I am quite certain that if you are about to read this article, you have heard and accepted the fact that “sex before marriage is a sin.” However the fact that “kissing before marriage is a sin” is unheard of for some, shunned by others and bizarre for the rest. We are living in a time where people hate truth and a lot of people are in denial about a lot of things. Let me just say before we move on; read this article with an open heart and mind, and allow the Lord to speak to you. There are several moral and ethical issues today that Christians are faced with for which the Bible does not give a specific answer to. Some of these issues are: smoking, drinking, gambling, obscene language, tattooing, and kissing before marriage. I teach as a rule of thumb, “where the Bible is silent we ought not to shout”. But let me be sure to say that the Bible is not by any means silent on the issue of kissing, but rather it is replete with Scriptures that alludes to the fact that kissing is not only wrong, it is also sinful. While the Bible does not have a specific verse on these issues, it provides sufficient references to each of the above mentioned issues. When I say “where the Bible is silent we ought not to shout”, I am referring to questions such as “did dinosaurs really exist”? “Is there life on other planets”? Or “where did Cain get his wife”? Not only is the Bible completely silent on these issues, but they are absolutely irrelevant to you and I. Whether or not we can figure out the answer to these controversial issues, it does not affect our spirituality and relationship with God as smoking, drinking and “kissing before marriage” would. Having established that, I will now state my position on “kissing before marriage.” I will do so from three different perspectives: a common sense, a physiological and a biblical argument against it. Let’s go.
- Common Sense Argument
Before even referring to Scripture for backup for my position, I will use common sense alone to prove that “kissing before marriage” cannot in any way be right. I think we can all agree that all sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong. However when it comes to “kissing before marriage”, it is met with cynicism and doubt. God’s design for sex doesn’t merely include the act of sexual intercourse. It is also everything that leads up to the act. It is called foreplay. It’s not “just a kiss,” and it’s a fundamental part of God’s design for sex. Kissing to me is like an airplane on a runway getting ready to take off. Once momentum has been built up, it reaches to the point of no return, and it has to take off. Wouldn’t we all agree that kissing is the runway that prepares you for the next level of a relationship between a man and a woman? Kissing is like the appetizer that prepares you for the main course of the meal. Kissing will only make you want to do what comes next. It will make you want to indulge in sin. When two people care for and are in love with each other it is only natural to want to consummate that affection physically.
- Physiological Argument
Secondly, this truth bears itself out not only in our emotions, desires, and common sense but literally in our physical bodies. I use the term physiological argument in this context as it relates to the function of the human body. Obviously, when two people begin kissing each other in a sensual way, both the male and female body begin to speak a sexual language that they both can understand. Without going into a vivid detail let’s be real here. When two people who love each other begin kissing, their bodies react differently. Kissing triggers a hormonal reaction in the human body to begin preparing it for sex. God has designed us that way and when we begin any sort of sexual activity our bodies know exactly what is happening, whether we accept it or not. I have been often asked the question “what if I kiss without doing anything else”? My answer to that question is that “it is virtually impossible to kiss without gradually moving a step further”. While it may not happen on the first, second, third or even tenth occasion, be certain that you will eventually graduate to doing more. Kissing will break you down slowly but surely. It is like a cancer that will eat you from the inside out; by the time you catch it, it’s too late. Because of the way in which our body functions, when two people begins to kiss, the “law of insufficient return” kicks in. Eventually it would not be enough; your body will cry out for more until it gets more.It is normal for human beings to want more of anything that brings a certain degree of pleasure and satisfaction. There is a natural tendency to seek deeper levels of satisfaction. What kissing does to you is open up your mind and body to a whole new world of possibilities. Kissing is a one way street that leads to one destination: sin. It is simply a physiological and emotional reality. This brings me to my Biblical argument.
- Biblical Argument
I will now give a host of scriptures that provides irrefutable arguments as to why kissing is not only unwise and wrong, but sinful. There are three Greek words used in the Bible for love ‘agape’ ‘phileo’ and ‘eros.’ It is the unconditional love of God, brotherly love, and a romantic love respectively. Kissing falls directly under the ‘eros’ love because it involves an erotic expression of love between two persons that are in love. Everywhere the word ‘eros’ is used in Scripture refers directly to a husband and wife, not boyfriend and girlfriend or fiancé[e]. Kissing is an expression of love that is exclusively reserved for married couples. While kissing is not sexual intercourse itself, it is a sexual act that is a part of God’s design for sex in marriage. In modern Western culture, we associate touching, kissing, and the word ‘love’ with a sexual relationship. However that was not the case in Biblical era culture. It is a proven fact that Biblical relationships were no more than close knitted friendships. This is also true even in a Jewish betrothal. Both the bride and groom were required under the “Mosaic Law” to maintain their purity before getting married.
To help you understand the sequence of this, I will briefly describe the ancient Jewish ceremony, as this is the model that Christ uses. There are several parallels in the Bible to various events in the believer’s life, but none more visible than the similarity between the Christian life and that of a Jewish marriage ceremony. In the Old Testament, the parents normally arranged the marriage between the young Jewish couple. Romantic unions involving any kind of physical contact in those days were uncommon. This arranged marriage consisted of three parts: the ‘betrothal’, the ‘marriage ceremony’ and finally, the ‘marriage feast’. The first part of the Jewish wedding ceremony was the betrothal, which was called the ‘erusin’ or the ‘kiddashin’. This is where the groom gave his bride-to-be an object of value such as a ring, money, or a deed of intention, which was symbolic of a promise providing legal tie between the two. The father of the groom usually paid the bridal price. This was a true legal document, having no immediate effect on their personal stake, but just a promise for the future (Deut. 20:7). This is a parallel to the fact that Christ has made a promise to return by shedding His blood and giving us the “Spirit of promise.” After this ceremony, the ‘bride’ then remained in her father’s home to prepare for the day her groom would come back for her, marry her, and take her to his house or some special room he had built. This is exactly what we are called to do; the bride (Church) is to wait patiently for the return of the groom (Christ) to take us to the house he has prepared for us.
Pay close attention to what I am about to say. Cohabitation, or as some say “shacking up”, and any physical contact were absolutely forbidden at this time. The bride must remain a virgin, using this time to prepare herself for her marriage. If she was found not to be a virgin, she could be rejected (Matt. 1:19). This in-between time was where the bride must make herself ready for her coming groom (Rev. 19:7). During this preparation period, the bride is referred to as “consecrated,” set apart, or sanctified. She always wore a veil, so it was apparent to others she was engaged. This veil was symbolic of a pledge or commitment. Now think about this for a moment. If kissing was not allowed in a Jewish betrothal which was much deeper than an engagement today, there is no argument whether or not it is right or wrong. The evidence is far too overwhelming for anyone to honestly deny.
Songs of Solomon 2:7 – “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires”.
Proper exegetical analysis of this text reveals this truth. The phrase “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires,” occurs three times in the Song of Solomon. It is spoken by the maiden who Solomon is in love with. It refers to physical intimacy between her and her lover. She does not want any intimacy to occur until the situation is appropriate. That is until she and Solomon are married. Sexual relations or any kind of intimacy is only allowed within the context of marriage.
Let’s talk about purity for a moment.
1 Timothy 4:12 – “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believer an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
The word purity used here is a feminine Greek word “hagneia” which means chastity, pure quality, or moral excellence. The World’s English Dictionary defines purity as pure; sinless; the condition or quality of being pure; freedom from anything that debases, contaminates, or pollutes. The word Paul uses here to admonish Timothy was speaking directly to the issue of sexual purity.
1Timothy 5:1-2 – “…Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
This passage is generally instructing us how to relate to other members of the body of Christ. Look closely with me at this analogy. For all relationships between members of the church, Paul states how a young man should treat others. However when he gets to how we treat younger women, he adds a moral connotation. Paul addressed a young man’s relationship to older men, brothers, older women and younger women. He specifically said that young men should treat men as fathers, young men as brothers, women as mothers and younger women as sisters with absolute purity. He attaches a deeper commitment to younger women than any other. In fact he uses the same Greek word for ‘purity’ as he did in 1 Timothy 4:12, to emphasize his point about moral purity.
Romans 12:1&2 –“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
This verse alone argues very strongly against “kissing before marriage.” It captures the very life that we as Christians are called to live. A living sacrifice means to put to death the sinful desires and deeds that are a threat to your spirituality. Our bodies are to be presented as dead to sin and as the temple of the Holy Spirit. This Christian walk is all about dying to the things of the flesh on a daily basis. It is about staying away from anything that will heighten or arouse the sinful nature that is within all of us. Jesus said “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The Christian life is a life of rigid self denial and abstinence from fleshly lusts. The apostle Peter said, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul” (1Pet 2:11). There is no way one can be in a relationship where kissing is involved and still be holy. If we understand what holiness entails then there is no argument.
1 Peter 1:16 – “for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Luke 1:75 – “In holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our lives”
Hebrew 12:14 – “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will seethe Lord.”
Both the Hebrew word ‘qodesh’ and the equivalent Greek word ‘hagios’, together with their derivatives, are translated as separation, sanctified, or hallowed. The word ‘holy’ is specially recognized as ‘declared sacred’, or ‘consecrated and dedicated’, or ‘devoted to the service of God’. All of the verses of Scripture above refer to us living a life that is holy and acceptable to God. “Kissing before marriage” poses a severe threat to your ability to live holy. Kissing positions each individual in tremendous spiritual danger. It will rob you of your relationship with God and the anointing He has placed on your life. It will eventually sap every ounce of spirituality in you as you go deeper into it. Whenever you indulge in sinful acts, you run the risk of losing your spiritual inheritance and the blessings of God upon your life.
Romans 16:16 – “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.”
2 Corinthians 13:12 – “Greet one another with a holy kiss”.
In these two verses the Apostle Paul admonishes both the Roman church and the church at Corinth to greet each other with a “holy kiss.” Time will not permit me to define what a “holy kiss” means here, but allow me to ask this simple question: Why would the Apostle Paul say to greet with a “holy kiss”? Is there such a thing as an “unholy kiss?” Was Paul indirectly suggesting that kissing must not be sensual? Just something to think about.
1 Corinthians 6:20 – “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
1 Corinthians 3:16 – “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”
What powerful verses of Scripture! These verses do not even need to be interpreted; it is self explanatory. Is kissing before marriage at all glorifying to God? Your body belongs entirely to God until you say “I do”. It is only then the Lord gives His blessing to use it for anything else. He is only interested in His pleasure His glorification.
Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”.
Anything we do must bring glory and honor to God. It does not matter what it is; God takes into account everything we think, say and do. God has created us to glorify Him with our very lives and we must seek to do so with every fiber of our being. Any type of sexual relation before marriage does not bring glory to Him, but rather it grieves Him.
Colossians 3:5 – “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry”.
Mortify means to put to death the desires of the flesh. It means to ‘subjugate the body’ and its passions by abstinence, ‘ascetic discipline’, or self-inflicted suffering. If kissing isn’t a desire of the flesh then I don’t want to know what is.
Matthew 5:28 – “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
If our Lord Jesus could teach that if you look on a woman with lustful intent you have already sinned, much more kissing, that is far more than looking. Someone might ask the question “what if I don’t have lustful intentions when I kiss?” My answer to that question is this; kissing itself is already lustful and I suggest you go back and read both my common sense and physiological arguments.
Ephesians 5:3 – “…But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people”.
Here, the Apostle Paul clearly states, sexual immorality and all “impurity”. For those who argue that kissing isn’t “sexually immoral”, then tell me it isn’t at the least, impurity. Paul said very strongly, it must not even be named among you.
Galatians 5:16 – “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
Kissing is a lust of the flesh that must be put to death until married. The key to overcoming these lustful desires is by walking in the Spirit. It is by reading and practicing the Word of God. It is by prayer and dedication to God that you will win this battle.
1 Corinthians 7:1 – “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband”.
The King James Version says here “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” To me this verse closes the argument on whether or not kissing is right or wrong. Paul is saying to avoid further sexual sins, “DO NOT TOUCH,” much more kiss. Some might argue that other versions state “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” Even if you choose to use this version, it is still referring to any sexual relation that can lead to further sin. If not so, then why would Paul say “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality”? Having said that let me say this; if you are involved in a love relationship, I suggest you “kiss kissing goodbye”.
I can go on and on to provide multiples of Scripture to validate my point but I think I have said enough. I will now give my closing statements. Anyone that is seeking to live a fruitful, responsible, reproductive, and victorious Christian life must determine what the non-negotiables in their lives are. Your non-negotiables are the things you are not willing to and cannot afford to compromise. The main non-negotiable for any true child of God is sin. The moment you begin to negotiate with sin you will eventually sin. The Bible says “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death (James 1:13-15). Desires can easily be turned into sin if it is not dealt with immediately. If you ever negotiate with a sinful desire too long, nine out of ten times you will follow through with the act.
Secondly, young men and women must learn how to set up boundaries in their lives or else they will constantly find themselves in compromising positions with sin. Set Biblical boundaries and live within those boundaries and you will be an overcomer. Solomon said this; “He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh through a fence, a serpent shall bite him” (Eccl 10:8). This verse speaks about operating and living within the parameters that the Word of God has given us. It is critically important that you stay within the boundaries you have set for your life and within the fence God has placed around you. For the thief comes only to steal to kill and to destroy. He does so by walking about like a roaring lion seeking for those who are vulnerable.
Finally, as I asked the students of my youth ministry, let me ask you: What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD). We are all familiar with the person and character of our Lord Jesus Christ from reading the Gospels. Hypothetically speaking, suppose while Jesus walked this earth two thousand years ago, He was in a courting relationship or even engaged; would He have kissed? If Jesus walked His fiancée home to Bethlehem at night, would He have kissed her? Do you honestly think that Jesus would have been involved in any manner of sexual relations whether it be kissing, touching, caressing or petting? My answer to that question is NO beyond any uncertain terms. He would have lived a life pleasing, acceptable and glorifying to His Father and so must we. So what’s your answer? 1 Peter 1:21 says “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do, ask yourself What Would Jesus Do? If you always answer that question honestly, I promise you, it will never fail you. I pray that this article has opened up your eyes to the truth and that it has challenged you to grow in your faith. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.