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.
Think not that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. For truly do I say to you, Not till heaven and earth pass away, shall one jot or one tittle pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled. read more. Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever shall do and teach them, he will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, Unless your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, "Thou shalt not kill; and whoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the Judges." But I say to you, that whoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the Judges; and whoever shall say to his brother, Simpleton! shall be in danger of the Council; and whoever shall say, Fool! shall be in danger of hellfire. Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go away; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary at law quickly, while thou art on the road with him; lest the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Truly do I say to thee, Thou wilt not come out thence, till thou hast paid the last farthing. Ye have heard that it was said, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." But I say to you, that whoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye cause thee to offend, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is better for thee that one of thy members should perish, than that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand cause thee to offend, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is better for thee that one of thy members should perish, than that thy whole body should go away into hell. And it was said, "Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement." But I say to you, that whoever putteth away his wife, unless it be on account of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoever shall marry her when put away, committeth adultery. Again ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, "Thou shalt not swear falsely, but shalt perform to the Lord thine oaths." But I say to you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King; nor shalt thou swear by thy head, for thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your language be, Yea, yea; Nay; nay; for whatever is more than these cometh of evil. Ye have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." But I say to you, that ye resist not the evildoer; but whoever smiteth thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one intends to sue thee at the law, and take thy coat, give up to him thy cloak also; and whoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him that asketh of thee; and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not away. Ye have heard that it was said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy." But I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you; that ye may become sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love those who love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye that excelleth? Do not even the heathen the same? Be ye therefore perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Be ye therefore perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Be ye therefore perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Be ye therefore perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Be ye therefore perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
All things, then, whatever ye would that men should do to you, do ye also so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Then came Peter, and said to him, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times? Jesus saith to him, I say not to thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven.
Jesus said to him, If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.
And as he was going out into the way, a certain one running up and kneeling to him, asked him, Good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit everlasting life? And Jesus said to him, Why dost thou call me good? None is good but one, that is, God. read more. Thou knowest the commandments, "Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and thy mother." And he said to him, Teacher, all these have I kept from my youth. And Jesus looking at him, loved him, and said to him, One thing thou lackest; go, sell whatever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. But his countenance fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. And Jesus, looking round, saith to his disciples, How hardly shall they who have riches enter the kingdom t of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answering again saith to them, Children, how hard it is to enter 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 the kingdom of God. And they were beyond measure astonished, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God. Peter began to say to him, Lo! we left all, and have followed thee. Jesus said, Truly do I say to you, There is no one who hath left house, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for the sake of me and of the glad tidings, who will not receive a hundredfold in the time that now is, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions, and in the world to come everlasting life. But many who are first will be last; and the last first.
And he said to him, Thou hast answered rightly; do this, and thou shalt live.
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit everlasting life? And Jesus said to him, Why dost thou call me good? None is good but one, that is, God. read more. Thou knowest the commandments: "Do not commit adultery; Do not kill; Do not steal; Do not bear false witness; Honor thy father and thy mother." And he said, All these have I kept from my youth. And Jesus hearing this said to him, One thing thou still lackest: sell all that thou hast, and distribute to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful; for he was very rich. And Jesus seeing him said, How hardly do they that have riches enter 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 the kingdom of God. And those who heard this said, Who then can be saved? But he said, What is impossible with men is possible with God. Then Peter said, Lo! we left what we had, and followed thee. And he said to them, Truly do I say to you, There is no one that hath left house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many fold more in the present time, and in the world to come everlasting life.
So then as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus [death] came through unto all men, because all sinned (for all the time before the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not set to ones account when there is no law. read more. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the manner in which Adam transgressed; who is a type of him who was to come. But the free gift was not as the transgression. For if through the offence of the one the many died, much more hath the grace of God, and the gift which is by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ, abounded to the many. And the free gift is not like what happened through one man who sinned. For sentence of condemnation followed one offence; but the free gift is a justification after many offences. For if by one trespass death reigned through the one man, much more will they who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.) As then through one trespass all men have come under condemnation, so through one act of righteousness all obtain the gift of righteousness unto life. For as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of the one man will the many be made righteous. Moreover the law came in in addition, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace abounded much more; that as sin reigned in death, so grace might reign through righteousness to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What shall we say then? Let us continue in sin, that grace may abound still more? God forbid! How shall we, who died to sin, live any longer in it? read more. Are ye ignorant, that all of us who were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? We then by this baptism into his death were buried with him; that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have been made completely like him in his death, we shall be made like him in his resurrection also; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin; for he that hath died hath been set free from sin. And if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; since we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath dominion over him no longer. For in that he died, he died to sin once for all; but in that he liveth, he liveth to God. Thus do ye too consider yourselves as dead to sin, but alive to God, through Jesus Christ.
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death? Thanks be to God, [who hath delivered me] through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, I, the same person, with the mind serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any one hath to not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
and be not conformed to the fashion of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that ye may learn by experience what is the will of God, what is good, and wellpleasing, and perfect.
Let your love be unfeigned. Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good.
Owe no one anything but brotherly love; for he that loveth others hath fulfilled the Law. For these, "Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet," and every other commandment, are summed up in this precept, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." read more. Love worketh no ill to ones neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law. And this, since we know the time, that it is already high time for us to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we became believers. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us then throw off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in lewdness and wantonness, not in strife and envy; but clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and think not about satisfying the lusts of the flesh.
But I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly united in the same mind and in the same judgment.
But we do speak wisdom among the perfect; not, however, the wisdom of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are coming to nought;
I also, brethren, was not able to speak to you as to spiritual men, but as those who are not spiritual, as to babes in Christ.
Brethren, do not become children in understanding; yet in malice be children, but in understanding be men.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
And they who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with the passions and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
For this cause I bend my knees to the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth receiveth its name, 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, ye having been rooted and grounded in love, that ye may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto 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 worketh in us,
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye were called in one hope of your calling; read more. one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God on account of the ignorance that is in them, on account of the hardness of their hearts;
Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children;
being confident of this very thing, that he who began in you a good work, will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus;
for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Not that I have already obtained, or have been already perfected; but I press on, if I may also lay hold of that for which I was laid hold of by Christ.
Let us, therefore, as many as are perfect, be of this mind; and if ye have a different mind in anything, even this will God reveal to you.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say it, rejoice. Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. read more. Be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. The things which ye learned, and received, and heard, and saw in me, these do; and the God of peace will be with you.
I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me.
who also brought to our knowledge your love in the Spirit. On this account we also, from the day we heard of it, cease not to pray for you, and to ask that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
On this account we also, from the day we heard of it, cease not to pray for you, and to ask that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye may walk worthily of the Lord so as to please him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; read more. endued with all power according to the might of his glory unto all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who enabled us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light; who rescued us from the empire of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son; in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins; who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of the whole creation; for in him were created all things, those in the heavens, and those on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, all things have been created through him and for him; and he is before all things, and in him all things subsist. And he is the head of the body, the church; since he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he may be in all things preeminent; for God was pleased that in him all the fullness should dwell, and by him to reconcile all things to himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him, I say, whether the things on earth, or those in the heavens. And you, that were once alienated, and enemies in your mind in wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through his death, to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable in his sight; if ye indeed continue in the faith grounded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye heard, which hath been preached in the whole creation under heaven; of which I Paul became a minister.
whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ;
and over all these things put on the robe of love, which is the bond of perfectness;
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, saluteth you, always striving for you in his prayers, that ye may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.
For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
and being perfected became the author of everlasting salvation to all who obey him,
Of whom we have much to say, and hard to be explained, seeing ye have become dull of hearing.
Let us then, leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, press on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
If indeed perfection had been by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people hath received the Law,) what further need was there that a different priest should arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called alter the order of Aaron? For if the priesthood is changed, there takes place of necessity a change of the law. read more. For he of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, of which no one hath given attendance at the altar; for it is wellknown that our Lord sprang out of Judah, in regard to which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And it is still more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there ariseth a different priest, who hath been made, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an indissoluble life. For it is testified of him, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek." For on the one hand there takes place an annulling of the commandment which went before, on account of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the Law perfected nothing,and on the other, the bringing in of a better hope, by which we draw near to God.
For the Law maketh men highpriests, who have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was after the Law, maketh the Son, who is perfected for ever.
which is a figure for the present time, in accordance with which are offered both gifts and sacrifices, which have no power as to the conscience to perfect the worshipper,
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever those who are sanctified.
God having provided for us some better thing, that they might not be made perfect without us.
and to the church of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven; and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect;
make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, doing in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory for ever. Amen.
But let endurance have a perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting in nothing.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the lights, with whom is no change, nor shadow from turning.
But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty, and remains there, being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in his deed.
For in many things we all offend. If any one offend not in speech, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.
whom, having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,