Sean McDowell | February 26, 2024

10 Challenging Truths about Sex and the Bible

10 Challenging Truths about Sex and the Bible

The Bible defies many of the assumptions of modern culture about sex, love, and marriage. Sadly, the church has even absorbed some beliefs from culture rather than Scripture. For the sake of clarity, here are 10 challenging truths the Bible teaches about sex and the Bible.

1. Sex is not essential for a flourishing life. The narrative of our culture is that a sexless life is deficient. A person who has never had sex is deeply missing out. And yet Scripture resists this strongly. Jesus Christ was the most fulfilled human ever and he never had sex. A truly fulfilled life requires loving God and loving people regardless of sexual activity (Mark 12:28-34).

2. God hates divorce. Jesus taught that marriage is meant for a lifetime and he offered sexual unfaithfulness as (at least) one justifiable exception for divorce (Matt. 19). God hates divorce (Mal 2:16). And yet both the wider culture and many sectors in the church have come to terms with it.

3. God cares about our actions and our thoughts. Jesus expanded the law to include not only adultery but also lusts of the heart. God cares not only about our actions, but what we think about (Matt 5:27-30).

4. God is the creator of sex and we are to receive it as a gift. The first truth we learn about God in the Bible is that He is the creator. He designed the world to operate a certain way and gave sex as both a blessing and a gift for mankind to enjoy (Genesis 1:28).

5. All sexual activity outside of male-female marriage is condemned by Scripture. Adultery. Polyamory. Same-sex sexual behavior. Incest. Pornography. Sex is only rightly experienced between a husband and wife in a marital covenant (Mark 7:21; Gal 5:19-21).

6. Singleness is a beautiful gift the church ought to embrace and celebrate. Celibates are often viewed as second-class citizens in the church. Yet Scripture teaches that singleness and marriage are both beautiful and valuable callings (1 Cor 7; Matt 19:10-12).

7. Sexual sin is not the worst sin, but it is serious because our bodies are the temple. There are two mistakes about the seriousness of sexual sin. One is to say that it is the worst sin. This is false. Idolatry is the worst sin. The other is to say that all sins are the same. This is false, as Scripture teaches that sexual immorality violates the body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:12-19).

8. Sexual freedom comes from living according to God’s design, not our desires. True freedom is living in accordance with God's design for relationships. Freedom is not based on our desires, but living a life that is in alignment with God’s creation (John 8:32).

9. Sex differences exist. Male-female differences are not entirely social construction. Men and women have much in common, but they also have biological, relational, and emotional differences. And we all know this. It’s common sense and affirmed through science (Gen 2:18-25).

10. Sex is a procreative act. Part of the sexual revolution is to deny the procreative element of sex–to claim that sex is merely a physical act without deeper meaning or purpose. But the sexual act itself, even if a child does not result, is a child-bearing kind of act (Gen 1:28; 2:24).

Check out Chasing Love to understand God's good and beautiful design for sex, singleness, and marriage.

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Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author, popular speaker, and part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell, TikTok, Instagram, and his blog: