Admittedly, this is going to be focused on my Pentecostal background and how Holiness in Hebrews 12:14 was twisted to equal a dress standard. Holiness is a word and concept found many times in Scripture, which signifies how important it is to God. Yet, so many have taken a word, plopped it into their own mold, and created a doctrine out of it.

So what is Holiness? We know God is Holy, and he wants us to be Holy – what does Holiness mean? Let’s explore the topic and see if we can find just a few of the answers together.

Tracing the origins of what we know today as Pentecost or Pentecostalism is a rough road, it’s proponents denounce the reality that it is a religion less than 80 years old. Reading histories of the movement reveals the truth to it, but they [proponents] will say that it is [The Holiness, and Pentecostal Movement] a continuance of the original church from Acts 2, that it was hidden from man except in remote parts of the world after 300ish AD, and then re-revealed in the early 1900’s, to a guy, alone, in a back room… Starting to sound familiar, right?

What we do know, is that the Holiness movement began in the early 1900’s and was following the John Wesleyan Second Works of Grace model, in which faith was the first step to salvation, and that continued works were required to finalize your salvation and to stay saved, called, Holiness.

These second works were focused on dress standards, and obstinance from modern vices such as smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, gambling, etc.

Applying Eisegesis to Holiness

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Hebrews 12:14, KJV

Continually pursue peace with everyone, and the sanctification without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14, AMP

This is a hallmark Scripture in the Pentecostal movement because their definition of Holiness is set up on a platform and worshipped as if it was a god. This verse is shouted over and over again, sending people into frenzied worship and praise, and when a Pentecostal utters the word Holiness, it does not mean what you might think it means.

In the King James Bible (still my preferred translation but I compare to many others) the word Holiness is found 43 times, 30 in the Old Testament and 13 in the New Testament. Surprisingly, to a Pentecostal anyways, is that only one time does it actually reference or denote physical beauty and even here, it doesn’t apply to a dress standard as they wished it would.

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. – Psalms 29:2

Understanding the meaning of the words beauty, holiness and the context of this verse is important.

First, the word beauty is the Hebrew had-aw-raw’ (Concordance Reference Hebrew 1927) which means decoration, or honor and is from the root word haw-dawr’ which means magnificence, ornaments, splendor.

Secondly, the word holiness is the Hebrew ko’-desh (Concordance Reference Hebrew 6944) which means a sacred place or thing, sanctityconsecrated, hallow, saint, or sanctuary.

Adam Clarke’s commentary helps to fill in our understanding of this Scripture;

In the beauty of holiness – בהדרת קדש behadrath kodesh, “the beautiful garments of holiness.” Let the priests and Levites put on their best and cleanest apparel; and let the whole service be conducted in such a way as to be no dishonor to the Divine Majesty.

According to F.B. Meyer’s commentary, this is addressed to the angelic host;

The prelude, Psa_29:1-2, is addressed to the angelic hosts, who stand above the tumult of earth and sky. Heaven is viewed as a temple in which the angels are the priests.

Some time ago, a man was telling me that he was teaching a new convert Bible study on Holiness, which is the Pentecostal dress standard, and he said something that just struck me dumb;

“I could only find one place in the Bible where it defined any kind of dress standard, such as sleeve length, or skirt length, and that was only for men, for priests when they entered the temple…”

Eisegesis is a hermeneutical study/interpretation term which means that the reader attempts to impose his/her idea into the Scripture, rather than exegetically drawing the meaning out from the Scripture. This is what the Pentecostals are doing with Holiness, forcing what they want it to mean on top of the word itself.

So what does the Bible say about Holiness?

In all 30 occurrences in the Old Testament, under the King James Bible, the same word ko’-desh is used, which is the Strongs Hebrew Concordance reference #6944.

From H6942; a sacred place or thing; rarely abstractly sanctity: – consecrated (thing), dedicated (thing), hallowed (thing), holiness, (X most) holy (X day, portion, thing), saint, sanctuary.

The reference  #6942 means;

A primitive root; to be (causatively make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally): – appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy (-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify (-ied one, self), X wholly.

In the New Testament, there are 13 occurrences of Holiness but uses five different words to express a different aspect of the meaning of holiness.

hag-ee-as-mos’ (Greek Reference #38)
From G37; properly purification, that is, (the state) purity; concretely (by Hebraism) a purifier: – holiness, sanctification.

hag-ee-ot’-ace (Greek Reference #41)
From G40; sanctity (that is, properly the state): – holiness.

hag-ee-o-soo’-nay (Greek Reference #42)
From G40; sacredness (that is, properly the quality): – holiness.

yoo-seb’-i-ah (Greek Reference # 2150)
From G2152; piety; specifically the gospel scheme: – godliness, holiness.

hos-ee-ot’-ace (Greek Reference #3742)
From G3741; piety: – holiness.

A good example of how the similar term is used in other places in from Jesus, in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

The word Hallowed is from the Greek reference 37, which is the root to Holiness, and it means;

From G40; to make holy, that is, (ceremonially) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate: – hallow, be holy, sanctify.

Jesus said that God’s name was Hallowed, or sanctified, or Holy. God is holiness.

Ephesians 4:24 says, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” This Holiness is from the word reference #3742 and means piety.

Defining Holiness

Thus, Holiness is an attitude towards God, a reverence for His nature. Piety means reverence. It is an attempt to be like Him, to maintain purity before a pure God, to love other men in the way that He loved us, to be sanctified (free from sin) before a sinless God.

No long sleeve shirt can make you holy, nor can a longer skirt. No dress standard used to create conformity and teaching fear to those who don’t comply can create holiness in a person. I would argue that the standards of dress in the Pentecostal realm cause less holiness, as they look at others with a judgmental eye, and that is not how God operates.

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. I Samuel 16:7

Holiness comes from getting the Holy God into the unholy Man.

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: John 20:22, KJV

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13, KJV

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Romans 8:9-10, KJV

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? I Corinthians 3:16, KJV

Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. II Corinthians 1:22, KJV

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Galatians 3:2, KJV

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16, KJV

It is abundantly clear, that our Holiness comes from the Spirit. That walking in His Spirit, and having His Spirit dwell in us is what gives us any measure of Holiness. If we could attain Holiness by a dress code, there would be no need for the Crucifixion.

If our dress standards and traditions were the power to make us righteous, and holy before a Holy God, then we need not Christ.

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. Mark 7:13, KJV

Thus, my Christian brethren of faith, know that you are holy when you have the Holy God within you!

Godspeed to you as you worship the one God in the Beauty of Holiness!

*For reference to Pentecostal Holiness, look at these articles and resources.


Posted by dividinghisword

I am the father of two, husband of one, and lover of Christ! I simply seek to spread the Word of God unadulterated, not filtered by denominational interpretation. I have a degree in Theology from Texas Bible College but more so I have His Word!


  1. […] In both cases, we are discussing the Oneness (Apostolic) Pentecostal Holiness movement, of which I was part of for 15 years, and their dogmas (standards) on dress. I won’t take the time to reiterate all of those things, but read these blog posts to learn more: Men and Womens Apparel in Ancient Days, The Commandments of Men, & Out of Context: Without Holiness No Man Shall See The Lord. […]



  2. This is what I longed for a long time to understand,didn’t make much sense to me that holiness was a dress code,any time I went to UPCchurch I followed the dress standards and hair in respect to them and not because of conviction,this teaching alone is freeing knowing that Holiness has nothing to do with any of those rules,and knowing now that tongues are a true language,those 2 teaching has opened my eyes,God has been protecting me from falling for all that 100%,lately just before I left that church I was going to get really involved and it feels like God pulled me out of there quickly,my hair just needed about an inch to grow to put it up…once I got out I went on you tube and typed upc exposed 2018 and 2019 and that is how I found your videos and blog,I felt like a sponge taking it all in,no more confusion about all this.God is good,keep up the good work,people needs to be set free from all those false teachings that keeps them in bondage. Melita Latham



  3. I’ve never understood that verse in Galatians about walking in the spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.

    It seems so redundant. Like, Don’t fulfil the the lusts of the flesh and you won’t fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Walk right and you won’t walk left. You know?



    1. Walking in the Spirit is the result of a heart yielded to God’s will. When we walk in the Spirit we live by the word of God following the leading of the Holy Spirit. His sheep hear his voice and follow him.
      We remain in him,connected to the vine, and He gives us light and life and no man can ever pluck us from his hand.The ungodly are not so but are like the chaff that is driven away by the wind.



  4. Steven Landers July 18, 2020 at 7:52 am

    I appreciate this message. It is accurate and true. This is an excellent definition of what holiness is. Clothing, hair or anything like that isn’t holiness. Holiness is only a state of the heart. However, your actions and even dress will change as you become holy, but that isn’t the decision of man, that is from God. When we try to force “holiness” upon people, it is a shackle that binds people down.

    One thing I do want to note though is that not all Pentecostal churches teach that. I am with the Assemblies of God, and I haven’t been a part of a church that teaches about dress codes or even behavioral codes for that matter. I did visit a church once that the pastor taught that going to movies, or bowling was unholy living. That is as bad as talking about dress code.

    Liked by 1 person


    1. Thank you for your comment Steven, and examples. I try in most of my articles to relate that I am speaking of the Oneness Pentecostal/Holiness movement, not all of Pentecistalism. Which is quite broad.

      Thank you for pointing that out, and blessings to you.



  5. While I agree with your post, I understand the issue that “holiness” preaching does for its followers. Their emphasis is always to avoid being a stumbling block to their brother and sister in Christ. That is the essence of holiness teaching.
    I certainly wished more “Christians” would have some form of modesty. I’ve had women at my church, and other churches, dress more like a prostitute: yet calling it fashionable. Many have embraced a form of grace that leads to, or makes way for sin.
    I’m not as concerned about a denomination that embraces holiness however they choose to interpret and walk it out. If they are not of God, their work will come to an end. If someone chooses to connect with them they can also choose to understand holiness doctrine or find a church that suits their “needs”. In my little town of 600 people there are 6 churches. In our church, a non-denominational church, I teach a balance between Love, grace and walking in the “fear of the Lord”.
    My question is, are we condemning those of the holiness persuasion by exposing them and or their doctrine? Are they in grievous error? Have they damaged anyone or Gods Kingdom by empowering people to not become an offense, or stumbling block. Have they become a foe instead of a friend? Is there something we could learn from them?
    We are certainly in an information age. Let’s pray that God reveal His heart to His people and the gospel to the lost.
    Grace to You
    Pastor Mike



    1. Thank you for your comment Pastor Mike! I think it is a very interesting and gracious perspective.

      I can say, in all 15 years I was in the Holiness movement, it was not every approached from the stand point of not being a stumbling block, but it was a commandment of God on how to dress otherwise you would not make heaven your home, citing scripture such as Hebrew 12:14 as a proof text. Where I came from, short sleeve shirts were ‘sin’, not so much in the shirt being sin, but because the pastor said we could not wear them, it was sin. Facial hair was likewise a sin.

      The one caveat was women, and pants. It can be argued that the curvature of the body, especially in today’s culture of ‘tight’ clothing, it could be said that not wearing pants was for modesty, and to not attract or cause lust. And yet, I’ve seen those same women, who’ve never worn pants, wear tight enough skirts that their pubis mons was visible, it cupped the backside, and left nothing to the imagination. The dress is no less ‘holy’ than pants are. But those women believe they are ‘Holy’ and righteous, and obeying God, only because they are not wearing pants.

      That’s the damage of the Holiness movement. It’s a form of tradition, or more importantly, a form of Godliness, but denying the internal changing Power of God, through the Spirit. Outward holiness creates self-righteousness but I’ve yet to see it guard against things. See what Paul said in Colossian 2,

      These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

      The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Col 2:23). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

      You look at cultures that have the most rigid dress standards and you’ll find the highest rape culture. And in my ‘holiness’ church, there were plenty of young men and women sneaking around doing things they shouldn’t. It didn’t seem to stop the stumbling, but rather made closet sinners, looking ‘good’ on the outside, staying the same on the ‘inside’.

      I would say in answer to your question, we are condemning certain practices and exposing grievous error. Not that being modest before God is error, but creating hypocrisy is absolute error, especially when it is created by implanting man’s commandments as if they were God’s commandments. (Mark 7:7) That was condemned in Scripture (do not add or take away from Scripture/This book) and thus, should be exposed.

      Thank you again!



  6. Walking in the Spirit is the result of a heart yielded to God’s will. When we walk in the Spirit we live by the word of God following the leading of the Holy Spirit. His sheep hear his voice and follow him.
    We remain in him,connected to the vine, and He gives us light and life and no man can ever pluck us from his hand.The ungodly are not so but are like the chaff that is driven away by the wind.



  7. Antonio R Cornelio May 19, 2021 at 6:58 am

    1 Timothy 2:9-10 “Paul said: I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

    Deutoronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”



  8. Words of satan. I fear to be in your shoes on judgement day.



    1. This was a very powerful and convincing argument. Thank you …



  9. I am Pentecost. When we set a mode of Dress it’s according to 1st Timothy 2:9, we know it’s not how we dress but it’s how we present ourselves, we coverup is all, If we ARE holy we will not be in your church in a halter top with cleavage showing and daisy-dukes or anywhere for that matter. Holiness is everything you said, an expression of dedication to all the Lord’s commands, separated from the secular way of living. We are a Pentecostal people who dress in a way that pleaseth God, males will not be in public with snug-fitting speedos on a beach among children and women, women cover themselves with looser-fitting attire that covers them, and it can be done in an updated manner without long skirts and unmade faces, it’s all about Godly wisdom that the Holy Spirit whispers our attire is pleasing under heaven.



  10. No, this writer took this out of context. The Pentecostal’s don’t worship that scripture as a god; it’s because they worship GOD that they practice and preach the scripture(s). We remind people the seriousness of becoming a new creation, born again by The Holy Spirit. We gotta get right or get left. Without sanctification, no one shall see GOD; that’s what The Holy Bible teaches. If you have a problem with that, don’t blame the Pentecostal Christians, go bring that concern to the author of The Word; your problem is with The Creator, not the messenger. GOD bless all.



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