Many people, even some who claim to be Christian, feel that the Bible’s moral standards about sex and marriage are outdated. To adapt to the times, some churches have changed what they teach regarding what is right or wrong behavior. Do the Bible’s standards of right and wrong matter anymore? Yes. Here is how we know that they do.
Humans need God’s standards of right and wrong
Humans were created to look to their Creator for guidance. The Bible states: “It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Although Jehovah * God created us with the capacity to make decisions, he did not give us the authority or the ability to determine for ourselves what is right and wrong. For that, he wants us to rely on him.—Proverbs 3:5.
We find God’s moral guidance in the Bible. Consider two reasons why these standards are so valuable.
God created us. (Psalm 100:3) As our Creator, Jehovah God knows exactly what we need to be healthy and happy physically, mentally, and emotionally. He also knows the results we will experience if we ignore his moral guidance. (Galatians 6:7) Furthermore, Jehovah wants what is best for us. For that reason, the Bible describes God as “the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One guiding you in the way you should walk.”—Isaiah 48:17.
Our desires can mislead us. Many people feel that they can determine what is right or wrong by following their heart—their desires and passions. However, the Bible says that “the heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate.” (Jeremiah 17:9) If our heart is not guided by God’s wisdom, it will lead us to act in a way that we will later regret.—Proverbs 28:26; Ecclesiastes 10:2.
Should religious leaders ignore what the Bible says is right and wrong?
No! The Bible contains the truth about God and how he wants us to behave. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-23) He desires that people come to know this truth. (1 Timothy 2:3, 4) Christian ministers therefore must teach what God’s Word says.—Titus 1:7-9.
Many people who do not want to listen to the Bible’s moral standards look for religious teachers who will “tell them what they want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3, footnote) Yet, God’s Word contains this sobering warning: “Woe to those who say that good is bad and bad is good.” (Isaiah 5:20) Clearly, God will hold accountable religious leaders who do not accurately teach people what God says is right and wrong.
Do the Bible’s moral values condone intolerance?
Those who follow Jesus were to uphold God’s moral standards in their personal life. However, they were to accept the fact that other people may choose to follow different beliefs. (Matthew 10:14) Jesus did not authorize his followers to use politics or any other means to force God’s views on others.—John 17:14, 16; 18:36.