What Does the Bible Say About Flirting?

Flirting is a tricky subject that the Bible does not directly address. However, by examining principles and examples in Scripture, we can gain insight into God’s perspective on flirting. As Christians, it is important that we handle even subtle matters like flirting with care, wisdom, and purity of heart.


Flirting is expressing romantic or sexual interest in someone playfully or suggestively. It often involves body language like smiling, teasing, eye contact, touch, and subtle innuendos. Flirting ranges from innocent banter between friends to inappropriate advances.

The Bible does not explicitly prohibit flirting. God created romance and desires that draw men and women together. Song of Solomon poetically models healthy attraction between a husband and wife. However, the Bible does lay down guidelines for how to navigate attraction and romance righteously. As with all areas of life, we must submit even our flirtations to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Flirting is not inherently sinful, but can easily lead to sin if taken too far.
  • Always flirt righteously, not immorally or from impure motives.
  • Avoid flirting if you lack self-control or if it makes your brother/sister stumble.
  • Only flirt with someone if you have honorable intentions and are prepared for commitment.
  • Focus your attractions on your own spouse, not on someone else’s.
  • Be led by the Holy Spirit, not by fleshly lusts and desires.

Having established some principles, let us now explore what the Bible teaches about flirting and how to keep it holy.

What Does the Bible Say About Flirting?

Does the Bible Mention Flirting?

The Bible does not use the word “flirting” specifically. However, Scripture speaks extensively about attractions, romantic desire, sexual sin, foolishness, discretion, purity, and guarding our hearts. All these concepts relate closely to flirting.

Several Bible verses warn against inappropriate flirtations or encourage discretion:

“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” (Ephesians 5:4)

“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.” (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

“Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes.” (Proverbs 6:25)

We must exercise wisdom and self-control with our eyes, speech, body language, and heart motives when interacting with the opposite sex. Flirtatiousness that stirs up improper passions or encourages sexual immorality would clearly violate Scriptural standards of holiness.

At the same time, the Bible celebrates married romantic desire within appropriate boundaries. Couples like Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24:67), Jacob and Rachel (Genesis 29:18), and Elkanah and Hannah (1 Samuel 1:4-5) were very much in love. Song of Solomon showers praise on the intimacy and beauty of marital romance.

So, flirting between a husband and wife, playfully expressing appreciation and desire for each other, is both natural and biblical. The same flirtation outside of marriage easily leads to sexual temptation. We must guard our interactions with singles of the opposite sex to keep them above reproach.

Principles for Godly Flirting

Let us glean some principles from Scripture for keeping flirtation righteous:

Flirt with righteous motives – Many people flirt to gratify fleshly pride, lusts, or desires for attention – motives that God calls us to put off (Galatians 5:16-24; Colossians 3:5-11). We should only flirt if our heart aims to honor God and serve others.

Flirt only if you are prepared for commitment – Often flirting raises romantic hopes and desires that cannot righteously be fulfilled outside of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:8-9; Matthew 5:27-28). It is unwise and unfair to awaken love before it can be fulfilled (Song of Solomon 2:7; 8:4). If you are not ready for marriage, be very reserved.

Focus flirtation on your own spouse – Married folks must guard their eyes, hearts, and flirtation exclusively for their spouses (Proverbs 5:15-19; Song of Solomon 4:9-16). Do not awaken inappropriate desires in someone else’s mate (Matthew 5:28).

Avoid flirting that could make a brother/sister stumble – We must be willing to surrender any freedom that could cause a weaker believer to fall into sin (1 Corinthians 8:9-13). Refrain from flirting with those who struggle with lust or sexual impurity.

Exercise wisdom and self-control – The Bible repeatedly warns against unrestrained passions, desires, and attractions (Proverbs 6:23-29; James 1:14-15). Bring every thought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Flee youthful passions (2 Timothy 2:22).

Let the Holy Spirit guide your conduct – Godly intimacy requires sensitivity to the Spirit’s guidance (John 16:13). Avoid rule-based loopholes but walk in sincere dependence, not gratifying the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

Applying these principles requires deep wisdom, self-knowledge, and spiritual attentiveness. We must each examine our own hearts and motives. But if we walk in the Spirit, God will lead us to relate with integrity and self-control.

Examples of Righteous and Unrighteous Flirting

Scripture provides some illustrations of both wise and foolish interaction between unmarried men and women:

Positive example: Isaac and Rebekah first met when Abraham’s servant sought her as a wife for Isaac. Rebekah veiled herself when she first saw Isaac, demonstrating appropriate modesty. Yet, “…Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her” (Genesis 24:67). Though bashful at first, Isaac and Rebekah warmly embraced their new life together as husband and wife.

Negative example: Shechem saw Jacob’s daughter Dinah, took her, and raped her (Genesis 34:2). Instead of restraining his passions, Shechem violated her. Flirting seems harmless compared to such horrific sin. Yet, lust often begins with eyes and thoughts that wander first (Matthew 5:28). Guarding our interactions prevents deeper falls.

Positive example: Boaz showed spiritual leadership by protecting Ruth from danger or immorality as she gleaned in his fields (Ruth 2:8-9; 3:10-11). He refused to exploit her as a vulnerable foreign widow. When Ruth pursued marriage, he sought to resolve the situation honorably.

Negative example: David should have been at war, but he stayed home and flirted with disaster by gazing at Bathsheba bathing (2 Samuel 11:2-4). Their adultery led to tragedy. Flirtation opened the door to great evil.

Positive example: Joseph refused to be seduced by Potiphar’s wife day after day (Genesis 39:7-12). He took extreme measures to flee sexual immorality. Singles must guard their eyes, hearts, and interactions very carefully.

The positives illustrate care, self-control, and honorable conduct. The negatives reveal where unrestrained flirting can lead. We must follow the positive, avoiding the negative.

Modern Questions About Flirting

In modern culture, rules and norms for singles’ relationships are much less defined. Let us consider how biblical principles might apply to some hazy modern questions:

Is any flirting OK outside of marriage? – Light flirting may occur innocently between sincere friends without intention to arouse inappropriate desires. But we must be cautious. If flirtation awakens desires that cannot be righteously satisfied, we have already crossed a line in our hearts (Matthew 5:28). The safest course is to avoid amorous banter altogether outside of marriage.

What about flirting on social media or in texts/chats? – Virtual flirting poses even greater risks than in-person since it can be more hidden. Always interact online with the same sincerity and care as in person. Avoid private channels that remove accountability. Do not flirt electronically in ways you would avoid in public.

What if we are engaged or in a serious relationship? – Even serious relationships should build a foundation of friendship, communication, and respect before expressing physical intimacy. While some innocent flirtation may occur, be careful about going too far too quickly. Move thoughtfully and prayerfully step by step in your closeness and expression of romance. Wait for God’s timing.

How far is too far before marriage? – It is difficult to define universal rules on appropriate intimacy when dating that applies to every situation. But Scripture gives us boundaries. Passionate kissing, everything leading up to or substituting for sex, excess groping, intoxication, and bed sharing should absolutely be avoided (Ephesians 5:3, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20). Some conservative believers avoid all physical intimacy before marriage. Ultimately, we must each listen to the Holy Spirit’s wisdom for our specific relationships, exercising self-control.

There are not always clear answers to every modern situation. But if we walk closely with Jesus, He will guide each of us in applying God’s Word to our particular relationships and personalities. The Holy Spirit produces self-control and discretion in our interactions if we submit to His lordship.

Conclusion: Walking in the Spirit

In conclusion, the Bible does not prohibit all forms of flirting but calls Christians to purity in all interactions with the opposite sex. As followers of Jesus, we must bring our attractions, romantic hopes, and passions under the control and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Flirting should be limited to honorable expressions within a committed marital relationship. Singles must guard their desires closely, fleeing from tempting situations. Let discretion, sincerity, and spiritual priorities guide your conduct. Avoid flirtation that could open doors to sexual sin in yourself or others.

By walking in the Spirit’s guidance and wisdom, our longings and passions can be fulfilled righteously in God’s will and timing. May we walk by the Spirit in all our conduct as God’s holy ones.

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