Is dancing a SIN?

Submit questions  -  New Articles
QUESTION: Is dancing wrong and a SIN? What does the Bible say about its use in the worship of God?

ANSWER: Let us first tackle the second part of your dancing inquiry. It is important to realize that the worship of God in the Old Testament was considerably different than it is today. What we, in our conservative ways, might think would be a sin if allowed as a part of our worship service, would have been quite acceptable to some of our Old Testament friends who worshipped him with unabashed exuberance.

Dancing was not uncommon among the ancient Israelites and was employed on various occasions. Miriam, the sister of Moses, and other Israelite women, celebrated the total destruction of Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea by doing this behavior.

20. And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron (who was the High Priest), took a drum in her hand. And all the women went out after her with drums and with dances. 21. And Miriam answered them, "Sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously. The horse and his rider He has flung into the sea" (Exodus 15:20 - 21, HBFV throughout unless stated).

King David, when the Ark of the Covenant was being brought to Jerusalem for the first time, celebrated by dancing around it during its journey (2Samuel 6:12 - 14). Such joyous behavior was common during God's annual Feast Days (Judges 21:19 - 21), in public triumphs (Judges 11:34), and during anytime that required rejoicing (Psalms 30:11, Jeremiah 31:4, 13). It was also used to honor and praise the Eternal during religious services.

3. Let them praise His name in the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the drum and lyre (Psalm 149:3, see also Psalm 150:4)

Old Testament Events Map
Did King David write ALL the Psalms?
What does Proverbs say about Adultery?

King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, stated that there was a TIME for dancing (Ecclesiastes 3:4)! Clearly, such behavior is an acceptable part of worshipping the true God.

Couples and singles

There is no direct statement in the Bible forbidding married couples from dancing. The acceptability to perform this activity for all others, however, depends on the situation. The Biblical Illustrator states the following in this regard.

"Dancing in itself, as it is a set, regular harmonious motion of the body, cannot be unlawful, more than walking or running. Circumstances may make it sinful . . ." (The Biblical Illustrator - the Gospels, commentary on Matthew 14:1 - 11)

Jesus taught that lust, which is the strong desire to have sex with someone who is not one's mate, is wrong and sinful. Although his teaching discusses lust of men toward women, it is meant to apply to ANY human toward another person.

28. But I say to you, everyone who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28)

Sexually suggestive dancing (performed by a person to "entertain" others, by people who are dating, etc.) is not appropriate. Such behavior can tempt others to commit further sin beyond any lust they create in their hearts. That said, Scripture permits a person, either by themselves or with others (e.g. singles who are dating) to dance so long as their motive is not to entice others to disobey the Eternal.

Additional Study Materials
What are the seven deadly transgressions?
How should a wife be submissive to her mate?
What does the Bible say about dating?
Is kissing a SIN?
© The Bible Study Site