July 2, 2024
Ministry Voice

Exploring the Meaning of Akathartos in Greek



Parts of Speech: Adjective

Akathartos Definition

NAS Word Usage – Total: 31

  1. not cleansed, unclean
    1. in a ceremonial sense: that which must be abstained from according to the levitical law
    2. in a moral sense: unclean in thought and life


What is the significance of “Akathartos” in the Greek New Testament?

In the Greek New Testament, the word “Akathartos” holds significant meaning and depth in its use. Translated to English, “Akathartos” is often rendered as “unclean” or “impure.” Understanding the context in which this word appears sheds light on its significance in the Biblical narrative.

The term “Akathartos” appears numerous times in the New Testament, primarily in the Gospels and Paul’s writings. In Jesus’ teachings, “Akathartos” refers to things or individuals that are morally impure or unclean. This can encompass a range of concepts, including sinfulness, defilement, or spiritual contamination. The word is often used in relation to practices or behaviors that are considered unholy or contrary to God’s will.

One notable instance of the use of “Akathartos” is in the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus speaks about the things that defile a person. In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus states, “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Here, “Akathartos” is highlighted as originating from within a person’s heart and manifesting in various sinful actions.

In the writings of Paul, “Akathartos” is also used to emphasize the contrast between purity and impurity, particularly in the context of living a life that is pleasing to God. In his letters to the Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians, Paul emphasizes the need for believers to refrain from the ways of the “Akathartos” and instead pursue righteousness, holiness, and moral uprightness.

How is “Akathartos” used in the Bible to describe impurity? What does Akathartos mean in Greek in Context of the Bible

In the New Testament of the Bible, the word “Akathartos” is used to describe impurity or uncleanness. This term originates from the Greek language and holds significant meaning when used in the context of biblical teachings. The word “Akathartos” is a combination of two Greek words, “a” which means without or not, and “katharos” which means clean or pure. Therefore, “Akathartos” can be understood as something that is unclean or impure.

Throughout the Bible, “Akathartos” is often used to refer to moral impurity, sinfulness, or defilement. In the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, this term is frequently employed to highlight the spiritual and ethical significance of purity and cleanliness. For example, in the Gospel of Mark 7:20-23, Jesus speaks about how it is not what goes into a person from outside that defiles them, but what comes out of their hearts, emphasizing the importance of purity of heart and mind.

The concept of “Akathartos” extends beyond physical cleanliness to encompass thoughts, intentions, and actions that are contrary to God’s will. In the letters of Paul and other early Christian writings, believers are often encouraged to flee from “Akathartos” practices and to pursue righteousness and holiness instead.

Understanding the meaning of “Akathartos” in its original Greek context enriches our comprehension of biblical teachings on purity and impurity. It reminds us of the moral standards set forth in the Bible and challenges us to uphold those standards in our daily lives. Next time you come across the word “Akathartos” in the Bible, remember its profound significance in conveying the concept of impurity and the call to live a life that is pleasing to God.

In what contexts does the term “Akathartos” appear in the Gospel of Matthew? What does Akathartos mean in Greek in Context of the Bible

In the Gospel of Matthew, the term “Akathartos” appears several times, carrying significant meaning in the context of the Greek language used in the Bible. This word is often translated to “unclean” in English, but its depth of meaning goes beyond mere impurity or dirtiness. Understanding the nuances of this term provides insight into the spiritual and moral implications it conveys in the biblical texts.

One of the key instances where “Akathartos” is used in the Gospel of Matthew is in Matthew 10:1, where Jesus calls His twelve disciples and gives them the authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. Here, “Akathartos” is associated with evil spirits or demonic forces that possess individuals, emphasizing the spiritual battle between good and evil.

Furthermore, in Matthew 12:43-45, Jesus tells a parable about an unclean spirit that returns to a person after being driven out, bringing with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself. This passage highlights the importance of spiritual vigilance and the consequences of allowing impurity to re-enter one’s life.

The term “Akathartos” is also used in the context of moral impurity and defilement. In Matthew 23:27, Jesus denounces the scribes and Pharisees, calling them hypocrites and likening them to whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness on the inside. Here, “Akathartos” signifies not only physical uncleanness but also spiritual corruption and moral decay.

In Greek, “Akathartos” comes from the root word “katharos,” which means pure or clean. The addition of the alpha privative “a” in front reverses the meaning, indicating the negation of purity. Therefore, “Akathartos” denotes that which is impure, unclean, or morally corrupt, highlighting the contrast between holiness and sin in the biblical context.


In conclusion, the Greek word “Akathartos” holds significant meaning in the context of the Bible, often representing impurity, uncleanness, or sinfulness. Understanding the nuanced and layered meanings of this word can provide deeper insights into the spiritual teachings and moral lessons found within the scriptures. By delving into the origins and usage of “Akathartos,” we can gain a richer understanding of the biblical texts and the cultural context in which they were written. As we continue to study and reflect on the significance of this word, we enhance our appreciation of the profound wisdom and timeless truths encapsulated in the teachings of the Bible.


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