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Some Basic Biblical Concepts Regarding Sexual Activity

(concepts either directly stated or implied by Scripture)

1) It is to occur only within the context of marriage to a human of the opposite gender.

                        Genesis 2:23-24.

2) It involves one man and one woman.

                        Genesis 2:23-24; reaffirmed by Jesus (Matthew 19)

Also implied: all deviations from this are sin. (This is illustrated by various prohibitions found in the book of Leviticus.)


3) The relationship must be directed and guided by the demands of morality and godliness, and must be done in a way that promotes these things.

                        "In the Lord" - 1 Corinthians 7:39

                        Malachi 2:15

                        Not doing this was the sin of Genesis 6:1-3.


4) Marriage to close family ties (blood relatives) is forbidden. This includes marrying the spouses of close family ties.

                        Leviticus 18 and 20; 1 Corinthians 5:1 (some examples)


5) Marriage is neither morally worse nor morally better than celibacy. Each must be considered a gift, and each person must evaluate deliberately and intelligently (not based on emotions and feelings) what his gift is. Either choice will have consequences, and both choices have specific rights and responsibilities.

                        1 Corinthians 7

The verses listed above are just a few of those that focus on this issue. These five concepts are based on a summary given in "Principles of Conduct - Aspects of Biblical Ethics," by John Murray (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1957), chapter 3.


Remember that sexuality is part of what it means to bear the "image of God" (Genesis 1:26-27). We are to reflect God's nature and moral character in all that we do. This means that sexual sin is not only against other people, but against God. It is a sin (involving one's body) that is just as serious as using God's name in vain (involving one's mouth) or idolatry (involving one's worship and one's "God-concept").


Dennis Hinks © 2005