Sacred Scripture on Chastity: The Epistles

Select verses from the Epistles of the New Testament which explicitly or implicitly teach us about the virtue of chastity, including chastity in marriage.

{1:25} And they exchanged the truth of God for a lie. And they worshipped and served the creature, rather than the Creator, who is blessed for all eternity. Amen.
{1:26} Because of this, God handed them over to shameful passions. For example, their females have exchanged the natural use of the body for a use which is against nature.
{1:27} And similarly, the males also, abandoning the natural use of females, have burned in their desires for one another: males doing with males what is disgraceful, and receiving within themselves the recompense that necessarily results from their error.
{1:28} And since they did not prove to have God by knowledge, God handed them over to a morally depraved way of thinking, so that they might do those things which are not fitting:
{1:29} having been completely filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness; full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, spite, gossiping;
{1:30} slanderous, hateful toward God, abusive, arrogant, self-exalting, devisers of evil, disobedient to parents,
{1:31} foolish, disorderly; without affection, without fidelity, without mercy.
{1:32} And these, though they had known the justice of God, did not understand that those who act in such a manner are deserving of death, and not only those who do these things, but also those who consent to what is done.

{6:17} But thanks be to God that, though you used to be the servants of sin, now you have been obedient from the heart to the very form of the doctrine into which you have been received.
{6:18} And having been freed from sin, we have become servants of justice.
{6:19} I am speaking in human terms because of the infirmity of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of your body to serve impurity and iniquity, for the sake of iniquity, so also have you now yielded the parts of your body to serve justice, for the sake of sanctification.
{6:20} For though you were once the servants of sin, you have become the children of justice.
{6:21} But what fruit did you hold at that time, in those things about which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
{6:22} Yet truly, having been freed now from sin, and having been made servants of God, you hold your fruit in sanctification, and truly its end is eternal life.
{6:23} For the wages of sin is death. But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

{13:10} The love of neighbor does no harm. Therefore, love is the plenitude of the law.
{13:11} And we know the present time, that now is the hour for us to rise up from sleep. For already our salvation is closer than when we first believed.
{13:12} The night has passed, and the day draws near. Therefore, let us cast aside the works of darkness, and be clothed with the armor of light.
{13:13} Let us walk honestly, as in the daylight, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and sexual immorality, not in contention and envy.
{13:14} Instead, be clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in its desires.

[1 Corinthians]
{3:16} Do you not know that you are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God lives within you?
{3:17} But if anyone violates the Temple of God, God will destroy him. For the Temple of God is holy, and you are that Temple.
{3:18} Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become foolish, so that he may be truly wise.
{3:19} For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. And so it has been written: “I will catch the wise in their own astuteness.”
{3:20} And again: “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”

{5:1} Above all else, it is being said that there is fornication among you, even fornication of a such kind that is not among the Gentiles, so that someone would have the wife of his father.
{5:2} And yet you are inflated, and you have not instead been grieved, so that he who has done this thing would be taken away from your midst.
{5:3} Certainly, though absent in body, I am present in spirit. Thus, I have already judged, as if I were present, him who has done this.
{5:4} In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, you have been gathered together with my spirit, in the power of our Lord Jesus,
{5:5} to hand over such a one as this to Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
{5:6} It is not good for you to glory. Do you not know that a little leaven corrupts the entire mass?
{5:7} Purge the old leaven, so that you may become the new bread, for you are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover, has now been immolated.
{5:8} And so, let us feast, not with the old leaven, not with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
{5:9} As I have written to you in an epistle: “Do not associate with fornicators,”
{5:10} certainly not with the fornicators of this world, nor with the greedy, nor with robbers, nor with the servants of idolatry. Otherwise, you ought to depart from this world.
{5:11} But now I have written to you: do not associate with anyone who is called a brother and yet is a fornicator, or greedy, or a servant of idolatry, or a slanderer, or inebriated, or a robber. With such a one as this, do not even take food.
{5:12} For what have I to do with judging those who are outside? But do not even you yourselves judge those who are inside?
{5:13} For those who are outside, God will judge. But send this evil person away from yourselves.

{6:9} Do you not know that the iniquitous will not possess the kingdom of God? Do not choose to wander astray. For neither fornicators, nor servants of idolatry, nor adulterers,
{6:10} nor the effeminate, nor males who sleep with males, nor thieves, nor the avaricious, nor the inebriated, nor slanderers, nor the rapacious shall possess the kingdom of God.
{6:11} And some of you were like this. But you have been absolved, but you have been sanctified, but you have been justified: all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
{6:12} All is lawful to me, but not all is expedient. All is lawful to me, but I will not be driven back by the authority of anyone.
{6:13} Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food. But God shall destroy both the stomach and food. And the body is not for fornication, but rather for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body.
{6:14} Truly, God has raised up the Lord, and he will raise us up by his power.
{6:15} Do you not know that your bodies are a part of Christ? So then, should I take a part of Christ and make it a part of a harlot? Let it not be so!
{6:16} And do you not know that whoever is joined to a harlot becomes one body? “For the two,” he said, “shall be as one flesh.”
{6:17} But whoever is joined to the Lord is one spirit.
{6:18} Flee from fornication. Every sin whatsoever that a man commits is outside of the body, but whoever fornicates, sins against his own body.
{6:19} Or do you not know that your bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
{6:20} For you have been bought at a great price. Glorify and carry God in your body.

{9:25} And one who competes in a contest abstains from all things. And they do this, of course, so that they may achieve a corruptible crown. But we do this, so that we may achieve what is incorruptible.
{9:26} And so I run, but not with uncertainty. And so I fight, but not by flailing in the air.
{9:27} Instead, I chastise my body, so as to redirect it into servitude. Otherwise, I might preach to others, but become myself an outcast.

[2 Corinthians]
{6:4} But in all things, let us exhibit ourselves as ministers of God with great patience: through tribulation, difficulties, and distress;
{6:5} despite wounds, imprisonment, and rebellion; with hard work, vigilance, and fasting;
{6:6} by chastity, knowledge, and longsuffering; in pleasantness, in the Holy Spirit, and in unfeigned charity;

{7:1} Therefore, having these promises, most beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting sanctification in the fear of God.
{7:2} Consider us. We have injured no one; we have corrupted no one; we have defrauded no one.
{7:3} I am not saying this to your condemnation. For we have told you before that you are in our hearts: to die together and to live together.

{11:2} For I am jealous toward you, with the jealousy of God. And I have espoused you to one husband, offering you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
{11:3} But I am afraid lest, as the serpent led astray Eve by his cleverness, so your minds might be corrupted and might fall away from the simplicity which is in Christ.

{12:20} Yet I fear, lest perhaps, when I have arrived, I might not find you such as I would want, and I might be found by you, such as you would not want. For perhaps there may be among you: contention, envy, animosity, dissension, detraction, whispering, self-exaltation, and rebellion.
{12:21} If so, then, when I have arrived, God may again humble me among you. And so, I mourn for the many who sinned beforehand, and did not repent, over the lust and fornication and homosexuality, which they have committed.

{5:16} So then, I say: Walk in the spirit, and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.
{5:17} For the flesh desires against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. And since these are against one another, you may not do whatever you want.
{5:18} But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
{5:19} Now the works of the flesh are manifest; they are: fornication, lust, homosexuality, self-indulgence,
{5:20} the serving of idols, drug use, hostility, contentiousness, jealousy, wrath, quarrels, dissensions, divisions,
{5:21} envy, murder, inebriation, carousing, and similar things. About these things, I continue to preach to you, as I have preached to you: that those who act in this way shall not obtain the kingdom of God.
{5:22} But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, forbearance,
{5:23} meekness, faith, modesty, abstinence, chastity. There is no law against such things.
{5:24} For those who are Christ’s have crucified their flesh, along with its vices and desires.
{5:25} If we live by the Spirit, we should also walk by the Spirit.

{4:17} And so, I say this, and I testify in the Lord: that from now on you should walk, not as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind,
{4:18} having their intellect obscured, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is within them, because of the blindness of their hearts.
{4:19} Such as these, despairing, have given themselves over to sexual immorality, carrying out every impurity with rapacity.
{4:20} But this is not what you have learned in Christ.

{5:1} Therefore, as most beloved sons, be imitators of God.
{5:2} And walk in love, just as Christ also loved us and delivered himself for us, as an oblation and a sacrifice to God, with a fragrance of sweetness.
{5:3} But let not any kind of fornication, or impurity, or rapacity so much as be named among you, just as is worthy of the saints,
{5:4} nor any indecent, or foolish, or abusive talk, for this is without purpose; but instead, give thanks.
{5:5} For know and understand this: no one who is a fornicator, or lustful, or rapacious (for these are a kind of service to idols) holds an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
{5:6} Let no one seduce you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God was sent upon the sons of unbelief.
{5:7} Therefore, do not choose to become participants with them.
{5:8} For you were darkness, in times past, but now you are light, in the Lord. So then, walk as sons of the light.
{5:9} For the fruit of the light is in all goodness and justice and truth,
{5:10} affirming what is well-pleasing to God.
{5:11} And so, have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead, refute them.
{5:12} For the things that are done by them in secret are shameful, even to mention.

{3:17} Be imitators of me, brothers, and observe those who are walking similarly, just as you have seen by our example.
{3:18} For many persons, about whom I have often told you (and now tell you, weeping,) are walking as enemies of the cross of Christ.
{3:19} Their end is destruction; their god is their belly; and their glory is in their shame: for they are immersed in earthly things.
{3:20} But our way of life is in heaven. And from heaven, too, we await the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ,
{3:21} who will transform the body of our lowliness, according to the form of the body of his glory, by means of that power by which he is even able to subject all things to himself.

{4:7} And so shall the peace of God, which exceeds all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
{4:8} Concerning the rest, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is chaste, whatever is just, whatever is holy, whatever is worthy to be loved, whatever is of good repute, if there is any virtue, if there is any praiseworthy discipline: meditate on these.

{3:1} Therefore, if you have risen together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
{3:2} Consider the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth.
{3:3} For you have died, and so your life is hidden with Christ in God.
{3:4} When Christ, your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
{3:5} Therefore, mortify your body, while it is upon the earth. For because of fornication, impurity, lust, evil desires, and avarice, which are a kind of service to idols,
{3:6} the wrath of God has overwhelmed the sons of unbelief.
{3:7} You, too, walked in these things, in times past, when you were living among them.
{3:8} But now you must set aside all these things: anger, indignation, malice, blasphemy, and indecent speech from your mouth.

[1 Thessalonians]
{2:3} For our exhortation was not in error, nor from impurity, nor with deception.
{2:4} But, just as we have been tested by God, so that the Gospel would be entrusted to us, so also did we speak, not so as to please men, but rather to please God, who tests our hearts.
{2:5} And neither did we, at any time, become flattering in speech, as you know, nor did we seek an opportunity for avarice, as God is witness.
{2:6} Nor did we seek the glory of men, neither from you, nor from others.

{4:1} Therefore, concerning other things, brothers, we ask and beg you, in the Lord Jesus, that, just as you have received from us the way in which you ought to walk and to please God, so also may you walk, in order that you may abound all the more.
{4:2} For you know what precepts I have given to you through the Lord Jesus.
{4:3} For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from fornication,
{4:4} that each one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor,
{4:5} not in passions of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God,
{4:6} and that no one should overwhelm or circumvent his brother in business. For the Lord is the vindicator of all these things, just as we have preached and testified to you.
{4:7} For God has not called us to impurity, but to sanctification.
{4:8} And so, whoever despises these teachings, does not despise man, but God, who has even provided his Holy Spirit within us.
{4:9} But concerning the charity of brotherhood, we have no need to write to you. For you yourselves have learned from God that you should love one another.

[1 Timothy]
{1:5} Now the goal of instruction is charity from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith.
{1:6} Certain persons, wandering away from these things, have been turned aside to empty babbling,
{1:7} desiring to be teachers of the law, but understanding neither the things that they themselves are saying, nor what they are affirming about these things.
{1:8} But we know that the law is good, if one makes use of it properly.
{1:9} Knowing this, that the law was not set in place for the just, but for the unjust and the insubordinate, for the impious and sinners, for the wicked and the defiled, for those who commit patricide, matricide, or homicide,
{1:10} for fornicators, for males who sleep with males, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,
{1:11} which is in accord with the Gospel of the glory of the blessed God, the Gospel which has been entrusted to me.

{2:1} And so I beg you, first of all, to make supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings for all men,
{2:2} for kings, and for all who are in high places, so that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all piety and chastity.
{2:3} For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
{2:4} who wants all men to be saved and to arrive at an acknowledgment of the truth.

{3:1} It is a faithful saying: if a man desires the episcopate, he desires a good work.
{3:2} Therefore, it is necessary for a bishop to be beyond reproach, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, gracious, chaste, hospitable, a teacher,
{3:3} not a drunkard, not combative but restrained, not quarrelsome, not covetous;
{3:4} but a man who leads his own house well, having children who are subordinate with all chastity.
{3:5} For if a man does not know how to lead his own house, how will he take care of the Church of God?
{3:6} He must not be a new convert, lest, being elated by pride, he may fall under the sentence of the devil.
{3:7} And it is necessary for him also to have good testimony from those who are outside, so that he may not fall into disrepute and the snare of the devil.
{3:8} Similarly, deacons must be chaste, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not pursuing tainted profit,
{3:9} holding to the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
{3:10} And these things should be proven first, and then they may minister, being without offense.
{3:11} Similarly, the women must be chaste, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

{4:12} Let no one despise your youth, but be an example among the faithful in word, in behavior, in charity, in faith, in chastity.

{5:1} You should not rebuke an old man, but rather plead with him, as if he were your father; with young men, like brothers;
{5:2} with old women, like mothers; with young women, in all chastity, like sisters.
{5:3} Honor those widows who are true widows.
{5:4} But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let her first learn to manage her own household, and to fulfill, in turn, her own obligation to her parents; for this is acceptable before God.
{5:5} But she who is truly a widow and is destitute, let her hope in God, and let her be urgent in supplications and prayers, night and day.
{5:6} For she who is living in pleasures is dead, while living.
{5:7} And give instruction in this, so that they may be beyond reproach.

{5:22} You should not be quick to impose hands on anyone, nor should you take part in the sins of outsiders. Keep yourself chaste.

[2 Timothy]
{3:1} And know this: that in the last days perilous times will press near.
{3:2} Men will be lovers of themselves, greedy, self-exalting, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,
{3:3} without affection, without peace, false accusers, unchaste, cruel, without kindness,
{3:4} traitorous, reckless, self-important, loving pleasure more than God,
{3:5} even having the appearance of piety while rejecting its virtue. And so, avoid them.
{3:6} For among these are ones who penetrate houses and lead away, like captives, foolish women burdened with sins, who are led away by means of various desires,
{3:7} always learning, yet never achieving knowledge of the truth.

{1:7} And a bishop, as a steward of God, must be without offense: not arrogant, not short-tempered, not a drunkard, not violent, not desiring tainted profit,
{1:8} but instead: hospitable, kind, sober, just, holy, chaste,
{1:9} embracing faithful speech which is in agreement with doctrine, so that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to argue against those who contradict.

{2:1} But you are to speak the things that befit sound doctrine.
{2:2} Old men should be sober, chaste, prudent, sound in faith, in love, in patience.
{2:3} Old women, similarly, should be in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teaching well,
{2:4} so that they may teach prudence to the young women, so that they may love their husbands, love their children,
{2:5} be sensible, chaste, restrained, have concern for the household, be kind, be subordinate to their husbands: so that the Word of God may be not blasphemed.
{2:6} Exhort young men similarly, so that they may show self-restraint.

{13:4} May marriage be honorable in every way, and may the marriage bed be immaculate. For God will judge fornicators and adulterers.

{3:12} My brothers, can the fig tree yield grapes? Or the vine, figs? Then neither is salt water able to produce fresh water.
{3:13} Who is wise and well-taught among you? Let him show, by means of good conversation, his work in the meekness of wisdom.
{3:14} But if you hold a bitter zeal, and if there is contention in your hearts, then do not boast and do not be liars against the truth.
{3:15} For this is not wisdom, descending from above, but rather it is earthly, beastly, and diabolical.
{3:16} For wherever envy and contention is, there too is inconstancy and every depraved work.
{3:17} But within the wisdom that is from above, certainly, chastity is first, and next peacefulness, meekness, openness, consenting to what is good, a plenitude of mercy and good fruits, not judging, without falseness.
{3:18} And so the fruit of justice is sown in peace by those who make peace.

[1 Peter]
{1:18} For you know that it was not with corruptible gold or silver that you were redeemed away from your useless behavior in the traditions of your fathers,
{1:19} but it was with the precious blood of Christ, an immaculate and undefiled lamb,
{1:20} foreknown, certainly, before the foundation of the world, and made manifest in these latter times for your sake.
{1:21} Through him, you have been faithful to God, who raised him up from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope would be in God.
{1:22} So chastise your souls with the obedience of charity, in fraternal love, and love one another from a simple heart, attentively.
{1:23} For you have been born again, not from corruptible seed, but from what is incorruptible, from the Word of God, living and remaining for all eternity.
{1:24} For all flesh is like the grass and all its glory is like the flower of the grass. The grass withers and its flower falls away.
{1:25} But the Word of the Lord endures for eternity. And this is the Word that has been evangelized to you.

{3:1} Similarly also, wives should be subject to their husbands, so that, even if some do not believe the Word, they may benefit without the Word, through the behavior of these wives,
{3:2} as they consider with fear your chaste behavior.
{3:3} For you, there should be no unnecessary adornment of the hair, or surrounding with gold, or the wearing of ornate clothing.
{3:4} Instead, you should be a hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptibility of a quiet and a meek spirit, rich in the sight of God.
{3:5} For in this way, in past times also, holy women adorned themselves, hoping in God, being subject to their own husbands.

{4:1} Since Christ has suffered in the flesh, you also should be armed with the same intention. For he who suffers in the flesh desists from sin,
{4:2} so that now he may live, for the remainder of his time in the flesh, not by the desires of men, but by the will of God.
{4:3} For the time that has passed is sufficient to have fulfilled the will of the Gentiles, those who have walked in luxuries, lusts, intoxication, feasting, drinking, and the illicit worship of idols.
{4:4} About this, they wonder why you do not rush with them into the same confusion of indulgences, blaspheming.
{4:5} But they must render an account to him who is prepared to judge the living and the dead.
{4:6} For because of this, the Gospel was also preached to the dead, so that they might be judged, certainly, just like men in the flesh, yet also, so that they might live according to God, in the Spirit.
{4:7} But the end of everything draws near. And so, be prudent, and be vigilant in your prayers.
{4:8} But, before all things, have a constant mutual charity among yourselves. For love covers a multitude of sins.

[2 Peter]
{2:9} Thus, the Lord knows how to rescue the pious from trials, and how to reserve the iniquitous for torments on the day of judgment;
{2:10} even more so, those who walk after the flesh in unclean desires, and who despise proper authority. Boldly pleasing themselves, they do not dread to introduce divisions by blaspheming;
{2:11} whereas the Angels, who are greater in strength and virtue, did not bring against themselves such a deplorable judgment.
{2:12} Yet truly, these others, like irrational beasts, naturally fall into traps and into ruin by blaspheming whatever they do not understand, and so they shall perish in their corruption,
{2:13} receiving the reward of injustice, the fruition of valuing the delights of the day: defilements and stains, overflowing with self-indulgences, taking pleasure in their feasts with you,
{2:14} having eyes full of adultery and of incessant offenses, luring unstable souls, having a heart well-trained in avarice, sons of curses!

{2:20} For if, after taking refuge from the defilements of the world in the understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they again become entangled and overcome by these things, then the latter state becomes worse than the former.
{2:21} For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of justice than, after acknowledging it, to turn away from that holy commandment which was handed on to them.
{2:22} For the truth of the proverb has happened to them: The dog has returned to his own vomit, and the washed sow has returned to her wallowing in the mud.

{1:7} And also Sodom and Gomorrah, and the adjoining cities, in similar ways, having given themselves over to fornication and to the pursuing of other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.
{1:8} Similarly also, these ones certainly defile the flesh, and they despise proper authority, and they blaspheme against majesty.

{1:12} These ones are defiled within their banquets, enjoying themselves and feeding themselves without fear; waterless clouds, which are tossed about by winds; autumn trees, unfruitful, twice dead, uprooted;
{1:13} raging waves of the sea, foaming from their own confusion; wandering stars, for whom the whirlwind of darkness has been reserved forever!

More on marital chastity in The Catholic Marriage Bed: A book of Roman Catholic moral theology

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