Scriptures on Marriage and Sex

Scriptures on Marriage and Sex

Old Testament Scriptures on Marriage and Sex

The History Section Scriptures on Marriage and Sex

Genesis: the dynamics of marriage and family

  • Adam & Eve: marriage and sex were God’s ideas!
  • Abraham and his descendants: God allowed men to have multiple wives (later in the New Testament, Jesus said one man should marry one wife). Multiple wives created a family culture that was dysfunctional and fraught with difficulty. Partiality, jealousy, unfairness, and favoritism were part of family life with multiple wives and children from multiple mothers!
  • Jacob’s love for his wife-to-be was so intense, that working for her father (to pay her dowry) for 7 years, seemed to pass as days!!

The Law Section Scriptures on Marriage and Sex
In the Old Testament, the Law of God was revealed to the Jewish people, with prohibitions on certain sexual activity that was present within other cultures:

  • Adultery: sex outside of marriage (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22; Hebrews 13:4)
  • Incest: sex with a close relative (Leviticus 18)
  • Homosexuality: in both the Old Testament God strongly condemns sexual relations with a person of the same gender (Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13), and in the New Testament (Romans 1:24-28)
  • Rape: (Deuteronomy 22:23-29)
  • Fornication: consensual sex with one other than your mate (Exodus 22:16,17)
  • Prostitution: God stated He hates it (Deuteronomy 23:17,18)
  • Bestiality: a perversion detested by God (Leviticus 20:15,16)

The Poetry Section Scriptures on Marriage and Sex

(Proverbs 5:15-19) Drink water from your own well—share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in public, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Don’t share it with strangers. Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving doe, a graceful deer. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.

There is a clear message in these verses that sex within marriage is a happy, fun dynamic interaction that builds intimacy and authentic love.

Song of Solomon

Within the Old Testament, no book captures God’s feelings about His design for sex in marriage better than the Song of Solomon (also referred to as Song of Songs, and Canticles). We have the romantic interchange between a young husband and his wife. A detailed study reveals:

  • God created the institution of marriage, and designed sex to be the ultimate intimacy-creator. From this book we can draw the following observations:
  • romance is referred to as intoxicating, like wine… we are encouraged to make ourselves drunk with love!
  • Song of Solomon contains detailed descriptions of sexual playfulness between a young husband and wife. Bible scholars would agree that there are direct references to foreplay and sex, and that sexuality is expressed without shame, is honourable, and a significant part of any marriage!
  • the view that sex is “bad” or should not be spoken about is certainly not supported from the Bible!

Be sure to check out our Song of Solomon Bible Studies!

The Minor Prophets Section Scriptures on Marriage and Sex

Here we have the story of a marriage gone bad, fast. It is a rather depressing story of one of God’s prophets (Hosea) who is instructed to marry a prostitute (named Gomer)!

  • This young lady marries Hosea, but eventually returns to her prostitution. We find out that the story is also a metaphor of the relationship between God and His people, Israel, in the Old Testament.
  • Though God loved them, they returned to their sin, and left Him just as Gomer left Hosea.
  • Through this sad tale, we glean one exciting idea: marriage is a picture of God and His love for His people!

New Testament Scriptures on Marriage and Sex

The Gospels Scriptures on Marriage and Sex 
Jesus taught on a wide variety of subjects, and addressed different topics related to sex, marriage, and sexuality on four separate occasions:

  • Divorce: Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18
  • Thoughts of Lust: Matthew 5:27-28
  • Conversations with a Samaritan Woman: John 4:16-18
  • The Woman Caught in Adultery: John 8:1-11

One studies these references and realizes that sex and marriage are designed by God and are incredible. However, humanity is fallen (we are in sin and apart from God), and unable to experience the original beauty of marriage, sex, and freedom from sexual immorality without a personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ.

Without Jesus—and the power of His Spirit working in us—-we can never meet His requirements for righteousness and purity. With Him, though, we can!

The apostle Paul wrote to a church in Corinth, an immoral urban center:

(1 Corinthians 6:15-20) Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

The ancient city of Corinth was notorious for its heathen temples and temple prostitutes. In Corinth, it was culturally acceptable for men to satisfy their sexual lusts as part of their worship of false gods. The apostle Paul taught the Christians in that urban centre that sex was designed—not only as a physical act, but a spiritual one as well, between a husband and wife who “become one flesh” in their marriage relationship. Sex joins two people and they become one. And so, the implications of sex outside of marriage are far reaching and destructive. Paul tells his readers to flee sexual immorality. The reason? Not because sex is “bad”—quite the opposite—it is awesome! The reason is because sex is so powerful! In the wrong context, it is destructive as well as immoral.

(1 Corinthians 7:2-5) But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 

Here we are taught that both husband and wife have sexual needs. Contrary to what some people think the Bible teaches about sex…the Scripture here tells us to have sex frequently so that you have resistance to sexual immorality! The Bible says, “Don’t hold sex from each other, unless you both agree you should abstain in order to focus on prayer for a time—but then resume your regular sex life!”

This is the real Bible message about sex and marriage!

Scriptures on Marriage and Sexual Sin 

(Romans 1:24) Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

(Romans 6:19) I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.

(Galatians 5:19-21) The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

(Ephesians 4:17-19) So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 

(Ephesians 5:1-3) Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

(Colossians 3:5-6) Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

(1 Thessalonians 4:3-7) It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

The New Testament references to sexual immorality point to two facts:

  1. Sexual gratification was rampant thousands of years ago, and is not only a 21st century occurrence (although accessibility is greater than ever before!). It speaks to the strength of the sex drive, and the perversion that will occur when the proper God-ordained boundaries are not placed upon sexuality.
  2. Christians have the unique opportunity and responsibility to demonstrate that sex within marriage is an awesome, God-given gift! 

God’s Plan For Christian Marriages and Sex

(Ephesians 5:31-32) As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 

Every successful marriage brings honour to God! It testifies to the wonder and genius of His design and purposes.

I would like to summarize this brief overview of the Scriptures on marriage and sex: every dynamic Christian marriage is really a bright reflection—shining out to every person and every spiritual authority in the world—of the love between Jesus and His church! 

God’s Word is filled with scriptures on marriage that give wisdom that will help couples develop true intimacy.