:9 recalls the historical account of the Israelites tempting God in the wilderness, resulting in the emergence of deadly serpents. This passage serves as a cautionary tale, urging believers to avoid testing God through disobedience.

The mention of serpents emphasizes the potential consequences of challenging God’s will, underscoring the lesson of obedience to prevent spiritual harm.

2 Corinthians 11:3

“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

In 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul expresses concern about the Corinthian believers being deceived, drawing a parallel with the serpent’s cunning deception of Eve. This transformative passage highlights the vulnerability of believers to deceptive influences that can divert them from wholehearted devotion to Christ.

It emphasizes the need for spiritual discernment and the importance of maintaining a sincere and pure commitment to Christ to avoid the pitfalls of cunning influences.

Job 26:13

“By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent.”

In Job 26:13, the poetic imagery describes God’s power and creative authority. The mention of God piercing the gliding serpent signifies divine triumph over chaos and evil forces.

This verse underscores the transformative theme of God’s sovereignty, illustrating His ability to overcome any adversary, even the symbolic serpent. It encourages believers to trust in God’s overarching control, finding assurance in His ability to bring order and beauty out of chaos.

Ecclesiastes 10:11

“If the serpent bites before it is charmed, there is no profit for the charmer.”

Ecclesiastes 10:11 uses the metaphor of a serpent to convey the idea that once harm is done, attempts to remedy the situation become futile. This verse imparts transformative wisdom about the importance of timely action and prevention.

It serves as a reminder that addressing issues promptly is more effective than attempting to remedy them after harm has occurred. The serpent metaphor underscores the consequences of neglecting prudence and the transformative impact of making wise choices.

Isaiah 11:8

“The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.”

Isaiah 11:8 presents a striking image of transformative peace and harmony in the Messianic era. The mention of a child interacting fearlessly with serpents symbolizes a state of tranquility and safety.

This vision portrays the profound impact of God’s kingdom, where danger is eradicated, and a sense of security prevails. The verse inspires believers with hope for a future marked by transformative peace under the reign of the Messiah.

Matthew 3:7

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?'”

In Matthew 3:7, John the Baptist addresses the religious leaders as a “brood of vipers,” highlighting their hypocrisy and the need for genuine repentance. This confrontation emphasizes the importance of authenticity in one’s relationship with God.

The term “vipers” serves as a metaphor for spiritual deception, calling for transformative change and a sincere turning away from false practices. The verse challenges believers to examine their hearts and embrace true repentance.

Mark 15:23

“They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it.”

Mark 15:23 recounts an episode during Jesus’ crucifixion where He refuses wine mixed with myrrh. The myrrh mixture was often used as a pain-reliever, but Jesus chooses not to numb the pain.

This act symbolizes Jesus’ willingness to fully experience the suffering of the cross for the sake of humanity. The serpent, representing sin and its consequences, is faced head-on without evasion, demonstrating the depth of Christ’s sacrificial love.

Romans 16:20

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”

Romans 16:20 prophesies the ultimate triumph over Satan, likening it to the crushing of a serpent. This promise underscores the redemptive power of Christ and the transformative assurance that believers, empowered by God’s grace, will participate in the defeat of evil.

Revelation 12:14

“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.”

Revelation 12:14 presents a symbolic scene of a woman fleeing from the presence of the serpent. The transformative imagery depicts divine protection and provision during times of trial.

This verse encourages believers to trust in God’s transformative care, assuring them that, even in the face of adversity, His nurturing presence sustains and shields them from the influence of the symbolic serpent. It instills confidence in God’s transformative ability to guide and protect His people through challenging seasons.

Zechariah 10:2

“For the household gods utter nonsense, and the diviners see lies; they tell false dreams and give empty consolation. Therefore, the people wander like sheep; they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd.”

Zechariah 10:2 paints a picture of spiritual confusion and aimlessness due to false guidance. The imagery of wandering people without a shepherd emphasizes the transformative need for true leadership and guidance.

This verse invites reflection on the consequences of turning to empty sources for consolation and the impact of aligning with the true Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who provides genuine direction and purpose.

Matthew 16:23

“But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.'”

In Matthew 16:23, Jesus rebukes Peter, calling him “Satan” for being a hindrance. This transformative moment highlights the danger of worldly thinking and misguided intentions. The term “Satan” serves as a metaphor for anything that opposes God’s will.

The verse underscores the importance of setting one’s mind on divine priorities and the transformative impact of aligning thoughts with God’s purposes.

Luke 11:11-12

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?”

Luke 11:11-12 uses a parental metaphor to illustrate the transformative nature of God’s goodness. The question posed by Jesus emphasizes the natural inclination of a loving father to provide what is good for his child.

This imagery invites believers to trust in God’s benevolence and perceive Him as the ultimate Father who desires to give His children what is truly beneficial, avoiding any harmful substitutes.

John 3:14

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”

John 3:14 draws a parallel between Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness and Jesus being lifted up on the cross. This connection underscores the redemptive nature of Christ’s sacrifice, symbolized by the serpent in the Old Testament.

The verse illuminates the transformative truth that, just as looking at the bronze serpent brought physical healing, looking to Christ brings spiritual healing and transformation.

Acts 28:4

“When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, ‘No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.'”

In Acts 28:4, Paul’s encounter with a viper on the island of Malta sparks speculation among the natives. This episode serves as a backdrop for Paul’s resilience and God’s protective hand.

The unjust judgment by the locals reveals the transformative reality that, despite appearances and human judgments, God’s purpose prevails, allowing Paul to continue his mission unharmed.

2 Corinthians 2:11

“so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.”

2 Corinthians 2:11 emphasizes the transformative importance of understanding and thwarting Satan’s schemes. Paul stresses the need for spiritual discernment to avoid being outwitted by the enemy.

This verse invites believers to be vigilant, recognizing the cunning tactics of the adversary, and underscores the transformative power of knowledge in maintaining spiritual resilience.

Revelation 9:19-20

“For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them, they wound. The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk.”

Revelation 9:19-20 unveils a vivid description of destructive forces symbolized by serpents, emphasizing the transformative impact of divine judgment.

Despite witnessing these plagues, some people refuse to repent, highlighting the stubbornness of those who persist in idolatry. This passage serves as a solemn reminder of the consequences of unrepentant hearts and the urgent need for transformative turning toward God.

Matthew 10:16-17

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues.”

In Matthew 10:16-17, Jesus prepares His disciples for the challenges they will face in their mission. The transformative counsel to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves signifies the delicate balance required in navigating a world that may oppose their message.

This verse encourages believers to embrace wisdom in their interactions, recognizing the transformative importance of discernment and the need for innocence in motives, even in the face of opposition.

Romans 16:19

“For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.”

Romans 16:19 commends the obedience of the believers but urges them to be wise regarding good and innocent concerning evil. This transformative advice emphasizes the ongoing need for discernment in daily choices.

While obedience is crucial, the verse underscores the transformative importance of maintaining a pure and innocent stance towards evil, reinforcing the call to live with intentional goodness and godliness in a world marked by moral complexities.

Revelation 12:15-16

“The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.”

In Revelation 12:15-16, symbolic imagery unfolds, depicting the serpent’s attempt to harm the woman. The transformative element in this passage lies in the earth’s intervention to protect the woman. This vivid picture illustrates the supernatural assistance God provides to His people in times of crisis.

The earth swallowing the river signifies God’s transformative power to thwart the schemes of the enemy, offering believers a reassuring glimpse of divine protection amid spiritual struggles.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Protecting Your Home From Evil (with Explanations)

What Does the Bible Say About Snakes?

The Bible addresses the symbolism of snakes in various contexts, using them as metaphors for different spiritual principles. In the biblical narrative, snakes are often associated with deception, cunning, and the presence of evil.

The most notable reference to a snake is found in the book of Genesis, where the serpent tempts Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:1-6 (NIV)

The serpent, described as cunning, deceives Eve by questioning God’s command and enticing her to eat from the forbidden tree. This act of disobedience introduces sin into the world and fractures humanity’s relationship with God.

Throughout the Bible, snakes continue to symbolize deceit, evil, and the presence of sin. They represent the adversary’s efforts to undermine God’s purposes and lead people astray from His truth. However, the narrative also presents instances where God uses snakes as instruments to convey messages or demonstrate His power.

Numbers 21:8-9 (NIV)

In this passage, God instructs Moses to make a bronze snake and lift it up on a pole. Those who looked at the bronze snake were healed from the venomous snake bites they had suffered in the wilderness. This event foreshadows Jesus’ crucifixion, where He becomes the ultimate symbol of healing and redemption.

John 3:14-15 (NIV)

Jesus refers to the bronze snake in the wilderness, likening His impending crucifixion to it. Just as the Israelites looked to the bronze snake for physical healing, people can look to Jesus in faith for spiritual healing and salvation.

In the New Testament, Jesus warns His disciples to be wise as serpents in navigating the challenges of the world (Matthew 10:16). While snakes represent cunning and deception, believers are called to be discerning and cautious, relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to navigate spiritual pitfalls.

A Short Prayer Against Snakes

Heavenly Father,

I come before You with trust and faith, seeking Your divine protection against the cunning forces that may slither in our lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuke any serpent-like deceptions, schemes, and challenges that may attempt to harm or derail us. Your Word assures us that we have authority over serpents and scorpions, and nothing shall by any means hurt us (Luke 10:19).

I pray for a hedge of protection, a shield of faith, and the discernment to recognize and resist any form of spiritual snake attempting to disrupt our journey. Lord, guide us with Your wisdom, grant us clarity to see through deceptive tactics, and empower us to stand firm in the face of adversity.

As we face challenges and uncertainties, may Your presence surround us, ensuring that no serpent’s bite can penetrate the armor of Your grace. Fill us with the confidence that, in Christ, we have victory over any spiritual snake, and Your light dispels all darkness.

I declare Your promises of protection and deliverance over our lives, trusting in Your unwavering love and sovereignty. In Jesus’ mighty name, I pray. Amen.