The saying “cleanliness is next to godliness” is a common phrase that is often attributed to the Bible, but it is not a direct quote from any specific verse. The saying is often understood to mean that being clean and keeping oneself, one’s surroundings, and one’s possessions clean is an important aspect of living a good and moral life.
It suggests that cleanliness is indicative of a person’s inner moral or spiritual state and that it is an important step towards achieving a closer relationship with God or a higher power. Additionally, it can also imply that physical cleanliness is a reflection of one’s inner purity, and it is an important aspect of self-discipline and self-control.
In the Bible, there are several verses that support the idea of cleanliness being closely tied to godliness. The book of Leviticus contains many laws regarding cleanliness and ritual purity. For example, Leviticus 11-15 lists various animals that are considered unclean and should not be eaten, and Leviticus 13-14 lays out guidelines for how to identify and treat various skin diseases. In the same book, God commands the Israelites to keep themselves and their garments clean in order to be holy, as God is holy.
Another example is found in the book of Isaiah, where the prophet speaks of God’s people being cleansed and made pure through repentance and faith in God. This passage illustrates the idea that cleanliness is not just physical, but also spiritual and moral.
Additionally, in the New Testament, Jesus taught about the importance of inner cleanliness in the Sermon on the Mount, where he says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). This verse emphasizes the idea that true cleanliness is not just external, but also internal, and it is closely tied to one’s relationship with God.
Furthermore, it is written in the book of James: “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (James 1:21). This passage highlights the importance of getting rid of all moral filth, and accepting the word of God, which can save you.
The letter of James, further expands the importance of cleanliness in relation to godliness. In James 4:8, it states: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” This passage makes a connection between physical cleanliness and spiritual purity, suggesting that being physically clean is necessary for drawing near to God.
In conclusion, though Bible does not contain the phrase “cleanliness is next to godliness,” the concept of cleanliness being closely tied to godliness is present throughout the text. It is not just about physical cleanliness, but also about spiritual, moral and inner purity. The Bible teaches that God desires for his people to be clean and holy, both inside and out, and that our relationship with God is closely tied to our willingness to be disciplined, diligent, and pure.