What Does The Greek Word “Hagios” Mean ?



A Discussion Of The Word “Hagios”


The Greek word, “hagios”, is used 235 times in the new testament.  The word is used in reference to many different things in the bible.  The word is an adjective.  Do you remember what an adjective is?  An adjective, is a word that describes a characteristic of a noun.  A noun is..  a person, a place, or a thing.  And so an adjective, describes to some characteristic, of that person , place, or thing.

For instance;  If you were to say,  “It’s sure a hot day”, the word Hot, would be the adjective, describing what type of day it is.  And if I say, “You’re sure a kind person”, the word Kind, is the adjective, describing what type of person you are.

So then, the word “hagios” is describing something as being of a certain type.   A day can be “hagios”, and so can a person.  Let me give you some more examples of things that the bible describes as being “hagios”.   More than once, the ground is described as being “hagios”.   Your faith is sometimes called “hagios”.  Women have been described as “hagios”.  Conversation, and conduct is sometimes called “hagios”.  A city, and a place, and a covenant, and a commandment, and the scriptures, have all been called “hagios” in the bible.

Do you know yet what the English word for “hagios” is?   What if I said that that God Himself is described as “hagios”, and the one thing that is referred to as “hagios”, far more times than anything else, is the Spirit of God.

Now do you know what the English word is?  The word is “holy”.   God is holy, and the Spirit of God is holy!   But do you know what the word really means?   The fundamental and core meaning, of the word “hagios”, is..  “different, and unlike the rest”.   So then when the bible says that God is holy, it means that God is different from all else.  And the Holy Spirit of god, is a Spirit that is different from all other spirits.  There is none like it.  It is unique, and it is separate, and it is exclusive.  And when the word is used in reference to God, and to God’s Spirit, it means that they are reverend, and worthy of veneration.

And when the word is used to describe something other than God or His Spirit, it means that the thing being described is different from the world, and that it is “like God” in some way.  When God said to Moses, in Exodus 3, verse 5;  “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground”,  God was saying that this place is different, it’s set apart, and it’s consecrated, because I the Lord, am here!

Mt Sinai was called a “holy mountain”, because GOD descended onto that mountain!  (Exodus 19, verse 18)  And God’s presence made that mountain different, from all the rest.  It was holy!  God told Moses in  Exodus 19:23;  “Set bounds about the mountain, and consecrate it!”

Some of the books, or “letters”, of the new testament, are addressed to “the saints”, in one location or anther.  Do you know where the word “saints” comes from?  It comes from the Greek word “hagiosis”.  It means..  “the holy ones”.   If you’re a Christian, then you are one of “the holy ones”.  And do you know why you’re holy?  It’s because you’re different.  At least you’re supposed to be different.  You made a vow to God that you would be different!  You made a vow to God, that you would  “Come out from among them and be ye separate..”  (2 Corinthians 6:17)   “And do not touch what is unclean, and I will welcome you”,  God says.

You know, a lot of people have been baptized, but they’ve never come out from among the world.  And then of course, others have gone back into the world.  Just like Demas, who once was a fellow worker with Paul, but then he went back into the world.  Paul said in  2 Timothy 4:10;  “For Demas, having loved this world, has deserted me..”  

You remember what John said, in  1 John 2:15;  “..If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”   

So then, are you honoring your vow to God, every day of your life?  Have you, come out from among the world?  Or do you just blend right in with everyone else?   We all need to ask ourselves that question, often.  Listen to the instructions given in  1 Peter 1:13 thru 19;

“Therefore, having girded up the loins of your mind..”  Now I’ve got to stop here for a minute, because that’s a pretty unusual phrase..  “having girded up the loins of your mind”.   What does that mean?  In ancient times, people dressed differently that we dress now.  Men and women alike, used to dress in long tunics, or in long, loose, flowing clothing.  Now, think about trying to do some work dressed like that.  Those clothes would be getting in the way, and slowing you down constantly.  So then what people would do, would be to “tie up” that loose clothing.  Gather it all up, so it’s not hanging all over the place, and “gird it” around the waist and the hips.  So in other words, they would “gird up their loins”.  

But, what are “the loins of your mind”?  Well, the loins, and just above the loins, are the “core” of the body.  A strong “core” benefits the whole body.  And of course, the loins are also the reproductive area of the body.  The loins create physical life.  And so the “loins of your mind” is a figurative expression referring to the strength and the reproductive capacity of your mind.  Just like your spirit needs to be “born again”, your mind needs to be born again, first!  You have to make the decision in you mind, that you are going to be “holy”!   All of us have to decide for ourselves, to  “come out from among them”.

Do you remember what we’re told in  Romans 12, verse 2?   “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed, by the renewing of your MIND, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, and perfect.”   

“The renewing of your mind”.  “Gird up the loins of your mind”.   The first step to being saved is to hear the word of God.  But the next couple of steps take place in your mind.  You’ve got to decide in your mind, to believe God’s word, and you’ve got to make the decision to RENEW your mind.  And included in that renewing of your mind, is your decision to repent of dead works, and to engage in works of obedience, so that you can be justified, just like Abraham was justified by HIS works of obedience.  

We’ve all got to make that decision, and don’t take it lightly, because it’s a big decision, and it’s a tough decision.  We not only have to make the decision to obey what God tells us to do, to become a Christian, but the even tougher decision, is to make up our mind, that we’re going to LIVE like Christ.  And here’s what’s so tough about it.  Jesus said, in  Luke 9:23;  “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  

If we want to be holy, and if we want to be one of “the holy ones”, then we have to deny ourselves!   Well, what do we have to deny ourselves of?   We have to deny ourselves of anything, and everything, that contradicts Jesus Christ.  Anything that we DO, and anything that we WANT, and even anything that we THINK, we have to deny ourselves of.   Any attitude that we have that is contrary to Christ’s attitude, and even any personality trait, that is NOT in accordance with God’s will for us;  We have to DENY ourselves of it.

As long as we are “in the flesh” we will have desires and we will have habits, that need to be denied.


Several minutes ago, I started reading from  1 Peter 1:13 thru 19,  let me continue;  “Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind for action!  Be sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  (that doesn’t mean the “book” of revelation, but it means the gospel of Christ that’s been revealed)  So, fix your hope completely on the gospel.  It’s the power of salvation!  (Romans 1:16)

“As children of obedience, do not be conformed to the former lusts, which were in your ignorance.”  

When we were ignorant of God’s word, we lived and acted, in ways that were contrary to the way God has commanded us to act.  But now, we know how we’re supposed to conduct ourselves.

“Verses 15 & 16  instruct us with these words;  “But, like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also, in ALL your behavior.  Because it is written;  You shall be holy, for I am holy!”  

And now, verses 17 thru 19;  “And if you address as Father, the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourself in fear, during the time of your stay.”  (that means your stay here on earth)

“Knowing, that you were not redeemed with perishable things, like silver or gold, from your futile way of life, inherited from your forefathers;  But with precious blood!  As of a lamb, unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”  

Now, here is an appeal, from God to us, to live as if we truly were holy.  We’ll never be holy as He is holy, but if we do our best, He’ll do the rest.  So, here’s God’s appeal, in  1 Peter chapter 2, beginning with verse 1;  “Therefore, having put aside, (God isn’t saying that you’re going to put it aside later, but He says; HAVING put it aside)  So;  “Having put aside, all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisy, and envy, and all slander.”   Those are characteristics of the world, but a Christian has to be different. 

Let’s define what we’re supposed to have “put aside”.  “Having put aside all malice..”  Malice refers to our disposition, not to our actions.  It refers to “ill will”.  In other words, it refers to the desire to see trouble occur.  According to  Proverbs 6:16 thru 19,  there are seven things, that are an abomination to God.  And the seventh thing that is named is;  “One who spreads strife among the brethren.”  The spreading of strife, is born out of malice in our heart.


And also, in order to be holy, we must have put aside,  “all guile..”  Guile, is deceit, and trickery, and craftiness, and treachery, and shrewdness, and cunning.  Job 5:12 & 13  says;  “He frustrates the plotting of the shrewd, so that their hands cannot attain success.  He captures the wise, by their own shrewdness, and the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted.”  


We’re to put away “all hypocrisy..”  Hypocrisy is very much akin to deceit.  And it’s also akin to lying!  Hypocrisy means..  “to act out something that is not true.”   That’s why Jesus so often, called the Jewish leaders “hypocrites”.   They tried to “act” as if they loved God, but they were hypocrites, because they refused to obey God!  And as you well know, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments”.  (John 14:15).


And having put aside all  “envy”..  Envy is a terrible thing.  But then, so are malice, and guile, and hypocrisy.  Envy is a feeling that we harbor, kind of like malice.  Listen to the definition of “envy”, and see if you don’t think it’s terrible..

Envy can express itself in two ways.  Here’s how it’s described;  “Envy is the miserable trait, of being glad, when someone experiences misfortune or pain.”   That’s pretty bad, isn’t it?  For someone else’s pain, to bring you happiness.

Here’s the other way that envy can be expressed;  “Envy conveys displeasure, at another’s good”.   Now that displeasure can be because of something good that happens to someone, or it can even be displeasure at the fact that another person is considered to be a  “good person”.

Here’s what a word study says about the word envy;  “Displeasure at another’s “goodness”..  without the desire to bring one’s self up, to the level of the one who is envied, but rather, having the desire to bring down to your level, the one who you envy”.   Terrible!

But here’s the last thing listed, that we need to have put away, if we have any desire to be “holy”;  Put away..  “all slanders”.   You know what slander is.  Some bibles translate it as  “evil speakings”.   It indeed means to speak evil of another person.  Some synonyms for “slander” are..  “evil speech, backbiting, defamation, and railing”.   


We don’t want to have any part of any of those things.  All of them, are “of this world”.  None of them have any place in the life of a Christian.  Let me continue reading from  1 Peter chapter 2.  Having put away all of these things that verse 1 spoke of;  Verses 2 & 3  say;  “Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it, you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the lord.”   

Now Peter isn’t saying that we ARE newborn babes, but he’s saying that we should be LIKE newborn babes, in our desire for  “the pure milk of the word”.  It doesn’t matter what stage of Christian life we’re in, you and I must desire the unadulterated “milk”, or “food”, of God’s word.  

When a baby is born, they have an instinctive desire for the milk that sustains them.  And a Christian should be like that, all their lives.  You won’t remain “holy” for very long, if you lose your desire for the pure word of God.

It’s the word that creates the faith,  (Rom 10:17)   Faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God  (Mat 16:16)

It’s the word that motivates us to repent, as we’re commanded to do.  (Acts 17:30)

It’s the word that gives us the confidence, to confess our faith in Jesus.  (Acts 8:37)

And it’s the word that convinces us, that if we’re united with Jesus in the likeness of His death, through baptism, that we’ll also be in the likeness of His resurrection.  (Romans 6:5)

And it is the word of God, that instills in us, the endurance to remain faithful, and to overcome the world, so that we may be granted  “to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God”.  (Rev 2:7)


God encourages us all, to be one of His “holy ones”.  





This article has 20 Comments

  1. A thought of holy came to my mind. And decided to Google what it means if it matches what I have.. them I was directed to this site. You have given deep understanding and knowledge of holiness. I’m blessed with your words and God bless you sir.

  2. Hello Jim
    The Lord blessed you and to Him all glory is given. This morning I desire to understand three words: Holy
    As I searched the web I believe the Holy Spirit led me to this sight. I received such anointing feasting on your message holy holy holy. Can
    You do the same for the other words?

    1. Thank you very much Paulette. I truly appreciate your kind words. And I surely will use the bible to define those other two words for you also. I’m thrilled to hear that you have the kind of zeal for God’s word so as to search out these meanings. You will be blessed with a greater understanding of the bible as a result of your desire to know the truth. I will be contacting you soon with the information on the other words. Thank you again. May God bless you.

  3. Thanks bro Jim for this wisdom , you have asked me what is my favorite subject in the bible, alot people think God has a duo character what do you think about that? And what is the character of God?

    1. Hi again Godfrey. I’ve never heard of the term “duo character” used in reference to God. When you ask what is the character of God, do you mean what is the nature of God? If that is what you mean, then I have a good lesson here on the website for you to read. Here’s the link to the lessons titled “The Nature of God”. https://cocbuffalowy.com/2017/01/what-is-the-nature-of-god/

      Please take a look at the lesson and tell me what you think of it. See if that answers your question.. “And what is the character of God?”

  4. Wow!! I wanted a quick meaning of the word HOLY and got so much more! Thank you Jim, this is such a powerfull preaching, I wish every Christian could hear the Word like this and make it their own. Blessed are you!

    1. WOW back again to you Tereace. Not many people appreciate the Word of God like you do! I truly do appreciate your very kind words, and I hope that you might be inclined to take a look at some more of the articles on our site. I really do enjoy the bible with all it’s wonderful teachings. I just wish that everyone could learn it also. So please tell me, what are your favorite bible subjects? Or maybe your favorite verses?

    1. Hi David, thanks for visiting. Are you a member of Christ’s church? I’d like to talk to you some more if I could. Please tell me a bit about yourself sir.

    1. Well thank you Tony. It’s so interesting to study the actual meanings of bible words. It really make the word of God come alive that much more. Tell me Tony, are you a member of a specific religious group?

      1. Wow I got more than I expected Gob bless u man of God. We need more knowledgeable people like u in kingdom of your God

        1. Hello Godfrey. I thank you for your kind words, and I pray that God will bless you also for your passion for His word. What’s needed all over the world, is more of that passion for the word of God, wouldn’t you agree? But it certainly is heartwarming and an encouraging when people like you show their love for the word of truth. Please feel free to browse around the website further, and let me know what you think of some of the other articles and lessons. What are your favorite passages from the bible, or your favorite bible subjects?

          1. Thank very much Dr Tony man of God my faith is growing through your teaching and you make easier for to understand the work of God as young growing Pastor. I still need more of your teachings

          2. Hello Bandile. I hope that you will look at other articles and sermons on this website, and learn more of God’s word. Tell me please, where are you living at? And also what bible subjects do you have any questions about?

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