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Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology


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(Heb. niqqayon [ Hosea 8:1 ), rebellion against God's law (v. 1), and idolatry (vv. 4-6,11). Purity consists of "clean hands" (Genesis 20:5 ), innocence (Psalm 26:6 ; 73:13 ), and an "empty stomach" (Amos 4:6 ).

Purity is related to guiltless, blameless, or innocent behavior. In Exodus 23:7 , an innocent person is portrayed as someone who is righteous as measured by the demands of the law. Purity is not a cultic term; in fact, it does not appear in the rules for holiness detailed in Leviticus. Yet the idea of purity does surface in a number of instances. Before they can engage in any cultic or ceremonial activity, God's people must be consecrated or had to sanctify themselves (Exodus 19:10,14 ; Joshua 7:13 ; 1 Samuel 16:5 ; Job 1:5 ).

The New Testament . In the New Testament, there is little emphasis on ritual purity. Rather, the focus is on moral purity or purification: chastity (2 Corinthians 11:2 ; Titus 2:5 ); innocence in one's attitude toward members of the church (2 Corinthians 7:11 ); and moral purity or uprightness (Philippians 4:8 ; 1 Timothy 5:22 ; 1 Peter 3:2 ; 1 John 1:3 ). Purity is associated with understanding, patience and kindness (2 Corinthians 6:6 ); speech, life, love, and faith (1 Timothy 4:12 ); and reverence (1 Peter 3:2 ).

Paul as God's servant commended himself through his sufferings and his moral and spiritual qualities. His ministry was enhanced and accredited because of the kind of person he had shown himself to be. Paul encouraged Timothy to set an example in his lifestyle and his purity (1 Timothy 4:12 ), as well as in his relationships with other believers (5:2).

Walter M. Dunnett

Bibliography . H. Baltensweiler, NIDNTT, 3:100-102; H. Balz, EDNT, 1:22-23; F. Hauck, TDNT, 1:122; F. Danker, II Corinthians .

Copyright Statement
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49516-6287.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
For usage information, please read the Baker Book House Copyright Statement.

Bibliography Information
Elwell, Walter A. Entry for 'Purity'. Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. 1996.

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