Is Masturbation a Sin According to the Bible?

The Bible doesn’t directly talk about masturbation, self-gratification, or what some call “solo sex.” It doesn’t clearly say if it’s a sin or not. Some think it’s wrong because it involves lust, while others say it’s just a normal bodily thing and not sinful.

Onan’s Story – Genesis 38:9–10

In the story of Onan in Genesis 38:9–10, some say it’s about “spilling seed” being a sin. But that’s not it. God was upset with Onan because he didn’t fulfill his duty to give his brother an heir, not because of masturbation.

Jesus’ Words – Matthew 5:27–30

In Matthew 5:27–30, Jesus talks about not having lustful thoughts. Some connect this with masturbation, but it’s not clear if Jesus meant that.

Purpose of Sex – 1 Corinthians 7:2–5

1 Corinthians 7:2–5 says sex is for marriage, and both partners should give themselves to each other. Masturbation doesn’t fit this because it’s not about a relationship and it’s not giving yourself to someone else.

Single People – 1 Corinthians 7:9

For single people struggling with sexual desires, Paul says it’s better to marry than to struggle with passion.

What the Bible Says

The Bible doesn’t directly say if masturbation is a sin, but it gives some principles to think about:

  1. Glory to God: Everything should bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
  2. Faith: If you’re not sure something honors God, it might be a sin (Romans 14:23).
  3. Self-Control: Don’t let anything control you (1 Corinthians 6:12).
  4. Discipline: Control yourself (1 Corinthians 9:27).
  5. Self-Control: It’s a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23).
  6. Spirit Over Flesh: We should deny ourselves, not just do what feels good (Galatians 5:16–17).

Considering these principles, it’s hard to see how masturbation could honor God unless it’s done without lust, immoral thoughts, or selfishness, and with full assurance it’s right. But that seems to go against what masturbation is all about.

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