Skip to content

Skip to table of contents




Does our physical hygiene matter to God?

“Let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit.”2 Corinthians 7:1.


Our Creator loves us and wants us to enjoy good health and long, productive lives. “May your heart observe my commandments,” God says, “because they will add many days and years of life and peace to you.” (Proverbs 3:1, 2) God’s love for humans was reflected in his commandments to Israel, which included specific directions on hygiene and sanitation. (Deuteronomy 23:12-14) When the Israelites adhered to those reasonable standards, they enjoyed improved health and protection against diseases that plagued other nations, such as Egypt, that did not have such an advanced law code.Deuteronomy 7:12, 15.

Likewise today, people who “cleanse [themselves] of every defilement of flesh,” which includes such defiling habits as smoking, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse, reduce their risk of illness—physical and mental—as well as premature death. And because we do not usually live in isolation, our adherence to God’s standards of cleanness also shows our consideration for others.Mark 12:30, 31.

 Does God care about moral and spiritual cleanness?

“Deaden . . . your body members . . . as respects sexual immorality, uncleanness, uncontrolled sexual passion, hurtful desire, and greediness, which is idolatry. On account of those things the wrath of God is coming.”Colossians 3:5, 6.


As stated earlier, the Bible exhorts us to “cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit.” In the time of Jesus Christ, many people, including the Jewish religious leaders, went to great lengths to be physically clean but disregarded moral and spiritual standards. (Mark 7:1-5) Putting matters in the right perspective, Jesus said: “Nothing from outside that enters into a man can defile him, since it enters . . . into his stomach, and it passes out into the sewer.” He then added: “That which comes out of a man is what defiles him. For from inside, out of the heart of men, come injurious reasonings, sexual immorality, thefts, murders, acts of adultery, greed, acts of wickedness, deceit, brazen conduct, an envious eye, . . . and unreasonableness. All these wicked things . . . defile a man.”Mark 7:18-23.

According to Jesus, people who take an extreme view of bodily hygiene while at the same time disregarding God’s moral and spiritual standards are like cups that are clean outside but filthy inside.Matthew 23:25, 26.

Are Bible standards reasonable?

“This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.”1 John 5:3.


At Micah 6:8, we read: “What is Jehovah requiring of you? Only to exercise justice, to cherish loyalty, and to walk in modesty with your God!” Is that not a most reasonable request? Moreover, our Creator wants us to obey him out of love. When we do, we experience great joy. (Psalm 40:8) And when we err, we can take comfort in God’s mercy. “As a father shows mercy to his sons, Jehovah has shown mercy to those who fear him. For he well knows how we are formed, remembering that we are dust,” or subject to frailties and imperfection.Psalm 103:13, 14.

In summary, God’s standards of physical, moral, and spiritual cleanness reflect his goodness and love for us. Our willing adherence to those standards shows our wisdom and our love for him.