Leviticus 18 Explained: What’s Behind These Ancient Rules?

Discover the importance of sexual purity, obedience to God, respecting boundaries, rejecting harmful practices, and embracing strangers based on Leviticus 18 in the Holy Bible.

What It Means in the Bible

Leviticus 18 in the Holy Bible outlines what practices are considered pure and impure among the Israelites, particularly concerning sexual relations.

It details God’s commandments on what is deemed lawful and unlawful.

  • Excerpt from Leviticus 18:
    • You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices (Leviticus 18:3 NIV).
    • Because the inhabitants of the land, who were before you, committed all these abominations, and the land became defiled (Leviticus 18:27 NKJV).

In the context of Leviticus 18, God is admonishing the Israelites to diverge from the abominable customs of other nations and follow His decrees and laws.


  • Sexual purity: Uphold chastity and avoid unlawful sexual relations, a mandate which can apply to you by honoring your body and relationships with integrity.
  • Obedience to God: Heed the requirements and statutes as a sign of faithfulness, much like you would keep societal laws to maintain order and safety.
  • Respecting boundaries: Recognize that certain actions are deemed inappropriate, not just by divine command but also in respecting your own and others’ moral boundaries.
  • Rejecting harmful practices: Just as the Israelites were warned against worshiping Molech, you too can resist pressures to engage in harmful cultural or peer practices.
  • Embracing strangers: While the foreigner had to follow Israel’s laws to show respect, you can demonstrate acceptance and expect respect for your beliefs in return.

Embrace these principles to guide your journey with kindness and to create a life in line with those values that have stood the test of time.