Is Watching Porn a Sin According to The Bible


Introduction 

Today, porn use has become as commonplace as checking the weather. The digital era has introduced porn into our lives with remarkable accessibility. The pornography industry has soared, with statistics suggesting a major growing acceptance of its use. For many, watching porn is totally normal. 

Yet, amidst this normalization, one question may often linger: Is watching porn a sin?

Especially when we see it through the lens of morality and God’s teachings, when we know ‘normal’ and ‘right’ are two different things.

What’s more, it’s often easy to shun this question, saying it depends on the way you look at it and accept it. But we know it’s much more than that. 

So, today we will address this elephant in the room and understand- Is watching porn a sin? Is it a sexual sin? If it is, what is the reason behind God’s prohibition of pornography? And what are God’s teachings regarding lustful thoughts, intimacy, and sexual immorality?  

Let’s find out.


Is watching porn a sin? 

Before we move to explore if is it a sin to watch porn, let us first quickly understand what the Bible defines as a sin.

Well, simply put, sin isn’t just about breaking rules; it’s about making choices and participating in actions that are morally wrong and against divine law. It’s more about making choices that show negative effects on the good plans for humanity.

However, the concept of what is divine varies. In fact, the ever-evolving nature of cultures and religions means perspectives change over time. Despite that, certain acts, like harming others, remain universally immoral.

But then, Is porn a sin in the Bible?

is watching porn a sin

Well, to answer this, let us first understand what pornography means in biblical terms.

The Bible, it seems, does not explicitly delve into this modern concept. However, if we take a closer look, we find an intriguing connection through the Greek word ‘porneia’.

Let me explain. 

The word “pornography” is derived from two Greek words’ porneia’ and ‘graphé.’ Where

  • ‘porneia’ means any kind of prostitution, sexual immorality, impurity, adultery, and other forms of perversion.  
  • graphé stands for any writing or document. In the Bible, this is generally used to denote the Scriptures.

Initially, the word “pornography” was coined to denote any sexually impure or immoral writing that was used to arouse the reader. And while the Bible doesn’t directly talk about the word pornography, however, it does talk about the Greek word ‘porneia’, from which it has originated. 

However, the question remains- Is porn really considered a sin?

The simple answer is yes – is it a sin to watch porn, according to the Bible. In fact, Christianity believes strongly against sexual immorality and lust in general. It denounces pornography and talks about separating temptation from sexual ethics in pure relationships

The Bible states, 

“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 (Matthew 5 27-28) 

Many scholars believe this verse (among others) to be a warning against pornography. The Christian life discourages people from indulging in acts of sexual sin. 

But then why is it described so? What if you are just watching porn, not undertaking any sexual immorality? 

We will get to these answers; however, before we move on to discovering the ‘why’, let us take a look at the stances from the Bible that talk about sexual immorality.


What does the Bible say? 

what does bible say

The Bible provides clear guidance on ‘porneia’—a term encompassing various forms of sexual immorality. 

Let’s take a look into what the Scriptures say:

  • Ephesians 5:3 (NIV): Among you, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, impurity, or greed; these are improper for God’s holy people.” Here, the Bible insists on a standard of purity, warning against any form of sexual misconduct, even a subtle one.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God; Don’t be deceived: neither the sexually immoral [pornoi], nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God“. The severity is highlighted here; those practising ‘porneia’ risk exclusion from God’s Kingdom.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18-19: “Flee from sexual immorality; it sins against your own body, a temple of the Holy Spirit.” Here, the gravity of ‘porneia’ is emphasized; it’s a unique sin with personal consequences, violating the sanctity of one’s body.
  • Hebrews 13:4: “Let marriage be honoured, and the marriage bed be undefiled; God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” In this stance, marriage is elevated, and ‘porneia’ is condemned, a call to maintain purity in the sacred union.

Basically, the Bible emphasizes that ‘Porneia’ is a sin; it keeps people away from God’s Kingdom, and thereby, the followers of Jesus Christ should stay away from it.


Why Watching is Porn A Sin?

Let us understand how is it a sin to watch porn:


1. It is a sin that Stems From Lust

Watching porn is considered a sin in the eyes of Christianity, primarily because it stems from the root of lustful thoughts. And lust is a concept that is strongly condemned in the Bible. 

In Matthew 5:28, Jesus talks about the need to safeguard our hearts, stating that whoever gazes at another with lustful intent has essentially committed adultery in their heart. The act of watching pornography aligns with this warning, as it involves indulging in lustful thoughts toward others, regardless of knowing them personally.

Furthermore, lust, as understood biblically, extends beyond intense sexual desire. It covers the feelings of deep craving, whether sexual or otherwise. 

This craving is similar to covetousness, condemned in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:17), as well as in the New Testament. 

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul reinforces this (Colossians 3:5), urging believers to eliminate earthly desires, including sexual immorality and impurity. 

The biblical stance emphasizes submitting to God and acknowledging His provision rather than coveting what we lack. 

And as watching porn epitomizes this lustful craving, glorifying sexual encounters with unknown individuals outside the sanctity of marriage, it is considered a sin stemming from lust. 


2. It is Selfish

Watching porn is often seen as a selfish act. However, it’s not merely about personal pleasure but embraces a self-centred mindset that can lead one astray from the teachings of the Bible. 

The apostle Paul, a firm advocate for selflessness, draws attention to this aspect: 

(Philippians 2:3) states, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Here, Paul urges believers to stay clear of selfish ambition and vain conceit. The emphasis here is on humility and the elevation of others above oneself. 

Now, this teaching resonates deeply against the backdrop of pornography, where people are usually reduced to mere sexual acts and objectification for momentary pleasure. It’s a stark contrast to the biblical teaching that cherishes others as fellow children of God.


3. It affects marriages

Watching porn is considered as a subtle betrayal of the very essence of marriage. 

As the Bible outlines in 1 Corinthians 7:4, the intimacy between spouses is sacred; it’s a sharing of oneself exclusively with each other. It is supposed to be a connection that is to be safeguarded and cherished.

However, habitual porn consumption disrupts this belief, as it involves you investing your sexuality in someone who is not your spouse. Constant Pron use wraps your brain around someone who doesn’t belong to you. Moreover, the altered thought patterns from prolonged exposure impact genuine intimacy. 

And if you are single, the ramifications persist. This is because, for singles, porn use often leads to forming unrealistic expectations for future partners. This, in turn, foreshadows the potential for any authentic connections. 

Therefore, constant porn use is considered a sin as it affects your relations with your partner or future potential partner. 

quit porn forever


4. It turns us away from God.

The Bible teaches us to love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. However, when we are addicted to pornography, it can inadvertently steer us away from God. 

This habit creates a disconnection. 

The Bible, in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, emphasizes God’s will for our sanctification, urging us to abstain from sexual immorality and to maintain holiness and honour in controlling our bodies. 

However, watching porn is a departure from this divine will, challenging our commitment to purity.

Besides that, we also need to consider also the aspect of idolatry. 

Watching pornography becomes a form of worship directed at the objects of lust, overshadowing our dedication to God. 

This intertwining of lust and idolatry is denounced in 1 Peter 4:3, and it’s essential to recognize how porn use embodies this forbidden amalgamation. In steering away from God’s plan and succumbing to sexual addiction and immoral desires, we inadvertently stray from the path of love and sanctification that the Bible advocates.


5. It is a sin against our body.

In (1 Corinthians 6:18-20), Paul urges us to stay away from sexual immorality, emphasizing a unique aspect – it’s a sin against our own bodies. 

The Bible asserts that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, this is not merely metaphoric but a proven reality. 

Modern neuroscience aligns with this ancient wisdom, revealing the impact of porn on the brain.

Remarkably, our brains don’t always distinguish between reality and fantasy. While we might cognitively recognize porn as a virtual reality, another part of our brain processes it as a genuine experience. This dual nature triggers a chemical response, bonding us to the images and intensifying the desire for repetition.

Here, science echoes the biblical insight that what starts in the mind manifests in the body and our choices. It’s not just a theological standpoint; it’s a physiological reality!


6. It affects our relationships with others.

Another reason why is it a sin to watch porn is because it affects our relationship with others. 

It changes the way we perceive and interact with one another. But this is not limited to our own perspectives; it also impacts the relationships between genders.

How? Well, consider this: do you find yourself fixating on physical attributes that align with unrealistic standards set by the porn industry? 

Research shows that compulsive viewers, consuming three hours of porn weekly, witness a 46% decline in support for women’s rights among men and a 30% dip among women. 

This statistic shows us the reality of how porn affects our thoughts, elevating men while diminishing the worth of women. 

Whereas, in the eyes of God, we are all equal, irrespective of gender differences (Galatians 3:28). And pornography highly contradicts this perspective of the Bible. 


7. It can be Addictive.

Another prevalent reason why watching porn is a sin is its potentially addictive nature. When you fall into the trap of compulsive porn habits, you surrender yourself to carnal desires and lustful thoughts in sin. With this addictiveness, the temptation simply keeps on increasing.

There is always a persistent craving for more, resulting in pushing boundaries and seeking more extreme forbidden content.


8. It is a sin against exploited women and children.

Bible teachings emphasize respect for all forms of life. However, the harsh truth is that where there is demand, there’s an unsettling supply chain. 

And even today, the production and distribution of the porn industry are often entwined with the web of human trafficking, including both adults and, disturbingly, minors. The young souls trapped or coerced into non-consensual sexual acts and dissemination of explicit material paint a stark picture of sin.

That is, when we indulge in addictive porn habits, we unintentionally fuel a cycle of harm, undermining the very ethical principles we strive to uphold. 


What now? How Can you deal with Porn Addiction?

Facing the challenge of a porn addiction can be overwhelming, especially in times when explicit content is just a click away. Furthermore, admitting the struggle can be stressful due to the fear of judgment and shame. 

However, you need to remember that we are all sinners, and only God has the right to pass judgment.

In fact, in the Bible, Jesus Christ exemplified mercy and understanding in John 7:53-8:11. When a woman caught in adultery faced condemnation, Jesus challenged the crowd, stating, 

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone.” 

Recognizing our shared imperfections, He offered redemption and urged the woman to “go, and from now on sin no more.”

So, don’t be harsh on yourself. If you find yourself grappling with a porn habit, take heart; change is possible with God’s guidance and support. Here’s a practical approach to deal with porn addiction:

  • Repentance and Conscious Choice: Start by repenting and turning away from the habit. Make a conscious decision to resist the urge and desire, seeking God’s strength to overcome.
  • Accountability Partner: Find a trusted and understanding ally. This accountability partner should understand your struggles and be available to offer support when temptation kicks in.
  • Use of Porn Blocker Apps: Use technology to your advantage. Install porn blocker apps and adjust online settings to restrict access to explicit content, safeguarding your online space.
  • Create a Distraction Plan: Keep yourself busy with healthy distraction habits. You can undertake activities like reading the Bible, learning a new skill, or taking a phone-free walk.
  • Seek Professional help: If you find your habit transcending into a severe addiction, get professional help. 


Conclusion

Well, it is evident: watching porn is considered a sin. However, this issue is more than a moral obligation, it is a safeguard for our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. 

And if you find yourself in the clutches of porn addiction, remember, God isn’t about condemnation but redemption. With the proper determination and willingness, you can break free from the grip of porn addiction. So, prioritize healthy relationships and steer clear of the sin of porn addiction. 


FAQs

Q. Is Porn a Sin for Single Christian Men?

Yes, porn is considered a sin regardless of who we are. Porn shows many adverse effects on single Christian men, such as creating unrealistic expectations for future partners, leaving no potential for genuine connections. 

Q. How common is porn addiction?

Porn Addiction is a growing issue today. Studies estimate that between 50% to 90% of men and 30% to 86% of women regularly consume porn.

Sources

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Lynda Mayer

Lynda Mayer, LPCC, an alumnus of the University of Minnesota with a master's degree in Clinical Psychology, is a seasoned licensed professional clinical counselor. With over a decade of experience in counseling, she specializes in adolescent mental health. Lynda actively shares her extensive knowledge and insights through writing, contributing significantly to the field of psychology and mental well-being. Her work not only demonstrates her expertise but also her commitment to improving adolescent mental health outcomes.