Question: What does the Bible say about birth control?
Key Verses: Psalm 127:3-5; Psalm 128:1-4
Birth control is defined as either a natural or artificial means of preventing or controlling the conception of a child. The problem is that there is evidently an ignorance of the Bible’s teaching concerning the subject of birth control. This is complicated by a lack of access to birth control devices in some third-world countries, which has likely contributed to a worldwide population growth. Also affecting the world’s population increase is the fact that people are generally living longer and having more children than in past history.
The rate of sexual permissiveness in the world is rising. There are more pregnancies among teenagers than in the past. Church groups like the Roman Catholics have traditionally been opposed to the use of birth control devices. Some evangelical churches have stated that to use birth control devices is a sin. However, abortion is legally being used in many countries as a means of birth control.
The Bible is silent on many of the issues raised in birth control. The injunction to Adam and Eve to populate the earth does not apply to every married couple in human history (Gen. 1:27). It was repeated only once again after Noah descended from the ark. However, verses like Psalm 127:3-5 and Psalm 128:1-4 suggest that Old Testament families had more than one child. Children are a sign of God’s blessing (Psa. 127:3; Gen. 33:5; 48:4).
However, the Mosaic Law does say that there be abstinence during menstruation (Lev 15:19-28, 18:19, 20:18) and a brief abstinence following childbirth (Lev 12:1-8). Abstinence was also practiced for religious reasons (Exo. 19:15, 1 Sam 21:4-5). In 1 Corinthians 7:5, abstinence was observed by the mutual agreement of the husband and wife for the purpose of prayer. Genesis 38:1-10 does not explicitly address the issue of birth control.
In summary, the Bible does not specifically address the use or non-use of birth control methods. Thus, the use of either natural or artificial birth control methods should be the independent and prayerful decision of each married couple. Abortion, which is the murder of the unborn, is never permitted.