A close-up photo capturing the delicate pages of a well-worn Bible, with the name "Taylor" underlined in faded ink, symbolizing an individual's quest for understanding and seeking meaning within the scriptures.

What Does Taylor Mean In The Bible?

The name Taylor has become quite popular in recent years. But did you know that it actually has biblical origins? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the meaning behind the name Taylor in the bible.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The name Taylor comes from the English occupational surname referring to someone who was a tailor or clothing maker. In the bible, sewing garments and fabrics is mentioned in relation to the temple and priesthood, connecting Taylor to biblical themes.

The Occupational Meaning of Taylor

Origin of the Surname Taylor

The surname Taylor originated as an occupational name referring to the profession of tailoring clothes. The word “tailor” derives from the Old French “tailleur,” meaning “cutter of cloth.” In the Middle Ages, a tailor was called a “skinner” or “tailour,” reflecting the close relationship between tailoring and the preparation of animal hides for clothing.

As a specialized trade separate from general cloth production, tailoring emerged in the late medieval period. The first recorded use of “Taylor” as an English surname dates from the 12th century. By the 14th century, the term “tailor” began to refer to makers of men’s garments that require more skill to produce.

The term “seamster” denoted a tailor of lighter garments.

The prominence of the surname Taylor reflects the great demand for tailored clothing and the valuable skills of tailors in medieval towns and villages. A tailor made clothes for individuals from measurements, not pre-made sizes. Wearing custom-fitted garments was a sign of relative prosperity.

Master tailors formed guilds that guarded the secrets of the trade.

Biblical References to Tailoring and Clothwork

The Bible contains several references to garment-making and repair. These passages provide insights into the clothworking trades, including tailoring, in biblical times. Some examples include:

  • Exodus 35:35 – God appoints tailors with wisdom and skill to work with fabrics.
  • Job 16:15 – Job mourns his affliction, comparing himself to a garment worn by moths.
  • Matthew 9:16 – Jesus uses the metaphor of an unshrunk cloth to describe his new teachings.
  • Mark 2:21 – Jesus refers to the incompatibility of sewing a new patch of cloth on an old garment.

These and other biblical references attest to the importance of cloth production and tailoring in ancient Israelite and Judean society. The frequent metaphoric use of garment imagery also suggests the cultural significance of textile arts.

While the appellation “Taylor” developed much later, tailors contributed important skills mentioned in the Bible. They turned animal hides and plant fibers into versatile fabrics used for all manner of apparel and household textiles.

Symbolism of Clothing in the Bible

Clothing Imagery in Scripture

Clothing and garments are used extensively as metaphors throughout Scripture. They often symbolize spiritual covering, status, identity, and more. For example, putting on “garments of salvation” and “robes of righteousness” represent being covered by God’s grace and salvation (Isaiah 61:10).

The prodigal son’s father put a robe on him when he returned, symbolizing restoration of status (Luke 15:22). Our spiritual clothing also matters, as we’re instructed to “clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

What we wear spiritually impacts how we walk through life.

Metaphors Using Garments

Here are some other metaphors using clothing imagery in the Bible:

  • Garments can represent identity. Saul disguised himself by wearing different clothes when he visited the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28:8).
  • Filthy garments signify sin, while white robes represent purity and righteousness (Zechariah 3:3-5).
  • God “clothes” various aspects of creation, from clothing the mountains with forests (Psalm 104:16-18) to giving his people glory and strength (Psalm 93:1).
  • Sackcloth and ashes were worn to portray mourning or repentance (Esther 4:1, Daniel 9:3).
  • Fine linen was prized as special clothing (Revelation 19:8).

As you can see, biblical writers used garments flexibly to convey theological truth. What we wear expresses deeper meaning related to our standing and security in Christ. As Isaiah proclaimed, “I delight greatly in the Lord…He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

Our spiritual clothing matters greatly!

Notable Biblical Tailors

Bezalel and the Tabernacle Textiles

One of the most famous artisans in the Bible is Bezalel, who was appointed by God to oversee the design and creation of the Tabernacle and its furnishings while the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness (Exodus 31:1-5).

Bezalel came from the tribe of Judah and was filled with the Spirit of God, giving him skills in metalworking, stonecutting, wood carving, and fabric arts like embroidery and tapestry weaving (Exodus 35:30-35).

Under Bezalel’s leadership, the curtains and coverings of the Tabernacle were made from luxurious fabrics like fine linen and blue, purple, and scarlet yarn (Exodus 26). These colorful textiles were expertly embroidered and woven together to create ornate cherubim patterns, undoubtedly requiring great skill in tailoring and needlework (Exodus 26:31).

Bezalel oversaw the creation of the ephod worn by the high priest, which included gold threads and fine twisted linen, as well as the intricately woven waistband made of similar materials (Exodus 28:6-8).

In total, over 3000 talents of gold, silver, and bronze were used to make the Tabernacle under Bezalel’s supervision (Exodus 38:24-31). The splendid tents and garments he produced give us a glimpse into the fine craftsmanship and textile arts of the ancient world.

As an artist empowered by God, Bezalel made huge contributions to the worship system of ancient Israel.

Lydia, Dealer of Purple Cloth

Another biblical figure associated with fine fabrics is Lydia, who was a merchant dealing in purple cloth when the apostle Paul first brought the gospel to Europe (Acts 16:11-15). Purple dye was extremely rare and valuable in the ancient world, worth up to 20 times its weight in gold.

Lydia likely had connections to the elite aristocracy and royalty who were among the few who could afford purple garments.

As a successful businesswoman, Lydia would have needed great expertise in sourcing, trading, and selling luxury textiles. When she heard Paul preach the gospel, the Lord opened her heart to receive Christ.

Lydia then offered her home to Paul and his companions, becoming the first documented European convert to Christianity. Her primary association with purple cloth trading gives us a window into the booming luxury textile industry circa 50 AD.

Like Bezalel centuries earlier, her vocation working with fine fabrics brought her into contact with the people of God, altering the course of biblical history.

From the ornate tent coverings woven under Bezalel’s skill to the valuable purple trade goods that marked Lydia’s business, the Bible features notable artisans who used their gifts with textiles to bless God’s people.

Their beautiful fabrics both reflected and contributed to God’s purposes in their generation. Tailoring continues to be a practical and creative craft honoring to God when done with excellence and integrity.

Taylor and Priestly Garments

Fabrics of the Ephod

The ephod was an essential piece of priestly clothing that was worn by the high priest. It consisted of two pieces, front and back, joined together by shoulder straps and a skillfully woven waist band.

The ephod was made of fine twisted linen, which gave it a luxurious and prestigious appearance fitting for the high priest.

The specific type of linen used was known as “shesh” which refers to the whitest and finest linen available at the time. This high quality fabric was symbolic of the purity and righteousness expected of the high priest before God.

The use of fine linen in priestly garments is first prescribed by God himself in Exodus 28 when he gives instructions for making holy garments.

Purpose of the Priestly Vestments

The priestly garments served important spiritual and symbolic purposes. As the high priest came before God in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple, he represented the people and their relationship with God. Therefore, the clothing had to reflect the dignity and sacredness of this role.

The ephod, robe, breastpiece, and other vestments were made for “glory and beauty” (Exodus 28:2). The colors, materials, and details gave visual testimony to the sanctity of the high priest’s office. The people were reminded of the sublime nature of the priesthood as the high priest carried out his duties clothed in finery and gold.

Furthermore, the vestments had specific symbolic meaning. The ephod’s shoulder pieces were engraved with the names of the 12 tribes, showing how the high priest represented all of Israel before God. The breastpiece contained 12 precious stones engraved with the tribes’ names, indicating he carried them spiritually close to his heart.

Therefore, the priestly garments served both aesthetic and symbolic purposes – to reflect the glory due God’s presence, and illustrate the high priest’s representation of the 12 tribes.


In summary, while Taylor today is considered a popular given name, it has origins as an English occupational surname referring to a tailor or seamster. Given the many references to clothing and textiles in relation to holy spaces and figures in the Bible, the name Taylor has a surprisingly priestly connection.

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