Holiness, Holy, Holily - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Holiness, Holy, Holily

[ A-1,Noun,G38, hagiasmos ]
translated holiness" in the AV of Romans 6:19, Romans 6:22; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 12:14, is always rendered "sanctification" in the RV. It signifies
(a) separation to God, 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2;
(b) the resultant state, the conduct befitting those so separated, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 1 Thessalonians 4:7, and the four other places mentioned above. "Sanctification" is thus the state predetermined by God for believers, into which in grace He calls them, and in which they begin their Christian course and so pursue it. Hence they are called "saints" (hagioi). See SANTIFICATION.

Note: The corresponding verb hagiazo denotes "to set apart to God." See HALLOW, SANCTIFY.

[ A-2,Noun,G42, hagiosune ]
denotes the manifestation of the quality of "holiness" in personal conduct;
(a) it is used in Romans 1:4, of the absolute "holiness" of Christ in the days of His flesh, which distinguished Him from all merely human beings; this (which is indicated in the phrase "the spirit of holiness") and (in vindication of it) His resurrection from the dead, marked Him out as (He was "declared to be") the Son of God;
(b) believers are to be "perfecting holiness in the fear of God," 2 Corinthians 7:1, i.e., bringing "holiness" to its predestined end, whereby
(c) they may be found "unblameable in holiness" in the Parousia of Christ, 1 Thessalonians 3:13.

"In each place character is in view, perfect in the case of the Lord Jesus, growing toward perfection in the case of the Christian. Here the exercise of love is declared to be the means God uses to develop likeness to Christ in His children. The sentence may be paraphrased thus:-- 'The Lord enable you more and more to spend your lives in the interests of others, in order that He may so establish you in Christian character now, that you may be vindicated from every charge that might possibly be brought against you at the Judgement-seat of Christ;' cp. 1 John 4:16-17." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 108, 115.]

[ A-3,Noun,G41, hagiotes ]
"sanctity," the abstract quality of "holiness," is used
(a) of God, Hebrews 12:10;
(b) of the manifestation of it in the conduct of the Apostle Paul and his fellow-laborers, 2 Corinthians 1:12 (in the best mss., for haplotes).

[ A-4,Noun,G3742, hosits ]
is to be distinguished from No. 3, as denoting that quality of "holiness" which is manifested in those who have regard equally to grace and truth; it involves a right relation to God; it is used in Luke 1:75; Ephesians 4:24, and in each place is associated with righteousness.


(1) In Acts 3:12, the AV translates eusebeia, by "holiness," RV, "godliness," as everywhere, the true meaning of the word. See GODLINESS.

(2) In Titus 2:3, AV, hieroprepes, which denotes "suited to a sacred character, reverent," is rendered "as becometh holiness," RV, "reverent." See REVERENT.

[ B-1,Adjective,G40, hagios ]
akin to A, Nos. 1 and 2, which are from the same root as hagnos (found in hazo, "to venerate"), fundamentally signifies "separated" (among the Greeks, dedicated to the gods), and hence, in Scripture in its moral and spiritual significance, separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacred.

(a) It is predicted of God (as the absolutely "Holy" One, in His purity, majesty and glory): of the Father, e.g., Luke 1:49; John 17:11; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 6:10; of the Son, e.g., Luke 1:35; Acts 3:14; Acts 4:27, Acts 4:30; 1 John 2:20; of the Spirit, e.g., Matthew 1:18 and frequently in all the Gospels, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Cor., Eph., 1 Thess.; also in 2 Timothy 1:14; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:12; 2 Peter 1:21; Jude 1:20.

(b) It is used of men and things (See below) in so far as they are devoted to God. Indeed the quality, as attributed to God, is often presented in a way which involves Divine demands upon the conduct of believers. These are called hagioi, "saints," i.e., "sanctified" or "holy" ones.

This sainthood is not an attainment, it is a state into which God in grace calls men; yet believers are called to sanctify themselves (consistently with their calling, 2 Timothy 1:9), cleansing themselves from all defilement, forsaking sin, living a "holy" manner of life, 1 Peter 1:15; 2 Peter 3:11, and experiencing fellowship with God in His holiness. The saints are thus figuratively spoken of as "a holy temple," 1 Corinthians 3:17 (a local church); Ephesians 2:21 (the whole Church), cp. Ephesians 5:27; "a holy priesthood," 1 Peter 2:5; "a holy nation," 1 Peter 2:9.

"It is evident that hagios and its kindred words ... express something more and higher than hieros, sacred, outwardly associated with God; ... something more than semnos, worthy, honorable; something more than hagnos, pure, free from defilement. hagios is ... more comprehensive ... It is characteristically godlikness" (G.B. Stevens, in Hastings' Bib. Dic.).

The adjective is also used of the outer part of the tabernacle, Hebrews 9:2 (RV, "the holy place"); of the inner sanctuary, Hebrews 9:3, RV, "the Holy of Holies;" Hebrews 9:24, "a holy place," RV; Hebrews 9:25 (plural), of the presence of God in heaven, where there are not two compartments as in the Tabernacle, all being "the holy place;" Hebrews 9:8, Hebrews 9:12 (neuter plural); Hebrews 10:19, "the holy place," RV (AV, "the holiest," neut. plural), See SANCTUARY; of the city of Jerusalem, Revelation 11:2; its temple, Acts 6:13; of the faith, Jude 1:20; of the greetings of saints, 1 Corinthians 16:20; of angels, e.g., Mark 8:38; of apostles and prophets, Ephesians 3:5; of the future heavenly Jerusalem, Revelation 21:2, Revelation 21:10; Revelation 22:19.

[ B-2,Adjective,G3741, hosios ]
akin to A, No. 4, signifies "religiously right, holy," as opposed to what is unrighteous or polluted. It is commonly associated with righteousness (See A, No.4). It is used "of God, Revelation 15:4; Revelation 16:5; and of the body of the Lord Jesus, Acts 2:27; Acts 13:35, citations from Psalms 16:10, Sept.; Hebrews 7:26; and of certain promises made to David, which could be fulfilled only in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, Acts 13:34. In 1 Timothy 2:8; Titus 1:8, it is used of the character of Christians ... In the Sept., hosios frequently represents the Hebrew word chasid, which varies in meaning between 'holy' and 'gracious,' or 'merciful;' cp. Psalms 16:10 with Psalms 145:17." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 64.]


(1) For Acts 13:34, See the RV and the AV marg.; the RV in Revelation 16:5, "Thou Holy One," translates the most authentic mss. (AV "and shalt be").

(2) For hieros (See No. 1), subserving a sacred purpose, translated "holy" in 2 Timothy 3:15, AV (of the Scriptures), See SACRED.

[ C-1,Adverb,G3743, hosios ]
akin to A, No. 4, and B, No. 2, "holily," i.e., pure from evil conduct, and observant of God's will, is used in 1 Thessalonians 2:10, of the conduct of the Apostle and his fellow-missionaries.

[ D-1,Verb,G37, hagiazo ]
"to hallow, sanctify," in the Passive Voice, "to be made holy, be sanctified," is translated "let him be made holy" in Revelation 22:11, the aorist or point tense expressing the definiteness and completeness of the Divine act; elsewhere it is rendered by the verb "to sanctify." See HALLOW, SANCTIFY.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words