What does the Bible say about pornography?

Human beings' drive to discover and explore the unknown is practically built into us. We all want more knowledge and to experience new things and keep learning. Sex is one of those things that sparks a lot of curiosity—especially for teens who have been told it's taboo or forbidden. Look, it's not that sex is evil or a bad thing. God created sex to be a beautiful, pleasurable expression of love between a husband and wife (Ephesians 5:25-33; Song of Solomon 5:1; Proverbs 5:18-19), but there are severe consequences for those who disrespect that holy union (Hebrews 13:4).

The very nature of pornography defiles God's design for sex. The enemy has taken what God made as an expression of love and twisted it into a perversion that plays out through lustful fantasies, pornography, adultery, rape, and other sexual sins (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). Porn invites the viewer/reader into a pool of lust (1 Peter 5:8). But 1 Corinthians 6:18 says to "flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body." Not only is sexual sin an offense against God (Matthew 5:28), it is also an offense against ourselves because it builds a barrier between us and God (Isaiah 59:2).

Porn = Lust

Willingly viewing or reading pornography will lead to lustful thoughts and actions, which are sinful (Job 31:11-12). Lust is defined as an "intense or unrestrained sexual craving" and ultimately produces nothing good (1 John 2:16). To be clear, sexual desire isn't the same as lust. Sexual desire is a natural part of being human and may be fulfilled in the context of marriage. (Also see: What's the point of abstinence?) Lust, on the other hand, traps us in thoughts we cannot control and leads us down paths that are best left unexplored (Philippians 4:8; Proverbs 6:25-28; Galatians 5:22).

Romans 6:19 tells us that we are capable of such bigger and better things than living a life riddled with secret sins like watching porn: "I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification."

Porn Addiction is NOT Impossible to Overcome

Pornography addiction can be the source of a lot of shame for a Christian, which makes it so much harder to be brave enough to seek help (James 1:12-15). Please, please, PLEASE hear us in this: there is NO SHAME in asking for help. The addictive nature of porn is well-documented, and it is not as uncommon as you might think in the Christian community. Pornography elicits pleasure receptors in our brains, which we naturally enjoy, but we can easily become addicted to that "high" in the same way we could become dependent on chemical drugs.

If you find yourself in a cycle of lust because of pornography and the Holy Spirit is convicting you to make a change toward recovery and healing (John 16:8), please consider talking to a trusted friend, family member, or adult who can help keep you accountable. Install apps to block questionable content on your devices and/or only access your devices in public places. You may even want to think about speaking to a counselor about what you've been through and begin the recovery process. We have more specific advice in this article: How do I escape porn addiction?

Friend, you are not a lost cause or utterly hopeless. Jesus tells us that He can and will help us when we come to Him and ask (Matthew 11:28-30). He will give us strength when we feel we can't go on (Philippians 4:13). You're still living and breathing; it's not too late.

"When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken." —Psalm 34:17-20

The Ones About Sex

Pornography defiles God's original design for sex. The enemy has taken what God made as an expression of love and twisted it into a perversion that plays out through lust, pornography, adultery, rape, and other sexual sins (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). Believers need to run away from sexual sins—not invite the temptation to entertain lustful thoughts or act on them (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 John 2:16). If you are convicted to stop watching porn, please know that God can deliver you from your addiction (Psalm 34:17-20).

Writer/Editor: Catiana (Cat)

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She is known as 412teens on the 412teens Discord. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not cooking, gardening, or practicing creativity, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.

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