Could dancing be considered Christian recreation?


By BibleAsk Team

Contemporary dancing, characterized by its diverse styles and expressions, has become a prevalent form of recreation and entertainment in modern society. However, within Christian circles, there exists debate regarding the compatibility of contemporary dancing with biblical principles. In this discourse, we will delve into the reasons why the Bible does not support contemporary dancing, drawing insights from relevant passages in the Bible.

Biblical Perspectives on Dancing

The practice of good dancing is not sinful when its done in worship or in joyful expression before God.

  1. Time for Everything: Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NKJV): “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.” This verse from Ecclesiastes acknowledges godly dance as a natural expression of human emotion and experience. It suggests that there is a proper time for it, implying that it can be appropriate within certain contexts.
  2. Praise: Psalm 149:3 (NKJV): “Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.” The Psalms frequently reference dancing as a form of praise and worship to God. Here, it is presented as a joyful and reverent act of honoring the Lord, accompanied by musical instruments.
  3. Worship: 2 Samuel 6:14-16 (NKJV): “Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod… And David leaped and danced before the Lord.” King David’s exuberant dancing before the Lord following the return of the Ark of the Covenant exemplifies the activity as a spiritual expression. His uninhibited worship through demonstrates a heart of devotion and praise to God.

Christian Guidelines

Most popular contemporary dancing is conducted with worldly music and has very strong sexual emphasis associated with it which leads the mind to impurities that the Bible warns us against. The word of God says, “Flee (as in “run away from”) the evil desires of youth” (2 Timothy 2:22). Let us review the Biblical guidelines for such activities:

  1. The Sanctity of Worship: Exodus 20:3-5 (NKJV): “You shall have no other gods before Me… You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…” Worship occupies a central place in the Christian faith, and believers are called to offer God sincere adoration and reverence. Contemporary forms of dancing, especially in secular contexts, may blur the lines between worshiping the Creator and idolizing human expression or entertainment. The Bible emphasizes the exclusivity of worshiping God alone, cautioning against any form of idolatry or compromise.
  2. Modesty and Purity: 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (NKJV): “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation… which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” Modesty is a recurring theme in Scripture, with an emphasis on maintaining purity and propriety in appearance and conduct. Certain forms of contemporary dancing, particularly those characterized by suggestive movements or revealing attire, may contradict the biblical principles of modesty and purity. Christians are called to honor God with their bodies and to avoid behaviors that may lead to temptation or compromise their witness.
  3. Avoiding the Appearance of Evil: 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (NKJV): “Abstain from every form of evil.” Christians should exercise caution and discernment in their recreational pursuits. Participating in certain dance environments or performances, particularly those associated with themes or behaviors contrary to biblical values, may give rise to perceptions of condoning or endorsing ungodly practices. Believers are exhorted to abstain from every form of evil and to uphold a standard of righteousness in all aspects of life.
  4. Fleeing Temptation: 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV): “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” The Bible warns against the dangers of sexual immorality and encourages believers to flee from temptation. Contemporary dancing, particularly those that promote sensual or provocative movements, may create an environment conducive to lustful thoughts or behaviors. Christians are called to guard their hearts and minds against impurity and to pursue holiness in their relationships and interactions.
  5. Edification and Spiritual Growth: 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NKJV): “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.” While Christians enjoy freedom in Christ, they are also called to consider the impact of their actions on themselves and others. Contemporary dancing, particularly those that promote self-indulgence or worldly values, may hinder spiritual growth and edification. Believers are called to practice the activities that build up and strengthen their faith, rather than leading them away from God’s purposes and truths.
  6. Discerning Cultural Influences: Romans 12:2 (NKJV): “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Contemporary dancing is often influenced by cultural trends and values that may be at odds with biblical principles. Christians should be discerning in their engagement with popular culture, avoiding activities or expressions that compromise their commitment to Christ. While cultural forms of expression may evolve over time, believers are called to remain steadfast in their faith and to seek alignment with God’s will above worldly influences.
  7. Avoid Worldly Practices: Titus 2:12 (NKJV): “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Christians are called for holy living.  
  8. “What Would Jesus Do?: 1 John 2:6 (NKJV): “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so walk, even as he walked.” The Lord, in Matthew 18:6, teaches that doing any activity that may cause another person to stumble or lose His connection with the Lord is considered a sin. So, when you are in confusion about a activity, ask yourself: What would Jesus do? We need to act like Jesus.
  9. Wholesome Activities: Philippians 4:8 (NKJV): “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Our activities should be pure and uplifting.
  10. Modesty: One of the primary concerns raised by Christians is the potential for immodesty or inappropriate behavior. Christians are called to exercise discretion and modesty in their conduct, ensuring that their actions reflect respect for themselves and others (1 Timothy 2:8-10).
  11. Stewardship of the Body: The Bible teaches that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and we are called to honor God with our bodies. Engaging in any activity should be done in a manner that upholds the principles of physical and spiritual stewardship.
  12. Discernment: While the act of dance itself is not inherently sinful, Christians are cautioned against participating in environments or practices that may lead to temptation or compromise their faith. This requires discernment and wisdom in assessing the appropriateness of specific forms of it (James 1:5).


In conclusion, while contemporary dancing may offer enjoyment and recreation to many, there are valid concerns among Christians regarding its compatibility with biblical principles. The sanctity of worship, the principles of modesty and purity, the avoidance of evil, the fleeing of temptation, the pursuit of edification, and the discernment of cultural influences all contribute to the debate surrounding contemporary dance within Christian contexts. Ultimately, believers are called to prayerfully consider how their recreational pursuits align with their faith and to prioritize activities that honor God and uphold His standards of righteousness. In any kind of activity, the key is to engage in it with a sincere desire to glorify God and to live in accordance with His Word.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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