Last updated on October 3, 2020
What does it mean when someone says they have a dirty mind?
“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (Ephesians 5:3-7).
“Uncleanness” is an allusion back to the Old Testament Law. If you examine a list of the things labeled as unclean under the Law of Moses, you will find a list of things most people find gross:
• Dead bodies (Leviticus 5:2; 17:15-16);
• Human waste (Leviticus 5:3);
• Certain animals, fish, birds, and insects – particularly those which willingly eat dead things (Leviticus 11:4-23; 29-30);
• Giving birth to children (Leviticus 12:2, 5);
• Diseases that cause a discharge or cause the decaying of the skin (Leviticus 13:3, 8, 14-15; 15:2-3);
• Certain molds or things which cause material to decay (Leviticus 13:47-51);
• Semen (Leviticus 15:16; Deuteronomy 23:10);
• Menstruation (Leviticus 15:19);
• Improper sexual relations (Leviticus 20:21; Numbers 5:19); and
• Impure actions of people (Ezra 9:11).
These are things to which many people naturally react with disgust at seeing or smelling. In the New Testament, the laws of uncleanness were not carried over from the Old Testament. However, the term continued to be used in a more specific sense from the last two types of uncleanness: morally impure behavior, particularly of a sexual nature.
This then entered our language. Talk about unclean actions became known as “dirty talk.” People who are frequently thinking about improper sexual behavior are said to have a “dirty mind.”