Masturbation is Not a Sin According to The Bible
Scriptural Exegesis by John Wilder
It is indeed surprising how many main-stream pastors who would eschew “proof texting” have no problem doing exactly that when it comes to masturbation. Sadly the discussion of sex in churches in our country are limited to it is “bad, dirty and wrong and that good girls don’t do it”. They completely miss out on all the sex positive messages from the bible and that sex is a gift from God.
The churches completely ignore a NT mandated ministry in Titus 2 where it says: “that the older women of the church are supposed to teach the younger women of the church how to love their husbands (sexually) so that the Word of God is not blasphemed” As a result there is a lot of lousy sex going on out there because so many women have real ambivalence over their sexuality. Sex is of course on of the big 3 that couples fight about and divorce over.
We live in a very puritanical society, not unlike the middle east who are also puritanical about sex. As a result, we have the highest divorce rate on the planet.
Let us not therefore judge one another any more; but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or occasion to fall in his brother’s way. Romans 14:13
We tell our kids not to masturbate that it is a sin. God made the sex drive one of the most powerful known to man. You lay a huge load of guilt on kids over this.
For the record, there is no place in the bible stating that masturbation is a sin or even referring to it. The Catholic church talks about the sin of Onan in Genesis 38 where he spilled his seed on the ground. This however had nothing at all to do with masturbation but Onan was having sex with his deceased brother’s wife according to Jewish law to raise up an heir to his deceased brother. God performed the death penalty on Onan for his sin of disobedience.
The bible is very explicit and detailed in what God defines as sexual sin; Tokens of virginity were required of the bride (bloody sheets) in Deut 22:15-17.
Daughters were not supposed to be a whore and fathers were not to pimp out their daughters as whores in Leviticus 19:29 and 21:7,9
Priests of the temple could not have any blemish or physical abnormality including having damaged testicles (and they wanted to inspect them) in Leviticus 21:20
Priests were required to marry only a virgin of his tribe according to Leviticus 21:13
Speaking of testicles, if a wife observing her husband in a fight with another man and the other man was beating up her husband, if she grabbed the man’s testicles to be an equalizer to help her husband in the fight, her hand was to be amputated. Deut 25:11-12
Not only was incest forbidden but God gave us every possible family combination considered incest in Leviticus 18:6-18
You were not supposed to have sex with your wife on her period (OT only, Hebrews 13:4 dispenses with the ceremonial laws) in Leviticus 18:19
You were not to commit adultery with your neighbor’s wife in Leviticus 18:20
You were not supposed to have homosexual sex according to Leviticus 18:22
Men and women were forbidden to have sex with animals I n Leviticus 18:23
You were not supposed to have orgy sex to false gods in Leviticus 20:5
If you persuade a virgin to have sex with you then you are required to marry her according to Deut 22:28-29
Cross dressing was forbidden in Deut 22:5 for both men and women.
We are told to flee fornication in the NT in the following chapters: Gal 5:19, Eph 5:3, and Col 3:5. But so many people mis-translate fornication as having sex as singles.. What fornication actually means is not to earn your living as a temple prostitute in the false god worship which consisted of mass orgies in the groves to false gods. Because people were poor, the would be paid prostitutes to help people who did not have a willing partner to have sex with. There was a split in pay between the prostitute and the temple. Fornication in the greek is where we get our word for pornography. The literal greek is porneo and pornea which is a male and female prostitute.
Have you noticed that there is no mention of masturbation here? God created sex as a gift for us and for our pleasure. It is such a strong drive in us that God allowed young teens to get married to have a legal outlet for their sexuality. This is demonstrated in Proverbs 5 where it says:
Let thy fountain be blessed and rejoice always with the wife of your youth (young teens). Let her be as a loving hind and a pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy you at all times and be thou always RAVISHED in her love. Prov 5:18-19
Ravished is a biblical word for having great sex
Because sex is such a strong drive in man, God allowed multiple wives and concubines for men to have legal sex with when the primary wife turned them down for sex.
This of course changed with the Proverbs 31 woman where the wife was tasked with now taking care of all the husband’s sexual needs instead of having multiple wives and concubines where it says that he will have no need of spoil. Spoil is an arcane term where the conquering armies got to take the stuff from dead soldiers houses including the pretty young widows. It says that the husband will praise her and the scholars in The Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible rightly translate this into his appreciation for her sexual submission and conjugal love as a footnote in the margin.
In I Cor 7:3-5 we are told that the husband does not have the right to refuse his wife sex nor does the wife have the right to refuse her husband sex. Pretty sex positive don’t you think?
So considering all of these scriptures you must realize that to define masturbation as a sin, you must posit that God made a mistake that we have to correct because God forgot to mention masturbation as the sin that we all KNOW THAT IT IS.
Well according to the bible we are not supposed to add to the word or take away from it.
You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that You may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. Deut 4:2
Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to observe it: You shall not add to it or take away from it. Deut 12:32
Every word of God is pure: He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar. Proverbs 30:6
I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be addedTo it and nothing can be taken from it. God does it that men should fear Him. That which is already been and what is to be has already been: And God requires an account of what is past. Eccl 3:14-15
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of this book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life from the Holy City and from the things which are written in this book. Rev 22:18
We as Christians are supposed to only teach biblical truths and not make up our rules and man- made doctrines like Catholics do. We are believers in the book but sadly we are seeing legalism creep into our churches to our people’s detriment. This is specifically forbidden by Jesus in the following scripture:
And in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments Of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do. He said to them, All to well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition Mark 7:7-9
We also had a problem with Asceticism cropping up in the NT which is also forbidden in the following scripture:
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living the world do you subject yourselves to regulation Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle, which all concern things which perish with the using-according to the commandments and doctrines of men. These things indeed have the appearance of wisdom in self-imposed Religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are no value against the indulgence of the flesh. Col 2:20-23
The proof texted verse is the only one that people who argue for masturbation is a sin is found in Math 5:28
But I say unto you whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her already in his heart.
This is an impossible standard that Jesus set for us but a goal to strive to reach in our our lives. The idea was to avoid sexual sin. The answer is to masturbate to relieve the sexual tension that would cause us to lust after a woman. I can remember that in my twenties I decided to see just how long I could go without sexual relief in masturbation. I lasted for two weeks. During this time I had constant erections and lusted constantly after women. Normally I masturbated every day to contain my lustful thoughts and embarrassing erections.
Paul talked about keeping his body under subjection and we can infer that he was referring to masturbation to do so because of the previously stated sexual arousal when you don’t have sexual relief.
Finally here is the slam dunk verse that proves that masturbation is not a sin:
And if a man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the evening. And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the evening. The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both wash themselves in water, and be unclean until the evening. Leviticus 15:16-18
Now the bible does not say how the man’s sperm is discharged whether a nocturnal emission or masturbation, it simply says that if his seed is discharged then he needs to take a bath. Masturbation feels good and gives us sexual relief when we are not married. Even little girls routinely masturbate if left to their own devices unless a scolding parent tells them that it is bad, dirty and wrong. We have no business laying this legalism on our kids or ourselves..