"Masturbation - is it a sin according to the Bible?"

The Bible never specifically mentions masturbation or states whether masturbation is a sin. There is no question, however, as to whether the actions that lead to masturbation are sinful. Masturbation is the end result of lustful thoughts, sexual stimulation, and/or pornographic images. It is these problems that need to be dealt with. If the sins of lust and pornography are forsaken and overcome - the problem of masturbation will become a non-issue.

The Bible tells us to avoid even the appearance of sexual immorality (Ephesians 5:3). I do not see how masturbating can pass that particular test. Sometimes a good test for whether something is a sin or not is whether you would be proud to tell others what you had just done. If it is something you would be embarrassed or ashamed about if others found out, it is very likely that it is a sin. Another good test is to determine whether we can honestly, in good conscience, ask God to bless and use the particular activity for His own good purposes. I do not think masturbation qualifies as something we can be "proud" of or can genuinely thank God for.

The Bible teaches us, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). If there is room for doubt as to whether it pleases God, then it is best to give it up. There is definitely room for doubt in regards to masturbation. "For whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). I do not see how, according to the Bible, masturbation could be considered glorifying to God. Further, we need to remember that our bodies, as well as our souls, have been redeemed and belong to God. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This great truth should have a real bearing on what we do and where we go with our bodies. So, in light of these principles, I would definitely have to say that masturbation is a sin according to the Bible. I do not believe that masturbation is pleasing to God, avoids the appearance of immorality, or passes the test of God having ownership over our bodies.