Difference Between Sacred and Holy

Sacred vs Holy

Sacred, holy, divine, hallow are terms that are mostly used in terms of things and concepts that are not ordinary but connected with God or godly things. Thus, we have holy bible and sacred texts or scriptures. However, there are many similarities and overlap between holy and sacred prompting many to use these words interchangeably. But the words are not synonymous as suggested by most dictionaries. There are subtle differences between holy and sacred that will be discussed in this article.


If something is holy or sacred, it is said to be in a state of holiness. We talk about holy bible, holy place, and even a holy person. In many religions of the world, there are certain objects, such as religious books and even artifacts believed to belong to the founder of the religion that are considered holy by the followers of the faith. The word has been derived from halig that means uninjured or in sound health, complete, entire, etc. In terms of religion, holiness may be defined as completeness in religion, or perfection in religion.


Sacred is a word that pertains to things godly to differentiate them from things mundane or worldly. While it is also an antonym of profane, sacred refers to anything that is connected with a religion and, therefore, needs to be venerated. Thus, there are sacred rites, sacred texts, sacred rituals, and so on. If something is sacred, it is certainly not secular. Because an object is associated with the divine or a deity, it becomes sacred for the followers of the religion.

Holy vs Sacred

Holiness is a concept, a virtue that is inside a person or a thing. It is because of this virtue that he is called or referred to as holy. Thus, you consider a saint as holy, but he is not sacred to you. However, there are things that are both holy and sacred such as the holy bible. Sacred is a word used to distinguish worldly things and concepts from those that are godly or in some way connected with god. In general, holy is more of an abstract concept whereas concrete objects are considered sacred.