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, it’s used in reference to many different things.  The word is an adjective.  You remember what an adjective is, right?  An adjective, is a word that describes the characteristic of a noun, which is..  a person, a place, or a thing.  And so an adjective, describes some characteristic, of a person , place, or thing.

For instance;  If I 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 were to say, “You sure are a kind person”;  The word “kind”, would be the adjective, describing what type of person you are.

So then, in the bible, the word “hagios” is describing something as being of a certain type.  Let me give you some examples of things that the bible describes as being “hagios”.   A day is described as being “hagios”.  A person is described 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 themselves, have all been described in the bible, as being “hagios”.

Have you guessed yet, what the English word for “hagios” is?   What if I said that that God Himself is described as being”hagios”.  And that the “part” of God, which is most often described as “hagios”, is the Spirit of God.   The “hagios” 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!   God is a “holy” Spirit.  But do you know what the fundamental and core meaning, of the word “hagios” is?  It means..  “to be 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.  God’s Spirt stands alone.  His Spirit is unique, and separate, and exclusive, and reverend!

And when the word “holy” is used to describe something other than God and His Spirit, it means that the thing being described, is different from the world, and that instead of being like the world, it’s like God!


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!   In the old testament, the word “holy” comes form the old Hebrew word “ko’-desh” which means..  “to be separate and apart, and sacred”.  

Mt Sinai was called a “holy mountain”, because GOD descended onto that mountain!  (Exodus 19, verse 18)  And God’s presence made that mountain stand apart, 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’re one of “the holy ones”.  And do you know why you’re holy?  It’s because you’re different, and you’re set apart.   When you became a Christian, 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 God says;   “And do not touch what is unclean, and I will welcome you.”

You know, there’s a lot of people who have been baptized, but they’ve never come out from among the world.  They’ve never separated themselves, and they’ve never really become, “holy”.

So then, ask yourself this question;  Are you honoring your vow to God?  You have vowed to be “holy”!  Have you done it, and are you doing it?  Have you come out from among the world?  Or do you just blend right in with everyone else?   We all need to examine ourselves.


Listen to this instruction given in  1 Peter 1:13..  “Therefore, having girded up the loins of your mind..”   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, it’s figurative;  The loins, and just above the loins, are the “core” of the body.  And I’m sure you’ve heard that 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”.  

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.”   

To  “renew your mind”, is to..  “Gird up the loins of your mind”.   The first step to being saved, is to hear the word of God, right?    But the next couple of steps, take place strictly in your mind.  You’ve got to decide in your mind, to believe what you’ve heard.  You’ve got to “renew” your mind.  You’ve got to “recreate” 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, in order to become a Christian, but then, the even tougher decision, is to make that decision in your mind, that you’re going to LIVE like Christ, every day of your life!    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.”   That’s a tough decision, but we’ve got to make that decision.  

If we want to be “holy”, and if we want to be one of “the holy ones”, then we have to deny ourselves!   And what do we have to deny ourselves of?   Well, we have to deny ourselves of anything and everything, that contradicts Jesus Christ.  Anything that we DO, anything that we WANT, anything that we THINK, if it contradicts Christ, then we have to deny ourselves of it.   Any attitude that we have that is contrary to Christ’s attitude, and even any personality trait, that’s not in agreement 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 thoughts, and maybe even habits, that need to be denied!


Let me continue reading from  1 Peter 1:13 “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 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)

1 Peter 1:14  says;  “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 need to be different!  We need to be “holy”!

“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 life 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’s an appeal, from God to us, to live as if we truly are holy.  We’ll never be as “holy” as He is, 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, (that’s past tense, having put it all aside)  “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. 

“Having put aside all malice..”  Malice refers to our disposition, not to our actions.  It refers to “ill will” towards others.  It causes strife, doesn’t it?   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 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, Jesus said;  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments”.  (John 14:15).

We need to put aside all  “envy”..  Envy is a terrible thing.   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”.   It can be displeasure because of something good that happens to someone, or it can be displeasure at the fact, that another person is considered to be, a  “good person”.

Along that same line, here’s what a word study says about the word “envy”;  “Envy is feeling of displeasure, at another’s “goodness”.  Rather than having the desire to bring one’s self up, to the level of the one who is envied;  Envy is marked by the desire, to bring the one that you envy, down to your level”.   That’s a terrible feeling to have, isn’t it!

But here’s the last thing listed, that we need to have put away, in order to be “holy”;  Put away..  “all slanders”.    Some bibles translate it as  “evil speakings”.   Slander 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 pure, unadulterated “milk”, 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 perseverance, 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, and invites us all, to be one of His “holy ones”.  






This article has 53 Comments

  1. Wow. Just poking around, googling “biblical Greek for the word ‘holy.'” Here I got more than I expected and just the beginning of what I need.

    1. Hi Scott. I’m certainly glad that you poked around here and found something you liked. May I ask you, are you a member of the church of Christ? If not, then are you a member of some other religious group? May God bless you as you study His word.

  2. Hello y’all. I came across this article while doing a morning devotion on the Word of God. I am somewhat of a person who needs help understanding what a word means or how it is used in sentences and this is some great instruction and insight into the word holy. I read the article and as we all should do I followed along with the Bible reading the verses used in the article and I received more clarity of the Word. I look forward to more of this kind of reading and instruction from your site. Thank you and God bless you for putting this article out for us to find and read.

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words of encouragement. I sincerely hope that you will find more articles from our site that will prove beneficial also. Can you tell me please what is your religious affiliation?

  3. Thank you,
    I found this article in my study and research on “Dare To Be Different.” Our Youth Department Theme for this year 2021.”
    Very detailed and informative.

    Bless you

  4. Praise God this article is absolutely perfect. Many people including myself struggle with understanding Holiness, this divinely penned word brings the light of revelation helping us understand what Holiness is. Thank you!

  5. I found this explanation in my search for Saint. Many times the English language cannot really convey in a single word the complete concept of a word. I appreciate your work and the understanding it has given me. Thank you for sharing your work to those of us who have a curious mind and desire to understand Gods word and want to learn how to be more Christlike.

  6. Glad I stumbled upon this page while googling “Hagios”
    1 CORINTHIANS 1:30
    The Greek :Hagios” translated as “Holy” means sacred, pure, and worthy.
    Your description was way beyond what I expected – thank you for your insight and foresight.
    Truly blessed!
    God bless from Sydney Au.

    1. Wow, thank you so much Helen. You made my day with your kind words of encouragement. Isn’t it great, that though we live on opposite sides of the globe, we can connect, and identify, and most especially, honor God, through means like this. May we all truly treasure God’s “Holy” word. Also, I hope that you will browse around this website, and read a few more articles based on the scriptures. God bless always

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. This has been one of our favorite articles. I’m so pleased that you like it. How do you think we can apply being “holy” to our everyday live?

    1. Hello sir, and thanks for visiting our site. Many people have commented on this lesson on the word “Hagios”. May our Lord always bless us with an understanding of His word, so that we can truly apply it to our lives. Our goal is always to please the Lord. Would you tell me a bit about yourself sir? Have you found any other lessons or articles on the site that you like?

  7. how i have been missing the fair meaning of this word “holy” for so long. now the Lord has helped me understand it through you. God bless you richly!!

    1. Thank you so much Derick. I hope that you will browse around the website and maybe find other articles of interest to you. What biblical topics interest you the most?

  8. I decided to study what it actually means to be Holy today, is it a mindset? is it an action and as I looked up the Greek definition of the word Holy it lead me to your website and I must say that reading this not only refreshed and connected with my spirit but it gave clarity and simplicity of actionable steps. God bless you richly.

    1. Hello John. I thank you very much for reading that article, and for your kind words. So much of the scriptures is misunderstood, but I think that it;s just because we don’t really study as we should. Also I really believe that an investigation of the meanings of the original Greek words used in the scriptures is an enormous benefit to us. Tell me sir, what other bible subjects interest you the most? Or what subjects do you have the most questions about?

  9. Hello Jim, wish you a great evening, my attention was first caught by “Church of Christ” and I perceived the manner of teaching and then finally I want to meet you. I was born, brought up and still in Church of Christ but in Africa here, I would like to be your friend.

    1. Hello my friend. What is your name sir? I am sure glad that you found this website. Have you read any of the bible lessons or sermon lessons yet? I pray that you will read some, and offer your comments at the end of each one also. So tell me please, how long has the church been there in Africa where you live at? And please tell me more about yourself and your family and the congregation there.

      1. Hello Jim, my name is Gospel. This true Church of Christ has been here since about 1933. The brethren here, we keep running towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, we are doing great. I would like to chat with you privately, can’t believe I stayed this long before replying.

          1. Yes, the true gospel was revealed in this small geographical area at around 1933, so you are almost right by saying our congregation was established in 1933. So far we have taken the gospel to some countries in Africa and beyond Africa.
            I would like to chat about the history of your congregation and some key doctrines.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?”

  13. 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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