What Is Impurity In The Bible

Understanding Impurity in the Bible

Impurity is a concept found in several cultures and religions, and the Bible is no exception. The Bible discusses impurity, or uncleanliness, in many parts and passages. In this article, we will explore the concept of impurity in the Bible, and its implications for modern believers.
The main concept of impurity in the Bible is found in the holiness code, which consists of 613 commands given to the ancient Hebrews. These commands include the laws of cleanliness, the regulations of the tabernacle and temple, and the rituals of sacrifice and purification. The holiness code encompasses a wide range of behaviors, including cleanliness. It is this aspect that we will focus on, as it dictates the specific behavior associated with impurity, as well as its implications.

Impurity as a Form of Unholiness

In the Bible, impurity is associated with unholiness and sin, and is used as a metaphor for spiritual uncleanliness. The Bible often uses the term “unclean” to refer to anything that is impure in a spiritual, moral or ritual sense. Anything deemed impure or unclean was to be avoided and kept at a distance from God and from the sacred temple.
Impurity is most commonly associated with physical uncleanliness. Examples include touching or eating unclean animals, contact with unclean corpses, consuming unclean food or drink, and engaging in sexual practices or behavior deemed inappropriate or immoral according to the Bible. In the Bible, physical cleanliness is seen as necessary for spiritual cleanliness, and is emphasized repeatedly.
In addition, the Bible connects the moral and ritual aspects of impurity. The Bible states that those who commit sins against God are considered unclean. The laws of cleanliness in the holiness code dictate behaviors and practices, such as avoidance of certain foods, that are considered necessary to preserve spiritual cleanliness.

Purification and Atonement

The Bible also outlines a system of purification and atonement for those who have broken the laws of cleanliness and become impure. It prescribes various rituals for purification – including bathing and offering sacrifices – as a way to seek forgiveness and make restitution for sins committed.
The concept of atonement is also discussed in the Bible. The belief is that God alone can forgive sins and grant atonement, and that the only way to receive atonement is through repentance and sacrificial offerings. The sacrificial offerings are seen as a way to atone for sins, to seek forgiveness and a “clean slate.”

Impurity in Today’s World

Today, many believe that the laws of impurity found in the Bible are no longer relevant to modern believers and cannot be applied to modern life. Others continue to adhere to some of the laws regarding impurity, depending on the interpretation of the Bible’s teachings.
In regards to physical cleanliness, the Bible’s teachings on avoiding certain foods and behaviors still can be applied. It encourages the avoidance of anything viewed as unclean or improper, such as consuming unhealthy food and drink or engaging in sexual impropriety.
Finally, it is important to understand that the concept of impurity in the Bible is based on a system of morality and spiritual cleanliness. While the laws and rituals of cleanliness might not be applicable today, the idea of avoiding sin and seeking atonement still have relevance.

Impurity as Viewed by Other Religions

Many other religions and cultures have similar conceptions of impurity. In Hinduism, for example, purity is associated with ritual cleanliness and the avoidance of certain foods and practices. Buddhism, meanwhile, views impurity as a form of spiritual distraction, something that must be avoided in order to attain inner peace.
In Islamic ideology, impurity is associated with violating the shari’a, which are the divine laws set down by Allah in the Qur’an. These laws include prohibitions on activities such as gambling, drinking alcohol, premarital relations and other behaviors deemed objectionable.


The concept of impurity in the Bible provides important insight into the moral beliefs of ancient Hebrews and other religious cultures. It provides an understanding of how the ancients viewed purity and impurity and how theses ideas are still applicable today. Impurity still exists in many cultures and religions, with the concept being an important moral guide for those who adhere to it.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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