The Biblical Definition of Good Explained

  • Billy Cobb
  • Aug 16, 2023
The Biblical Definition of Good Explained

What is the Biblical Definition of “Good”?

The concept of “good” in the Bible is a fundamental theme that is interwoven throughout the entire text from Genesis to Revelation. The Hebrew word for “good” in the Old Testament is “tob”, which means “pleasant” or “desirable”. This word occurs more than 560 times in the Old Testament, demonstrating its importance in the Biblical worldview.

God is the ultimate source of goodness, and everything He created is good. In the creation account in Genesis 1, each day concludes with God declaring that what He made was “good”. When God created Adam and Eve, He made them in His image and declared that they were “very good” (Genesis 1:31).

The concept of good is not limited to material things, but applies to moral and ethical behavior as well. In the Old Testament, the law was given to the Israelites to help them distinguish between what was good and what was evil. The Ten Commandments are one example of the moral principles that God gave to His people to follow. The Book of Proverbs also contains a wealth of wisdom on what constitutes good behavior and relationships.

The New Testament also teaches that goodness is essential to Christian living. Jesus taught that we should love our neighbors as ourselves and do good to those who hate us (Matthew 5:44-45). The apostle Paul identified goodness as one of the fruits of the Spirit, along with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

One particularly poignant example of goodness in the New Testament is the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). In this story, a man is robbed and left for dead on the side of the road. Several people pass by without helping him, but a Samaritan stops and shows compassion, taking care of the man’s needs and paying for his care.

Ultimately, goodness is not just about doing what is right or avoiding what is wrong – it is about reflecting the character of God. As followers of Christ, we are called to imitate God’s goodness, becoming more and more like Him every day.

Good According to God’s Standards

When we talk about good, we often think of it in relative terms. We compare one thing to another and judge which one is better. However, the biblical definition of good goes beyond this superficial understanding of the concept. According to the Bible, good is an attribute that belongs to God and everything He created.

Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” This verse affirms that goodness is an essential part of God’s character and infuses everything He has made with its inherent goodness. This means that good is not a subjective quality that people determine for themselves, but an objective reality that is grounded in the nature and character of God.

So when we speak of something as good, we must evaluate it according to God’s standards. It is not enough to look at it from our perspective or based on our preferences. Our evaluation must consider the aspect of God’s holiness and righteousness. The Bible teaches that there is no one good but God (Mark 10:18).

This understanding of good helps us to see why the concept of sin is so important in the Bible. Sin is anything that violates God’s holy and righteous standard. And because God is the standard of goodness, anything that goes against His nature and character cannot be considered good. This includes things such as lying, stealing, cheating, and committing adultery. All these things are violations of God’s standard of goodness.

When we understand the biblical definition of good, we can see why it is important for Christians to pursue righteousness and holiness. The Apostle Peter wrote, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy'” (1 Peter 1:15-16). As followers of Christ, our desire should be to reflect God’s goodness and to live according to His standards.

This pursuit of goodness and holiness can be challenging, especially in a world that often celebrates things that are contrary to God’s standard. It can be tempting to conform to the world’s values and to compromise on the things that God has called us to. However, as Christians, we are called to be set apart and to live according to a different standard.

Ultimately, the biblical definition of good points us to the person of Jesus Christ. He is the perfect embodiment of God’s goodness. He lived a sinless life and embodied all the qualities that we associate with goodness: love, compassion, humility, and righteousness. As we seek to live according to God’s standards of goodness, we can look to Jesus as our example and source of strength.


The biblical definition of good is not a subjective or relative concept, but an objective reality that is grounded in the nature and character of God. Goodness is an attribute that belongs to God and everything He created. This means that when we evaluate something as good, we must consider it according to God’s standards of holiness and righteousness. As Christians, our desire should be to pursue goodness and to reflect God’s character in all that we do.

Good vs Evil

Good and evil are two concepts that have been relative and subjective over the history of time. However, in Christianity, the definition of good is rooted in God’s nature, and it is absolute because God is the source of all goodness. The biblical definition of good in English language emphasizes the characteristics and behaviors that align with God’s nature. Moreover, it contrasts with evil, which is rebellion against God’s good will.

The concept of good vs. evil is not a gray area but rather a black and white area. Goodness reflects the light of God, while evil is the absence of God’s light. According to the Bible, evil is not a substance, but a choice made by an individual to rebel against God’s goodness and plan for humanity. In other words, evil has no power except the power that we give it.

God’s goodness is revealed in many ways, such as love for others, generosity, kindness, and mercy. When we live according to God’s definition of good, we not only enhance our own lives, but we also impact the world around us by spreading His love and light.

On the other hand, evilness reveals itself in deception, hatred, selfishness, and violence. Such actions are in direct opposition to God’s nature, and they destroy our relationship with Him. Evilness also has a negative impact on our relationships with others, leading to brokenness, despair, and pain.

In conclusion, the biblical definition of good in English language is the complete opposite of evil. God is the source and standard of all goodness, and it is reflected in how we live our lives and interact with others. When we choose to live according to God’s goodness, we spread light and love in the world around us. However, when we choose evilness, we become agents of darkness, bringing destruction and devastation upon ourselves and others.

Jesus as the Ultimate Example of Goodness

The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the ultimate example of goodness. In every aspect of His life, Jesus demonstrated what it means to live a life of goodness, kindness, and love towards others. He showed true compassion to the poor, the sick, and the needy, and He even went to the extent of sacrificing His own life on the cross for the sake of humanity.

In His teachings, Jesus emphasized the importance of loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. He urged His followers to be kind and compassionate to one another, to treat others with the same respect and kindness as they would like to be treated.

Throughout His life, Jesus demonstrated the importance of forgiveness. He showed mercy and love to all, even to those who were considered unworthy or unlovable by society. He forgave those who betrayed Him, those who hurt Him, and those who crucified Him, showing us the ultimate example of true forgiveness.

Through His life, teachings, and sacrifice, Jesus showed that goodness is not just a word, but a way of life. He is the model of what it means to live a truly good life, and His example continues to inspire and guide us today.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to emulate His example of goodness, to live a life of love, compassion, and forgiveness, and to treat others with kindness and respect. When we choose to live a life of goodness, we not only honor Jesus, but we also make the world a better place for everyone around us.

Let us keep Jesus as the center of our lives, and strive to imitate His example of goodness every day. By doing so, we can become true ambassadors of the love and goodness that He embodies, and make a positive impact on the world around us.

Actions that Reflect God’s Goodness

According to the Bible, God is good, and all that He does is good. As His followers, we are called to emulate His goodness and reflect it through our actions. In this article, we will explore some of the actions that demonstrate God’s goodness.

Firstly, showing kindness to others is one of the primary ways that we can reflect God’s goodness. The Bible teaches that kindness is a fruit of the Spirit and should be a hallmark of every believer’s life. Kindness involves being considerate and compassionate towards others, showing sympathy and empathy, and being willing to lend a helping hand when needed. Jesus demonstrated kindness throughout His life, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and spending time with the outcasts.

Secondly, taking care of the needy is another way of demonstrating God’s goodness. As believers, we are called to help the poor, the oppressed, and the vulnerable in our communities. The Bible instructs us to provide for those in need, to share our possessions with others, and to do good to all people. By alleviating the suffering of those around us, we show God’s love, compassion, and generosity.

Thirdly, living a righteous life is also an essential way of reflecting God’s goodness. As we strive to live according to God’s moral standards, we demonstrate His holiness and mercy. Righteous living involves obeying God’s commands, avoiding sin, and pursuing holiness in all areas of our lives. We should seek to glorify God in everything we do, treating others with respect and fairness and striving to be a positive influence in our communities.

Fourthly, forgiveness is another critical aspect of reflecting God’s goodness. Forgiveness involves showing mercy and grace to those who have wronged us, just as God has forgiven us. Jesus taught His followers to forgive others as many times as necessary, and to show compassion to those who have sinned against us. Forgiveness requires us to let go of anger and bitterness, and to extend compassion and love to those in need.

Fifthly, spreading the gospel is another way of demonstrating God’s goodness. Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those around us is a powerful way of showing God’s love, mercy, and grace. The gospel message offers hope, forgiveness, and salvation to all who believe, and by sharing it with others, we demonstrate God’s goodness and desire to save all people.

In conclusion, reflecting God’s goodness requires us to show kindness to others, take care of the needy, live a righteous life, extend forgiveness, and share the gospel. By doing these things, we demonstrate God’s love, compassion, and generosity, and we bring glory to His name. Let us strive to emulate God’s goodness in all that we do, and let our actions speak louder than words.

Good Deeds Alone are Not Enough

As human beings, we are commanded to do good deeds and avoid evil ones. However, simply doing good deeds alone is not enough and it does not guarantee that we are living a righteous life. According to Biblical teachings, our motivations behind our good deeds are equally as important as the actions themselves.

The Bible teaches that our ultimate goal should be to seek the approval of God, not to gain recognition or praise from people. This means that our actions must be driven by a genuine desire to please God and not just to receive admiration and applause from others.

Jesus emphasized the importance of our motives when he said, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). In other words, if we only do good deeds to be seen and praised by others, then we are not truly living righteously in the eyes of God.

The Bible also teaches that our good deeds must be accompanied by faith in God. James 2:26 states, “Faith without deeds is dead.” This means that faith and deeds go hand in hand and our good deeds must be motivated by our faith in God and His commandments.

Moreover, the Bible teaches that we should not simply do good deeds out of obligation or duty, but out of love for God. In 1 Corinthians 13:3, the Apostle Paul writes, “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” This verse emphasizes that our motivations behind our good deeds must be rooted in love for God and others.

Therefore, it is important for us to examine our motivations behind our good deeds. Are we doing good deeds to please God or to receive recognition from others? Are we doing good deeds out of obligation or out of love for God and others? As Christians, we are called to do good deeds, but we must ensure that our actions are driven by pure motives and a genuine desire to please God.

The Promise of Eternal Goodness

According to the Bible, goodness is not just an abstract concept but something that can be tangibly experienced through a relationship with God. For believers, the ultimate promise of goodness is the assurance of eternal life in Heaven where there will be no more sin, pain, or suffering. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” This promise of eternal goodness is the end goal of a life lived according to God’s principles.

However, the promise of eternal goodness is not simply a passive hope but an active motivation for believers to live a life of goodness now. Jesus promises in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” This means that even in this life, we can experience glimpses of eternal goodness through a life lived for God.

Living a life of goodness involves following God’s commandments and loving others. Jesus summed up the commandments in Matthew 22:37-40, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

This means that goodness is not just about personal piety but about social justice as well. Throughout the Bible, God has a special concern for the poor, the vulnerable, and the oppressed. Proverbs 14:31 says, “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.”

The promise of eternal goodness is not just for individuals but for the whole world. God’s plan for salvation includes not just personal redemption but the restoration of all things. Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

As believers, we are called to work towards this restoration in our own lives and in the world around us. This means being agents of goodness and change, working towards a world where justice, peace, and love reign supreme.

In conclusion, the promise of eternal goodness is the ultimate hope for believers in Jesus Christ. It is a promise that transcends this life, giving us courage and strength to live a life of goodness here on earth, and working towards the restoration of all things in the age to come.

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