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What the Bible Says About Kissing Might Surprise You

I was 17 when I experienced my first real kiss on the lips. It wasn’t the thrilling experience I had anticipated. Maybe that’s because it came from a 70 year Ukrainian pastor with a 5 o’clock shadow that you could have scrubbed the floor with!

I guess a big smack square on the lips from a man who is four times your age isn’t what most teenage boys hope for. On the other hand it is quite Biblical!

I like to kiss my wife, a lot and that's Biblical!

I prefer to reserve most kisses for my wife but that’s Biblical too!

Read the Bible and it doesn’t take long before your run into some kissing. In fact there’s a lot of kissing going on in the Bible and it may just surprise you when you find out what the Bible really says about it!

There are about 45 references to kissing in the Bible.

  • 93% of kissing happens outside of marriage.
  • 73% of kissing happens between two men.
  • 20% of kissing happens between a man and a woman.
  • 4% of kissing happens between two women.

There is one reference to kissing an idol (Hosea 13:2).

Righteousness and Peace once shared a kiss (Psalm 85:10).

Jesus was kissed twice:

  • Once as a sign of devotion by a former prostitute.
  • Once as a sign if betrayal by a former disciple. How ironic is that?!

5 times in the New Testament kissing is commanded of believers.

And that brings us to an important question. Are you kissing outside of your marriage? If you’re not, then you should start, after all it is a command! Ok, I understand that we might have a few cultural differences from Bible times. Those differences could make kissing anyone but your children and spouse a little weird. So let’s take a look at the significance of a Biblical kiss.

What does a Biblical kiss signify?

  • Respect and honor
  • Love
  • Fidelity
  • Deep emotional attachment
  • Joy or sadness
  • Loyalty

These are important aspects of a relationship. We need to realize that often words are not enough to communicate the significance of how we feel towards another person or to show the importance of that relationship. Physical affection can go a long way to deepen and strengthen a relationship.

If we are not expressing these things through a kiss then we need to find other appropriate physical expressions.  Here are some suggestion that might work better in Western cultures.

Alternatives to Kissing

  • Handshake
  • Full hug
  • Side hug (man hug)
  • Hand on the shoulder
  • Pat on the back
  • Fist bump

Whatever method you choose it’s important that you take into consideration the culture, the setting and the person. In the Bible most physical signs of affection were outside of marriage but they were also same-sex. It’s especially important not to go overboard with the physical affection when it comes to the opposite sex, especially outside of the family.

Question: Can you think of any other ways to show physical affection in an appropriate way outside of marriage?

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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children! My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • Nancy

    Now those are good thoughts to bring a smile to the face. I think that even without touching, smiling can communicate affection to another person. That picture is great!!!

  • Interesting references on people kissing in the Bible. I have found appropriate touch (on the shoulder or hand) is a great way to show you care/value the person and conversation.

    • I also find that there is something very reassuring and encouraging about that type of touch.

  • Holding hands? Massage, if you’re strong enough to let it not lead further.

    • I think those are both valid in certain circumstances. I live in a country where massage is really a valued part of the culture. Once I was at a seminar in another church and I had to drive about 12 hours to get home. An older woman saw that I looked pretty tired so she offered to give me a massage. It was great!

  • Helen Steele

    I live in a culture where kissing, even between two men, is acceptable. Personally, I limit myself to hugging, shaking hands and smiling (people tell me I have a great,warming smile). My personal choice has been to avoid kissing and hugging when I have a cold or I have a wound on my face. Discretion and wisdom ought to be exercised about kissing and hugging others even if we are going to be misunderstood by some.

    • Great advice Helen! Thanks for commenting!

  • Diane Koehne

    In America we only hug kiss our family. All other intimacy is left for our mate. Hugging in church is as a greeting. But there is no other hugging or kissing in America. All other hugging and kissing is known as sexual immorality adultery and fornication and porn. Its something Christians dont do.

    • I think that’s a fair summary of how this is viewed in our culture, however don’t forget that a pat on the back or a nice handshake can also be very meaningful.

    • Diane I think you pretty much sum up Western cultures perspective. However, don’t forget that a handshake or a pat on the back can also convey a lot of meaning.

      • Diane Koehne

        Sometimes a pat on the back means lets go chum. Or Im proud of you. Could mean good job. Could mean its ok, a pat on the back could mean its my turn, or hey looky here friend thats my girl, can I have the next dance, hey everyone I need attention over here. Etc etc I could ho on.

  • Maureen Ray

    My husband’s lips are only for me and mine are only for him alone. We have special family members and those attached to them to whom we give affectionate hugs. Then there have been those who have been quite dear to me I have simply run into in the street e.g; a couple of old bosses and we have shared hugs in the spontaneous delight of meeting again. I know many people hug and kiss in church but in truth I find it empty and shallow and more especially when the Pastor commands that we turn to the person nearest to us and give them a hug. “Pastor’s love ins”, I used to call them. The very first person I brought to know Jesus, who moved back home to be with the woman he had cheated on for years and I had moved in to help (Anna) I felt deeply moved to wash his poor swollen feet and massage them with oil and at that moment served God.

  • Marta Altheide

    Raised in a very affectionate family, hug and kiss on cheek anyone am meeting for the first time. Once, when on a first date, he stopped by his parents home to drop off a package, while I waited in the car. Looking up, I saw his Mom waving me to come inside. On entering I hugged and kissed both his parents as he introduced me. We left soon after, as we had a movie to watch. To my utter shock, my date said ” my parents have never hugged or kissed anyone, not even us!” Meaning his seven siblings. Amazing revelation, and it changed in his family from that day, as he kept it up from that day on.

    • Wow, what a story! Sounds like you unintentionally changed them in a good way.