What Does the Bible Say about Masturbation?
On May 9, 2019…This article was #1 Trending on Crosswalk.com:
I wonder if the author ever visited The Marriage Bed before writing it.
“so, we are left to cobble together biblical principles to come up with some idea of whether or not it is sinful”
And yet God was explicitly clear about homosexuality, bestiality, and sex with relatives. Does that mean the wrongness of those things was less obvious than the wrongness of masturbation? I certainly couldn’t mean those things were more common than masturbation!
The biggest problem I have with this is that it would mean God has not made it easy for us to avoid sin. It’s not enough to read the Bible, we have to have the special knowledge (cough Gnosticism cough) requires to find the hidden meanings.
Then there is the fact that men who ejaculate 5 times a week are less likely to end up with prostate cancer, and ejaculatory frequency when a guy is young seems to be the most important. So if masturbation is sin, then following God’s way is harmful to one’s health. How does that work?
What I would like to ask Dr. Foster is where is the way of escape promised by 1 Corinthians 10:13. If masturbation is sin, then God had provided a way of escaping the temptation to sin. Given how nearly universal masturbation is, it seems that way of escape is not known. Perhaps it too requires some secret knowledge?
Or what if masturbation is not sin, but rather it is God’s way of escape for the temptation to engage in various forms of sexual sin. What if the reason so many young Christians engage in fornication is that we have told them God’s way of escape is sin?!
Then there is the whole “Lust is sin” bit. Does walking around horny 24/7 not result in lust? I found it much easier to avoid lust when I masturbated. Besides, “lust is sin” would take care of homosexuality, bestiality, and sex with relatives, and yet God felt it necessary to specifically forbid those.
Because of Oldbears comment, I went and did a little looking myself. The author does have an interesting background and quite a testimony. When I was originally reading his article, I had the thought that he is coming from his own experience and his own conviction (and using the Bible to back it up.) Too often, Christians want to place their personal convictions, from their own experiences, on all Christians, and they believe what is true for them is true for all (BTDT), causing unnecessary burdens.
My husband knows how closely tied MB and porn can be and how they can go hand in hand. That led him to lean towards the side of “stay away from masturbating”, because he knew the images that brought up and that the lust was sin, therefore quit doing what causes sin. It was my time at TMB that challenged us on what is actually true, not just our own experience, and what we would then teach our three sons and daughter.
What does the bible say? Nothing. Some principles I learned from John Piper in determining if something is a sin:
1. Is it forbidden in the Bible? No
2. Is it unnatural? No
3. Is it unhealthy? No
4. Is it unloving? It might be.
I struggled with this question for a long time. Porn and impure thoughts can categorized as forbidden in the Bible. Apart from that, answer the question about whether your situation is unloving. Are you depriving your spouse? Are they offended by your actions? Your spouse has claim to your body too. My wife encourages it and I see it as the more loving way when it isn’t a good time for her.
In some Christian circles masturbation is considered sin. Others do have a different view.
When a man or a woman engages in masturbation and gets addicted to it, they can easily ignore their partner and refuse them sex without agreeing with them and this could continue for a very long time. That could lead to other problems, just because they are fine with themselves.
God created man and woman as helpers and ordained that a man marries a woman and they become one flesh (engage in more sexual activities with each other.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6
Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:3
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, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 1 Corinthians 7:8-9
God bless you
This article offers a perspective that may be more balanced.
What I like most about this article is that it focuses on the heart. If you’re convicted about MB, then you need to deal with the heart issue. I don’t think the “act” itself is the problem, but the reason in which you’re doing it. Are you not communicating your needs to your spouse?, are there other factors, (illness, distance, etc…). I agree, there is nothing in the Bible that forbids or condones MB and that could be said of other topics as well.
I believe it needs to be a decision made by the couple after much prayer and discussion…and maybe even some rules.
This topic is one that I have wrestled with for years and it is what led me to TMB in the first place. I found it hard to believe that God never mentioned it but it was a sin, but at the same time I reasoned that anything that does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23). I decided that I would stop, but I failed time and again. I felt that if Scripture was clear, I would certainly continue to fight it, so why isn’t it mentioned? Leviticus gives extensive detail for sexual sins. Since the law was given after Israel was led out of Egypt following 400 years there, I searched to find out if M was either taboo or common practice in ancient Egypt. The Israelites would have been most influenced by their culture. What I found was that it was very common in Egyptian culture. Feel free to search this out to see how masturbation fit into their culture and legends. Yet immediately after leaving Egypt, the law or anywhere else in the Bible contains no mention of prohibiting its practice. While I truly believe that the principle in Romans 14:23 must be applied, for me these discoveries, along with my other post here, has relieved my conscience on this topic once and for all.