Is Masturbation A Sin?

Is Masturbation A Sin? September 24, 2015

Does the Bible tell us that masturbation is a sin? If not, how can we determine from Scripture if it is or not?

Sinning in the Heart

Jesus once said “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:27-28). What Jesus was saying is that we can sin in our hearts without actually doing the physical act. Just like we can hate someone and God sees it as committing murder in our hearts as Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-22, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Why would Jesus see our desires, thoughts, motives, and intents as being the same as sin? Because if we hated someone we’d seek to take their life if we could get away with it and in a similar fashion, if we’re lusting after someone, it is very likely that if we could have sex with that person, whether it was outside of marriage (adultery) or as a single adult (fornication), we’d likely do it.

Temptation leads to Sin

I have heard many Christians say that they sinned because of the enemy or some evil influence but James, Jesus’ half-brother, tells us where sin actually begins in James 1:13-15 “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” The phrase “the Devil made me do it” is not a biblical idea or belief. Yes, Satan or his demons might tempt us to sin “but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” meaning we are responsible for our own thoughts and actions. If we don’t flee or resist this temptation to sin then “desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” In other words, we can’t blame God or the Devil or his minions but only ourselves. If we allow temptation to stew, it will boil over into desire which can lead to sin.


Lusting in the Heart

We have already read that Jesus equated the desire to have sex with someone who is not our spouse as adultery of the heart but this doesn’t mean that the physical act is not worse. When we commit adultery or fornication, we are actually joining ourselves with that person as Paul writes “do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:16-18). Paul puts it this way: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never” (1 Cor 6:15)! This is why we should “Flee from sexual immorality.”

Avoiding Lust

I love what Job said in Job 31:1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” In other words, when Job even saw a woman who was not his spouse, he would immediately look away. The same principle is that when I watch TV, which is not all that often, and I see an image on a commercial or a promo of a show that is sexually explicit, I either turn the channel or I turn the TV off. I won’t sit there and stare at it until it’s over. This allows me to become tempted and immoral thoughts can easily creep into my mind. Once again, Paul reminds us that “there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity” (Eph 5:3) and so “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1st Cor 10:31). The fact is “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23). You and I must realize that our “body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Cor 6:19-20).


Even though the Bible doesn’t expressly say that masturbation is sin, the principle of our thought life is that we can sin in our hearts and if we sin in our hearts and don’t flee the temptation, the temptation can conceive sin and sin then brings the consequences and that is death for those who have never repented and trusted in Christ.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart”

    Thought crime. The very essence of totalitarianism. What a gross concept. How warped it is of you and your kind to wish for this celestial dictator reading your mind night and day. Absolutely perverted

    • Andrew

      Much fear I sense in you, pud.
      There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

      • pud

        Wow! You can do that? How about tonights lottery number?

    • Jeff Hinkle


  • Monique Lynn


    • jjgrndisland

      The expected response of a lesb. They got nothing but masturbation, since they don’t even have the required equipment for real sex, or love either. No wonder they’re always so crabby and bitter, two skanks faking the real thing. They’d be happier to just live alone with a cucumber. Poor things are way too unattractive to find a man.

      • Monique Lynn

        Are you a giant dick because you have a small one and that’s how you compensate?

        • Ken M

          That’s not very ladylike, tsk tsk.

          Every creepy lesbo wishes she was a man.

          Amazing you hideous slugs don’t puke on each other.

          • Monique Lynn

            And how did you become the one who decides what is ladylike? Also. . . I am not the one who brought up anyone’s sexuality. He attacked me. I made a tiny jab back and you attack me? I don’t even know what made him say I was a lesbian to begin with.

          • mai1dude39


          • Monique Lynn

            This is really awful. I said one thing in retaliation and I’m the one called names. I’m sure your mothers are so proud!

          • Chris Dagostino

            Monique, don’t feed the trolls.

            As for the subject at hand, Christ’s words about lust and anger (strange how Evangelicals don’t seem to talk nearly as much about the latter as they do the former, huh?) were about preventing self-righteousness and/or coveting another person’s spouse. Mr. Wellman and his ilk don’t seem to ever wonder why Jesus would seemingly make a law that anyone (especially a healthy male who’s at least 13 years old) would find utterly impossible to follow, and then so vocally chastise the Pharisees for doing the same thing a few chapters later. Nor do they wonder why Paul would urge single Corinthians to get married if they “burned with desire” when, going by the face-value interpretation of the Lord’s words on lust, they shouldn’t even BE burning with desire in the first place.

          • Jeff Hinkle

            Religion (there are no gods in the first place) thrives on commanding impossible things, that way one is always failing and in need of the religion.

          • pud

            Spot on but these lunatic only want to believe what they want to believe!

          • Jeff Hinkle

            Their mothers are probably christers and moohamedans and jewish idiots. Death to all monotheism.

          • Jeff Hinkle

            I assume you jerk it to c*ck then. F*ggot

      • Jeff Hinkle

        People who don’t like lesbians are f*gs.

  • The Happy Atheist

    Wow. What an astounding load of crap. I can only hope that Jack Wellman didn’t have any kids to screw up with his nonsensical prudery. I’m so glad I left all that silliness behind.

  • HYH

    Ten Commandments, and they are just 10, can make this world a heaven on the Earth, but humans don’t understand, let alone follow the word of wisdom.

    • Jeff Hinkle

      Most of the commandments are stupid horsesh*t

      • Spot on! They are use to brainwash people with the use of fear as a weapon of oppression.

  • verytru

    Any so-called biblical advice without HS guidance, will get the wrong message out there, have the opposite response and upset those that really need the truth. This article missed the target. Rather make a study of what is idolatry actually, how it impacts on your life and keeps you from the truth and give advice on how to get rid of idols, than being judgmental without saying first “I never did this or that or since I became a Believer I stopped”. From where I am looking at your website, I see a “Offers and Articles From the Web” ad from “Outbrain” posting a young lady whose boobs are hanging out with the message “Mountain Bikers Paradise, Wandering Pioneer”. Really? This article needs to be scrapped as it helps absolutely nobody getting closer to Jesus. [see attached photo exploiting people’s greed, lust, fears advertised on the same page telling you what not to do and how to stay away from temptation]

  • 450 pounds KISS MY WHITE ASS

    HOGWASH. One who doesn’t have sex, isn’t married, must do SOMETHING. I MASTURBATE DAILY, SO WHAT?

  • “Lust”

    Consider a person whose sexual hormones are raging. It is impossible for such a person not to look with “lust” after another person. Is all sexual “lust” wrong? well if your hormones are raging, then you can’t help it. So why screw up young people whose hormones are raging by loading heaps of guilt upon them?

    Why not encourage them to treat potential sexual partners with dignity and respect? Why not encourage them to show compassion, mercy and loving kindness towards potential sexual partners? Maybe the only way for them to release their sexual pressure from raging hormones is to masturbate. Why judge them?