What does the Bible say about sex?

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By BibleAsk Team


Sexuality is a fundamental aspect of human life, and the Bible addresses it comprehensively, offering guidance and principles for how it should be understood and practiced. From creation narratives to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, the Bible provides a framework for understanding sex within the context of God’s design.

Creation and the Divine Design

The Bible begins with the account of creation, where the institution of marriage and sexual union is established. In Genesis, God creates humanity as male and female and blesses their union. Genesis 1:27-28 states:

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'” (Genesis 1:27-28, NKJV)

This passage highlights that sexuality and procreation are part of God’s original design for humanity. The creation of male and female and the command to be fruitful and multiply underscore the importance of sexual union within the context of marriage.

The Sanctity of Marriage

The Bible consistently emphasizes the sanctity of marriage as the appropriate context for sexual relations. In Genesis 2:24, the institution of marriage is established:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24, NKJV)

This verse signifies the leaving of one’s family to form a new, intimate bond with a spouse. The phrase “one flesh” indicates the deep physical and spiritual union that marriage entails. Jesus reiterates this principle in Matthew 19:4-6:

“And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.'” (Matthew 19:4-6, NKJV)

Jesus affirms that marriage is a divine institution meant to be a lifelong, unbreakable bond, highlighting the sacredness of the sexual relationship within marriage.

Prohibitions Against Sexual Immorality

The Bible provides clear prohibitions against various forms of sexual immorality. These prohibitions are meant to protect individuals and uphold the sanctity of marriage and sexuality. In the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments include a commandment against adultery:

“You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14, NKJV)

Adultery is repeatedly condemned throughout the Bible. Proverbs 6:32 warns of its destructive consequences:

“Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul.” (Proverbs 6:32, NKJV)

The New Testament continues to emphasize sexual purity. In 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, Paul exhorts believers to flee from sexual immorality, emphasizing that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit:

“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20, NKJV)

Paul’s teachings underscore the importance of maintaining sexual purity as an act of honoring God.

Marriage as a Symbol of Christ and the Church

The New Testament elevates the concept of marriage by likening it to the relationship between Christ and the Church. In Ephesians 5:25-33, Paul describes the profound mystery of this relationship:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:25-33, NKJV)

This passage reveals that marriage is not only a human institution but also a divine symbol of Christ’s sacrificial love for the Church. Husbands are called to love their wives selflessly, mirroring Christ’s love, and wives are called to respect their husbands. This mutual love and respect reflect the spiritual union between Christ and His followers.

The Dangers of Sexual Immorality

The Bible warns against the dangers of sexual immorality and its destructive consequences. In Proverbs, there are numerous warnings about the allure and peril of illicit sexual relationships. Proverbs 5:3-5 cautions:

“For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell.” (Proverbs 5:3-5, NKJV)

This passage illustrates the deceptive nature of sexual immorality, which may seem appealing but ultimately leads to destruction. The New Testament echoes these warnings. In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul lists sexual immorality among the works of the flesh that prevent inheriting the kingdom of God:

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21, NKJV)

These warnings serve as serious admonitions against engaging in sexual practices outside of God’s design.

Redemption and Forgiveness

Despite the seriousness of sexual sin, the Bible also offers hope for redemption and forgiveness when people repent. Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in adultery in John 8:3-11 is a powerful example of this:

“Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’ This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’ And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.‘” (John 8:3-11, NKJV)

Jesus’ response to the woman highlights His grace and willingness to forgive those who repent. He does not condone her sin but offers her a chance for a new beginning, emphasizing the importance of leaving sin behind.

Sexuality in the Life of Believers

For believers, sexuality is to be lived out in accordance with God’s principles, reflecting purity and holiness. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Paul provides specific instructions regarding sexual conduct:

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, NKJV)

This passage emphasizes the call to sanctification and honor in sexual matters, distinguishing believers from those who do not follow God’s ways. Believers are encouraged to live in a manner that honors God and reflects His holiness.

Sexuality and Self-Control

The Bible also teaches the importance of self-control in relation to sexuality. In 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, Paul addresses those who are unmarried and struggling with sexual desires:

“But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9, NKJV)

Paul acknowledges the reality of sexual desires and recommends marriage as a legitimate outlet for these desires, emphasizing the need for self-control.

Conclusion

The Bible provides comprehensive guidance on the subject of sexuality, framing it within the context of God’s design and purpose. From the creation narrative to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, the Bible underscores the sanctity of marriage, the importance of sexual purity, and the dangers of sexual immorality. It also celebrates the joy and intimacy of marital love and offers hope for redemption and forgiveness for those who have fallen into sexual sin. Believers are called to live out their sexuality in a way that honors God, exercising self-control and reflecting His holiness. Through these teachings, the Bible offers a holistic and redemptive view of human sexuality, rooted in the divine purpose and design.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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