(Lat. continentia). Gk. equivalent is usually tr. temperance and denotes the virtue of one able to govern self, i. e., master and control his desires and passions (Acts 24:25; 1 Co 9:25; Tts 1:8; 2 Ptr 1:6). Such temperance is enjoined and spoken of as a gift of the Spirit (Gl 5:23). The Eng. word continence refers to control of animal appetites as spoken of 1 Co 7:5, 9; 1 Ptr 2:11. The sex urge is not in itself evil, but a gift of God for holy matrimony (Pr 18:22; 1 Ti 3:12; 5:14; Heb 13:4); esp. the incontinent are enjoined to marry (1 Co 7). The Bible opposes all legalistic human ordinances (Cl 2:1623; 1 Ti 4:13), upholds Christian liberty (1 Co 6:12; 10:23), and considers the practice of continence a voluntary act in harmony with circumstances (1 Co 7:15, 26), individual gifts (1 Co 7:69), and Christian vocation (1 Co 9:16). See also Asceticism; Celibacy.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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