What is Godliness?

I have been pondering this question for years.  Webster’s dictionary (1957) defines godliness as being godly, which is 1. of or from God; divine 2. devoted to God. Dictionary.com (2021) says godliness is the quality or practice of conforming to the laws and wishes of God; devoutness and moral uprightness. Because of my abusive past, I did not fit the description of godliness. I was angry, controlling, impatient, and insecure. When God healed my soul wounds, I was free to focus on His way of living in love instead of living out of my past hurts. I share how God heals our inner wounds and painful memories in my online book.

What does the Bible say godliness is?

Paul writes to Timothy the following in 1Timothy 3:14-16. “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” From this passage, we learn that:

— Godliness is a mystery.

— The person of Jesus Christ represents godliness.

— Godly is the way to behave in the church of the living God.

1Timothy 4:7-8 states, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” In these verses, we learn that:

— Godliness is demonstrated by how we think.

— We train ourselves to be godly.

— Godliness benefits us in the present life and the life to come.

1Timothy 6:3-5 states, “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”  We learned that:

— Godliness is the sound teaching of Jesus Christ.

— Ungodly people crave controversy, quarreling, dissension, friction, and so on with people.

— Ungodliness is depraved (corrupt) and deprived (robbed) of the truth.

— False teachers think godliness will bring financial gain.

1Timothy 6:6-11 states, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” What we have learned:

— Contentment is the evidence of godliness.

— Godliness does not desire to be rich.

— We are to pursue godliness along with righteousness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness.

2Timothy 3:5 states,  “Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” We learn from this verse that there is power in godliness, as explained in 2Peter 1:3. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”

2Peter 3:10-11 states, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness.”


Over the next few posts, I will dissect and delve into each of these passages in more detail and provide additional scriptural explanations. I would like to know your thoughts, so please leave a comment because I am only a student of God’s Word and have not attained complete understanding. I like the fact that the Apostle Paul admits that godliness is a mystery.

All verses are from the English Standard Bible unless otherwise indicated. If you find my posts and website helpful, please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected. No part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom and this website. 

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