TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

I.  Holy Characteristics

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Chapter 2  Part I

Holy Characteristics

A good understanding of God requires a balanced understanding of his character, including the fundamental attribute of holiness. To obtain such an understanding, we must “take to heart” all aspects of his character. As well as the many characteristics that we find consoling, we also need to appreciate those that inspire godly fear.


God’s holiness involves his moral purity. It concerns God’s separateness from and his intolerance of that which is morally impure. Holiness is basic to the other characteristics that follow in the first half of this chapter.

God is holy

Isa 6:3  And one [angelic being] called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”  ESV

There is nothing bad in God – and he cannot tolerate evil

Ps 92:15b  … the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.  ESV

Hab 1:13a  [Habakkuk, to God:] You are too just to tolerate evil; you are unable to condone wrongdoing.  NET

There is no one holy like God

1Sam 2:2  No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one other than you! There is no rock like our God!  NET

God shows himself to be holy by what he does

Isa 5:16  The Lord All-Powerful will receive glory by judging fairly; the holy God will show himself holy by doing what is right.  NCV™

Places where God dwells are also holy . . .

2Chr 30:27  The priests and Levites [of Israel] got up and pronounced blessings on the people. The Lord responded favorably to them as their prayers reached his holy dwelling place in heaven.  NET

Ps 65:4b  [David, to God:] We are filled with good things in your house, your holy Temple.  NCV™

Places must be holy for God in his holiness to dwell in them. God is primarily spoken of as dwelling in: heaven (cf. 2Chr 30:27 ); places containing the Ark of the Covenant, i.e. the tabernacle and then the temple (cf. Ps 65:4 ); and his people.

. . . and God only dwells with those who are holy

Ezek 37:27-28  [God:] The place where I live will be with them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28When my Temple is among them forever, the nations will know that I, the Lord, make Israel holy.  NCV™

This passage demonstrates that those who God dwells with are holy and it can be inferred from it that he only dwells with those who are holy.

Things of God are likewise holy

Isa 52:10a  The Lord will show his holy power to all the nations.  NCV™

Jer 23:9b  And because of His holy words.  NKJV

Note: God and his ways are perfect

Matt 5:48  So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  NET

Ps 18:30a  God’s way is perfect!  GW

 Questions for Section A

Righteousness and Justice

God is righteous and just

Isa 5:16  But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.  ESV

God’s righteousness and justice are great – and everlasting

Ps 36:6a  [David, to God:] Your righteousness is towering like the mountains; your justice is like the depths of the sea.  GNT

Ps 111:3  [A psalmist, speaking of God:] Splendid and glorious are his awesome deeds, and his righteousness endures forever.  ISV

God’s ways are right and just

Hos 14:9  Who is wise? Let him discern these things! Who is discerning? Let him understand them! For the ways of the Lord are right; the godly walk in them, but in them the rebellious stumble.  NET

Rev 15:3b  [Believers in heaven, to God:] Just and true are your ways, King over the nations!  NET

All God does is right and just . . .

Dan 4:37a  Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, for all his deeds are right and his ways are just.  NET

. . . God does no wrong

Zeph 3:5a  But the Lord is good, and he is there in that city [Jerusalem]. He does no wrong. Every morning he governs the people fairly; every day he can be trusted.  NCV™

God is truthful

Isa 45:19b  [God:] I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right.  ESV

God does not show favoritism

Rom 2:11  For there is no partiality with God.  NET

Note: God loves righteousness and justice

Ps 33:5  He loves righteousness and justice; the world is filled with the gracious love of the Lord.  ISV

 Questions for Section B


God is faithful

Deut 7:9  [Moses, to Israel:] Remember that the Lord your God is the only God and that he is faithful. He will keep his covenant and show his constant love to a thousand generations of those who love him and obey his commands …  GNT

Heb 10:23  [The writer, to believers:] Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  ESV

God’s faithfulness is great

Lam 3:22-23  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  ESV

God’s faithfulness lasts forever

Ps 117:2  For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!  ESV

God never abandons nor fails

Ps 9:10  [David, to God:] Your loyal followers trust in you, for you, Lord, do not abandon those who seek your help.  NET

1Chr 28:20  David also said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and brave, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, because the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or leave you until all the work for the Temple of the Lord is finished.  NCV™

God does not lie nor change his mind – he keeps his promises

Num 23:19  God is no mere human! He doesn’t tell lies or change his mind. God always keeps his promises.  CEV

 Questions for Section C


Although we usually view anger in a negative light, this is not how the Bible depicts God’s anger, or wrath. God’s anger is always justified and righteous, consistent with his holiness. Moreover, it arises in response to that which is contrary to his holiness. Unlike human anger, God’s anger is never uncontrolled, wayward or spasmodic – and is tempered by his mercy, notably where his own people are concerned.

God’s anger and its consequences are awesome . . .

Ps 90:11  [A psalmist, to God:] Who can really fathom the intensity of your anger? Your raging fury causes people to fear you.  NET

Isa 5:25  Therefore [due to their evil] the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.  ESV

. . . This will be evident upon all nations and the whole earth

Isa 13:9  The day of the Lord is coming—that cruel day of his fierce anger and fury. The earth will be made a wilderness, and every sinner will be destroyed.  GNT

Zeph 3:8  Therefore you must wait patiently for me,” says the Lord, “for the day when I attack and take plunder. I have decided to gather nations together and assemble kingdoms, so I can pour out my fury on them – all my raging anger. For the whole earth will be consumed by my fiery anger.  NET

God’s anger cannot be quenched

Jer 21:12  Family of David, this is what the Lord says: You must judge people fairly every morning. Save the person who has been robbed from the power of his attacker. If you don’t, I will become very angry. My anger will be like a fire that no one can put out, because you have done evil things.  NCV™

God’s anger cannot be withstood

Nah 1:6  No one can withstand his indignation! No one can resist his fierce anger! His wrath is poured out like volcanic fire, boulders are broken up as he approaches.  NET

God is slow to anger and often holds it back

Num 14:18a  The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but by no means clearing the guilty …  NET

Ps 78:38  Yet he is compassionate. He forgives sin and does not destroy. He often holds back his anger, and does not stir up his fury.  NET

God does not stay angry

Mic 7:18b  He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.  NKJV

God’s anger arises in response to sin and disobedience

1Ki 16:2b  [God, to Baasha the king of Israel:] Yet you followed in Jeroboam’s footsteps and encouraged my people Israel to sin; their sins have made me angry.  NET

Mic 5:15  [God:] I will angrily seek vengeance on the nations that do not obey me.  NET

God’s anger arises in response to people turning away from him

Ezra 8:22b  “The good hand of our God is on everyone who is seeking him, but his great anger is against everyone who forsakes him.”  NET

Other things that arouse God’s anger

Ps 78:21-22  When the Lord heard this [complaints, expressing doubts], he was furious. A fire broke out against Jacob, and his anger flared up against Israel, 22because they did not have faith in God, and did not trust his ability to deliver them.  NET

Rom 2:7b-8  But he [God] will bring 8anger and fury on those who, in selfish pride, refuse to believe the truth and who follow what is wrong.  GW

 Questions for Section D

Pray for persecuted Christians