||Bible Question: The Bible says "it's not good for a man to touch a woman", but
it does not actually say it is wrong. Is it wrong (a sin) to touch
a woman before marriage, like holding hands, hugging, an occasional
peck on the lips, but nothing serious, like fondling or groping
Bible Answer: The Corinthians had written to Paul asking a question about marriage
in 1 Corinthians 7:1. The New King James Version captures the
actual meaning of the Greek better than the NASB or the NIV.
||Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good
for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have
his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the
husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise
also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority
over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband
does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that
you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together
again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of
self-control. (NKJV) 1 Corinthians 7:1-5
"To Touch A Woman." First, we want to understand what the phrase "to touch a woman"
means. The phrase "to touch a woman" is an idiom that referred
to "sexual relations." In fact, the Greek word that Paul uses
for "to touch" is APTO. It has the sense of "touch," "cling,"
and "take hold of." It also has the sense of "light or kindle"
such as "to kindle a fire." It was also used to refer to sexual
relations between a man and a woman. In short, APTO can mean anything
from a simple touch to having sexual relationships.
Do Not Touch. Next, we need to understand the context. So if we look at the
next verse we see that it starts with "Nevertheless." This connects
the thought of verse 1 with the next four verses where Paul talks
about the need for men and women to be married in order to avoid
Now we must ask, "Is Paul making a statement that it is
not good for a man to hold hands, hug or give an "occasional peck
on the cheek" to a woman?" The answer is "no" since verses 2 through
5 are about the need for a man and his wife to have regular sexual
relations in order to avoid sexual sin. It appears Paul is responding
to a statement from the Corinthians that said, "It was good
for man not to touch a woman." Paul is disagreeing with that statement.
In fact, Paul goes on to warn husbands and wives to not deprive
one another of sexual relations. Notice the Holy Spirit's statement,
||The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does (v. 4).
||And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own
body, but the wife does (v. 4).