Sex in the New Testament

God’s Word for Singles

The Judeo-Christian Bible is the cornerstone of our society’s values and beliefs. It is a complex book, written in several languages, spanning thousands of years. The bible is used by many religious groups and sects to support a variety of viewpoints. It is sometimes hard to understand exactly what the Bible is saying and how it applies to our lives today. Therefore it is critical to pray for guidance and wisdom before embarking any study of the scriptures. Students of the Bible are also encouraged to consult pastors, Bible scholars, and reputable commentaries to help elucidate these important mysteries.

The scriptures were not written in English, so not all scholars agree on the best way interpret the Bible. If you look in a Greek dictionary to find the meanings of the original Greek words for “fornication” or “sexual immorality” (“porneia”) you will find that premarital sex is sometimes included in the definitions for those Greek words and sometimes not. In the Bible, “sexual immorality” encompasses adultery, prostitution, idolatry, rape, pedophilia, and other practices as well. Although premarital sex does not receive the specific, strong condemnation in the Bible that adultery does, most scholars believe it was intended to be included under the catch-all word “porneia.”

Guidelines for Singles

The apostle Paul encouraged a lifestyle of abstinence to facilitate a Christ-like life. For those unable to remain sexually abstinent, he encouraged marriage.

[1] …It is good for a man not to marry. [2] But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. [3] The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. [4] The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. [5] Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. [6] I say this as a concession, not as a command. [7] I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

[8] Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. [9] But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Source: 1 Corinthians 7: 1-9. New International Version.

Marriage or Celibacy?

[32] I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs–how he can please the Lord. [33] But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world–how he can please his wife– [34] and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world–how she can please her husband. [35] I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. [36] If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. [37] But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin–this man also does the right thing. [38] So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better.

Source: 1 Corinthians 7: 32-38. New International Version.

Sexual Conduct

[13] Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. [14] Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Source: Romans 13:13-14. New International Version.

[12] “Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”–but I will not be mastered by anything. [13] “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”–but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. [14] By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. [15] Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! [16] Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” [17] But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. [18] Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. [19] Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; [20] you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Source: 1 Corinthians 6: 12-20. New International Version.

[3] But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. [4] Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

Source: Ephesians 5: 3-4. New International Version.

[3] It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: [4] that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, [5] not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;

Source: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5. New International Version.

What about Pornography?

[27] Jesus said, “You have heard that is was said of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Source: Matthew 5: 27-28. New International Version.

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