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The Bible and Sexual Relationships Issues

Book and eBook by Gary F. Zeolla,
the Director of Darkness to Light ministry

This book looks in-depth at what the Bible has to say on sexual types of relationships and related issues. By this is meant: dating, pre-marital sex, marriage, divorce, re-marriage, marital sex, extra-marital sex, homosexuality, polygamy, incest, abortion, and birth control.

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Preface

Click for a larger imageThis book will look in-depth at what the Bible has to say on sexual types of relationships and related issues. By this is meant: dating, pre-marital sex, marriage, divorce, re-marriage, marital sex, extra-marital sex, homosexuality, polygamy, incest, abortion, and birth control.

This study will go through the Scriptures systematically, looking at relevant passages of Scripture in order. The passages are written out, with the bulk of this book being simply the Scriptures, so the reader can see for yourself what the Bible teaches on various sexual issues.

Explanations and interpretations are provided for each passage to aid the reader in understanding the Scriptures, but the emphasis is on the Scriptures themselves. This format will enable the reader to draw conclusions about what the Bible as a whole has to teach on these personal and very relevant issues.

The Old Testament texts are taken from the World English Bible (WEB), a modern-day public domain version, while the New Testament texts are taken from the author’s own Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament: Third Edition (ALT3).


Table of Contents

Preface - 5

Abbreviations - 7

The Old Testament … 9

Chapter

#1 – Genesis - 11

#2 – The Rest of the Torah - 39

#3 – The Historical Books - 53

#4 – The Poetic Books - 71

#5 – The Prophetic Books - 77

The New Testament … 87

#6 – The Gospels and Acts - 89

#7 – The Pauline Epistles - 101

#8 – The General Epistles - 119

#9 – The Revelation - 125

#10 – Conclusion - 129

Appendixes … 131

#1 – Additional Books by the Author - 133

          #2 – Author’s Web Sites, Newsletters, and Social Sites/

                 Contacting the Author - 137

 

 


Excerpts

Chapter Two

The Rest of the Torah

The “Torah” refers to the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The previous chapter discussed the first of these books. This chapter will look at passages from the other four books.

Exodus 2:15-21:

15Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and lived in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well. 16Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17The shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.

18When they came to Reuel, their father, he said, "How is it that you have returned so early today?" 19They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and moreover he drew water for us, and watered the flock.” 20He said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.” 21Moses was content to dwell with the man. He gave Moses Zipporah, his daughter. 22She bore a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, "I have lived as a foreigner in a foreign land."

Reuel “gave Moses Zipporah, his daughter” meaning in marriage, as the next verse makes clear. But the important point here is that this seems to have been an “arranged” marriage. The marriage did not work out too well, as can be seen from Exodus 4:25f and 18:2. It is not clear in the latter if Moses and Zipporah had divorced or just been separated then re-united (18:5). But it is clear that Zipporah was Moses’ only wife.

Exodus 20:14:

“You shall not commit adultery.”

This is one of the Ten Commandments. As such, it is clear that God considers adultery to be a serious offense. This is because it is a breaking of the trust and “oneness” between a husband and wife. It also causes many problems, as can be seen from the commentary on other passages.

Exodus 21:22f:

22”If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman’s husband demands and the judges allow. 23But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burning for burning, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise.”

This paragraph contains the famous line of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” But the important point here is how this passage relates to the abortion debate and how that famous phrase is to be interpreted in the context.

This was most likely a “case law” meaning something like this happened. Two men were fighting when a pregnant woman somehow got caught in the middle, and it caused here to give birth prematurely. Moses was asked what should be done.

The answer is that if the baby was born healthy, then the man who caused the problem should be fined. But it is a different situation of the incident caused “harm.” But that is where there is a debate on this interpretation.

The WEB has “gives birth prematurely.” But a more literal translation is “her children come out.” The plural is used just in case there are twins. The text does not indicate if the child (or children) are born prematurely or if, as the New Revised Standard (NRSV) has it, “there is a miscarriage.” But the next phrase, “yet no harm follows” would seem to support the idea of a premature birth not a miscarriage as the latter would be a “harm.” The NRSV tries to evade this conclusion by rendering the phrase “yet no further harm follows.” However, the word “further” is not in the Hebrew text.

But assuming “born prematurely” is correct then this passage leads credence to the idea that the unborn child is a person, and thus should be protected in the same manner as an adult. If the baby comes out dead, then the offender is to be treated the same as if he killed an adult, i.e., he is to be executed (“life for life”).

If lesser injury results to either mother or child, then a lesser punishment is to be meted out. That is the meaning of the famous “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” phrase. The punishment should fit the crime.

Exodus 22:16f:

16”If a man entices a virgin who isn’t pledged to be married, and lies with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife. 17If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.

This is an interesting injunction and a strong demonstration that pre-marital sex is wrong. If a man seduces a virgin woman he must marry her. The reason is she would now be “unmarriageable” as most men at the time would only marry virgins.

But there is one caveat. The father has the final say as to whether a marriage occurs or not. If he does not approve of the seducer, the father can decline the marriage requirement. However, the seducer still must pay what constitutes a “fine” for the seduction.

Chapter Four

The Poetic Books

The Poetic Books are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. Passages from these books will be discussed next.

Job 1:2; 2:9:

1:1There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God, and turned away from evil. 2There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.

2:9Then his wife said to him, "Do you still maintain your integrity? Renounce God, and die."

Job had ten children but only one wife. Debates abound as to the time period covered by Job, but most likely the events occurred around the same time as Abraham. And like Abraham, Job was monogamous.

Job 31:1:

“I made a covenant with my eyes, how then should I look lustfully at a young woman?”

Making such a “covenant” would be difficult for most men to do, but just looking lustfully at a woman is a sin in itself and it can lead to even more serious active sexual sin (Matt 5:28; 15:19).

This passage would also have application to pornography. The whole purpose of porn is to incite lust in the user. So this passage would be one that argues against it being okay for Christians to use porn or even to watch any movies or TV shows with nudity or strong sexual situations.

Psalms 22:10:

I was thrown on you from my mother’s womb. You are my God since my mother bore me.

God knows us while we are still in the womb. This argues strongly for the personhood of the preborn child and thus against abortion.

Psalms 82:3f:

3”Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. 4Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.”

Passages such as these are often used by pro-lifers. Who is more “weak” and “needy” than a preborn child? They cannot defend themselves, so we Christians must work to defend them.

Psalm 106:38:

They shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan. The land was polluted with blood.

This is another type of passage used by pro-lifers. The blood of preborn babies is as innocent as you can get. Yet it is being “sacrificed” to the idols of convenience and the claimed “women’s right to choose.”

Psalm 139:13-16:

13For you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well. 15My frame wasn’t hidden from you, when I was made in secret, woven together in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my body. In your book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them.

Yet another very strong pro-life passage. God knows us in the womb and what His plans are for our lives. Abortion is the taking of the life of a person known and loved by God.

Proverbs 5:15-20:

15Drink water out of your own cistern, running water out of your own well. 16Should your springs overflow in the streets, streams of water in the public squares? 17Let them be for yourself alone, not for strangers with you. 18Let your spring be blessed. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19A loving doe and a graceful deer—let her breasts satisfy you at all times. Be captivated always with her love. 20For why should you, my son, be captivated with an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another?

This passage is a strong condemnation of adultery, but also a strong commendation of marital sexual love. God is not against sex. It is very appropriate within the bounds of marriage.

Proverbs 6:16f:

16There are six things which Yahweh hates; yes, seven which are an abomination to him: 17haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood;

Again, no blood is more innocent than that of a preborn child. The shedding of such blood via abortion is something that God hates.

Proverbs 6:32:

He who commits adultery with a woman is void of understanding. He who does it destroys his own soul.

“Adultery is stupid” would be a blunt way of rephrasing this verse. It is also self-destructive. The one who engages in adultery often ends up destroying his own life.

Proverbs 18:22:

Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of Yahweh.

God is all in favor of marriage. He created it after all. And he blesses every legitimate marital union.

Proverbs 31:3:

Don’t give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings.

Getting involved in an immoral relationship has destroyed many a man. Even “kings” have been destroyed by such relationships.

 

Chapter Six

The Gospels and Acts

It is now time to turn to the New Testament, starting with the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), along with the Book of Acts. Passages from these books will be discussed in this chapter.

Matthew 1:18f:

18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was in this manner: For His mother Mary, having been promised in marriage to Joseph, before they came together [fig., had sexual relations], was found having in [the] womb [fig., to have become pregnant] by [the] Holy Spirit. 19But Joseph her husband being righteous and not wanting to publicly disgrace her, intended to privately send her away [or, to secretly divorce her].

Mary and Joseph were engaged to be married, yet they had not engaged in sexual intercourse. This was the norm for the time, not the exception. Engaged couples waited to be married before having sex.

Matthew 1:24f:

24Now Joseph, having been awakened from his sleep, did as the angel of [the] Lord ordered him, and he took his wife, 25and he was not knowing her [fig., was not having sexual relations with her] until which [time] she gave birth to her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

Although some would disagree, the most natural way to read this passage is that after Mary gave birth to Jesus, Mary and Joseph began to engage in sexual relations. This is perfectly natural and moral, for a married couple to engage in sex.

Matthew 5:27f:

27“You heard that it was said: ‘You will not commit adultery.’ [Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18] 28But I say to you*, every[one] looking on a woman in order to lust after her already committed adultery [with] her in his heart.”

This is a difficult passage. The mere looking lustfully at a woman is sinful. This would mean that most every man has committed “adultery.” But it should be noted the word here is just that, the specific word for “adultery” not the more general word for fornication (or sexual sin) that will be discussed shortly.

Adultery can only be committed by someone who is married or at least with someone who is married, so Jesus would be saying that for a married man to lust after a woman other than his wife would be adultery or for any man, married or single, to lust after a married woman.

But what about a single man lusting after a single woman? It would depend on the degree of the lust. If the man is lusting to have sex with here right then, then yes, that is a problem as pre-marital sex is sinful. But if the lust leads the man to “court” the woman so that she falls in love with him and they get married, then such lusting would be perfectly normal and expected. This writer doesn’t believe that such normal desires is what Jesus had in mind in this passage. Again, the word used is “adultery” not “fornication.”

Matthew 5:31f:

31“Now it was said, ‘Whoever sends away [or, divorces] his wife must give to her a written notice of divorce.’ [Deut 24:1,3] 32But I say to you*, whoever sends away [or, divorces] his wife, except for a matter of sexual sin [or, fornication], makes her to be committing adultery; and whoever marries the one having been sent away [or, having been divorced] commits adultery.”

This is one of the most difficult passages in the Scriptures. Jesus seems to be saying that divorce is always wrong (unless there has been infidelity in the marriage). He also seems to be saying that remarriage after divorce is a sin. But that is the most direct reading of the text.

However, as Jesus Himself indicates, divorce was allowed in the OT. But by putting such a strict restriction on divorce and remarriage in the NT what Jesus is doing is trying to return us to God’s original convention for human beings, one man and one woman together for a lifetime. And that should be a couple’s attitude when they get married, that it is for a lifetime.

Knowing that to get a divorce would mean a lifetime of celibacy would be an encouragement to couples to put as much effort as possible into their marriage. Struggling through problems, rather than just giving up, can lead to a deeper and more meaningful relationship between a husband and wife. God blesses when people abide by His standards of behavior (Ps 1:1-3; 119:1f; Prov 8:32-36; 29:18).

But what about the person who has already gotten divorced? Reconciliation is the preferred route if that is at all possible. But if one of the parties has already remarried, then the remarriage of the original couple is not an option, as was discussed previously in this book. But what is available is forgiveness and a fresh start if you repent and trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (Ps 51:1-17; Matt 1:21; 26:28; Rom 4:1-8; 7:24-8:1; 13:12-14; 2Cor 5:17; Titus 3:3-8).

 


  

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