This posting is a response to a blog entitled “7 Things You Won’t Find in the Bible… I Dare You to Look.” I am taking that challenge! The second listed phrase was “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” I would agree that the phrase is not found in our English Bible—but what about the principle behind the phrase?
Words by themselves are meaningless—it is only when we attach meaning to the words that communication occurs. The principle behind this phrase can be found in the Bible, but the phrase can be heresy when different meanings are behind the words and the phrase.
“Cleanliness is next to godliness” ~ The author of that piece provides the following verses. His citations actually support the principle!
(1) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). (2) “You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). (3) “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). (4) “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). (5) “So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:26-27).
Is “cleanliness next to Godliness”? Based upon the whole Scripture it is clear that God wants His children to be clean—particularly morally and spiritually.
“Words by themselves are meaningless—it is only when we attach meaning to the words that communication occurs.”
In an effort to answer your question with the above in mind, ““Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” I would agree that the phrase is not found in our English Bible—but what about the principle behind the phrase?”
They may support the principle, but it would be difficult to support the oft’ used citation as an isolated point of confidence.
The principle has been ransacked, a once wise quote turn into a relic left defenseless in the hands of the aimless.
It has an astounding base of recommendations through my years, I will grant the author that, but it is errant as being a quick-quip remedy for the soul. In my estimation, what we have here in its common use is a chief sampling of what man will do to stave off his response to God, his very own law of following God.
In effect, if we let our guard down on this sort, then two now are brought to bear this presence in our culture, the hearer and handler of the word. Because 4 out of the 5 are conditional, and that one is debatable. Without any knowledge of the condition is as good as a half-truth, and worthless interpretation unless it is to be used immediately preceding an explanation.
The skill involved with riding the crest of self-righteousness is nothing more than flinched havoc.