Holiness — the Roots


What is holiness? When we look at the Hebrew, we see that the Creator is set apart. He is separate from us in every way. Yet, we are called to be holy, also, for He is holy. How can this be?

When we understand that, all throughout scripture, our relationship with the Creator is compared to the relationship a wife has with her husband, it is a lot easier to understand. When we get married, we want our spouses to be “holy” — as in “set apart” for only us! Our Creator is the same. As our spiritual “husband”, He wants us to be set apart for Him as His spiritual “bride”. This is not a sexual thing…it is spiritual (although sexuality does have a spiritual component, but that is for another discussion).

Giving ourselves sexually to our spouse requires a whole surrender. Only when two people completely surrender to one another can there be a wondrous and beautiful fulfillment in the sexual relationship for both. Our Creator surrenders His heart to us, risking our rejection, just as spouses do to one another both physically and emotionally. For us to find complete spiritual fulfillment in our relationship with the Creator, we need to also surrender fully to Him.

Just as we do not want our spouses to go out with another and, especially, not to have sex with another, our heavenly “spouse” — our Creator — does not want us to give our hearts and spirituality to another. He wants us exclusively for Him as we want our spouses to be exclusively for us. That is why He is called “jealous”! It is not some petty jealousy like we sometimes see in humans. No! It is the very real jealousy that we, too, would have when the one to whom we have given completely of ourselves gives to another. We want our spousal relationship to be exclusive. Well…so does He!

Below are the Hebrew and Greek word roots translated as “holy”, “holiness” and other endearing terms. When I look at those words I see that being “holy” makes me special. It is not some dry, stern, stiff kind of being. Rather, it is a place of being uniquely His, cherished by Him. There are SO many scriptures that speak of the same thing. He LOVES us! Yet, we so often interpret that love as Him being a spoil sport.

We want to be set apart as our own gods. We want to rule our own lives. Yet, He has given us His words (and His own self as Yeshua) as an expression of His love for us. It is like a far off spouse writing us letters telling us what we need to know to take care of things in His absence until His return. He is telling us all these things for our GOOD, so that it will go WELL with us! I have found that, the more I trust Him and follow in His ways (rather than my own thinking), the better life gets. Not that I have more…I don’t. But I do have the most important thing of all — His Shalom. Even when things are difficult, even with the life challenges I face, I see His hand and His love and I know I am cherished. I have Shalom.

The following “definitions” are not complete. They really only give roots and not the nuances of the different forms of the words, but they are a very good beginning. I hope that, by looking through them, you will see the connections between the roots and begin to have a better and fuller picture of what holiness is. I hope that you, too, will see the deep love and tenderness that is there.

I encourage you to hold very loosely whatever you have been told and look at it anew. If you should discover that what you have been told does not line up with His word, I hope you will toss out the old untruths and replace it with Truth. When you know the Truth (the Creator’s Truth)…you WILL be set FREE!

The Hebrew:


BDB Definition:
1) apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness
1a) apartness, sacredness, holiness
1a1) of God
1a2) of places
1a3) of things
1b) set-apartness, separateness
Part of Speech: noun masculine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H6942
Same Word by TWOT Number: 1990a

BDB Definition:
1) to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to be set apart, be consecrated
1a2) to be hallowed
1a3) consecrated, tabooed
1b) (Niphal)
1b1) to show oneself sacred or majestic
1b2) to be honoured, be treated as sacred
1b3) to be holy
1c) (Piel)
1c1) to set apart as sacred, consecrate, dedicate
1c2) to observe as holy, keep sacred
1c3) to honour as sacred, hallow
1c4) to consecrate
1d) (Pual)
1d1) to be consecrated
1d2) consecrated, dedicated
1e) (Hiphil)
1e1) to set apart, devote, consecrate
1e2) to regard or treat as sacred or hallow
1e3) to consecrate
1f) (Hithpael)
1f1) to keep oneself apart or separate
1f2) to cause Himself to be hallowed (of God)
1f3) to be observed as holy
1f4) to consecrate oneself
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
Same Word by TWOT Number: 1990

קדשׁ / קדושׁ
BDB Definition:
1) sacred, holy, Holy One, saint, set apart
Part of Speech: adjective
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H6942
Same Word by TWOT Number: 1990b

The Greek:

Thayer Definition:
1) to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow
2) to separate from profane things and dedicate to God
2a) consecrate things to God
2b) dedicate people to God
3) to purify
3a) to cleanse externally
3b) to purify by expiation: free from the guilt of sin
3c) to purify internally by renewing of the soul
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G40
Citing in TDNT: 1:111, 14

Thayer Definition:
1) most holy thing, a saint
Part of Speech: adjective
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from hagos (an awful thing) [compare G53, G2282] ( Citing in TDNT: 1:88, 14

Thayer Definition:
1) exciting reverence, venerable, sacred
2) pure
2a) pure from carnality, chaste, modest
2b) pure from every fault, immaculate
2c) clean
Part of Speech: adjective
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from the same as G40 ( Citing in TDNT: 1:122, 19

Thayer Definition:
1) to warm, keep warm
2) to cherish with tender love, to foster with tender care
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: probably akin to thallo (to warm)

Here is another picture of the beauty that our Creator has gifted to us in His love:


About Abigail

I am a woman who loves life and loves to see others love life, too. I love and serve the Creator, the God of the Bible...the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Because of what the Creator has done in my life, I am here to help others now. I hope we can journey together!
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One Response to Holiness — the Roots

  1. Pingback: Holiness — the Scriptures | Reflections from Beit-Shalom

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