What is the best way to avoid adultery?

What will you do if you are ever tempted to commit adultery? Do you have a conviction that you need to avoid adultery at all costs? Do you have a plan for what you would do if you suddenly and unexpectedly found yourself being tempted by adultery? Does the Bible contain any advice for us on this?

1 Corinthians contains a clear command that we are supposed to follow if we are ever tempted by adultery, but before we look at that, let’s look at an occasion when Joseph suddenly found himself in a predicament regarding adultery.

In the following verses, we read that the wife of Joseph’s master tried to seduce Joseph. Joseph refused on the basis that it was a sin, but notice who he would have been sinning against.

Gen. 39:6b Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

Gen. 39:7 It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”

Gen. 39:8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge.

Gen. 39:9 “There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”

Joseph considered adultery a sin against God. Unfortunately, the wife of Joseph’s master did not accept Joseph’s reasoning and she took advantage of a time when she was alone with Joseph. What action did Joseph take to avoid adultery when he suddenly found himself in a vulnerable situation?

Gen. 39:10 As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her.

Gen. 39:11 Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside.

Gen. 39:12 She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.

When Joseph was face to face with the temptation to commit adultery, he fled. Was that the right thing to do?

Gen. 39:13 When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside,

Gen. 39:14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed.

Gen. 39:15 “When he heard that I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled and went outside.”

Gen. 39:16 So she left his garment beside her until his master came home.

Gen. 39:17 Then she spoke to him with these words, “The Hebrew slave, whom you brought to us, came in to me to make sport of me;

Gen. 39:18 and as I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled outside.”

Gen. 39:19 ¶ Now when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, “This is what your slave did to me,” his anger burned.

Gen. 39:20 So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail.

Gen. 39:21 But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.

Gen. 39:22 The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it.

Gen. 39:23 The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper.

Joseph’s flight led to him being falsely accused and imprisoned; however, he was successful because he did not commit adultery, he did not sin against God. Being in prison was better than sinning against God. Joseph’s flight is a good example for us to follow if we are ever tempted by adultery. Consider the following verse:

1Cor. 6:18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

Just as Joseph fled when he was face to face with adultery, so too we are commanded to flee immorality. This verse is not a suggestion, it is a command. If we are ever tempted to commit adultery, our first and primary action should be to flee that situation.


Further Reading

What is the fear of God?

What should we do when we are a moral minority?


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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”