Abstention by vow from marriage. The practice of abstaining from marriage may be alluded to twice in the New Testament. Jesus said that some have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom and that those who were able to do likewise should do so (Matthew 19:12). This statement has traditionally been understood as a reference to celibacy (See Eunuch). Paul counseled the single to remain so (1 Corinthians 7:8). Both Jesus (Mark 10:2-12) and Paul (1 Corinthians 7:9,1 Corinthians 7:28,1 Corinthians 7:36-39;
1 Corinthians 9:5), however, affirmed the goodness of the married state. One New Testament passage goes so far as to characterize the prohibition of marriage as demonic (1 Timothy 4:1-3).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'CELIBACY'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".