Acts 15:29 and 21:25 carry over four requirements from the old testament to apply to gentile Christians - one of which is abstaining from sexual immorality. In Leviticus 20:18, it makes a big deal about having sex with a woman while she's on her period.

If a man lies with a woman during her menstrual period and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from among their people. (ESV)

However, Leviticus 15:24 makes it sound more like a ceremonial issue than a sexual immorality issue (which in that case may be a requirement which has passed away under the new covenant).

And if any man lies with her and her menstrual impurity comes upon him, he shall be unclean seven days, and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean (ESV)

So the question is, does the Bible prohibit sex during menstruation between a man and his wife?

  • 1
    If you downvote the question, please leave a reason why. I upvoted because I like the topic, but am not aware if this is a duplicate or better asked to hermeneutics.stackexchange.com
    – S. Vink
    Feb 18, 2020 at 6:56
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    @S.Vink Going on 5 years now and never asked why someone has downvoted my questions or answers. I get them all the time. I am not going to start!!! Downvoters sometimes leave a comment, but most do not. Voting is as you know private and thus moderators do not know who votes! My guess is that some just do not like the question. But the way it is written could be a Truth Question.
    – Ken Graham
    Feb 18, 2020 at 11:47
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    @S.VinkThis question can be considered to be in the "distasteful" category by some. I answered this because there are apprehensions still in the minds of people about mensturation, to the effect that some women I have heard of do not participate in the Lord's supper during the time of mensturation, Also wanted to clarify our freedom from the Law of Moses. Feb 19, 2020 at 3:55
  • Leviticus 15:19-30 “When a woman has a discharge, and the discharge in her body is blood, she shall be in her menstrual impurity for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening. And everything on which she lies during her menstrual impurity shall be unclean. Everything also on which she sits shall be unclean. And whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening....
    – Codosaur
    May 11, 2020 at 10:42
  • Why do you assume it is about immorality rather than the sanctity of blood?
    – User 14
    Feb 22, 2021 at 20:16

2 Answers 2


There is no external law that binds the Christian.

1 Corinthians 6:12 "All things are lawful to me," but not all things do profit. "All things are lawful to me," but I will not be mastered by anything.

Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have been put to death to the Law through the body of Christ, for you to belong to another, to the One having been raised out from the dead, so that we should bear fruit to God.

Galatians 2:19 For through the Law I died to the Law that I might live to God.

So it is just a matter of sound judgement of what is appropriate and what benefits by the Holy Spirit in you. It is called by many names:

  1. Law of Christ ( Galatians 6:2 )
  2. Law of the Spirit ( Romans 8:2 )
  3. My laws ( Hebrews 8:10, 10:16 )
  4. Law of Faith ( Rom 3:27 )
  5. Law of Liberty ( James 1:25 )

All aspects of the same truth pertaining to Christ's nature inside us partaken through heart transformation by the indwelling Holy Spirit also Known as Sanctification ( 2 Thes 2:13-14 )

Galatians 5:6 ...All that matters is faith, expressed through love....

We are now not under the law anymore, but instead we live by faith. And here is a shocker, something that will no doubt shut the mouths of those who still try to be justified by obeying the law. Lets look at 2 verses first:

Gal 3:12 And the law is not of faith…

and also

Rom 14:23b … for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Can you see what it says when you combine these 2 verses?

Can you see it??? Since the law is not of faith, and since anything that is not of faith is sin, then it means that those who try to be justified by their own good works and try to live up to some moral code (the law) are actually living in sin!!

From Christ the End of the Law

Living by the Law is Separation

The law presupposes the separate self to obey it. The fact that we see the law outside us as something we have to attain to, something which we are not now but should or ought to be, is our perpetual admission that we are lawbreakers and in separation from God. In this separation, we can only hear the law as if it is coming from outside us and therefore we are apart from it, so that we are bound to both the demands of the law and to the separateness in which to do them.

This separate outer law demands that we live up to the reality that we are the image of God. That is an impossibility, because we are only an image, and not God Himself. Only God can be God. An image does not create or sustain itself, but is dependent on the object of which it is an image. We are images that have come out of the breath of God, and so we have some measure of life and will in ourselves – for we are persons in His image! As persons, we have all been tempted to try to become God ourselves by trying to be like Him, whether knowingly or unknowingly. It is the most absurd thought that ever came into the temporal universe. Still, we have all tried it. Like Lucifer, we have all said, “I will be like the Most High.” (Is 14:14).

Nevertheless, the very attempt to emulate God, even if out of a supposed good motive – to do “good” – is the point of separation from God, because no separate will can work in Him. A will that says, “I will be like Him,” is already separated unto itself and not to God, because no created being can be like Him. He is Himself and there is no other. However, He has created us that through Christ in us we would be the visible expression of which He is the invisible reality, so that our lives are what they are supposed to be when we are one with God. Something that is one with something has no need to become or change into something else – to “be like” something, because it already IS a perfect expression of that with which it is “one.” It just is itself, and thinks and wills as one with its source. As a branch of a vine lives only from the sap from the vine, and therefore bears the fruit of the vine through its organic oneness with the vine, in the same exact way we bear the fruit of Christ since we are one with Him and are living branches on His vine.

From Fred Pruitt

Further resources to study this are:

  1. The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church
  2. 101 Lies Taught In Church Every Sunday
  3. Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices
  4. The Story Behind Galatians - Frank Viola
  5. Grace & Law - Natural Church
  • Those are good points, which most Christians would agree with. But the question is asking about "permitted" in the sense of Christian morality. For example, "Is it permitted to kill somebody?". Most Christians would answer "no", even though, as you say "There is no external law that binds the Christian.". Feb 22, 2021 at 19:09
  • @Siju George...you have managed to rationalise a complete misinterpretation of the entire point of the law in the Bible. Jesus never once said, do not keep the law. What he said was, you cannot be saved by the law. Our salvation is through Jesus...any attempt to save ourselves (by keeping the law) is a falsehood. This in no way means the law was done away with at any time! Prove of this is found in the last book of the Bible Revelation. "The patience of the saints are those who keep the commandments and have the faith of Jesus" (google it for the chapter and verse in Revelation).
    – Adam
    Feb 22, 2021 at 20:20

Acts 15:29 refers back to Leviticus 17 and 18, where the laws which apply to Gentiles ("strangers"/"alien") who have chosen to live amongst the Covenant people are given. In other words not all the ceremonial laws apply to the Gentiles living amongst the Jews. These laws which they should seek to keep can be seen to parallel the laws in Acts 15:29 thus:-

  1. They should not eat things offered to idols, Lev 17:1-9;

  2. They should avoid eating blood, Lev 17:10-14;

  3. They should avoid eating things strangled or dying in an "unapproved" way, Lev 17:15-16 (- it seems that, amongst the gentiles in NT times, strangulation was a way of killing animals that were going to be eaten);

  4. They should not commit fornication, Lev 18:6-26.

Most of these laws are ceremonial. As such they are not forever binding on Christians: a Christian needs only to observe them when in the company of Jews so as not to cause offence to Jews, for instance when a Jew has become a Christian, and is thus in the same fellowship for worship. (For more on this see: Does Acts 15:21 assume new believers would learn and follow the law from synagogues on sabbath? ).

Some of the laws required in Acts 15:29, especially relating to fornication, are moral. The point here is that Gentiles would need instruction in what is moral and what is not from God's word, especially from Leviticus 18.

So, as for permitting sexual intercourse when one's wife is having a period, this is a ceremonial law not a moral law (unless someone can show otherwise) and as such it is finished along with all the other ceremonial laws. If a Gentile Christian were to break this OT ceremonial law it would not be an activity which any Jew would be aware of; it would be a purely private matter between the husband and his wife, so it was not actually covered in Acts 15:29 at all.

What the early Christians are being asked to respect in Acts is the consciences of Jewish believers and other Jews interested in the Gospel, so as not to be a stumbling block to them. So outward behaviour visible to the Jews in their company is what the verse is talking about.

The verse which sums up the reason for Acts 15:29 is:

"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, (I became) as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law... I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you." 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

Christians are not under any ceremonial laws, but the Christian has a moral duty not to be a stumbling block to other people whose consciences may be differently educated. The reason is so that the propagation of the Gospel is not hindered: a Christian must submit to the consciences of others so he can be more effective as an evangelist.

To give a simple example, if you were to invite a Jew to your house for a meal would you give them pork? Of course not. Would you eat pork when you are alone with your family? There would be no Biblical reason to avoid pork in the privacy of your own family.

The reasoning is applied to the Jews but the principle applies equally to other groups such as Muslims and others. The Christian must respect their consciences when in their company also, that the success of the Gospel be not hindered.

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