As a pastor who has been in the Christian ministry for over a decade, I enjoy preaching God’s word and singing in Church. One of my favorite hymns is “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God almighty. “Though I often lead the congregation in this song, I discovered that not everyone understands the concept of holiness in the Bible. That is why I decided to share my insights on this. One of the main questions I found myself wondering was, “How many times is holiness mentioned in the Bible?”
The exact number of times holiness is mentioned in the Bible is unknown since there are contradicting views on this. Some theologians suggest that holiness is mentioned 43 times, while others imply that it is mentioned 52 times. One of the things attributed to the difference in the exact number of the term ‘holiness’ is the choice of words used in different Bible versions. For instance, while Hebrews 2:11 mentions holiness in the New International Version of the Bible, the same Bible verse calls it sanctification in the English Standard Version.
In this article, I invite you to join me as we delve into the meaning of holiness in the Bible. Keep reading to find out the types of holiness in the Bible and much more!
Meaning of holiness in the Bible
The Bible suggests that holiness is being set apart from ungodly things. How can Christians achieve this? Theologians suggest for us to achieve holiness, we must be set apart through the salvation that Jesus Christ offered us (Romans 10:9)
Romans 12:1-2 suggests that holiness means living a transformed life and not conforming to the things of this world. Holiness in the Bible is also believed to mean living according to God’s standards and not following the standards of the world. God told the Israelites in Leviticus 11:44 to be holy. He gave them instructions on how to be distinct from other nations and gave them regulations that would govern their lives.
Additionally, holiness in the Bible is also believed to mean absolute perfection. Hosea 11:9 suggests that God is not a man, and he is holy. Holiness in the Bible is also believed to mean one without sin. James 1:13 suggests that since God has no traces of sin, he cannot be tempted by evil.
What does the Bible say about holiness?
The Bible suggests that God’s holiness is the essence of who he is. Christians believe that everything that God does or says is holy in every way. Holiness is therefore speculated to belong to God. This is emphasized in 1st Samuel 6:20, which suggests that God is holy. Another example of a passage that talks about God’s holiness is Isaiah 6:3. This Bible verse implies that God is holy and the entire earth is full of his glory.
The Bible implies that Christians should offer themselves as slaves to righteousness, leading to holiness. (Romans 6:19). This bible verse implies that since Christians are consecrated to the service of God, they are conformed to the will of God.
1st Peter 1:13-25 also shares a similar message since it suggests that the people of faith should live a life of holiness. These Bible verses speculate that as Christians, we should set ourselves apart from the rest of the world and live a life that glorifies God. Christians believe that in the same bible verse, Peter also gave some clues on how Christians can achieve holiness. He suggested that for one to be holy, one must prepare their mind, keep sober in spirit, be obedient to God, and avoid former lusts.
The Bible also implies that since God is holy, he demands that sinners are separated from him. He does not tolerate evil in his presence, as speculated in Isaiah 59:2.
Types of Holiness in the Bible
Ephesians 4:24 suggests that one type of holiness is true holiness. Theologians also imply that true holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is marked by humility and characterized by love for God and others. It is also believed that true holiness comes through trust and faith in God. and does not seek self-glorification.
Christians speculate that a believer is acquainted with stative holiness since we are united with Christ through faith, as suggested in Romans 6:8-10. They argue that this unity enables believers to possess the status of holiness. The Bible suggests that Christians are holy because Christ is Holy (Leviticus 19:2)
Theologians also imply that since, as Christians, we are united with Christ, we are progressively transformed into the image of God’s holiness. This implies that a Christian grows in Christ and becomes more and more like Jesus each day.
Since the Bible talks of true holiness, most theologians suggest that there is also false holiness.
This is believed to be self-indulgent. Though this kind of holiness is harmless and is not persecuted by the world, it is not characterized by love for God and others. On the contrary, it seeks to be loved at the expense of others.
Examples of holiness in the Bible
Holiness is mentioned by Peter in the book of 1st Peter 1:16. In this passage, Peter repeats the words of the Lord while talking to believers to remind them of the importance of being set apart from the rest of the world.
Holiness is also mentioned in the same book in 1st Peter 2:9. In this bible verse, believers are described as a holy nation since God specifically chose them to serve him and act as an example to the rest of the world.
God’s holiness is described in Exodus 15:11. This bible verse suggests that God is glorious in holiness, and there is none like him. The Bible shares the same message as Revelation 4:8. This verse implies that the Lord God Almighty is holy.
Deuteronomy 26:15 implies that God’s dwelling is also holy. Christians believe that God’s dwelling mentioned in this verse is heaven. Psalm 89:5-7 also mentions holiness. Christians speculate that in this verse, God refers to his angels as the holy ones.
Besides God, the Bible also implies that Jesus, his Son, is holy. This is emphasized in Luke 1:35, which talks of the conversation between Mary and the angel Gabriel. The angel told her that she was going to give birth to a son that would be called holy. Hebrews 2:11 suggests that Jesus is the one that makes people holy.
Additionally, God commanded Israelites to be holy since they were his people, as speculated in Leviticus 20:26. Additionally, 1st Thessalonians 4:7 speculates that since Christians belong to God, they should control their bodies in a way that honors God and live in holiness and avoid impurity.
Paul also mentions holiness in 1st Thessalonians 3:13. In this Bible verse, Paul was praying for believers’ hearts to be strengthened and for them to remain holy while waiting for the second of Jesus.
What book of the Bible focuses on holiness?
Though holiness is mentioned throughout the scripture, theologians speculate that the Book of Leviticus focuses on this concept. It talks about the holiness of God. The term qodesh, which means that God is holy, is believed to appear over a hundred times in the Hebrew text of Leviticus. Some of the Bible verses in Leviticus that suggest that God is holy include Leviticus 11:44-45, 21:8, 20:7, and 19:2.
All these Bible verses speculate that the Lord chose the nation of Israel as his people and expected them to be holy, just like him. Moses wrote about holiness in this book as he outlined how the people of God were to approach him. This book suggests that every individual’s actions had an impact on the entire group.
God’s Standard of Holiness
Biblical scholars suggest that God’s standard of holiness is extremely high since it is all about holy perfection. Jesus summarized God’s standard of holiness in a simple commandment recorded in Matthew 22:35-40. This commandment reminds us to love God with all our hearts.
Christians speculate that since God’s standard of holiness is so high, the only way we can live up to it is by accepting Jesus Christ as our savior. They argue that our inability to measure up to God’s standard of holiness was nailed on the cross when Jesus was crucified. Due to his sacrifice, Galatians 4:7 reminds us that we are longer slaves to our sins.
That is why the Bible encourages us to repent our sins and let go of the past life. By doing this, the Holy Spirit is believed to live within believers. Christians speculate that the Holy Spirit can help them live holy lives.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.