What Does The Bible Say About Porn?

Jun 01, 2020

 

 

The Bible has so much to teach us about porn.

 

When I was in college and grad school, I spent four years researching every single part of Scripture that talks about sex, sexual behavior, and sexuality. And what I found was gold. You could do an entire year's worth of Bible study on this one topic and trust me, you would never get bored. There is so much to learn.

 

It's really important to read the Bible for yourself in this topic because otherwise you will be a slave to whatever your parents and pastors think (or worse, whatever your peers think). So today we are going to cut through all the crap of purity culture AND popular culture to get to the core of what the Bible says about what we should do about porn. And not only that, but why? What's the bigger picture? Because when you have that, you have power over porn in a way that you may never have had before. So let's dive in.

 

Today's episode might sound a little bit like a sermon because I'll basically explain three passages from New Testament letters where the word πορνεία (porneia) appears. This word appears throughout the new Testament. It's a Greek word that is usually translated in today's translations as sexual immorality. In the old King James Version, they called it fornication. 😆

 

Sexual immorality is a pretty good translation of porneia. Unlawful sexual intercourse and prostitution would be associated with the word. The word "pornography" is actually a compound word of “porneia” and "graphe. The word γραφή (graphe) is the word for writing, for depicting in some kind of media. So the word pornography literally means prostitution in media or sexual immorality in media. Makes sense, doesn't it?

 

We will look at how this word porneia is used in three letters: 1 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, and Ephesians. The first one I want to take you into is 1 Corinthians 6:

 

 

“The body is not meant for porneia, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body, and God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her. For as it is written, the two will become one flesh, but he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from porneia. 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 are bought with a price, so glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:13b-20, ESV)

 

The message of this passage is simple: flee porneia. Flee sexual immorality. Why are we to do this? Because "your bodies are members of Christ." In other words, you are united to Jesus. You belong to Him. You were bought with a price. You're not your own. You're filled with the Holy spirit. So if this is true of you, then using pornography just doesn't make sense.

 

Going back to porneia would be to unite Christ and the Holy Spirit to something that just doesn't belong with God. If you have been saved by Jesus, united to the body of Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit, porneia has no place in your life. So the Bible tells us to avoid porneia because we belong to Jesus.

 

The second reason I want to highlight comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:

 

“For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that you abstain from porneia. That each 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, that no one transgressed and wronged his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you for God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not man, but God who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:2-8, ESV)

 

The message here is to avoid porneia because it's God's will. God has this design: He calls it "your sanctification." His vision is for us to become like Christ. God wants each of us to learn how to "control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the pagans who do not know God." There's this assumption that our relationship with God changes every part of our lives and that our sexuality doesn't have to be a place of repression or release. Instead, it can be a place of holiness and honor, joy, life, goodness, and that we shouldn't use to take advantage of anyone.

 

Porneia is ultimately a way to take advantage of other people. So God calls us to something much, much greater. The emphasis here is that the voice of God Himself tells us to do this, not some man-made tradition. And once again, we see how the Holy Spirit is involved. God "gives His Holy Spirit to you." And when we are full of the Spirit, we are empty of porneia. 

 

The third argument I want to show you comes from Ephesians 5:

 

“Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But porneia and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you as is proper among saints.” (Ephesians 5:1-3)

 

The invitation here is so beautiful. It's saying, "Don't have anything to do with porneia because that's not who you are. You are beloved children. You are sons and daughters of the most high King. You are saints. You are God's holy people. You are chosen, righteous, pure, blameless, holy. Porneia is not who you are."

 

Essentially, this passage begins with a reminder that Jesus has loved us and has given himself up for us. And because of his saving work, we are now children of God. So with God as your father, Jesus as your lover, and the Holy Spirit living in you, how can you continue entertaining porneia? We have God himself showing us the way, loving us, making us new. So the Bible calls us to imitate him: to become more like the One who made himself like us: Jesus. Jesus is sexual. Jesus is a human, and we are invited to become Christ-like in every part of life, including our sexuality. The biblical vision for sexual behavior is so much bigger than just avoiding sin. It's about living in alignment with who God says we are.

 

Today, I've introduced you to some treasures from God's word that have so much power to enrich our lives when it comes to freedom from porn. So don't just move on after this. Open up your Bible, reread them, and soak in the goodness of God's word. If you really want to be transformed by this stuff, memorize it. Then you will know these words by heart, and they will rewire your brain.

 

Let me summarize what I've said so far: when it comes to porneia, the New Testament says at least three things that I think are really important:

  1. Flee porneia because you belong to Jesus.
  2. Avoid porneia because it's God's will.
  3. Porneia is not who you are.

  

Always remember my friend,
you are God's beloved son.
In you He is well-pleased.

 

If you want to more teaching from me on healthy biblical sexuality, download my new free eBook, Sexuality Meets Discipleship.

 

 

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