Among Christian youth, kissing has been considered one of the debatable topics when it comes to appropriate premarital sexual behaviour. Questions like “When is it appropriate to kiss your fiancé?” “Is kissing before marriage really sin?” and “Does it matter when I kiss my beloved?” are often asked by the youth. What does the Bible say and how must we as Christians approach the subject?
A kiss is to touch or caress with the lips or mouth as a sign of affection, greeting, respect, appreciation or parting (cf. Acts 20:36-38). In my search through Scripture, I have found two major types of kisses; almost every other type of kiss our contemporary world defines falls under one of these categories.
Kiss of the Lips
The Bible talks about a kiss of the lips. As the name suggests, it is done with the lips. This is the type of kiss Paul spoke of in Rom. 16:16 when he told believers to greet one another with a holy kiss (cf. 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Pet. 5:14). The adjective ‘holy’ suggests that the motive for kissing shouldn’t fall out of place of what pleases God.
The sinful woman kissed Jesus’ feet with her lips (Lk. 7:38), her motive being the showing of appreciation, affection and respect. There are several examples of this type of kissing in the Old Testament (cf. Gen. 29:13, 33:4, 45:15; Ex. 18:7; Prov. 24:26).
But just as kissing with the lips can be holy, it can also be unholy. In other words, it is possible to kiss with your lips and sin depending on your motive or the place you are kissing.
Judas’ kiss was a kiss of betrayal; his motive was not to please God but to give up Jesus Christ. Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Lk. 22:48 NIV).
Concerning how the place you kiss may displease God, consider this: imagine you are kissing the breasts of a lady you are not married to; do you think God will be pleased? There are certain places you cannot kiss unless the person you are kissing is your spouse. You cannot kiss the navel of someone who isn’t your spouse and call it a greeting. The breasts and other parts of the female body are for the satisfaction only of the woman’s husband and nobody else:
May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bossom of a wayward woman? (Prov. 5:18-20 NIV, my emphasis)
The Bible calls us brothers and sisters. Would you be able to kiss your siblings in areas that are private to them? We are advised not to “take advantage of or defraud [our] brother in this matter [sexual immorality, cf. v. 3]… For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.” (1 Thess. 4:6-7 NKJV, my emphasis) Judge for yourself and apply same to any other brother or sister you relate with.
Kiss of the Mouth
The Bible also talks about a kiss of the mouth. In Songs 1:2 the bride says of her lover, “let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.” The purpose of this type of kiss is to express physical or sexual intimacy, for the lover brings his bride into his chambers [inner chambers; bedroom] (v. 4). This then is no-go area for unmarried couples; the marriage bed is not to be defiled, “for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Heb. 13:4 NIV)
The mouth consists of your tongue, teeth and every other member of your buccal cavity. Thus to kiss with the mouth will mean going beyond the use of the lips. It will involve a higher degree of caressing and savouring, and exchange of saliva.
An example of a kiss of the mouth is French kissing or deep kissing. Imagine someone you are not married to savouring your feet with his or her mouth; do you think this will please God? What will be the person’s motive? Will you use your tongue to caress the earlobes of your friend? What will be your motive for doing this? Why put yourself in situations that will compromise your purity or chastity?
Think carefully about these words, but in all let the Holy Spirit guide you. Never ignore that voice that tells you to do right. In everything, know that God judges the intents of our hearts (1 Sam. 16:7; cf. Ps. 139:23-24; Acts 1:24; Matt. 5:28). So if your motive for doing something is wrong, you are not doing right.
Your motives may be right and you may be kissing the right way, but for brethren who are in relationships I would encourage you not to even practise kiss of the lips considering how easy it can lead to sexual temptation and lustful thoughts. One pastor advised a group of teens, “the more you take off, the harder it is to put back on.”
“Flee also youthful lusts,” (2 Tim. 2:22, NKJV) the Bible encourages. And concerning temptations and complacency, it says, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Cor. 10:12, NIV). Think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable (Phil. 4:8).
Do you kiss? Do you do it with your lips or with your mouth? Whenever you kiss, what is your motive for doing it? And which places do you kiss? Does your kissing please God? “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31-32, NIV, my emphases)