Kissing is an intimate form of physical affection among loved ones, family, and sometimes friends. When people ask whether or not kissing is right or wrong in God’s eyes, they often mean it in the context of a romantic relationship before marriage.
Kissing isn’t inherently sinful according to the Bible. Certain expressions of kissing may be considered wrong depending on the relationship and the degree of romantic passion involved. Some Christians choose to refrain from kissing until marriage, in part, because of the temptations that may result.
Does Scripture command people not to kiss before marriage? Why do some Christians only want to kiss their future spouse? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Also see Is Oral Sex A Sin? to learn more about the Bible’s teaching.
What does the Bible say about kissing?
The Bible celebrates romantic love between married men and women. In fact, some books like the Song of Solomon, give readers detailed and graphic descriptions of physical intimacy that far surpass kissing (e.g. Song 7:6-10). Those who have read such passages are acutely aware that the Bible definitely isn’t prudish when it comes to sex.
Does the Bible include positive descriptions of kissing? Yes. The Bible celebrates romantic love in its proper context, and in such relationships kissing is praised. For example, Song of Solomon 1:2 reads, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine.”
The Bible also uses kissing as a positive metaphor, such as in Psalm 85:10, “Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.” (ESV)
Does Scripture command people not to kiss before marriage? No. The Bible doesn’t explicitly forbid kissing between two unmarried people. A Christian couple that is dating with the consideration of marriage or is engaged doesn’t necessarily sin because they share a kiss in a manner that retains their purity.
Yet some individuals and couples make a decision not to kiss until marriage as a matter of wisdom. But why do some couples believe that is wise? See the next section below.
In his well-reviewed book The Hole In Our Holiness, Pastor Kevin DeYoung warns against “make-out” sessions: “Pursuing holiness in today’s cheap-date, hookup world requires tremendous courage and other-worldliness. Long make-out sessions (and more) is not the way for young men to treat ‘younger women as sisters, in all purity’ (1 Tim. 5:2).”
DeYoung continues, “If you might not marry the one you are dating, why do all sorts of stuff with someone else’s future spouse, stuff you will have a hard time forgetting once you are married yourself? And if you are on your way to marriage, instead of acting more married than single, consider getting married sooner so you don’t have to act single any longer.” (p. 116)
Are there non-romantic descriptions of kissing in the Bible? Yes. In some cultures today, kissing on the cheek is an appropriate, non-romantic greeting between two people. The Greco-Roman culture of the New Testament was similar.
The Apostle Paul even encourages such a greeting in Romans 16:16, “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.” According to scholars, a “holy kiss” probably describes a non-romantic peck that may have gently touched the skin or been done in the air, yet near the other person’s cheek.
Also see Is Masturbation Sinful? Two Views to learn more.
Why do some Christians not kiss until marriage?
Even though kissing isn’t inherently sinful, some Christians choose not to kiss until they are married. Why people choose to do this varies.
Some people only want to kiss their future spouse. Some men and women wait to kiss each other until their wedding because that’s the commitment ceremony that secures their relationship.
It’s possible, even if unlikely, that a wedding could be called off, so some people desire to wait until they have exchanged vows to God and each other “until death do them part.”
Kissing can lead to experiences that violate a person’s purity. One of the main reasons Christians will refrain from kissing, or at least passionate kissing, prior to marriage is because of sin that can result from it.
While the Bible doesn’t strictly forbid kissing before marriage, its commands about holiness and purity are strong and straightforward.
- Matthew 5:28 reads, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
- Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
- Hebrews 13:4, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
- Galatians 5:19, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality.”
Some Christians are convinced that the best way to remain sexually pure before marriage is to not put themselves in a position to be tempted to impurity, which passionate kissing can do. Even though being in a position to sin isn’t the same thing as sin itself, some see it as a matter of wisdom to save all their affections for their future spouse.
Christian professor J. Budziszewski writes, “According to research, the more hours a man and woman spend alone together, even if they begin with a firm intention of chastity, the further they tend to go and the more likely they are to lose control completely. Hearing this, most Christian young people have the good sense to see that couples who really want to remain chaste need to limit their time alone.”
He continues, “That’s realism. Unfortunately, the more time they’ve been spending alone, the less obvious such realism will be to them. The solution is that they need to set their limits firmly at the beginning of their relationship, while their heads are still clear and realism is easier to achieve.” (How to Stay Christian in College, p. 131)
Also see Is the Law of Attraction Sinful? to learn more about the Bible’s teaching.
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