Where Does the Bible Say Blessed Are the Pure in Heart?

Just who are the pure in heart, and in what way are they blessed? The answer is more complicated and empowering than you might think.

Contributing Writer
Updated Jan 02, 2024
Where Does the Bible Say Blessed Are the Pure in Heart?

The statement that “blessed are the pure in heart” can be confusing. Some wonder why the pure in heart are blessed. Some wonder what exactly “pure” or “pure in heart” and “blessed” even mean. Several key passages in the Bible state that the pure in heart are blessed. The verses provide vital context—including who the pure in heart are and certain ways that these people are blessed. Furthermore, there are practical ways we can all become pure in heart.

Where Does the Bible Say 'Blessed Are the Pure in Heart'?

This idea is seen throughout the Bible, but the exact phrase comes from Matthew 5:8, which states, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Other versions say that great blessings belong to those whose thoughts are pure. However, this is not the only verse with this message.

Other places in the Bible discuss similar concepts in different words. Jeremiah 4:14 says that the pure in heart are saved. Psalms 24:3-4 says that those who have not done evil have pure hearts—those who have not used God’s name to hide their lies and have not made false promises can go up on God’s mountain and stand in his holy temple. Proverbs 20:9 says that those who are pure in heart are free from sin.

Who Are the Pure in Heart?

Taking these Bible passages together, we get an overall picture of who the pure in heart are.

First, there is an emphasis on thinking. According to Matthew 5:8, the pure in heart are those whose thoughts are pure. Here Matthew uses the word kardia for heart, which frequently refers to the mind. Proverbs 4:23 gives extra support for this by saying that a person’s thoughts control their life. Other translations say that “everything you do” flows from the heart. “Everything you do” includes thoughts.

Second, there is an emphasis on avoiding sin or being saved. Proverbs 20:9 says those who can say they are free from sin (those who have salvation) can also say that their hearts are pure. Jeremiah 4:14 says the people of Jerusalem who can be saved from ruin have made their hearts pure.

Third, there is an emphasis on behavior before God. Psalms 24:3-4 says that those who can go up on God’s mountain and stand in his holy temple are those who have not done evil, have not used God’s name to hide their lies, have not made false promises, and have pure hearts. In the temple, people stood before God, who could see everything about them. People who did not show proper respect before God (like Uzzah, who touched the ark of the covenant) were punished for their irreverence. Charles Spurgeon emphasizes the wide gap between God’s purity and our finiteness that we realize when we come to God, and how to that humbles us so that we pursue him.

‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

Purity, even purity of heart, is the main thing to be aimed at. We need to be made clean within through the Spirit and the Word, and then we shall be clean without by consecration and obedience. There is a close connection between the affections and the understanding: if we love evil we cannot understand that which is good. If the heart is foul, the eye will be dim. How can those men see a holy God who love unholy things?

What a privilege it is to see God here! A glimpse of Him is heaven below! In Christ Jesus the pure in heart behold the Father. We see Him, His truth, His love, His purpose, His sovereignty, His covenant character, yea, we see Himself in Christ. But this is only apprehended as sin is kept out of the heart. Only those who aim at godliness can cry, ‘Mine eyes are ever towards the LORD.’ The desire of Moses, ‘I beseech thee, show me thy glory,’ can only be fulfilled in us as we purify ourselves from all iniquity. We shall ‘see him as he is,’ and ‘every one that hath this hope in him purifieth himself.’ The enjoyment of present fellowship and the hope of the beatific vision are urgent motives for purity of heart and life. LORD, make us pure in heart that we may see Thee!

Taken from Faith’s Checkbook, January 8” by Charles Spurgeon (used by permission).

One can also assume that Philippians 4:8 hints at who the pure in heart are. The verse is a command to think about what is good, worthy of praise, true, honorable, right, beautiful, and respected. If one thinks about these things, one pursues pure things while avoiding evil things. The process would naturally make the person who thinks of all those things pure in heart.

Taking these elements together, we see that being the pure in heart means devoting everything to God. It is more than just thinking. It is more than just behaving well. It is more than just honoring God. It includes all of those things together. Greg Laurie gives us an idea what this single-minded devotion to God should look like:

“A happy person will be a holy person, because Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’ (Matthew 5:8). But who could ever be pure in heart? You can. I can. We must understand what this statement means. By pure in heart, Jesus is not saying that we can never have an impurity in our hearts and never be inconsistent. Otherwise, we all would be disqualified, because the Bible clearly teaches ‘the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked’ (Jeremiah 17:9).

So here is how it works: we come to God, poor in spirit. We see ourselves as we really are. We mourn over our condition. And like the psalmist, we pray, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me’ (Psalm 51:10).

In our culture, we often refer to the heart as the center of emotion, and we refer to the mind as the center of intellect. But in the Hebrew culture, the heart referred to everything. The heart was the very center of personality. It was the center of the emotions as well as the mind. And it included the thinking process. Proverbs 23:7 says, ‘As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he.’

The heart is the center of who you are. This means that with all of your being, you should be pure. But being pure does not mean being flawless. A good translation of the word pure would be ‘single’ or ‘focused.’ So to be pure in heart means to have a single-minded devotion to Jesus.

To be pure in heart is to seek to live a holy life, because that is the secret to happiness. If you want to be happy, then seek to be holy. Don't chase after happiness. Chase after holiness.”

Taken from “Chasing Holiness” by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).

Now that we have an idea of who the pure in heart are, we still have to figure out what it means to be blessed.

How Are the Pure in Heart Blessed?

The Bible does not specify what kind of blessings the pure in heart receive. It could be blessings of new responsibilities, material things, increased wisdom, mental blessings, emotional blessings, spiritual blessings, or some combination of all of those things. All we know for sure is that blessings, in this context, are good things received.

Some other Bible verses hint at specific ways that the pure in heart are blessed. 1 John 2:2-3 says that the pure in heart become like God. James 4:8 and Psalm 51:7 explain that people gain pure hearts by removing sin from their lives, and the removal of sin itself also becomes a blessing. So, getting a pure heart is a blessing in itself.

Psalm 51:7 refers to the pure in heart having their sins removed, and Jeremiah 4:14 says that the pure in heart can be saved. Therefore, everyone who becomes a Christian can be seen as someone who has become pure in heart. When Christians become saved, their sins are removed, and they gain the Holy Spirit. So, the Holy Spirit can be seen as another blessing of the pure in heart.

How Do We Become the Pure in Heart?

Certain Scripture passages let us know how to pursue a pure heart. Some of these steps (particularly the first one) are part of becoming saved, which cleanses us from our sins. Other steps involve what happens after becoming Christians—we gain new hearts once we become saved, but sanctification (becoming more like God) is a process. Therefore, we need to consider how to grow spiritually in ways that purify our hearts.

First, we must recognize that we cannot do it ourselves. Therefore, we must ask God to remove our sin. We should tell God to remove our sin and make us pure, according to Psalms 51:7. We should also tell God to create pure hearts in us (Psalms 51:10). David, the man who wrote Psalms 51, was known in the Old Testament as the man after God’s heart. Perhaps we should imitate David here. After all, who has a purer heart than God?

Second, we must look for ways to remove existing sin, because many Bible verses mention that the pure in heart clean out sin, remove sin, or have a lack of sin. We must stop living for sin and live for what’s right (1 Peter 2:24). We can’t think about how to satisfy our sinful desires (Romans 13:14). We should wash evil from our hearts (Jeremiah 4:14). We should not do evil, use God’s name to hide our lies, or make false promises (Psalms 24:3-4). Many other verses dive deeper into this, giving us specific ways to lessen our sin.

Third, we must humble ourselves before God and think purely. We should obey God’s commands (Psalms 119:9). We should give ourselves to God and stand against the devil (James 4:7). We should live the way the Holy Spirit leads us so that we won’t do the evil things our sinful selves want to do (Galatians 5:16-17). We must not let sin control our lives, shouldn’t be ruled by the sinful things we want to do, and shouldn’t serve sin, according to Romans 6:12-13. According to this passage, we should instead offer ourselves to God to be used for doing good. We must learn to control our bodies and use them in a holy way that honors God (1 Thessalonians 4:4). We must capture our thoughts and make them give up and obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We should come near to God, clean sin out of our lives, and make our thinking pure (James 4:8). We should be careful what we think because our thoughts control our lives (Proverbs 4:23). We should think pure thoughts (Matthew 5:8). Perhaps more specifically, we should think about what’s true, honorable, right, beautiful, and respected (Philippians 4:8).

Fourth, we must resist temptation. Because our bodies are weak, we should pray for strength against temptation (Matthew 26:41). We should ask God not to let us not look at worthless things and help us live his way (Psalms 119:37). We should ask God not to let us be tempted, but save us from Satan and his temptations (Matthew 6:13). We should be careful not to fall into temptation (1 Corinthians 10:12) and trust God to help us resist temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). We must run away from sin, knowing our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit who lives in us and honor God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). We should stand strong in our freedom (Galatians 5:1).

Lastly, we shouldn’t try to become the pure in heart alone. We need others, a community, to help us (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). As we join other believers in worship, learning about the Bible, and living the Christian life together, we are spiritually formed to become the pure in heart.

The pure in heart are blessed, and we should use these practical ways to help us become the pure in heart.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Gajus

Jared Salomon is a writer and editor, with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing from Taylor University. He is an associate product developer for Childress Ink. He writes Christian fiction, realistic fiction, and fantasy. In his free time, Jared enjoys hanging out with his friends and playing sports (especially tennis).

This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.

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