Should We Stop Using The Word “Purity”?

White_rose_Recently I opened my blog to moderate comments on a post titled “Was Mary A Virgin?” Suddenly, I was being accused of “slut-shaming” for using the word virgin. What!? It was the VIRGIN Mary who I was writing about! The comments—including “This is slut shaming… Wrapped up in a pretty package” and “Such dialogue and scrutiny over a woman’s virginity (aka ‘purity’) only feeds into patriarchal-based slut shaming”—were just the crest of a wave of frustration I’ve heard all year long as those following me lament that the language of sexual purity is out of style. The big claim? The word purity has no efficacy. So, let’s put it on trial today and see where we land because as a leader in the Christian sexual theology conversation, I want to know: do you think we should stop using the word purity? But here’s the deal. The debate—which I expect may get heated— must lean first and foremost on the truth of sexuality as defined in the Bible, not the opinions of men and woman. What’s a good day in court without an opening argument? Here’s my three defenses of the word purity.

1.) The word purity is used in the Bible to describe a desired state of living both before and after marriage. Both men and women of all ages are called to live lives of purity in the Bible. While the context of purity is found in endless passages, here are just two simple places where the exact word is used:

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Psalm 119:9)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3,4)

That last verse, among others, debunks the myth that purity is something to be pursued only until the wedding night. It’s written about married women! They’re already having sex, but are still called to purity. Purity is a word God uses to invite us into a forever lifestyle. But should we use the word today in a culture full of sexually saavy teens and young adults that don’t relate to it like their Victorian-lace clad grandmas and car door-opening-gentlemen grandpas did? Maybe the word just doesn’t work today.

John Wesley was famous for using this Bible verse to defend the fact that we must use God’s specific words to teach God’s truths.

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.” I Peter 4:11a

If God inspired the writers of the Scriptures to use the word purity, who are we to say it has no efficacy?

2.) The meaning of the word purity does not define a condition of sexuality, but rather a direction or process of becoming.  The Greek word for purity is hanos. It means “pure, clean, without fault, chaste, exciting reverence, sacred.”  Now that seems humanly possible, huh? Here’s where non-virgin teens like I once was can be tempted to lash out at Biblical teaching on sexuality because it makes us feel so stinkin’…well… impure. Here’s what I wrote as a young twenty-something in the pages of my best-selling And the Bride Wore White:

I went through a real period of struggling with my own purity at the beginning of my college years. I thought I had completely blown it. Memories came back to haunt me and make me feel inferior. In my mind, I was no longer pure. I had ruined the perfection God had created in me. Let’s test that against Scripture for a second . . .

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me”

(Psalm 51:5).

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

(Romans 3:23).

“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

OK, you weren’t born yesterday, so you can handle this . . . you weren’t born pure. You were innocent when you were born, but Scripture says you were born sinful. So this notion that you have “lost” your purity is nonsense. You never had it.

So, if you weren’t born pure. How does it work? What is it? This calling to such sacredness of the body, mind, and soul?

I believe it is a process. A direction. A constant pursuit of righteousness marked, sadly, by our humanity as we fall and get back up again and head in the right direction. It is not a state of our sexuality, but a state of our becoming something we once were not.Søren Kierkegaard wrote a book called Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing. Purity is the consistent will to be what God desires us to become. This process of becoming is described beautifully in Philippians:

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. (Philippians 2:12-16a)

 3.) Virginity and abstinence are not synonyms for purity. A close synonym for purity might be holiness. But here are some words that are not synonymous with purity:

Virginity

Abstinence

I know lots of virgins who are far from pure. And I know a lot of former sex addicts who are among the most beautifully pure that I know.

Here’s the thing: as I look at the written discontent regarding the word purity, bloggers are beginning with a very faulty definition of the word purity. They are equating it to virginity and abstinence and nothing could be more fallacious. An argument built on a faulty foundation can’t be used as we put the word purity on trial. This faulty definition—not the word purity itself—is the cause of much hurt, unnecessary guilt, and misunderstanding. Abby S’s comment on one of my blogs demonstrates

Regardless of my opinion on premarital sex… I think it’s important that we STOP using the word “pure” to describe a virgin and this is why.. For one, some (NOT ALL) women who have been raised on this mentality feel impure/dirty after having sex on their wedding night simply because they feel that they have some how sinned, causing their “purity” to be stripped (and yes this does happen). Secondly, not all who wait are pure and in all honesty, none of us are pure (virgin or not) because of impure thoughts. Also, you’d be surprised as to how many “pure Christian teens” have found what they believe to be loopholes when it comes to God’s laws that they then use to justify sexual activity. Just because you aren’t a virgin it doesn’t mean that you are a bad person, that you’re going to hell, or anything else you may have been lead to believe. God sees all sins as equal and last time I checked we were ALL sinners, which means that any punishment you deem fit to give to an individual who has decided to have sex.. You have to give yourself. VIRGINITY DOES NOT EQUAL PURITY!!! There… my rant is over.

Her rant was good. It ended with truth, but in the middle was a lot of confusion that I believe is the fault of misunderstanding caused by misinformed but well intentioned Christian bloggers who are usually holding one hear to the world’s whims rather than studying deeply the word of God.

The evangelical modesty and purity movement is not without its weaknesses and faults. I’ve publicly stated that before in A Modest Proposal For My Critics and Believing in A Better Modesty Movement. But I also think there is more strength in the Christian teachings of sexuality than weaknesses and have enjoyed the opportunity to defend a conservative view of sexuality in places like FoxNews, CNN.com, and in my TED Talk. The science does the work for us. God’s plan makes sense. But are we presenting it well? That’s the question we need to answer and I need your help to do it? As I seek to grow by gaining your opinions here, let me honestly state that I think any lack of efficacy in the word purity is not the fault of the word, but the world.

Still, does the brokenness of this world merit the consideration of replacing the word in the sexual theology conversation within the Church? I’d like to know what you think.

Bride_Wore_White_large_bundle_1024x1024

Is this a topic you would like to explore further? My best-selling book, And the Bride Wore White, has an eight part video series, leader’s guide and even companion guides to complete a full weekend retreat or an eight week bible study on purity.

For the month of July, our mother-daughter and retreat kits are 20% off using the code BRIDE20 here!

*For the record, I approve every well-thought out comment and even those that make no sense as long as they are not crass and fueled with profane language. I find that kind of writing to be immature and tasteless. You might keep that in mind as you leave comments below or on my social media pages. Let’s engage in thought-provoking conversation!

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156 Comments

  • Just because the word ‘Purity’ scares or rubs on some people in the wrong way doesn’t mean we should stop using it as Christians. It is very true that none of us are born pure, but just as you’ve written, Dannah, the Bible talks about purity. God call us all – married, single, newly converted and veteran Christians – to be pure. Virgins are not necessarily pure, it’s true, but (virginity) physically, emotionally and mentally TRYING to adhere to a lifestyle of sexual abstinence before marriage can be a way of honouring and saying ”yes” to God’s call to purity. Saying yes to God is the key. Saying yes to God makes us right with Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Instead of trying to replace the words ‘Purity’ and ‘Virginity’, I think it’d be better to prayerfully explain what Scriptures mean by them. Same thing with the word ‘Perfect’, for ex. None of us, particularly Christians, are perfect and yet God calls us to be perfect (Matthew 5:8). There is a meaning and a significance behind it. We should try to go in depth of what the Bible says instead of rejecting its terms.

    I don’t know if that makes sense but at least I tried 😉

    • Absolutely. The Bible is holy in it’s perfection. We cannot change words because the Bible says in Revelation 22:18-19. KJV

      18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

      We need to take our Christian walk so seriously.

  • Love your comment GC! I have been commenting on her social media page under the name, “Abigael Marie Rose” and have found this conversation to be both informative and entertaining. I too am a Christian however, I don’t think “purity” is the right word to describe virginity. Instead I think that it is a state of being at piece with God. That you have a pure heart for God. I think that there is a valid argument for both sides on using the word “purity” and that it all comes down to personal preferences and experiences. I also don’t think anyone should take offense to this term if you’re not a virgin. We are all sinners alike.

    • I do love the spirit of your disagreement, Abby! Thanks for keeping the dialogue smart and kind and useful. I think that we find common ground that way and move in the right direction/towards one another with this kind of conversation! Love ya!

  • I believe the word purity should still be used since it is the biblical word. God’s Word is effective for every generation. It is never “outdated” or “old fashioned.” If one argues to change the word from purity solely based on it not working for this current world, then we are saying God’s Words aren’t working for the current world.

    Being a girl who is a virgin (but very impure through other sexual ways), purity is a touchy subject for me. I am fine with people using the word purity, but it has to be used properly. When people teach that purity is based on whether or not you are a virgin, I think that is wrong. As a girl struggling with impurity, I want to be taught that (just like the Bible teaches) purity is not a one time thing. It isn’t something you lose once and never get back. It is a process. If someone teaches me the definition of purity properly, then I am fine with that word being used. It needs to be clear that purity is a daily choice. It is a part of progressive sanctification. The person using the term purity needs to make it clear that it is all about having a right relationship with God. Purity does not just apply to sexual sin. It applies to ALL sin. We are to be pure from sexual immorality, cheating, stealing, etc.

    I don’t know if all of that makes sense :). Summing it up: I believe we should use the term “purity.” It is the biblical word, so let’s use the word God used. Call it what He called it. We just need to be careful though that the term is used properly. Girls need to know you don’t “lose your purity.” They need to know that it is a daily, even moment by moment, choice whether to be pure or not.

    Thank you for all of your hard work Dannah! Thank you for being willing to be open about topics that other people avoid. Being a girl who struggles with sin, it is nice to have resources to go to. Have a great new year! 🙂

  • I think we need to re – teach what purity means. I want my kids to have a pure heart, mind and soul seeking after thelord. As a church we put too mich emphasis on staying physically pure and completely missed the boat. Thank you for your ministry.

  • Just finished Pulling Back the Shades. Wonderful words from God. Thanks for your transparency. Yes for purity! Yes for honesty!

  • I was the impure virgin, stemming from a broken past and it pushed me into a tumultuous life of sin. Thankfully at 27 that all changed, when Christ lifted my veil. I speak from both sides when I say: delicate balance without riding the fence. This topic is one I deal daily with, with thousands of single mothers globally. The misconstrued idea of what purity vs virginity vs sexual immorality blow me completely away. I have 40 and 50 year old women who yell “I’m celibate” and have no clue the difference in abstinence and celibacy.

    We must lovingly educate and that’s what you do and why I love you so! You are straight forward and factual, staying true to your convictions. Though direct, you are simply stating what The Word of God states. So to answer your question – no, this world does not merit. We could easily flirt with desensitization and miscommunication. Women should be taught differences per The Word – period.

  • This is such a powerful lesson. As a college professor and mother of a 22-year-old daughter, I often see or hear about the decisions (and aftermath) that many young women are making. Thank you for penning this material that speaks to a young woman’s heart.

  • Purity is something that is mind and body and spirit. So many churches only teach the body part and we are missing out. I want my girls to know and understand the things that I did not understand until I was a grown woman. Living and learning the hard way. We are in a new church due to relocation. They are trying to expand the youth ministry since I have two girls 10 & 11 this would be a huge blessing.

  • As I raise my daughter and we get deeper into our talks of purity, we have not even touched the subject of sex. We have discussed how to keep our mind and hearts pure as God would have us be. I look forward to taking that a step further as we begin the talk of sex and purity.

  • Purity, to me, means to be unblemished, clear, and true. To have a pure heart is one who will do what is right for someone else in a given situation and to not have negative or malicious thoughts nor actions in mind. Yes, we all have sinned and become clean and pure once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We are forgiven for our transgressions, and given a fresh, pure start. I don’t believe we should stop using the word purity. If those who are against its use, especially if it’s indicated in the area of sexual intercourse or associated actions which one should purely have with one’s spouse after marriage, then that is their point of view and are entitled to expressing it. This should not influence whether to resist the use of the word purity, as we cannot please everyone. If they take offense to its use, then they can choose to discontinue reading of the article or accept the author’s use of it and continue reading the article before making a judgement call.

  • I agree we should continue to use the word. And, I would echo Emma that our emphasis should be recognize that purity is a daily submission to Christ and involves our body, heart, and mind.

  • As a mother of a 9 yr old daughter and a youth pastors wife for 18 years the word purity is a goal that we strive for. It always comes up within our youth girls ministries. A few years ago my husband challenged and did a 6 week study on 1 Timothy 4:12. ” let no one look down on you because of your youthfulness but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity show yourself an example of those who believe.” In ever area of our lives we should strive to be pure. If I challenge my daughter or the youth girls to be pure in relationships with their friends, parents, employers then it’s like a life-style trait we strive for. The word purity is automatically linked with being a virgin or our sexuality but it doesn’t have to be. Maybe if we strive to be pure in all areas if our lives, then when God brings that special relationship into our life for marriage it may not be such a challenge to be pure.

  • I don’t think the word ‘purity’ needs to be replaced as much as more accurately defined/educated about. Just because a word has a bad wrap and has been misused in some cases does not make it irrelevant or ‘out dated’.

  • It would be a great study for my teen daughter and a group of her friends to do. We heard you speak in Lansing last fall.

  • Omgosh I was just thinking of how I was going to pay for this study for our girls in the youth! I am not a youth pastor but, have talked the youth pastor in allowing myself and another lafy into teaching this study! Would love to win a copy for just that. I have already done it with my daughter and love it but, am ready to pass it on to the girls of our youth who are reaching for something more they just don’t know what, but, we know, it is Jesus!!!

  • I don’t think we need to change the conversation or terminology or sidestep the issue because or words and theology are unpopular. Our God is PURE, so we should talk about purity. If we change the conversation to just saving your virginity, we push and blur the lines on how far is acceptable.

  • As my daughter begins the teen years, and we continue to talk about life and sexualtiy, I like your definition of purity, Dannah. I think that it is important for us all to realize and embrace that we are all broken and are striving to be pure in all aspects of our lives, not just in regards to our sexuality. This is an important lesson for not only our teens but for adults as well. Being pure is a process that we all are continually working to achieve.
    Thank you for your ministry and sharing with so many.

  • I would absolutely love to receive this to share with my two daughters and their peers! Thank you for being a shinning light for purity in such a time as this!!
    -Cyndi Coleman<

  • This argument over terms is news to me. I totally agree with Tara’s point! We need to teach what purity really means!! Great read! I’m learning a lot here!! Thank you so much for posting and digging into these topics so we can all dig deeper and keep learning. And also thanks for helping us stay up to date on what’s going on in the lives of young girls these days!

  • Purity should be used more. Look what our girls are up against. The more we encourage purity the more accepted it will become. We can’t give up for mom’s out there that don’t know where to turn. We have to be there for them and their girls.

  • I am not great with my words but I really want to thank you for opening my eyes to what a pure life is all about. I raised 4 boys and tried to do right by them but know that I failed them in so many ways in my own lack of knowledge. God gave us another child late in my life and it is a girl. She is 12 now and we have been reading up on everything. I want to do better in my teaching than I did with my sons. I grew up in a time where we NEVER talked about sex or anything like that, sadly they had 4 girls to deal with that really needed to know so much more than we were told. I was told to save myself for marriage because it was how it was supposed to be, that was it. No explanation on why it was important and why I should value myself enough and that I was worthy enough to wait for. I have learned so much over the years and think I am at least on the right track with our daughter and doing better but have to say I am so scared that I am not going to say or do enough to teach her right. We have a small country church I mean average attendance is twenty five to thirty maybe. We do have 8-12 kids that are fairly regular that truly need this study. Our youth are really struggling with a lot right now and really think this study would help open their eyes to so much not just about virginity but living pure lives. Thanks again for all you are doing to help educate us on so many different thing. Just finished reading your book, lies young woman believe. Great book. Going to read it with my daughter. My daughter in law has also purchased the book and sturdy guide to do with our Granddaughters. Thanks again. God bless all you are doing.

  • Dannah- I am currently reading Get Lost for the 3rd time. The truths you speak and write about have been life changing and so healing for me. I would love to win this curriculum and share it with some of the young ladies in working with at my church! May God’s blessing be upon you and your much needed ministry in 2015

  • Great blog and comments! I’m good with the word purity, as defined and explained here.. That it’s a process for all of us; and not synonymous with “virginity.” Sure appreciate your ministry!

  • I think these days people are so bored with their lives all they can do is try to stir up trouble with anything and everything. It’s ridculous. I’ll always keep using the words purity, and Virgin because well that what they are? There’s no shame in those words and what they mean

  • Dannah! I absolutely love your writings!!! I love how you are teaching people what they need to know so desperately! You make it much easier to understand and teach to others to! I love all your work! It is amazing and helps me out for sure!! Thank you and keep writing! With love always, Megan

  • I am so thankful for this ministry which helps provide a compass to point young people to Gods plan for intimacy. As a mom of two girls and two boys, I appreciate your partnership.

  • I’d love to get the study for my youth group girls. Seeking holiness seems so much harder for us now with the world literally at our fingertips.

  • Thank you Hannah Fresh and your ministry for changing and strengthening the life of my daughter and nieces to live a pure life that honors God. We continue to use your materials to encourage others to honor God with their lives also. God bless you!!!!

  • I was prompted to come here to read this from your Facebook post. I believe that we need to continue to use the word purity but only if we are willing to take the time to teach both men and women, boys and girls what it means. I am in my 40’s and I continue to see people of my generation try to shove things down our teens throats without explanation but definitely with judgement of the teens actions at the root. Unless we are willing to invest our time and our hearts it won’t be just about the word purity but any conversation or interactions that we try to have.

    • This is an important point. Contending for the use of a particular word is much less vital than taking the time to communicate truth, with our children, and others. Paul would be all things to all people and yet did not compromise truth. If we really want to love our neighbor, and the word “purity” is a stumbling block to them, why not explain the concept at the heart of that word with different words?

      This is my first visit here, so I am not familiar with the content, but did read this post and a fair number of the responses. I would encourage all of us who believe in Jesus to remember that he is the one perfecting us, and will without fail present us faultless before the throne one day soon! We are already seems as pure in Christ by God, while we are being made Holy through the ongoing work of the Spirit. Our own experience, let alone the opinions of others, is never what determines the truth about us. What Gid says is what counts, and he says he loves us, accepts us as perfect in his Son, and sings with joy about us! Believing and resting in those truths is wonderful, as well as a much quicker path to true purity in our lives than any fearful strivings of ours ever could be!

  • Love this and totally agree…that purity is good and should still be sought and used in our vocabulary. I also love the explanation of us all being sinful and impure. I teach children/youth in our church and was just recently discussing this very topic as so many people “think” that as babies we are born pure but the fact is we are not. We use the cake pan analogy…if you dent a cake pan every cake you make after that is going to have the same dent and imperfection. Even though it’s fresh and new it’s still not and never will be perfect because the mold is flawed. Since Adam & Eve sinned they, like that dented cake pan, have passed their sin and imperfection onto us…nothing this side of heaven can change that.

    Thank you Dannah for standing up for purity and helping our youth understand this truth as well!

  • It’s important that we teach our children that purity starts in the heart.
    We want to be pure emotionally, mentally and physically pure. Guard your heart above all else.

  • I feel that if more people taught on purity in every way that more teens would know the true meaning and have a better self image of themselves. People who feel purity is a negative word should read the Bible on purity. I went to a teaching of yours with my daughter in Caddilac Dannah. We enjoyed every minute of it. I know you hear from God in your teachings so continue to teach what you are being lead to teach and you can never go wrong. Thank you for following God!!!!

  • Wow! This is some really good stuff. I am a 40 year old and I have been married now for 15 years and I am still working on purity. It is a daily thing. I want to live for my Jesus everyday in a way that pleases him but I fall short over and over again. Purity is not just a sexual thing. For instance, right now I don’t feel all that pure after being with extended family and around WAY too much sugar over the Christmas holiday. I can quickly become selfish and rude when i have just recieved some lovely gifts, and my 70 year old mother has spoiled me with her amazing cooking. I begin to think I deserve things that I do not deserve. But let me also say that sexual impurity is not out of the question for me as well. Maybe sometimes I feel selfish and don’t feel like giving myself to my husband or maybe I have impure thoughts, or even dreams (I haven’t figured out that last one yet). One of the things that I love so much about Jesus is that he forgives me every time. When I come to him in repentence he forgives me and then the enemy has no power over me in that area, because my slate is clean. We will never be completely pure until we stand before our Lord in heaven. Yet I think of the scriptures that say that he has made us righteous already. He has made us clean. What a great mystery to know that we stand before God clean already because of Jesus, yet we still continue to sin and still have a need to repent of our sin.
    Thank you Dannah for this great blog. I’m looking forward to looking at this more. My daughter just turned 10. This will be a fabulous resource for us as she grows! I am also in charge of a mother/daughter study for my church. I love that your stuff emphasizes mother/daughter, not youth leader/girl.

  • I shared about this last year at a mother daughter event I spoke at on the topic of praying for our children, http://www.nicolelhvaughn.com/praying-for-our-children-where-is-ring-man/. The use of the word “purity” to describe only someone who was a virgin began to be a thorn in my side several years ago… I began to have an irritating something about it that I could not quite put my finger on and then as I prepared to speak for just a few minutes on last Mother’s Day, I realized that the irk was the out of context use of the word. Purity is a matter of the heart… not of our bodies. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8)

  • I think sometimes, young girls get the idea that sex is dirty, and impure, even within marriage. So much so that after they are married, they have a lot of issues to work through before they can even enjoy being intimate with their husbands. I can’t count the number of viral blog posts that I have seen on my Facebook feed about this. That being said, I really think that we do need to be careful how we use the word purity.

  • I know from experience that the word “purity” can be scary for many people because of the way the world has manipulated it’s use. I led a group of girls through the book “And the Bride Wore White” and had one young lady who I know very much needed to hear what the book had to say and see God’s promises in His Holy Word regarding purity, but she was so scared by what the world had to say about her own purity that she refused to join us for the study. I have since had the opportunity to work with her individually and was shocked to hear her idea of what purity meant. If I had been her, I would have been scared to join a study on purity as well. This is just another of satan’s attempts to destroy our chance to understand God’s love and purpose for our lives. That doesn’t mean we stop using God’s word, it means we use it more than ever because it is our weapon against satan!

  • I continue to feel God leading me to minister to the girls in my sons youth group. Winning this bundle would give me no excuse!! Thanks for allowing God to use you.

  • I’m so thankful for your ministry. When I was in high school, I went to a small girls retreat where they used your material (And the Bride Wore White). I still think back on that retreat and hope I can impact some of the young girls in the church that my husband pastors, like your material impacted me. Young girls need to hear these things! They need to be taught about purity!

  • It’s not about using the word purity, it’s that people are fearful of living up to that potential. It’s being selfless & honoring God rather than ourselves or others.

  • One of my favorite scriptures I think upon when I think of purity is this one: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8)
    So, to answer the questions above and to address ‘Is purity a relevant word for today and should it apply to sexual theology?’–Definitely yes.

    The bible talks about purity countless times in the bible, not dealing with just the sexual side of it, but many sides of it. Purity is shown and embraced through many ways: speech, mindset, and actions. I know people also who say they are “very dedicated” or “religious” or “saving themselves” but are not pure. Purity is supposed to be the outcome of your walk with God, even though we all mess up at times. Do we make decisions that are “noble, right, pure, and lovely?” People can be brutal with their words and speak language that is the opposite of pure. And women are the only ones called to be pure, but men are called to be pure, too. So purity should be a word in our everyday language, to describe many aspects of life.

    I also believe using the word “pure” as another adjective to describe a person who’s “waiting until marriage” or “staying a virgin until the wedding night” is a valid descriptive word and relevant. Whatever you do in the context of marriage is also pure, because that’s what God intended when he created sex. We shouldn’t have to feel guilty that we walked in God’s promises. In addition, being a virgin until marriage is a commitment to God and your future husband, which is following God’s promises and living holy, pleasing, and acceptable unto Him, which shows a lifestyle of purity.

    We are given the opportunity to choose purity and it is a decision and a path we have to choose. It’s a behavior and a lifestyle that should enter every part of our lives when we have a chance. Whether it’s kissing your husband goodnight, saying kind words to someone who is mean to you, or holding off for your wedding night, it’s a chance to live for God and show his goodness to other people.

  • If anything, I think we need to over-emphasize the word “purity” in the church and outside the church. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on whatever is pure (among many other virtuous qualities). It’s not just a term that applies to sexuality, it’s a call to a lifestyle of pursuing personal holiness. We have deluded ourselves greatly if we think that God doesn’t care about our behavior once we’re saved. If anything, I think He cares more because we are then representatives of His church. You can’t read through the NT without seeing a call to live a different life on this earth. I think we’d do well to trust more in the work of the Holy Spirit to move in Believers to show and convict us towards purity than to work at trying to make the concept of purity more palatable.

  • I am so thankful for your work! My kids are growing up in a world that is in a war with Christ and purity is one of the battles!

  • We’ve talked to our daughter about purity in relation to her body, heart & soul. She knows what God wants for her spiritually and physically. I think we need to use the word more not less. Our standards should be high for our daughters but we also teach about Gods grace and forgiveness because we should all strive to be like Christ but we all sin & need Gods forgiveness.

  • No way should we get rid of the word purity nor be afraid to use it!!!! We have lost to much already to the whole PC thing – purity is something that should be sought after!!!!

  • We should definitely still use the word purity! Also, I would love to win the “And the Bride Wore White” package! Thank you for being such a blessing to so many!

  • MOM of 6 GIRLS ages 13- 3wks… We should never get rid of words that focus putting Jesus first in our lives. The devil would love that but having 6 girls to raise we need to hold to GOD’s standards not the worlds or we will fail miserably! I was a troubled teen/ young adult with a terrible past and if I don’t teach purity to our girls they will fall into the dangers that I did. What’s next… get rid of the words Mortality, Modesty, Integrity, Character, Hope, Faith, Love ♡ that only exist because of God is the standard for those as well?

  • I pray my children strive to live a life of purity. The world may think purity is outdated but that is exactly why our world has so many broken homes, families, and lives. God has a plan for us to prosper, not to harm us.

  • Well said and makes a lot of sense to me! I say continue using the word! I agree that purity is a process and a heart issue. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 51:10. Thank you for speaking the Truth!

  • Yes God calls us to be pure in many aspects of our life. That is not easy to do. We are born into sin, which is a direct conflict with being pure. A constant struggle. Our world makes it even harder with every subliminal message women and men are living with daily. The desensitation to basic morals in today’s society makes it even more important for us to use the word PURITY, In proper context. When our world screams for us to be impure on a daily basis, the last thing we should be doing as Christians is to stop using our voices to save our brothers and sisters. We need to be standing beside them and letting them know, yes the struggle is hard but we are with you! We are on the journey of purity together.

    Romans 1:24-32 says “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual IMPURITY for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served creates things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to sheful lists. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in tha elves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such thing s deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

    If this is what God says happens to those who are impure then I want to hear more about how to be PURE!!!!

  • I apologize for my typing errors in Romans 1:24-32. I hope it didn’t ruin the point. Please take the time to look up the scripture and read it for yourselves.

  • I totally agree that it’s not the word that’s wrong but the world’s perception. I don’t think enough people have heard it used in the right way. We should start using it with the correct meaning and connotations more often. From my experience, some people are afraid to even mention the word purity, like there’s some sort of taboo attached. Let’s get it out there, I say! 🙂

  • Purity in women is very important. Not just when speaking sexually, but with mind, thought, action, etc. It is also important for our boys to hear the same message. Boys need to hear the importance of keeping themselves pure in all manners as well.
    That being said, I was one of those who grew up in the church and heard repeatedly that sex was a sin. When I married, I had a very difficulty time making the adjustment. I still remember when I became pregnant with our first child (over a year into our marriage), feel fearful of telling my dad. He would know I had had sex.
    Teaching our children about purity and sex is very important and the church should be addressing it earlier than they do. With the easy access kids have to all kinds of images through TV or internet, it becomes a conversation long before middle or high school unfortunately. It should be a gradual and continuing conversation. It needs to be taught carefully, explaining that sex is a beautiful thing, created by God, between a husband and a wife. When it is entered into outside of marriage, the beauty is missed.

  • when talking with my daughter and other mom’s about purity that it is a sharp sword. It draws lines between mothers and daughters as well as friends (I mean me and my own adult friends included). In my own opinion it should be used still. It is a dividing line between striving to be more Christ-like or conforming to the world. It shows one’s heart whether in pain or lost. The people I have talked to that don’t like it generally for one of two reasons: 1) it is an unachievable standard that sunshine in their life expected them to live up to and they now don’t want others to feel shamed as they did, or 2) they don’t want to acknowledge that they can strive to be more pure because where they are is more comfortable or easier.

    I hope this comes across as loving and kind. I have not spoken much on the subject, but it is close to my heart and I feel drawn to help our children and youth live purely in body, spirit, and mind.

  • I’m planning a girls’ & moms’ getaway weekend for our family. Wanting to focus on this topic of “purity” which I agree is not just in reference to sexual abstinence. I agree that it is a mindset that we are called to desire & strive to grow in. We need not apologize for using this word, but should (as you have, according to the Word) clearly define it. Would love to win this package so I cold share it with the girls of our family!

  • This is a topic that needs to be discussed with our daughters – and we can’t be afraid to be seen as too controversial or old fashioned. Our daughters have so much to lose if they don’t “get” this. We are looking forward to using the Bible Study – thanks for all you do!

  • I was not going to comment then i saw your rant , yes purity is a good , however I would love to word swap it out.
    After being a youth leader for over 21 years and with the view of the teen girls I am discipling now they would consider this an unatainable thing, and not even try, or they think it is to late to every be pure because they have already had sex. Purity is deifined in the webster dictionary as lack of guilt or evil thoughts. I dont know about you but i can have guilt over what i just ate for dinner let alone the whole purity related to sex thing. While i totally and whole heartely love the word of God and His standards for us to be pure it is only through his Son that he sees us as that.
    We also hear about how we are to keep ourselves pure until marriage but we whould still be working on keeping it while we are married too. I totally agree with Dannah on this, it is time for a change in how we as loving christians communicate to a very lost world that just craves to be pure before the Lord and have a relationship with Him and just doesnt know it yet!

  • I find that the word modesty is difficult to use with my daughter – we define it differently as it is seen as an external trait. But purity is different. It is internal. And it speaks to the heart. We are concerned about purity on everything else (even Ivory soap!) – why would we stop using this word with our daughters?

  • I have daughters. They are Tweens and pre-tweens. I appreciate SKG and Dannah’s blog. I want to lead my girls to be confident in the truth of God’s Word from cover to cover. I’ve battled with that word “Purity” in the past. I agree purity=holiness. No matter what stage we are are in life, or what choices we’ve made, strive for purity. Strive for perfection. Strive to be like Jesus.

  • i have made many mistakes in my life. Some I learned from right away, others took years. I’m still learning. Learning through my children. My husband. My church, friends and just random people. Just because people are changing, words are changing. But I don’t think we should change what God intended. Just today I learned a new word from my teenaged son. Wow. I thought. I’m very blessed we can talk openly and find a way back to God and what is meant. Have a chuckle about it and leave each other happy and content that number one, I didn’t judge and number two, my son left me for school with a smile and content. Words can change. People can twist, turn and find loopholes in all words. But as long as we can find the truth in Gods word that is the important part. Everything is teachable…every moment, every breath…and every word. I am not perfect. I work on it everyday. I struggle everyday. I’ve seen and experienced things that I feel no one should. Let’s not tear apart our words. Let us teach our children properly through the word of God. Gods word isn’t to make us feel dirty. It’s love. Pure love. Even tough love at times. Hopefully they will feel what was intended. I never got to until later in life. My prayer is for all young to learn it and feel it. It’s the best thing ever. Don’t change words just because the world is changing. That’s what is wrong with a lot of things. Children aren’t being taught spelling or cursive writing anymore. It’s all being thrown away. We need concrete sometimes. The Bible is our concrete. Our rock. It will never change. God will never change. Let’s keep it that way.

  • I am a grandmother with 2 granddaughters. It is my fervent prayer that they receive teaching such as this and that they will be wise enough to embrace God’s plan especially in the area of human sexuality. Thank you for your ministry! It is need more today than at any other time in history. Lies abound & perversion is thrust in our faces, demanding acceptance.

  • We must use the word purity but we need to put it ‘all’ together. Our children (boys and girls) need to understand the big picture of what God intended for sex and that’s not just the physical of being a virgin but purity in thought and speech, their hearts. We need to teach them to be careful of what they say, see, hear, and do. They need to understand that it’s more than just physical but spiritual and moral, and a big part of our message needs to be GRACE. We cannot teach the truth of what God intended for sex without grace because when we do and they make a bad choice, that’s when our children (or anyone) feel that they have failed or are being condemned and that is not God’s message. We teach the message of purity (body, soul, and spirit) under the umbrella of the message of God’s grace. Isn’t that in fact why He sent His Son? He knew we couldn’t do it alone.

  • I don’t think we should stop using the word purity. Why not let our children strive for something positive. I hate how people take positive things and turn them into negativity to fit someone else’s life. I’m also tired of making things politically correct so we don’t hurt someone’s feelings. Maybe those who feel bad are feeling conviction from God to turn their lives over to him. You will always have someone who doesn’t agree with something you are doing. In our public school a year ago, our health teacher had a video of someone talking about abstinence. Yet it was NOT ok with a parent I know who claims to be “Christian” and is also a youth leader in a local church. She had the same comment “it is shaming those, who have had sexual intercourse already in the eighth grade. How dare we tell them that abstinence makes the most sense of “safe sex”? Yet it is ok for them to teach my child to use condoms and about birth control. I was furious that this was even being questioned and brought to our school board meeting. I’m not even sure of the outcome. The mere fact that is was questioned and put down makes me angry. Which also has me thinking I’m looking for a Christian school for next year for my children.

  • I don’t think we should stop using the word purity or pure. The world wants us to stop using it; the world wants us all to be politically correct. I for one am tired of the pressure to be PC; things are sometimes what they are-if it makes you uncomfortable then I think it’s because maybe it’s the Holy Spirit trying to show you that there’s something in your life that needs to be changed. No one likes to take medicine; however, we as Christians especially need to remember what the Scriptures say; we need to love everyone and show the fruits of the spirit in everything we do, say, watch, read, listen to, etc. This is how we become and stay pure. We need others in our life to call us out when we are slipping, again, remembering the fruits of the spirit. We all mess up, we all need forgiveness. Being pure doesn’t mean that you are ‘above’ anyone it just means you are trying to live the way God wants us to live. Pure & purity have become negative words just like the words submit and submission. But that’s probably a whole other blog! LOL 🙂 Thank you Dannah for asking the hard questions and writing about purity. It’s nice to have a resource to gather information as well as encouragement. Keep up the good work. You are truly appreciated!

  • Thank you for sharing these thoughts! Im excited to understand what it means as far as striving to live a biblically pure life. 🙂

  • I think the comment about not feeling “pure” after marriage is very true for some. How sad that our culture has twisted the meaning and has possibly caused so many problems in many marriages. Our state of heart is so important! Thank you for bringing this issue up.

  • Love this book! I have been talking to my son and daughter about purity since they were 10. They have friends whose parents don’t share as openly. Is my desire to lead a group of young women, to help them understand God’s desire for purity in their lives! What a great resource this would be!

  • This really opened my eyes on purity. I have kept purity in a tight little box inside my head and that box just exploded! Now to me purity is being pure in the sight of God and give him all the glory! Thanks for starting the conversation! God’s timing is right on time and this is perfect timing for what I’m working on!

  • I pray for my children’s purity, almost daily, because it is so valuable and allows them to walk in freedom. I see young women and men who have set their hearts towards that, towards purity, including battling for it, and it is beautiful and wonderful. I do think that simply claiming virginity doesn’t mean you are pursuing purity, and that not being able to claim virginity disqualifies you from pursuing purity. Plus the pursuit continues into marriage, and through marriage we continue to work out holiness, and continue to pursue purity yet that looks different than before we were in a covenantal marriage relationship… But sexual morality as defined in Holy Scripture is still and always will be the way to go.

  • I’ve never given the word much thought, but I believe that we, as a society, tend to modernize many things by changing them to fit in with our fastidious mannerisms. The word “purity” is acceptable in the Bible – in reference to the Christian life. It should be acceptable for us as well. Many times the Bible speaks of things such as a pure marriage bed, being blameless and pure, as well as purifying one’s heart.

    As parents, guardians, and leaders in the church we need to teach and/or clarify what “purity” really means -Biblically speaking. We need our young ladies -our future mothers and leaders- to understand that being pure is a choice we make, and that it not only pertains to sexuality, but also the fact that those whom have chosen to accept Christ as their Savior are set apart from sinners. They live life by the Spirit, as found in Romans 8. We can also teach them that their bodies are pure in the fact that it is a temple, belonging to the Lord.

    For those who feel negatively about the word (perhaps due to the fact that some may feel impure/dirty if they have been raped or abused in any way), we must help them understand that being pure is a choice, and that sometimes that choice is taken from them against their will- it is not their fault. Furthermore, they are a “new creation” and they can choose to live their life for Christ in the present and future.

  • Seriously!? This gets me fired up! When are we going to get over other caring about people’s opinians and believe the Word of God as exactly that!? What if we would choose to lay aside EVERYTHING ELSE and seek God’s heart with a passion, with His fire burning in our bones? What if we would allow God’s presence and holiness to transform our entire being into someone passionate about purity and knowing His heart?! The world would be transformed into a pure bride ready for the return of her Groom and we would literally see His kingdom come to earth!

  • I do not think purity should be removed from this conversation. It is in the Bible…straight from God’s mouth to our ears…so that is why it MUST have a place. Our opinions or past hurts should not dictate what we do or do not teach out of God’s Word. We cannot pick and choose what we want out of comfortability or the lack thereof. We must make sure everything we teach is backed up by the Word of God and i believe the Word purity is well backed up. Thanks for all u do!

  • Purity not only should be used but it’s very important it is always used, Bc without a pure heart we cannot please God. Part of having a pure heart is by being pure sexually, or if mistakes have been made than repenting & moving forward in purity wanting to please God. And since when is being slutty not shameful? If someone is a “slut” than yes, there is shame in that Bc it’s open sin & they should feel a sense of shame Bc it’s morally wrong. It’s Bc the world is trying to make wrong right & right wrong Bc nobody wants to admit sin is sin, that’s the whole issue here.

  • I think purity is a beautiful word as well. It meant some thing different to me at 15, 20, and now at 35. Wow, how God has stripped away the desensitivy that I had in college and replaced it with more spiritual maturity and discernment. Thankfully we grow and learn. And God fills the gaps. He also protects and restores even in our sin and mistakes.

  • I think it is as you state. Purity, in the minds of most, I suspect, does not have a positive connotation. I think we shouldn’t try to change the Word but instead give the true definition just as you did. I think instead of just using our “church speak” & assuming that everyone has the same definition & image in their minds as we do, we should assume that they do not, & correctly define the words as we use them or study them. I can see the subject of purity being discussed but not defined, & folks walking away feeling defeated & hopeless.

  • I love the word purity. I have done lessons on it before specifically using examples from water to food. I talked to the students about the standards used for food safety like how much bacteria or bug parts are considered ok. (If you have never seen it then look it up). It’s a great example of what some view as pure vs God’s view. But we specifically also discuss that purity is more than sexual and more than skin deep.

  • Why should we change biblical terms and meaning for a modern world? That’s the problem with today. Everyone has to be “politically correct” and”modern.” Why? Who says this is right because I know the way I want to live and teach my kids to live like, is in the bible. If you are offended by the word or think something else should be used then I think it’s time to do some self examinations and see what bothers you so much about it.

  • Absolutely not, there is nothing that will make a marriage more meaningful and strong than purity. There are way too many problems when you enter marriage without it.

  • The Word of God is all the defense that is needed for the word Purity. May we all recognize that the only Pure One bought this for us & may we continue to grow from glory to glory & honor Him.

  • This really has me thinking,and I still don’t know the right answer. I think if we continue to use the word, it is very important that we define it for the younger generation. I was raised in the church, and I too always thought of purity as being a virgin. I so appreciated your definition and explanation! Even a 39 year old wife and mother of two needed to hear that! Keep up the great work and honesty which you share with others.

  • My opinion is that based on the bible as I believe it to be Gods word for us. Since God is the same yesterday, today and forever, then so his words to us remain the same for all time! Our creator knows better what name to give to a thing because he knows it’s purpose/role to play. Words are not just mere words but they carry meanings behind them, which speak of their essence. Purity is what we ought to be striving after as mothers and teaching the same to our daughters! We are not ashamed and not intimidated by the truth of Gods word! We will stand boldly and proclaim with love the truth of Gods word because it has the power to set the hearer free! The truth shall set them free! How many of us want to see God? I know I do! Here’s what Matthew 5:8 says: “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.” And I so loved this commentary on the scripture that I just had to share it with you all:
    http://biblehub.com/matthew/5-8.htm
    Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible-

    Blessed are the pure in heart,…. Not in the head; for men may have pure notions and impure hearts; not in the hand, or action, or in outward conversation only; so the Pharisees were outwardly righteous before men, but inwardly full of impurity; but “in heart”. The heart of man is naturally unclean; nor is it in the power of man to make it clean, or to be pure from his sin; nor is any man in this life, in such sense, so pure in heart, as to be entirely free from sin. This is only true of Christ, angels, and glorified saints: but such may be said to be so, who, though they have sin dwelling in them, are justified from all sin, by the righteousness of Christ, and are “clean through the word”, or sentence of justification pronounced upon them, on the account of that righteousness; whose iniquities are all of them forgiven, and whose hearts are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, which cleanses from all sin; and who have the grace of God wrought in their hearts, which, though as yet imperfect, it is entirely pure; there is not the least spot or stain of sin in it: and such souls as they are in love with, so they most earnestly desire after more purity of heart, lip, life, and conversation. And happy they are,

    for they shall see God; in this life, enjoying communion with him, both in private and public, in the several duties of religion, in the house and ordinances of God; where they often behold his beauty, see his power and his glory, and taste, and know, that he is good and gracious: and in the other world, where they shall see God in Christ, with the eyes of their understanding; and God incarnate, with the eyes of their bodies, after the resurrection; which sight of Christ, and God in Christ, will be unspeakably glorious, desirable, delightful, and satisfying; it will be free from all darkness and error, and from all interruption; it will be an appropriating and transforming one, and will last for ever.

    Pick me for the giveaway! Would love to be strengthened and help to make a lasting impact on the lovely girls God has placed in my life!

  • Danah, thank you for posting this. Our society continues to try and marginalize Christian perspectives especially in the area of sexuality. I think as Christians we need to uphold God’s truth by any means necessary. Discussion is good however God’s word is the final authority in the matter.

    Thanks

  • Oh, yes, yes, yes! I love your take on purity in THE BRIDE WORE WHITE! I’ve taught your book(s) MANY times. The Girls are always RELIEVED when they discover through Dannah’s teaching that purity is to be GAINED NOT LOST! Praying for you, Amy Linkous (used your stuff since 2002).

  • I’m with you Dannah. People do not know what words mean anymore, nor do they take time to find out. The trendy overuse of the -shaming suffix is out of control. I’m not sure what we would even replace the word “purity” with, but it seems that those who oppose it really want the entire standard thrown out. I completely agree with your definition, as based on God’s Word.

  • We need to reteach what purity means. Because it has been misused doesn’t make it ineffective any more than someone using a wrench to pound a nail makes the wrench ineffective. More importantly I agree that we need to teach that purity is so much more than physical. But hey, at least people are talking about it. When I was young there was no talk about sexuality at all and oh how I would have love someone telling me that sexual purity was so much more than virginity. It is a part of being pure before God and taught that way changes the way we think about purity. It changes our views of sexuality, our way of thinking, our way of believing.

  • As a mom to 6 kids, 2 almost grown, 1 11 yr old and 3 toddlers (adoption is wonderful) I have learned through trial and error (unfortunately) what we should be teach our kids to strive for, and it isn’t virginity. It is purity. I know we focused too much on virginity with our oldest, and that may have left her open to more activities that started her down a very sad path. We have lost much of her to this world’s ideas, and that isn’t easy to know. With our younger children, we are using the hard learned wisdom that we have to start them off with purity- in body, thoughts, media, clothing choices, etc. Our middle child has watched and been so confused by some of the things she learned her oldest sister was doing, and it confused and shattered the image she had held of a sister she should’ve been looking up to. If only we could go back and do it over again……
    Thanks so much for helping guide and teach about purity. Wish What God has panned for us, what he blesses, is so much greater than this world’s cheap copy. Purity in everything.

  • Yup…I’m with you…Purity is not just virginity and abstinence….it is a holy heart posture…that can be applicable to so many areas of our lives. Keep using it!

  • Wow…I never thought of it that way, but it makes complete sense. Here’s my take 🙂 Do I believe we should stop using the word ‘purity’ in reference to virginity? No. BUT…We should take pains to also explain to our children that purity should be pursued in ALL aspects of their lives as it’s God’s will for us. It does not only apply to sex. Thank you for making my wheels turn lol I enjoy a good discussion and sharing of different perspectives. In a house with a teen and preteen, I generally get to put out the basic fires..not at all usually requiring much thought 🙂

    Angelique

  • Purity. It is a beautiful word. We should absolutely continue using it in terms of sexuality as well as in terms of reaching our ultimate human goal; to be as pure as we can be, to forge ourselves into holiness through the every day choices that we make. Our life’s goal is to be the best version of ourselves and then one day meet our maker. This requires great strength in character which means as women we are learning at a young age to make the tough choices that build our character, one being to save ourselves. We are sexual beings and we can enjoy this gift at the right time, when we have found another person with the same level of maturity, ready and willing to share a life with all the responsibilities that come with the sharing of two lives in an intimate sexual relationship. Our purity comes from building that individual character and waiting for God’s gifts. Sexuality is just one area in our life for building our character, just like so many other choices out there that we know are either going to help us become the best we can be. When our minds are pure it is because we are reading books or watching film, TV with content that leaves us with good substance, same as what we choose to eat, the exercise we do or don’t do, the friends we hang out with etc. the. Everything we choose is either bringing us closer to purity, to God, or it’s not. So, to want to remain a virgin and be wise and wait about who we decide to share our lives with is a step in the right direction, again there should not be a question of weather we want to remain pure but rather a goal of a lifetime of achieving this state of purity.

  • So good. My immediate reaction to the title/intro was, “Of course the word ‘purity’ should still be used.” I totally agree with your points and am very thankful that the leaders who discipled me as a younger girl had a firm, Biblical grasp of the difference between “purity,” and “virginity.” Emma’s point that purity is a process, a goal, a striving for holiness… so resonates with me. I am sad for girls – regardless of their current age – that have been beaten up by people or even just the idea that “purity” once “lost” can never be regained. OR even that losing one’s virginity means losing one’s potential for holiness forever. God’s grace doesn’t work that way. We all have fallen short and will continue to fall short until we see Him face to face. That’s why we all need a Savior. Thank you for tackling these issues, for thoughtfully and honestly discussing them and for giving this Momma talking points as my own girl – and boy – head into their tween years. I want my “babies” to know and live passionately for Jesus, to – by grace – exceed anything I have modeled for them, and to daily press on and press into Jesus Christ until He calls them home. Those dreams for them go way beyond their “virginity” and will require a purity of heart that only God can create in each of us. Thanks again for the great article! And thanks to all the commenters as well!

  • I wish someone had talked to me about purity and God’s wishes for me as a young girl, teen, young adult woman. I bought into what the world would have me believe about casual sex (what’s good for a man…) and thought myself well-informed about the health risks of such behavior. But, I had no one instructing or guiding me though what God’s desire was for me. I may have understood the physical-health risk side of things, but I didn’t have a clue about the emotional toll or scars such behavior would cause. Nor did I know how I would carry them into my marriage and throughout my life. Why is it such a crime to present a different option than the worldly one? I now have a fourteen year old daughter and my prayer for her is that she will know God’s desires for her so that she can make decisions based on His truths and not the world’s ever changing ideas. You have a wonderful ministry. I am sure God is well pleased with the message you bring forth to girls of all ages. May He continue to bless your ministry as you continue to bless the lives of countless women.

  • Hi Dannah, Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog. I have found it to be invaluable and timely! God led me to this because I’m trying to create a mainstream purity magazine. In fact, yesterday I just sent word to your team that I would like to connect with you for advice/counsel. Well, this blog is pretty good counsel!!
    I meet with publishers in the Spring to introduce my mag idea with a sample manuscript. My heart is to boldly refelect God’s heart for purity within the mainstream current. As a single mom of eight years I have also learned what purity means. You explain it so well!! It’s an invitation to a set apart lifestyle, it begins in the heart. Last month I had the privilege of telling my purity fans this testimony of mine: “Praise Report! A year ago today God set me free from a sinful coping mechanism!! To help me cope with being a single parent I would use my imagination to go on erotic vacations with someone to help me feel loved and beautiful. It was a way of going into myself for physical fulfillment instead of looking to God. I thought this was okay because my physical purity was still being saved for my future spouse. But God looks at the heart! He showed me that I needed to surrender my desire for physical intimacy to Him so I could learn to love and desire Him more than anything else. Now my coping mechanism is running to Jesus when these needs get too strong. I never thought it was possible to live without my old coping mechanism but it is! With God, all things are possible!! If you have this same struggle, I encourage you to give it to God. Only He can heal our pain and weakness when it is surrendered to Him. Physical and mental purity are both just as important to loving God and saving yourself for a future spouse. Purity ROCKS and God can break every chain!!” What a strong point in saying that not all virgins are pure, etc. I agree and I’m beyond thankful for this second chance that God has given me to save myself for a future husband! (I am pure in Christ and will be so proud and honored to wear my white gown on my wedding day!)
    I believe with all my heart that a magazine like this is needed BUT it must be done right. I’ve been praying about confirmation for it’s name. So far all the credible people in my sphere of influence agree with the name “Purity Culture Magazine”, yet there has been a check in my spirit this whole time.
    The reasons why have been due to what you have also experienced. In fact, there is a group that is called the anti-purity movement. They have tagged the christian way of sexuality with the name of purity culture. To these people we are at fault for harming girls and woman with degredation to their sexuality, etc.
    My thoughts initially to continue with the name Purity Culture is to boldly stand up against these opinions in a loving nonjudgmental manner. But rather purity culture God’s way within the mainstream would be about presenting a set apart lifestyle. If it only addresses sexual purity it would leave out so much more of what God has for those who are being defined by the culture- world.
    I want to bring glory to God with this, I don’t want to take chances on confusing or hurting people. I know I can’t expect the world to receive God’s truth–but there are still those whose hearts are not hardened and with just a little bit of God’s truth victory can be won. If it only changed one life it would be worth it. The name defines the purpose but to achieve it’s purpose most people will need to get past the name.

    Thank you Danah!! God has been doing so much in my life through all the amazing people and ministries He has used to help me heal and grow in Him. You have been a part! I’m now an intern at my church as the leader for the Single Mom’s Fellowship and I humbly say in faith that I hope to have an even greater impact for God’s kingdom….perhaps through this magazine. God bless and thank you for your time and all you do–I’m blessed and inspired to see what you’re doing and I’m excited to do your mother daughter purity bible study with my daughters when they get back from their first school year with their dad and step mom! I’m going to celebrate the return of my precious girls with your ministry. I can’t thank you enough! (This is why I have time to work on my mag)
    I appreciate your time…may God continue to richly bless your ministry!!! April

      • Thanks Dannah! If God provides for my purity magazine, I’d love to let you know about the exciting news, if that’s okay? It would need article contributors from credible sources in order to invade the cultural current the way it should. Love how my pastor put it, “God’s people shouldn’t just be in the current, but rather, be the current!” Love it! ♡ Can’t wait!

  • The world does not want there to be any consequences to premarital sexual activity, but there are. When a husband and wife become intimate, it is not good to have memories, or expectations, created by previous experiences with another, in their bed with them.

    In many cases the scripture speaks of purity in context of one’s heart or motivation. We have used the more literal use of the word – as would be used to descibe cleanliness, such as “pure water” – when speaking of abstinence. The two uses are similar yet distinctly different. In this case I believe we are using it correctly. However we do need to be careful as to how we qualify the use of the term, so as not to make it seem that those who have not remained a virgin have no hope of becoming “pure” in the sight of God.

    God has shared with us His insight into married life. Any relationship, including the one with Him, works best if we are not looking back to something else in the past.

  • The word purity is not the issue. The conversations about sex, marriage, love and grace are. Thank you Dannah for presenting these topics to us parents in a way that convicts is to talk to our kids!

  • I like Philippians 2:15 ” that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” I take heart in knowing that we have not yet arrived at a place of purity, but are “becoming” blameless and pure so as to be a light in this world. And this reminds me that it is a journey, and one worth striving for. Blessings to you!

  • Such a loaded question/blog/comment/etc. If it strikes a cord, then it’s important to know where you stand. This post is a great opportunity to re-evaluate your own walk and open communication amongst the family. With today’s tv and internet, purity of eyes, mind & spirit is a tight-rope-walk at best.

  • Purity is not the same as virginity. Thank you for leading this discussion. I love your books and appreciate your ministry

  • Just watched my 16 year old drive away w her 14 year old sister in the car. Does that ever get easier to watch? My knees, no, my whole body hit the floor in prayer. Every moment counts. I would love to share your study w my daughters.

  • If one word is going to be pulled out of scripture, purity, i’d like to see another pulled out and presented alongside: grace. I’m just not seeing the message of grace presented in these purity and modesty movements. Why did Jesus die on the cross? We are righteous because of Jesus, not because of our works. The gospel is not Jesus + something. The gospel is Jesus + nothing. This is the Good News. This is the message that our little girls need to hear. Rom 6:14: For sin will not have dominion over you for you are not under law, but under grace. I am all about having conversations with my girls about the benefits of waiting to have sex until marriage and using common sense in dressing in a manner that is respectful to yourself and those around you. But these are conversations that play such a minor role in the fabric of our lives. The Gospel is about Jesus and God’s grace, it’s not about purity. We’re feeding our daughters an unbalanced diet here and I can’t believe that will result in a healthy outcome.

  • Dannah- Just heard you speak at Iron Sharpens Iron (Carlisle, PA). Praise God for the message He gave you to bring us women out of the shame and guilt that hangs over our lives cheating us out of living joyfully in Christ! Purity is a state of the heart and we’re being sanctified daily. My cup is overflowing and I thank you for spilling your heart out to us, blessing us all!!!
    How was Annie and how did your adorable dog do in his breakout role?

    • I loved being with you in Carlisle, Lisa D! Thanks for coming to the event. Moosie did fine, but I hear he was better at the two performances I missed. Alas, I think he had “been here, done that” too many times!

  • Hi there dannah. i have an issue . I like this guy but the feeling isnt mutal and im frustrated and hes not ready for a relationship.And he has trouble on ways how he is going t get to know me ? How do i be natural .but also try and accept he doesnt like me in the way i would like?

    • Crave,
      Ask the Holy Spirit to help you first, see him as a brother in Christ (if he’s saved) or as someone who needs to know the love of Jesus for himself. Also ask the Lord to help you respect his feelings and choices. If you need to distance yourself from this guy while the Lord works on your heart and feelings, make the tough choice and do so. It is frustrating when your feelings aren’t reciprocated in kind but instead of focusing on the source of your frustration, turn to God. There’s a reason why He isn’t allowing this and in order to be ok with what’s going on and to find out what your next step should be, you need to be in His face – not a boy’s.

      (posted by Dannah’s Team)

  • Hello. It is really not my place to be commenting on this article, however I would like to say that I find it a great comfort to know there are such people in the world as you. I am a 19 year old boy in Australia from Christian background and belong to a small congregation (PBCC). I came across this article when searching for references to purity. Though one has always abstained from the things mainly referred to in this article (i can only credit this to my christian upringing and teaching), I believe moral purity, including one’s thoughts and intents, are really where the testing ground is in regard to one’s purity. With so much around in this world to defile, it is so easy to give way to “fleshy lusts, which war against the soul”. In light of the things that have found entrance into one’s mind, one can only take the place of Peter as being “a sinful man”. But if one should have lost their purity, indeed, all is not lost. It is possible to regain one’s purity. Of course, that is the whole point of the gospel. Forgiveness means that you can be totally free from that which bound you. But it is important to note that purity can never be attained in our own strength. Any one of us, at best, is a miserable failure naturally. God only has One Man before him, so it is only as we deny ourselves and everything that is native to us, and are alive ‘in Christ’, that we can be suitable. As the man in Rom. 7 says “for I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, good does not dwell..”. It it thus only as we walk according to the Spirit that we can be acceptable. Only in this state is purity attainable.
    But it is attainable, and therefore it is only defeatist to give up using the term purity.
    One finds it a great test saying such things. The flesh is always present, and so always has to be denied. But this only helps us to rely on Christ. He is the centre God’s world, He is the centre of the gospel, He is our only hope, and in Him alone can we have joy and salvation.nn1nn1

  • This is a very interesting article. I decided to take the first verse that you provided and read the verses surrounding it so that I could understand the true meaning of it more clearly. These arebthe verses that stuck out to me in Titus chapter 2:11-14 (NIV)

    “11For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

    In these verses, it talks a lot about saying no to ungodliness and worldly passions, being upright, godly, and about how Jesus gave his life for us so that we can be redeemed and purified people of his very own who desire to do what is good. What did Jesus purify us from? Our sins. Those sins include sexual sin, stealing, lying, killing people, disobeying rules, and many more sins. From what I understand, the verses on purity are talking about all forms of sin and all people, not just sexual sin or women. Since purity covers so much sin, it wouldn’t make sense to change the word because people feel that it is out dated when used for biblical sexuality discussions. As Dannah Gresh said, purity goes a lot deeper than virginity. There are many different sins that we need to be purified from and sexual sin is one of them, so why do we need to change it if we will still keep the word “purity” for being clean of the other sins?

  • No, the word purity should not be used in churches. Why? Words and vocabularies change over time, for example, the King James Bible uses very different language than what we would use today. Today, the word purity is inexplicably linked to virginity in the minds of teens and young adults. Meaning, that when you use the word purity our minds immediately jump to virginity. Also, the term purity culture has a detrimental meaning. When you say purity culture our minds do not jump to the purity of our hearts and minds as we look towards Christ, but rather traditions such as purity balls, which are creepy, and strict families who do not let their daughters out of the house for fear “the world will corrupt them.” I am 100% in favor of keeping our eyes on Christ and pursuing holiness, but the “word purity is simply too charged with negative connotations the it should no longer be used for the reasons mentioned above. Instead, we should use the term pursuing holiness. Holiness describes what you are saying about our lives and minds, purity cannot accomplish this goal because of its current inexplicable link with virginity and sexuality. So in short, if you really want to talk about focusing our lives and minds on Christ, then replace the word PURITY with HOLINESS. 🙂

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