The various Biblical terms connoting 'perfection' differ in shade of meaning between wholeness, the attaining of an end or ideal, complete adjustment, full equipment in fitness for an appointed task. They are sparingly applied to God; In OT His way, work, knowledge, law are 'perfect' (Ps 18:30; De 32:4; Job 37:16; Ps 19:7); in NT the same term is used of His will, His gifts, His law (Ro 12:2; Jas 1:17,25), while Christ describes the Father in heaven as 'perfect,' and therefore as the source and pattern of moral ideals (Mt 5:48). The sense in which perfection is attributed to or urged upon men must naturally vary according to the moral conceptions of the time.
1. In OT.
These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be you perfect.
For I am the LORD your God: you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall you defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.
Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, You shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.
He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are justice: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father.
Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one that feared God, and turned away from evil.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a blameless and an upright man, one that fears God, and turns away from evil?
And he took himself a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat down among the ashes.
Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is blameless in knowledge?
I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from my iniquity.
With the merciful you will show yourself merciful; with an upright man you will show yourself upright;
As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is proven: he is a shield to all those that trust in him.
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.
The LORD knows the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever.
For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the blameless shall remain in it.
The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. read more. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you; Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. Verily I say unto you, you shall by no means come out of there, till you have paid the last penny. You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if your right eye causes you to offend, pluck it out, and cast it from you: for it is better for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to offend, cut it off, and cast it from you: for it is better for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell. It has been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery. Again, you have heard that it has been said by them of old time, You shall not perjure yourself, but shall perform unto the Lord your oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shall you swear by your head, because you can not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these comes from evil. You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That you resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue you at the law, and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. And whosoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two. Give to him that asks you, and from him that would borrow of you turn not away. You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love them who love you, what reward have you? do not even the tax collectors the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you more than others? do not even the tax collectors so? Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said unto him, I say not unto you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Jesus said unto him, If you will be perfect, go and sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why call me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. read more. You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor your father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Teacher, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing you lack: go your way, sell whatsoever you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and said unto his disciples, How hard for those that have riches to enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered again, and said unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed you. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
And he said unto him, You have answered right: this do, and you shall live.
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why call me good? none is good, except one, that is, God. read more. You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet you lack one thing: sell all that you have, and distribute unto the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hard it is for those that have riches to enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed you. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that has left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. read more. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned in the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. So also is the free gift not like the offense. For if through the offense of one many are dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. So is the gift not like it was by one that sinned: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer in it? read more. Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that we should no longer serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we are dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives, he lives unto God. Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. read more. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
But we speak wisdom among them that are mature: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nothing:
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
Brethren, be not children in understanding: but in malice be children, but in understanding be men.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, read more. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; read more. One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Be you therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if indeed I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as would be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. read more. Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That you might walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; read more. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things are held together. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight: If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature who is under heaven; of which I Paul am made a minister;
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
For it befitted him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to explain, seeing you are dull of hearing.
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto maturity; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. read more. For he of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, of which no man has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: that after the similitude of Melchizedek there arises another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifies, You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. For there is verily an annulment of the previous commandment because of the weakness and uselessness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw near unto God.
For the law makes men high priests who have weakness; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, makes the Son, who is consecrated forevermore.
Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified.
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, who are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Make you complete in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
For in many things we all offend. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: