NIV Hebrews 13:11

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp.

Holy Place
ἅγια (hagia)
Adjective - Accusative Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 40: Set apart by (or for) God, holy, sacred. From hagos; sacred.

In https://biblehub.com/hebrews/13-11.htm, 4 versons translate it as "Most Holy Place" while 15 versions say "Holy Place". Which is right?

2 Answers 2


Most versions are quite inconsistent about how they render "ta hagia" in the book of Hebrews. It is sometimes rendered, "holy place" and sometimes, "most holy place" and sometimes, "sanctuary".

"ta hagia" is literally, "the holies".

We must be careful to distinguish between the three different forms of this in Hebrews:

  • Ἅγια (hagia) is just the "holy place" as per Heb 9:2
  • Ἅγια ἁγίων (hagia hagion) is the "holy of holies" or "Most Holy Place" as per Heb 9:3
  • τα' ἅγια (ta hagia) is neuter plural and denotes the entirety of the parts of the sanctuary as per Heb 8:2, 9:8, 9:12, 24, 25, 10:19, 13:11.

Note that the three different forms can be seen side by side in Heb 9:1, 2, 3. The first is "ta hagia" meaning the sanctuary as a whole.

Most versions get Heb 8:2 & 9:1, correct and render ta hagia as "sanctuary". Most of the other cases are quite inconsistent. However, the New English Bible consistently renders "ta hagia" as sanctuary. The reason for this is simple - the neuter plural denotes the entirety of the parts, that is, Ta hagia (= the holies or holy places) indicates all of the sanctuary's parts.

We see the same thing for the singular word, Jerusalem, often used as a neuter plural, Ἱεροσόλυμα denoting all of its contents such as Matt 2:1, 3, 3:5, 4:25, 5:35, etc.


Ta Hagia is plural. So the correct translation is “the holy places.”

The holiest place is the holy of holies in the temple. For example, in Numbers 18:9.

Holy of holies

Hebrew: מִקֹּ֥דֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁ֖ים

Greek: των ηγιασμένων αγίων

That is not what is described here in hebrews. Translations can infer a bunch of stuff like this where, for example, holy spirit appears without a definite article so it is really “a holy spirit.” Same with “a messiah” in several places. The translations provide the “the” (definite article). Translations don’t like the idea of plurality of these things because it questions centralized control systems.

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