I was meditating on the scriptures recently when I came across Hebrews 13:4, which talks about the marriage bed being undefiled. The word undefiled stood out, especially because we had recently discussed purity in our online bible study group.
I thought it would be a great topic to discuss during the weekly youth meeting in church. After compiling some relevant scriptures and consulting with the pastor, I was well-equipped to talk about being undefiled and what the bible says about it.
I felt it would also be great to write a post regarding this topic to reach more people. So, what is the Biblical meaning of undefiled?
The Bible uses undefiled to signify purity. An undefiled person is blameless and free from sin. Having an undefiled heart enables people to be generous and helpful to those who need it the most, as illustrated in the book of James 1:27. The word of God also urges Christians to uphold the sanctity of marriage. In this case, Hebrews 13:4 says that the matrimonial bed should be undefiled. This is a call to all married couples to remain faithful to one another. This scripture encourages believers to avoid anything that tempts them to sin.
In this article, we will discuss the biblical meaning of the term undefiled. Join me as we discover what the Bible says about being undefiled.
What does the Bible say about being undefiled?
The Bible uses the word undefiled to describe a high level of purity in something or someone. On many occasions, those who were undefiled in the Bible were set apart from the general population.
A great example is in Leviticus 22:1-7, where God commands Moses to tell Aaron and his sons to handle the Lord’s offerings with care. The priests themselves had to be holy and undefiled by anything unclean.
In verse four, the Lord names several things that could defile the priests in Aaron’s family. These things include contact with a dead body or bodily fluids such as semen and menstrual blood.
From a biblical perspective, something or someone who is undefiled has not done anything to make themselves ritually unclean.
When married people cheat on their spouses, they defile the marriage bed and destroy a bond that was meant to last forever.
Psalms 119:1 teaches that obeying God’s laws is one of the surest ways to remain undefiled as a Christian: “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.”
Obedience helps you avoid sinful behavior such as hatred, unforgiveness, and jealousy. I agree with 1st Samuel 15:22-23 that God is more interested in our obedience and not burnt sacrifices and offerings.
Hebrew meaning of undefiled
In the Hebrew culture, some things were considered debased by nature and were therefore defiled. For instance, a woman during her menses was deemed unclean.
Though it is a natural and inevitable process in the female body, the woman was still considered ritually unclean. This also applied to people who came into contact with the woman.
So, all parties were considered defiled.
To become undefiled, Hebrew women had to take a ritual birth called Mikveh after menstruation. They were also prohibited from having sexual intercourse.
Healthy persons who did not have diseases such as leprosy were seen as undefiled among the Hebrews.
Additionally, young virgins who did not engage in immorality were considered undefiled. So were people who obeyed Jewish religious laws.
What does Hebrews 13:4 mean: Undefiled marriage bed
Today, the institution of marriage is not treated with the same respect it was centuries ago. Divorce rates are high, and the amount of sexual perversion in marriages is at an all-time high.
Hebrews 13:4 reminds Christians of the importance of honoring marriage: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”
That means wedded couples and societies should treat marriage with respect.
That’s because it is a union that God personally ordained in Genesis 2:18-22. God recognized that Adam was incomplete and unhappy alone.
So, the creator of the universe formed a woman out of Adam’s rib and presented her as a wife. From this perspective, marriage should be between one man and one woman, who becomes one flesh through intimacy.
In Genesis 2:24, the Bible reminds us that not even the parents are allowed to come between a married couple. Therefore, an undefiled marriage bed has not been tarnished by any kind of immorality or interference from external parties.
What defiles the marriage bed?
Several things can defile the marriage bed. The most common factor is adultery. There is no justification for infidelity in a marriage.
In Leviticus 20:10, men who sleep with their neighbors’ wives were punished by death during biblical times. Adultery is a grave because it is committed against one’s body, as explained in 1st Corinthians 7:15.
Since the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, it is wise to keep it undefiled by abstaining from sexual immorality. Married people must remain faithful to each other in every way.
Jesus warned believers against lusting after women outside marriage. Based on Matthew 5:28-29, looking at a woman with lust is equal to committing the act of adultery.
Prostitution is another sin that defiles the marriage bed and threatens the stability of many a marriage. Proverbs 7:6-27 narrates the story of a gullible young man who is caught up with an adulterous woman.
The Bible illustrates how she seduces the young man into sleeping with her even though she is married. The word of God states that adultery is like a highway to destruction and death.
Using pornographic material also defiles the marriage bed. Consuming this kind of content affects a marriage negatively.
Psychologists suggest that it creates unrealistic expectations from your partner. On a spiritual level, pornographic material is a sin against God and yourself, as mentioned in 1st Corinthians 6:18.
God meant marriage to be between a man and a woman. That is why homosexuality also defiles the marriage bed. Leviticus 20:13 clearly states that when two males get intimate, it is an abomination to God.
The same goes for same-sex relationships between two women. Even in the New Testament, the word of God strongly discourages homosexuality.
1st Corinthians 6:9 states that evil will not enter the kingdom of God. The sinful behaviors listed in this scripture include adultery, homosexuality, and idolatry.
The word of God teaches that fornication is a sin, and therefore it also defiles the marriage bed. Sex should only happen within the confines of marriage.
Engaging in sex out of wedlock exposes one to many dangers. Fornication and adultery are paired together in Galatians 5:19. Based on this scripture, fornication and adultery are works of the flesh and sources of impurity.
Sexual debaucheries such as orgies and threesomes are serious sins that defile the marriage bed. The Bible gives several warnings about engaging in sexual depravity.
As explained in Acts 15:29, believers are warned against engaging in sinful acts such as sexual immorality: “You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.”
If we want to have successful marriages, we must be intentional about avoiding sin.
These words are echoed in Ephesians 4:19, where the Bible urges believers to shun green, impurity, and sexual immorality if they want Godly marriages.
What is the meaning and context of James 1:27
James 1:27 talks about the type of Christianity that leaves a positive impact on the world. Some Christians can be a tad bit judgmental and sometimes dismissive of certain members of society.
The apostle James recognized this fact and addressed it in his letters. He talks about a “pure and undefiled” religion that is difficult to come by. Still, it is the only religion acceptable to God.
As written by James, God requires true believers to cater to the needs of the less fortunate in society. This scripture mentions orphans and widows who depend entirely on God for provision and protection. Numerous other scriptures have a similar theme.
In Matthew 25:31-40, Jesus tells a parable about the benefits of being charitable.
The moral of the story is that when Christians help the less fortunate, they are lending to God.
The Bible urges Christians to visit widows and provide them with comfort in their struggles. Believers have to ensure the needs of orphaned children are met.
2nd Corinthians 9:11 assures Christians that God will give them all kinds of blessings so they can share with others. It is a great accomplishment to become a blessing to others.
How many times is the word undefiled mentioned in the Bible?
Undefiled appears approximately five times in the Bible. In every instance, it symbolizes a desirable state of affairs. In Song of Songs, the man uses the term undefiled to admire his partner’s appearance.
In Psalms 119:1, the writer refers to obedient people as undefiled. Those who walk in God’s ways maintain their purity. Hebrews 7: 23-26 reveres Jesus as the everlasting high priest who is undefiled by sin, unlike human priests.
Thanks to His purity, humanity is free from sin forever. 1st Peter 1:1-5 talks about an undefiled inheritance for the people The most famous mention of undefiled is in Hebrews 13:4.
This scripture talks about marriage and how people should approach it. This verse maintains that loyalty is the key to a good marriage.
James 1:27 is another monumental mention of the word undefiled. The world of God reveals that true religion means serving the lowly in society.
10 instances where undefiled appears in the Bible
The word undefiled appears numerous times in the Old and New Testaments. The following are 10 instances where undefiled is mentioned in the Bible.
Song of Songs 5:2
“I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My beloved is knocking: ‘Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.'”
In this context, undefiled is used as an endearing term between lovers. The gentleman is urging his partner to let him into the house.
To soften her heart, the speaker refers to the woman as his dove, his darling, and his undefiled. To him, the woman is blameless and pure.
“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.”
This scripture uses the word undefiled to indicate freedom from the corruption of sin. The writer reminds believers of the importance of obeying the law of God. According to this scripture, an undefiled person is truly blessed.
Song of Songs 6:9
“My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.”
The King James version uses the word undefiled to illustrate the woman’s perfection. The writer reveals that his lover is her mother’s only child. Since she is undefiled, all women admire her and call her blessed.
“Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.”
This scripture talks about the many priests who died when their time on earth was over. During their lifetime, these priests served God and saved people. However, they had human weaknesses just like everyone else.
The apostle who wrote this book reassures believers that there is another High priest whose priesthood is forever. The writer is referring to Jesus. The scripture describes the son of God as “holy, undefiled, and pure.”
1st peter 1:3-5
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”
The apostle Peter wrote a letter of encouragement to the Christian exiles scattered in Asia, Galatia, Pontus, and several other provinces. Peter restores their hope that their obedience to Jesus Christ has earned them an eternal and undefiled inheritance in the Kingdom of God.
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
This bible verse is a stern warning against desecrating the marriage bed. It insists that marriage should be considered an honourable union. Consequently, the marriage bed must remain undefiled.
That means both parties in a marriage must do the work to uphold the sanctity of their marriage. It also points out that God will pass judgment on sexually promiscuous people and adulterers.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
The book of James talks about the kind of religion that is acceptable before God. Based on this bible verse, an undefiled religion comprises of kind actions toward widows and orphans. It urges believers to avoid being corrupted by the world.
“But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile].”
In the amplified version of the Bible, the apostle James describes the wisdom that comes from God. Based on this verse, heavenly wisdom is pure, meaning it is spiritually undefiled and morally upright.
This type of wisdom makes people reasonable and gentle. An undefiled wisdom helps people bear good fruit and avoid hypocrisy.
1st John 3: 1-3
“See what an incredible quality of love the Father has shown to us, that we would [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, we are [even here and] now children of God, and it is not yet made clear what we will be [after His coming]. We know that when He comes and is revealed, we will [as His children] be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is [in all His glory]. And everyone who has this hope [confidently placed] in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (holy, undefiled, guiltless).”
This passage talks about the return of Jesus and the fate of believers. It talks about God’s unbelievable love that allows us to be counted as God’s children despite our inequities.
With this hope, Christians purify themselves to be as blameless and undefiled as Jesus Christ.
“If a descendant of Aaron has a defiling skin disease or a bodily discharge, he may not eat the sacred offerings until he is cleansed. He will also be unclean if he touches something defiled by a corpse or by anyone who has an emission of semen.”
This is when God instructs the Israelites on how to handle themselves when offering sacrifices or holding sacred ceremonies. The discussion mainly concerns the priests who play a central role in religious ceremonies.
In this case, it was Aaron and his sons. The Lord gives clear instructions about defiled or ritually unclean individuals. Though they were ordained for the job, Neither Aaron nor his son were permitted to touch the sacred offerings when they were ceremonially defiled.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.