Are women biblically unclean during menstrual periods?

Questions & Answers June 9, 2017

Q: Based on Leviticus 15:19-23, are women considered to be “unclean” during their menstrual periods? Is this a ceremonial law, or does it still apply today? — Maureen, from Papua New Guinea

A: Maureen, as you point out, this question is part of a larger topic regarding laws found in the Old Testament and whether they are still relevant — and if so, which laws?

Furthermore, there are some who believe, pointing to the text you cite in Leviticus 15, that women who are menstruating should not be allowed to participate on the platform during church services because they are “unclean.” This is not, however, what we believe the Bible teaches.

Dr. Elias Brasil de Sousa, director of the Biblical Research Institute (BRI) has written an excellent short article addressing this and similar questions regarding “uncleanness.”

His article, “Ceremonial Uncleanness and Contemporary Application” was published in the BRI newsletter, Reflections, in April 2017, pp. 5-8. I encourage you to read it here.