John 1:32 reads:

And John gave this witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove and resting on him".

Why did John the Baptist compare the holy spirit with a dove?

Why is the dove considered a special bird? Is this related to its use in the peace logo?

  • 2
    His first draft said "like a wild turkey", but his publisher wanted something that seemed a bit more graceful, so he changed it to "dove."
    – Flimzy
    Nov 11, 2013 at 12:31
  • i think its a nice counter but no laughter Nov 11, 2013 at 12:43
  • It wasn't really intended to incite laughter, but to draw attention to the true reason why the dove was likely used; because it's graceful.
    – Flimzy
    Nov 11, 2013 at 12:46
  • sorry for the comment above and thanks for your nice comment below but iam eager to whats the exact reason behind the dove comparison. Nov 11, 2013 at 13:05

2 Answers 2


Although I cannot give you a definitive answer to your question, I will tell you what I have come to believe from my study of the Bible.

It may have been God himself who decided to use the image of a dove in this case.

At that time the heart of worship was the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Bible written by Moses. these were supported by the prophets.

All Israelite children were educated on these books, since the Law was the guide for all facets of life.

They would be very familiar with the story of Noah and the flood, and when Noah sent out Raven to see if the waters had begun to dry up the Raven did not return, so Noah then sent out a Dove which returned with an olive branch.

Gen 8:7 through 11

7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.

8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;

9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.

10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;

11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

And just as the Dove announced that the world was beginning to become available as a habitant. So the Dove in:

Matthew 3:16 KJV

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Mark 1:10 KJV

And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:

Luke 3:22 KJV

And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

John 1:32 KJV

And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

Announced that Heaven was beginning to become to become available as an eternal habitant for man.

Of course that is only my belief and you may or may not accept that.

"you can vote however you want"


In ancient society, the dove represented a new beginning, as explained by Rex Wyler in The Jesus Sayings, page 73. According to the gospels, Jesus was that new beginning.

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