The concept of abstinence is not only relevant to physical purity but also to maintaining a pure heart and mind. The Bible contains verses that address the importance of abstinence in various aspects of life. Join us as we explore these verses that promote self-control, chastity, and living a life that honors God’s principles of purity and holiness.
Also Study: Bible Verses for First Responders
Bible Verses about Abstinence
Abstinence before Marriage
In the Bible, abstinence before marriage is emphasized as a way to honor God and preserve the sanctity of marriage. God designed sex to be enjoyed within the confines of marriage, as stated in Hebrews 13:4, which says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” This verse reminds us that God takes sexual purity seriously and expects us to honor His design for intimacy.
Additional verses that promote abstinence before marriage include 1 Corinthians 7:2, which instructs us to “avoid sexual immorality” and to “each have our own spouse.” The Bible also warns against the temptation to engage in premarital sexual sin in passages such as Ephesians 5:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 and Galatians 5:19.
1 Corinthians 6:18
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
This verse emphasizes the importance of fleeing from sexual immorality. It highlights that engaging in sexual immorality is a sin that affects one’s own body, and therefore, believers should abstain from it.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.”
God’s will for believers is to live a sanctified life, which includes abstaining from sexual immorality. Believers are called to exercise self-control over their bodies and live in a manner that is pleasing to God.
“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 is to be highly esteemed, and the marriage bed should be kept pure and undefiled. God takes sexual immorality seriously and will judge those who engage in it.
1 Corinthians 7:2
“But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.”
Recognizing the potential temptation towards sexual immorality, this verse encourages believers to enter into the covenant of marriage. It highlights the importance of a committed relationship to avoid falling into sexual sin.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality…”
This verse lists sexual immorality as one of the works of the flesh. Believers are called to live by the Spirit and avoid engaging in any form of sexual immorality.
Abstinence after Divorce
Abstinence after divorce is a challenging topic, as it is often associated with the idea of remaining celibate for the rest of one’s life. While the Bible does not explicitly command abstinence after divorce, it does provide guidance on how believers should handle divorce and subsequent relationships.
In Matthew 19:9, Jesus states that divorce is permitted in the case of sexual immorality, but remarriage is not encouraged unless the previous marriage was ended due to the death of a spouse. This implies that after a divorce, it is important to take time to heal emotionally and spiritually before entering into a new romantic relationship.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 exhorts those who have divorced to remain unmarried or to reconcile with their former spouse, but also acknowledges that not all situations are the same. This passage recognizes that divorce may be inevitable in some cases, but it encourages believers to prioritize reconciliation whenever possible.
“And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
Jesus teaches that divorce is only permitted in the case of sexual immorality, and remarriage after divorce without proper grounds is considered adultery.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11
“To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.”
This verse encourages married couples not to separate or divorce. If separation does occur, it should be with the intention of reconciliation or remaining unmarried.
“And he said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.'”
These verses reiterate that divorce and remarriage, unless for the grounds of sexual immorality, are considered adultery in the eyes of God.
1 Corinthians 7:39
“A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.”
If a spouse dies, the remaining partner is free to remarry. However, it is important to marry someone who is a believer and in alignment with the Lord’s will.
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”
Jesus teaches that divorcing one’s spouse and marrying another is committing adultery, as is marrying someone who has been divorced. Adultery is a sin that believers should abstain from.
Abstinence from Sexual Sin
The Bible emphasizes abstinence from sexual sin throughout both the Old and New Testaments. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, Paul writes, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you knows how to control his own body in holiness and honor.” This verse emphasizes the importance of sexual purity and self-control.
Other verses that emphasize abstinence from sexual sin include Hebrews 13:4, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, and Romans 13:14. These passages warn against indulging in lustful desires and instead encourage believers to pursue holiness and glorify God with their bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
This verse clearly states that the sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God. Believers are called to abstain from any form of sexual sin.
1 Thessalonians 4:7
“For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.”
This verse reminds believers that God has called them to live in holiness, which includes abstaining from impurity and sexual sin.
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
Believers are instructed to put to death their earthly desires, including sexual immorality, impurity, and evil passion. Abstaining from sexual sin is a demonstration of wholehearted devotion to God.
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”
In the body of Christ, sexual immorality and impurity should not even be mentioned among believers. It is a standard of conduct that is fitting for saints.
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
This verse teaches that even entertaining lustful thoughts is considered adultery in the heart. Abstaining from lustful intentions and thoughts is a way to honor God.
Abstinence from Fornication
In the Bible, fornication refers to any sexual activity outside of marriage. The importance of abstinence from fornication is emphasized in various verses such as 1 Corinthians 6:18, which states, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” This verse highlights the unique destructiveness of sexual sin.
Other verses that address the need for abstinence from fornication include 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Galatians 5:19, and Ephesians 5:3-5. These passages all warn against engaging in sexual immorality and emphasize the importance of maintaining sexual purity.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
This powerful passage highlights the importance of fleeing from sexual immorality. Believers are reminded that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and they should glorify God with their bodies by abstaining from fornication.
1 Thessalonians 4:3
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.”
God’s will for believers is their sanctification, which includes abstaining from sexual immorality. By choosing abstinence, believers honor God and strive to live a holy life.
1 Corinthians 6:13
“‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’ — and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
Sexual immorality is not meant to satisfy physical desires, but rather, our bodies are intended for the Lord. Abstinence from fornication reflects a commitment to honor God with our bodies.
1 Corinthians 10:8
“We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.”
This verse serves as a reminder of the consequences of indulging in sexual immorality. Abstaining from fornication guards believers against harmful consequences and allows them to live according to God’s principles.
1 Peter 2:11
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
Believers are encouraged to abstain from the desires of the flesh, as these desires can wage war against their souls. Choosing abstinence from fornication allows believers to remain focused on their journey as sojourners and exiles in this world.
The Benefits of Abstinence
There are numerous benefits to practicing abstinence, both before marriage and in avoiding sexual sin. First and foremost, abstinence allows us to honor God and His design for intimacy within the boundaries of marriage. It demonstrates our obedience and reverence for His commands.
Practicing abstinence also helps foster emotional and spiritual growth. By abstaining from premarital sex and sexual sin, we are able to develop stronger self-control, discipline, and moral character. It allows us to focus on building healthy relationships based on trust, respect, and commitment.
Abstinence can also prevent the physical and emotional consequences associated with sexual immorality. It reduces the risk of sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancies, and the emotional pain that can result from promiscuity or extramarital affairs.
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”
Abstaining from sexual sin is a way to keep one’s way pure. Following God’s Word and guarding one’s heart are essential in maintaining a lifestyle of abstinence.
“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
Exercising self-control over one’s desires, including sexual desires, demonstrates strength. Abstinence requires self-discipline and allows believers to rule over their own spirits.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Abstinence is a manifestation of self-control, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. By practicing abstinence, believers are guided by the Spirit and experience the benefits of a Spirit-filled life.
2 Timothy 2:22
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
Choosing abstinence allows believers to flee from youthful passions and instead pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. It aligns believers with others who seek to live with a pure heart before the Lord.
1 Corinthians 10:13
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
This verse reassures believers that God is faithful and provides a way to escape temptation. By choosing abstinence, believers can trust that God will provide the strength to endure any temptation and remain pure.