Sex Bible Study

Bible study notes on the topic of sex, marriage and related topics.

Sexual Immorality

General term used in New Testament. Greek word πορνεία (porneia) means literally prostitution. But also more broadly can refer to all sexual immorality, including fornication.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Flee sexual immorality. Don't be joined to a prostitute.
1 Corinthians 6:9 Fornicators from Greek πόρνος (pornos) (male prostitutes maybe) won't inherit the kingdom.
1 Corinthians 6:16 Harlot from πόρνη (pornē).
1 Corinthians 6:18 Sexual Immorality from πορνεία (porneia).
1 Corinthians 7:2 Sexual Immorality from πορνεία (porneia).
Galatians 5:19 Fornication is listed as one of the works of the flesh.
Ephesians 5:3-7 Don't let fornication be even named among you. Fornicators won't inherit the kingdom. Wrath of God comes on such people.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 Abstain from sexual immorality.
1 Timothy 1:10 The law is made for sinners such as fornicators.

Fornication

See the notes above regarding sexual immorality and the Greek word πορνεία (porneia). A lot of that is relevant to fornication.

Genesis 34 Dinah incident.
Exodus 22:16-17; Deuteronomy 22:28-29 Man who lies with a virgin not betrothed or married. He must marry her. Some say this is forcing a woman to marry her rapist. But that's a misreading of meaning. Compare Ex says "entices" while Deut says "seizes".
Deuteronomy 22:13-21 Blood on the wedding sheets as evidence of a woman's virginity. Death penalty for a woman who is not a virgin as expected. Described as "played the harlot".

Adultery

Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18 Seventh commandment.
Leviticus 20:10 Death penalty for adultery.
Numbers 5:11-31 Ritual for wife suspected of adultery.
Deuteronomy 22:22 Death penalty for both man and woman.
Deuteronomy 22:23-27 Also for betrothed. Note the asymmetry between rules for man and woman (men perpetrate rape on a woman victim). Leviticus 19:20 Only a scourging for the case of a betrothed concubine (a woman who is not free — see section below re concubines).
Proverbs 2:16-19 Seductress forsakes her marriage covenant, and leads men to death.
Proverbs 5
Proverbs 6:23-35 God's commands keep us from the evil woman, seductress, harlot, neighbour's wife. v.32 Whoever commits adultery lacks understanding; destroys his own soul.
Proverbs 7:6-27 Beware of the seductress, harlot, adulteress.
Jeremiah 3:8-9 Adultery symbolic of spiritual unfaithfulness to God.
Ezekiel 18:6,11,15; 22:11; 33:26 God criticises Israel for defiling one another's wives.
Matthew 1:18-25 Joseph and Mary, betrothed but marriage not yet consummated. Shows Joseph's attitude to laws about sex and marriage.
Matthew 5:27-30 Jesus magnified the law: even to look lustfully is to commit adultery.
John 8:3-11 Woman caught in adultery, brought to Jesus to ask what he thought should be done. He said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Marriage

Genesis 2:18-25 Institution of marriage began with Adam and Eve.
Deuteronomy 24:5 A man is free from war and business duties for one year after getting married, to bring happiness to his wife.
Proverbs 2:17 Marriage is a covenant of God.
Proverbs 5:18-19 Sexual relationship in marriage is blessed.
Malachi 2:14 Marriage is a covenant of God.
Romans 7:1-3 Marriage is for life, "'til death do us part". After death of spouse, remarriage is fine.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 Sexual duties between husband and wife.
1 Corinthians 7:1-2,6-9 Is it good not to marry? 1 Corinthians 7:25-35 Perhaps in a time of persecution, pragmatically better not to marry.
Ephesians 5:22-33 Principles of marriage for husband and wife.
Ephesians 5:32; Revelation 12:1; 19:7-9 Marriage is symbolic of Christ and the church.
1 Timothy 4:3 "forbidding to marry" is a false doctrine.
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Polygamy

Genesis 4:19 First case: Lamech.
Genesis 25:6 Abraham had concubines.
Genesis 29:15-35; 30:1-24 Jacob married Leah as well as Rachel, due to Laban's trickery. The wife-sisters' rivalry was bitter.
Leviticus 18:18 God prohibited marrying two sisters, mentioning rivalry.
Deuteronomy 17:17 A king must not "multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away". 1 Kings 10:26-29 But Solomon did.
Deuteronomy 21:15-17 Laws of inheritance — firstborn double-portion birthright — in the case of someone who has married more than one wife, and favours one over the other.
1 Samuel 1:1-7 Samuel's father Elkanah had two wives Peninnah and Hannah, and the one provoked the other.
2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:9; 14:3-7 David had multiple wives and concubines.
1 Timothy 3:2 An overseer must be "the husband of one wife". Does this mean to prohibit polygamy, or divorce, or remarriage in general?

Concubine

Genesis 22:24 Abraham's brother Nahor's concubine Reumah.
Genesis 25:1-6 describes Keturah as Abraham's wife, but says Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac, but says he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines. 1 Chronicles 1:32 describes Keturah as Abraham's concubine.
Genesis 35:22 Bilhah is described as Jacob's concubine. Genesis 29:29 Bilhah was Rachel's maid given to her by her father Laban. Genesis 30:1-7 She is described as being given to Jacob by Rachel "as wife". This is similar to Abram and Sarai and Hagar in Genesis 16:3. Ishmael is described as being a son "by a bondwoman" in Galatians 4:22, symbolic of bondage of the Old Covenant.
Genesis 36:12 Timna was the concubine of Eliphaz, Esau's son.
Exodus 21:7-11 Some describe this as a sort of concubine arrangement. Purchasing someone's daughter to be a wife.
Exodus 22:16-17 In the laws for sex outside marriage, mentions a "bride-price for her to be his wife"; a "bride-price for virgins". Is this the same or different from Exodus 21:7-11? Probably different, because there is no economic reason to think she would not still be a free woman.
Numbers 31:18; Deuteronomy 21:10-14 Taking a wife from among captives of war. If you have no delight in her, set her free, but don't sell her, or treat her brutally, because you have humbled her.
Leviticus 19:20-22 The penalty for sexual relations with someone's betrothed concubine was a scourging, not death, "because she was not free". But it is still described as a sin for the man.
Judges 8:31 Abimelech son of Gideon's concubine in Shechem. Judges 9 Evidently was not considered a son at the same level as Gideon's 70 sons (in some sense). Killed all of Gideon's sons bar one, and made himself king in Shechem.
Judges 19 The story of the Levite's concubine.
2 Samuel 3:7; 21:11 Saul's concubine Rizpah.
2 Samuel 5:13; 15:16; 16:21-22; 19:5; 20:3 David's concubines. He left ten when he fled from Absalom. Absalom slept with them. After that David had no more sexual relations with them, but they lived as widows. 1 Chronicles 3:9 mentions that David's concubines had sons, but doesn't name them.
1 Kings 11:3 Solomon had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. Song of Solomon 6:8-9 says 60 queens and 80 concubines and virgins without number.
1 Chronicles 2:46-49 lists descendents of two of Caleb's concubines, Ephah and Maachah.
1 Chronicles 7:14 Manasseh had a Syrian concubine, whose descendents are listed.
2 Chronicles 11:21 Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines.
Esther 2:14 Shaashgaz kept King Ahasuerus' concubines.
Daniel 5:2-3,23 mentions Belshazzar's concubines.

Marriage Provides for Children to Learn Righteousness

Malachi 2:15 God seeks godly offspring.
Malachi 4:6 Elijah to come who will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and vice-versa.

Marry a Believer

Genesis 24:1-4 Abraham told Isaac not to marry a Caananite woman.
Genesis 28:1 Isaac told Jacob not to marry a Caananite woman.
Genesis 26:34-35; 28:6-9; 36:2 Esau had married Caananite (Hittite) women, but saw it displeased his parents. So he married a daughter of Ishmael as well.
Exodus 34:11-16 Don't intermarry (or make any other agreement) with pagans of the land, and consequently "play the harlot" with their gods.
Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:9-11 Principle of not mixing things that don't go together, including "don't plow with an ox and a donkey together".
Numbers 31:12-18; Deuteronomy 21:10-14 Taking a wife from among captives of war. But only from nations far away, not from the Canaanites who God said are too idolatrous and morally corrupt.
Deuteronomy 7:1-5; 22:10; 23:2 Don't marry pagans who will turn us away from God.
1 Kings 11:1-3 King Solomon married many foreign wives, from the nations God warned Israel not to marry with. They turned his heart away from God.
2 Chronicles 19:2 A prophet to Jehoshaphat: “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you.”
Ezra 9 and 10 Ezra had to deal with people of Judah who married foreigners.
Nehemiah 10:30; 13:23-30 Jews who had married pagans. Their children didn't even speak Judah's native language.
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
Malachi 2:11-12 Judah has done treacherously, an abomination, by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. May God cut off such a person from Jacob.
1 Corinthians 7:39 Marry "only in the Lord".
1 Corinthians 15:33 Evil company corrupts good habits.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Principle of "Don't be unequally yoked". Don't join together believers and unbelievers in an intimate union. May also apply to business ventures, friendships, military service, alliances (eg Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 19:2).
James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Inter-racial Marriage

See "Marry a Believer" section above. The issue seems to be about religious fidelity, not race.

Genesis 16:1-4 Abram went in to Hagar, Sarai's Egyptian maidservant.
Genesis 41:45 Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On.
Numbers 12:1 Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses for marrying an Ethiopian (Cushite) woman. Apparently a second wife, because his first, Zipporah in Exodus 2:21, was a Midianite.
Joshua 6:17-25 Rahab the harlot, of Jericho, must have been a Canaanite. Matthew 1:5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, thus Rahab was in the lineage of Jesus.
Ruth 1:4 Ruth was a Moabite, and eventually married Boaz. Thus Ruth was in the lineage of Jesus. Genesis 19:36-37 The Moabites were descendents of Lot. So not really inter-racial marriage.
Ezra 9:2 criticises marriages with Canaanites, saying "the holy seed is mixed with the peoples of those lands." But Ezra 9:11 says the issue was about the wickedness of those nations.
Acts 17:26 All humans are from one blood (Adam).
Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11 God shows no partiality.
Romans 10:12-13; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11 There is neither Jew nor Greek...

Divorce

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 Old Testament law on divorce. Send her out with a certificate. Not allowed to remarry her again later.
Proverbs 5:18-19 Rejoice with the wife of your youth.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife you love all the days of your vain life...
Jeremiah 3:1,8 God uses metaphor of divorce and returning to refer to His people.
Malachi 2:13-16 God wants godly offspring. Don't deal treacherously with one's wife, "your companion and your wife by covenant". Divorce covers your garment with violence.
Matthew 5:31-32 Don't divorce, except due to sexual immorality.
Matthew 19:3-10; Mark 10:2-12
Luke 16:18 To divorce and remarry is to commit adultery. Likewise to marry a divorcee.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 Don't divorce. If you separate, stay unmarried or reconcile. (Are the rules stricter for men—ie simply "don't divorce"—or is it just ambiguous wording?)
1 Corinthians 7:12-16 Divorce principles in the case of unbelievers. Don't divorce an unbelieving spouse if they're willing to live in peace. Unbelieving spouse is sanctified. But if they depart, believer is not bound.
1 Corinthians 7:39 Wife is bound as long as her husband lives.

Rape

Genesis 34 Case of Dinah and Shechem doesn't sound like rape, due to v.3-4, even though v.2 uses same Hebrew word as 2 Samuel 13:14 translates "forced".
Deuteronomy 22:25-27 Law about rape, which is assumed for case of a married or betrothed woman in a remote setting. In a populated area where she could cry out with reasonable expectation of being heard, that sex is considered as adultery.
Exodus 22:16-17; Deuteronomy 22:28-29 Man who lies with a virgin not betrothed or married. He must marry her. Some say this is forcing a woman to marry her rapist. But that's a misreading of meaning. Compare Ex says "entices" while Deut says "seizes".
Judges 19-20 The Levite's concubine.
2 Samuel 13:1-22 Amnon raped Tamar. Note his desire for her almost immediately turned to disdain for her after he raped her.

Homosexuality

Genesis 19:5 Men of Sodom wanted homosexual sex.
Leviticus 18:22; 20:13 Prohibited.
Matthew 19:12 eunuchs born that way.
Romans 1:26-29 God gave up ungodly people to chase unnatural and wrong desires.
1 Corinthians 6:9 Homosexuals and sodomites (amongst others including thieves, idolaters and covetous people) won't inherit the kingdom.
1 Timothy 1:10
Jude 1:7 Sodom and Gomorrah, who went after sexual immorality, set as an example of God's judgement.

Cross-dressing

Deuteronomy 22:5 Women must not wear men's clothing, and vice-versa. It's an abomination to God.
1 Corinthians 11:4-15 Women wearing a covering; hair length. Somewhat puzzling what issue exactly is being discussed, and the context of the issue, and the Old Testament law basis for what Paul writes.

Trans-gender

Matthew 19:12 eunuchs born that way.

Emasculation

Deuteronomy 23:1 He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the Lord.
Isaiah 56:3-5 God reassures eunuchs (and Gentiles) that they have a place in His kingdom.
Matthew 19:12 eunuchs born that way; eunuchs made that way by men.

Beastiality

Leviticus 18:23; 20:15-16 Prohibited.
Deuteronomy 27:21 Cursed.

Close Relatives

Leviticus 18 prohibits sexual relations with various close relatives. Even some that had previously been done, eg by Abraham marrying his half-sister: Genesis 20:2,12
Deuteronomy 27:20-23 Cursed.
Ezekiel 22:11 God criticises Israel for engaging in relations with close relatives.
Amos 2:7 A man and his father go in to the same girl.
1 Corinthians 5:1 Sin in church at Corinth — a man had his father's wife.

Prostitution

See the notes above regarding sexual immorality and the Greek word πορνεία (porneia). The Greek word literally means prostitution, so a lot of the scriptures about "sexual immorality" are relevant to prostitution.

Genesis 34:31 Jacob's sons regarding Shechem and Dinah: "Should he treat our sister like a harlot?"
Genesis 38 Judah and Tamar. Tamar dressed as a harlot, and Judah went in to her. His hypocrisy was exposed.
Proverbs 6:23-35 God's commands keep us from the evil woman, seductress, harlot, neighbour's wife.
Proverbs 7:6-27 Beware of the seductress, harlot, adulteress.
1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Flee sexual immorality. Don't be joined to a prostitute.
Revelation 17:1,5,16-17 Babylon is described as a harlot that rides the beast.

Pornography

English word is derived from Greek πορνεία (porneia). Pornography is like visual prostitution.

Job 31:1 Job determined not to look at a woman lustfully.
Proverbs 6:25 Don't lust after a seductive woman in your heart.
Matthew 5:27-30 Jesus magnified the law of adultery: even to look lustfully is to commit adultery.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Bring every thought into captivity.

Masturbation

Genesis 38:8-10 Onan's sin is not masturbation, but using coitus interruptus to avoid carrying out his duty to his brother (kindred redeemer aka levirate marriage).
Leviticus 15:16-18; 22:4-7 Laws of uncleanness due to emission of semen. Note normal sexual intercourse between man and wife also makes them unclean. Unclean doesn't mean sin in its own right, but is ceremonial for purity when going to the tabernacle (Lev 15:31).
Deuteronomy 23:9-11 Strict rules for soldiers going to war and "some occurrence in the night". God expected the army to be holy.
Proverbs 5:18-19 Be satisfied by your wife.
1 Corinthians 6:12 Don't be ruled by desire.
1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Sexually satisfy your spouse, to fend off Satan's temptations due to lack of self-control.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Bring every thought into captivity.

Lust and Temptation

Matthew 5:29-30 Do whatever is required to resist our temptations. Some small sacrifice is better than losing our salvation.
Romans 8:1-11 Live by God's spirit, not by our fleshly desires.
1 Corinthians 10:13 God doesn't give us temptations that are too much for us to endure.
Galatians 5:16-25 Walk in the spirit, not the lusts of the flesh.
Ephesians 4:17-24 Put off life of lusts, and put on a new man led by God's spirit.
James 1:12-15 Blessed to endure temptation. Temptation arises from our own desires.
1 Peter 4:1-6 Resist sin and our human desires, even while people around us live by lusts.
1 John 2:15-17 This world motivated by lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, pride of life.

Sexual Practices in Idolatry

Often pagan idolatry involved some sexual behaviour.

Exodus 32:6; 1 Corinthians 10:7 Revelry at golden calf incident.
Numbers 25:1-9; 31:16; 1 Corinthians 10:8; Revelation 2:14 Balaam and the Moabites.

Spiritual Symbolism of Sexuality

Harlotry, adultery, fornication etc used as a metaphor for spiritual unfaithfulness to God.

Exodus 34:15-17 warns against "playing the harlot" with Canaanite gods, and intermarrying with them.
Ezekiel 6:9 Adultery and harlotry with idols.
Revelation 17:1,5,16-17 Babylon is described as a harlot that rides the beast.

Ceremonial Uncleanness

Exodus 19:15 Before God appeared at Mt Sinai, Moses told the people to get ready, including washing their clothes and staying away from their wives.
Leviticus 12:1-8 Uncleanness due to childbirth, similar to menstruation. 33 days for a baby boy, 66 days for a baby girl. No explanation why it is double time for a female child.
Leviticus 15:16-17,32; 22:4-7 Uncleanness due to emission of semen.
Leviticus 15:18 Uncleanness due to emission of semen during normal sexual intercourse between man and wife.
Leviticus 15:19-33 Uncleanness due to menstruation or other unusual discharge.
Leviticus 15:31 Unclean doesn't mean sin in its own right, but is ceremonial for purity when going to the tabernacle.
Deuteronomy 23:9-11 Strict rules for soldiers going to war. Anyone who became unclean due to some "occurrence in the night" had to stay outside of the camp until evening. God expected the army to be holy.
1 Samuel 21:4-5 David's men ate of the holy temple bread, but had to be ceremonially clean (specifically, had stayed away from women) to do so.

Menstruation

Genesis 31:34-35 Rachel used menstruation as a ruse to hide her father's stolen idols.
Leviticus 15:19-30,33 Laws of uncleanness (for tabernacle—v.31).
Leviticus 18:19; 20:18 Don't approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her customary impurity. What does this mean in light of Leviticus 15:24,33? That says whoever "lies with her at all" so maybe that means someone who shares a bed even without having sex.
Leviticus 12:1-8 Uncleanness due to childbirth, similar to menstruation. 33 days for a baby boy, 66 days for a baby girl. No explanation why it is double time for a female child.
Ezekiel 18:6; 22:10 God criticises Israel because among other sins, men approach/violate women who are set apart in their monthly impurity.
Ezekiel 36:17 Israel's sins compared to uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity.

Circumcision

Genesis 17:10-14,23-27
Exodus 12:43-48
Leviticus 12:2-4
Joshua 5:2-9
Romans 2:26-29
1 Corinthians 7:17-20 Remain as you were when called, whether circ or uncirc. Circ is nothing; uncirc is nothing; keeping the commandments is what matters.
Galatians 5:6
Philippians 3:3
Colossians 2:11 In Christ we were circumcised with the circumcision made without hands.

Gender differences

Genesis 17:10-14,23-27; Exodus 12:43-48; Leviticus 12:2-4; Joshua 5:2-9 Circumcision for males only.
Leviticus 12:1-8 Uncleanness due to childbirth, similar to menstruation. 33 days for a baby boy, 66 days for a baby girl. No explanation why it is double time for a female child.
Numbers 5:11-31 Ritual for wife suspected of adultery.
Deuteronomy 21:10-14 When Israel went to war, they could take young women captive to be wives, but kill all the males.
Deuteronomy 22:13-21 Blood on the wedding sheets as evidence of a woman's virginity. Death penalty for a woman who is not a virgin as expected. Described as "played the harlot".
Deuteronomy 22:23-27 Rape away from built-up areas. Asymmetry between rules for man and woman (men perpetrate rape on a woman victim).

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