What does the Bible say about contraception?

Author: BibleAsk Team


The topic of contraception, the deliberate prevention of pregnancy through various methods, is a subject of considerable debate and discussion within religious and ethical frameworks. While the Bible does not explicitly address contraception in modern terms, it contains principles and passages that have been interpreted to inform perspectives on reproductive health and family planning. In this exploration, we delve into the biblical perspectives on the use of contraception, drawing upon references from the Bible and considering the implications for contemporary ethical and theological discourse.

Fertility and Procreation in Scripture:

The biblical narrative emphasizes the importance of fertility and procreation as part of God’s divine plan for humanity. From the creation account in Genesis to the blessings of offspring throughout the Old and New Testaments, the Bible affirms the value and significance of bearing children.

References:

  • Genesis 1:28 (NKJV) – “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.'”
  • Psalm 127:3-5 (NKJV) – “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”

The Marital Union and Responsible Parenthood:

While the Bible celebrates the gift of children, it also emphasizes the importance of responsible family planning and the sanctity of the marital union. Marriage is depicted as a sacred covenant between husband and wife, characterized by mutual love, fidelity, and partnership.

References:

  • Ephesians 5:31-33 (NKJV) – “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. Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
  • 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NKJV) – “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Biblical Principles of Stewardship and Prudence:

While the Bible does not explicitly address contraception, it contains principles of stewardship and prudence that inform ethical decision-making regarding family planning and reproductive health. Responsible planning involves careful consideration of factors such as health, financial resources, and the well-being of existing children.

References:

  • Proverbs 27:23 (NKJV) – “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds.”
  • Luke 14:28 (NKJV) – “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—”

Diverse Perspectives on the Use of Contraceptions:

The Catholic Church has been opposed to contraception for as far back as one can historically trace. But there is no Bible command that says that. The kind of birth prevention that the Bible would endorse is the kind that prevents conception.

God told Adam and Eve “Be fruitful, and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). But He didn’t say they should do that indefinitely.  Couples should be responsible for the welfare of their children.  They should be able to provide for all their needs. Jesus said any man who builds a tower, let him count the cost first or else others will mock him if he cannot finish (Luke 14:28). So, before having children, couples should have a financial plan to see if they can afford the needs of their young.

Most Protestant Churches gave approval for birth control – contraception – and held that each couple has the right and the duty prayerfully and responsibly to control conception according to their circumstances. These churches affirm that contraceptions are part of the fundamental health care and that efforts should be made by parents and the community to make sure that each child enters the world with a healthy body, and is born into an environment that would assist the infant to reach his or her potential.

A couple’s motives for delaying childbearing, using contraceptions, or even having numerous children, is a private matter. Therefore, people should not judge each other’s motives and decisions. All married couples should seek the Lord’s will and wisdom to find whether they should have children or not. And the Lord promised, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5,6).

Conclusion: Navigating Ethical Choices with Wisdom and Discernment:

In conclusion, the topic of contraception presents complex ethical and theological considerations that require careful discernment and reflection within the context of individual values. While the Bible provides foundational principles for understanding human fertility, marriage, and family, it does not prescribe specific methods of contraception or offer definitive guidance on reproductive health. Instead, believers are called to approach matters of family planning with wisdom, prudence, and respect for the sanctity of life, recognizing the diverse circumstances and needs of individuals and families.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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