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A Biblical Catechism on Sex and Marriage: Celibacy

[This post continues a series of posts entitled 'A Biblical Catechism on Sex and Marriage'.  The intention is to provide basic material for further instruction by a trusted teacher of God's Word in a church that is committed to Biblical authority.  The Church’s mission is to invite all people to live under God’s righteous rule.]

Question 8. What is the purpose of celibacy?

Answer: A person who does not marry is able to fulfill a calling of special devotion to God.

Matthew 19:12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it."  [The teaching on marriage turns to celibacy in thee verses.  Some people are born unable to enter into sexual relationships in marriage due to biological defects.  Others are made eunuchs for whatever reason.  Jesus’ main point, though, is that some voluntarily live celibate lives—function as eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom.  Cf. Matthew 19:29-30; 1 Corinthians 9:5.]

Luke 2:36-37 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin,  37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.1 She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.

1 Corinthians 7:8-9 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.  9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

1 Corinthians 7:32-35 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.  33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife,  34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.  35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

1 Timothy 5:5 She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day….

1 Corinthians 7:5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  [Married couples, too, may abstain from sexual relations with one another by mutual consent for a limited time in order to pray.]