Posted on Apr 30, 2021 by Mike LeDuke
Have you ever looked at the cover of your Bible and wondered why it’s called the Holy Bible? Or have you ever heard someone refer to the Bible as the Holy Bible and wondered why it isn’t just called the Bible? Does holy mean that it has some kind of special power? Does it mean that it should be treated differently than something that isn’t holy? What does holy actually mean?
In this next series of posts, we will attempt to understand what Scripture means when it refers to holiness. As with all of the characteristics that we have considered, this attribute is something essential, and that essentiality is what we will establish in this post. The importance of holiness flows all throughout Scripture. When David brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, he composed a psalm to celebrate. Consider how he refers to holiness there:
1 Chronicles 16:29 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
The Hebrew word translated here as “splendor” is also associated with the idea of beauty and glory. Holiness is something that God values — something that is beautiful! Similarly, in prophecies about the time of Jesus’s return to each, the prophets describe a time when Jerusalem is filled with holiness:
Joel 3:17 So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it.
Obadiah 17 But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.
When Jesus returns, one of the things that he will do is bring holiness. Thus, holiness is not simply a concept to wonder about — it’s something crucial. It’s not just a word that we use when describing our Bibles. It’s something that God loves. Even more, it’s something that God requires. When writing to the Hebrews, the apostle explained that if someone wanted to have an eternal relationship with God, they had to possess holiness:
Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
According to this verse, holiness is for more than just Bibles — it’s something that we have to have as well. Further, the verse doesn’t just refer to holiness in general, but to a specific kind of holiness — the holiness.
Clearly, holiness matters. But what does it mean? And what is that specific kind of holiness that God wants, the holiness? Lord willing, these are the questions that we will consider in our next few posts.
— Jason Hensley