The Bible and Premarital Sex

An article in Boundless Webzine has a great disucssion on what the Bible says about premarital sex.

Which is, um, not very much.

I think it's interesting that the Evangelical Community makes premarital sex such a huge issue, when in fact the Bible really doesn't say that much about it. I mean Jesus thought it was so important that he never mentioned it once during his time on earth.

I'm not here to support premarital sex. But it does seem like another one of those issues where the Church is just intepreting the Bible to support what they believe. Not honestly reading the Bible and examining what it says.

Anyway, read the whole thing. I found it really interesting.

Oh, and it reminds me of something a friend in college told me, when I told him I thought sex before marriage was immoral.

"Justin, it's not pre-marital sex, if you don't plan on getting married."

32 thoughts on “The Bible and Premarital Sex

  1. Well Justin – everybody needs a friend like that, I think. ;)

    Hey man – look up the words ‘adultery’ and ‘fornication’ (and derivatives) you’ll find Jesus spoke about them. ‘Premarital sex’ is just modern terminology for ‘fornication’ or ‘adultery’.

    One of the things I don’t get about the evangelical hysteria about sexual issues, is the focus on the literal / physical. Jesus said in John 6:63 “my words are spirit”, yet seldom do we ponder the spiritual meaning of what it means to commit adultery and fornication.

    For example, spiritually, when we claim to be in monogamous relationship with the Father in Christ – but dabble in other gods, idols, elements of paganism, we are committing spiritual adultery against the Father.

    If we approach our spirituality in ‘al la carte’ fashion, taking that which we like from each of several belief systems, we are spiritual fornicators.

    And so physical adultery and fornication is really just a symptom of the bigger problem – spiritual adultery and spiritual fornication.

    The bigger problem in physical adultery and fornication, seems to be how it damages the soul, and undermines trust and respect / honor in relationship.

    Practically speaking, my 2nd wife respects me because I waited until after we were married. There were opportunities where I could have taken advantage of her, and to be honest, the ‘waiting until marriage’ thing was not so important to me since I had been married before. But it was very important to my wife, and so I did not take advantage of her. I knew that if I took advantage of her in a moment of weakness, she’d despise herself, and disrespect me. Since I waited, she respects and honors me all the more. And where ‘respect and honor’ were absent in my 1st marriage, I can speak with authority just how wonderful it is to have it in my 2nd marriage.

    Perhaps what the church ought to do, is discuss it not in terms of “thou shalt nots” or that “it is a sin to…”, but in terms of showing respect by restraint, and thereby demonstrating strength of character.

  2. You’re right — the Bible does not mention even once the term “premarital.” It also does not mention blowing someone’s head off with a shotgun, using date-rape drugs against someone, stock fraud, nuclear weaponry, Islamic Fascism, cutting, X-rated television, or blogging.

    Certainly you can follow the argument Boundless makes in that article, that sex outside of marriage is denounced throughout Scripture?

  3. I’m not here to condone premarital sex. I tend to agree that waiting until marriage is best. That said, the church makes a huge issue out of premarital sex, when in fact I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

    At CBC it was the only sin that you had to confess in front of the entire congregation. They would make people who had had premarital sex (usually only pregnant girls, because everyone else could just deny it) stand in front of the church and confess their sin.

    The Bible says a lot more about pride than it does about sex. And yet, I never saw anyone stand up in front of the church and apologize for being an arrogant asshole, though there were plenty of them in the church.

    Anyway, you make a good point. However, I tend to think there is a difference b/t adultery and premarital sex. Do you have any specific scriptures where Christ mentions Fornication. I couldn’t find any.

  4. I’m not sure Jesus mentioned “fornication.” Is a doctrine only valid if Jesus directly and explicitly addressed it? Is the rest of Scripture irrelevant when it comes to developing our understanding of God and humanity?

    Not sure he mentioned the term “trinity” or “sovereignty” or “ecclesiology” either, come to think of it….

  5. Not sure he mentioned the term “trinity” or “sovereignty” or “ecclesiology” either.

    See I’m kind of conservative like that. I like my doctrine to come from Jesus not Man’s interpretation of Jesus.

    I’m not arguing with your belief that premarital sex is a sin. But you kind of have to start with the assumption that premarital sex is wrong. If you start with the assumption that there is nothing wrong with sex before marriage, then it makes the Biblical argument much more difficult to prove.

    That said, if it’s what you believe then great. I’m just not convinced.

  6. Excuse me, everyone. Can I have your attention please.

    This is not an easy thing for me to do…um…I’m actually a little nervous…I, um, I have, um… well you see… I have a problem with PRIDE. I’m a bit of (deep swallow)…ok, I’m an arrogant asshole and I would like to publicly apologize for my prideful comments and actions that I have made.

    I hope you can forgive me.

  7. I think part of the confusion is a cultural difference between Biblical cultures and ours. People got married a lot earlier and didn’t have a lot of time between puberty and marriage to be fooling around. It wouldn’t have been as big an issue, so thats probably why it didn’t get a lot of mention.

    That being said, I don’t think there’s much doubt that sex before marriage is wrong. There’s emotion bonds formed when you take a relationship that far and it leaves scars if that bond gets broken later on.

    I think Unscrupulous has is right. Explain the issues that make it wrong and the impact if things go wrong down the road. Don’t just say wait or you’re a pervert.

    As a kid, I always waited for a church service where everybody came up and publicly confessed their sins before the congregation. It never made sense to me for one group to have to do it.

  8. Justin, I know where you’re coming from man ;) … seems like churches would want to give proportional weight to issues just as scripture gives weight to issues. Instead, sexual issues which comprise just 5 vs. from Jesus, are headline stealers, meanwhile, caring for widows and homeless and orphans (all basic matters of love and the topic of whole chapters) is on the last page.

    The scripture mentions fornication in: Matthew 5:32, Matthew 15:19, Matthew 19:9, Mark 7:21, and John 8:41.

    Interestingly, a couple of those scriptures speak in terms of a man divorcing his wife being OK when the cause is ‘fornication’. In this culture, we call that ‘adultery’. Must be the terms are somewhat interchangeable? The greek for ‘fornication’ is:

    From G4203; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively idolatry: – fornication.


    JohnPaul – you’re absolved, forgiven, etc. Go forth, and be an asshole no more. ;)

  9. What John Thomas’ article only skims is the fact that conservative Christian singles live in a completely different society today. Before the latex condom was widely available 70 years ago, it made sense for responsible couples to limit the risk of pregnancy within marriage and reduce exposure to STD though monogamy. However, today with better birth control, sex education, and women’s rights, the Biblical explanations don’t really make sense. (Thomas does mention birth control, but he lumps it with abortion for some reason.)

    In Thomas’ rhetorical discussion with adult singles, Thomas admits that his scripture references are not persuasive to couples who unfortunately seek his counsel:

    Anything else? They say.

    How about Ephesians 5:1-3 . . .

    Maybe, they say. What else do you have?

    Well, I say, there is 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 . . .

    What else? They say.

    Well, I say, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 . . .

    Sure, but what else? They say.

    What you really want, I say, is a Scripture that goes something like, if Jack and Jill are not married to anyone nor to each other, and not engaged to anyone nor to each other, and have sex with each other, that’s wrong, and that they should either stop having sex or get married.

    Um, they say, that’s in the Bible?

    Well, that’s my paraphrase, . . . . in Exodus 23:4, “if you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, then take it back to him,” the application extends beyond oxen and donkeys, to dogs, children, bicycles, credit cards, etc.

    Obviously Thomas can’t find the perfect scripture that makes sense to the singles. In a final attempt, he resorts to Exodus 23 which probably made sense and was even progressive to early societies that understood semen to be the seed of human life and women as merely incubators. Of course, today’s singles don’t treat women as property and have a greater understanding of genetics.

    Thomas continues: “These singles often come to me hoping to find a loophole, and a few leave frustrated and disappointed. . . . ”

    I suspect Thomas’ singles are more frustrated and disappointed that he can’t make early cultures’ values make sense in a more modern world. Women are no longer purchased from their fathers. Unlike Biblical cultures, women now have the ability to own property, vote, read, obtain degrees, have careers, use birth control, have abortions, divorce, and make responsible and irresponsible decisions about who they sleep with.

    That’s not to say abstaining until marriage isn’t a good ideal. In fact, it is a great moral that made sense to 2000 years of Christian cultures and it still makes sense — to a degree. Being promiscuous can be psychologically harmful, birth control is not 100% perfect and STDs are still very rampant not blocked by many contraceptives. But instead of comparing women to credit cards, Thomas could at least admit that there are sensible alternatives today’s singles may consider to be sensible.

  10. Fezzik said –
    That being said, I don’t think there’s much doubt that sex before marriage is wrong. There’s emotion bonds formed when you take a relationship that far and it leaves scars if that bond gets broken later on.

    Justin so did Lilly show up to that Yankee game?

  11. I believe a man who is not faithful before marriage will struggle with faithfulness after marriage. So I want to find the one who has the stamina (no pun intended) :) to wait because I’m worth it.

    I know from personal experience how hard it is to abstain from premarital sex but I believe if I make Jesus the head of my relationships, everything else will fall into place.

    While I do say that you should wait until you are married to have sex, I also say that premarital sex is not an unforgivable sin. There is sometimes a wrong idea in the church that you will be scarred forever by having premarital sex. Christians need to talk more about God’s message of forgiveness and repentance.

    Right now, I think chocolate is better than sex anyway. It won’t make me pregnant. And it always feels good.

    I haven’t met that special someone who can change my mind although I know he is out there. If you HAVE met that special someone and still believe that chocolate is better than sex, I REALLY NEED to know where you get your chocolate!!

  12. I always knew that sex before marriage was wrong but never truly understood why. All I knew is that I didn’t ever want to have to stand up in front of GenChurch and tell everyone I was pregnant like a few of my friends did. My husband and I did sleep together before we were married, and I did get knocked up (although I didn’t have to get up in front of my church, thank you to my pastor). We have a wonderful marriage, are part of an awesome church, and now have two beautiful children, so we definitely feel the grace of God in our lives. But I find that there are times, even three years later, when we have to once again deal with the consequences of our wrong decision. I don’t know if I could ever explain it to someone, especially a younger person who’s considering having sex outside of marriage, how deeply you can be affected by making that choice, even if it is with someone you love and eventually marry.

  13. Justin so did Lilly show up to that Yankee game?

    Hey, thanks for your concern Jesse. That's really nice of you to ask. Actually, the game isn't until September 16th, but I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. In a related matter, hows uh, your 8 year relationship with Andrea going? You plan on proposing anytime soon? Or are we just gonna see how long we can stretch this out? Because I'm really pulling for you two lovebirds.

    Now we see your true colors Mortons… yikes!

    My point is that the church has the wrong priorities. Sex is not a big issue in the Bible. It really isn't. Christ emphasized love, grace and humility. Not Sex. It just wasn't a big issue with Christ. I base my Faith on a Love of God not a Fear of God. And I think that makes all the difference.

  14. “I also add that we probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation were it not for birth control, especially the “pill,” and if abortions were not so easy to obtain. Without birth control and abortion, sex would mean a greater likelihood of raising babies, and raising babies would mean commitment, and commitment would mean marriage. That’s life in biblical times, so the question itself didn’t get much discussion in a world where sex and babies went together much more than they do in our time.”

    Are you kidding me, people do not stay together for their kids anymore and for him to say that just shows how arrogant he is. This article is so frustrating. Without birth control and legal abortions we would be back to where woman were dying because their body could no longer handle the 5th kid or people like me who can’t have children or else I would be seriously ill or die. Thank God for the “pill” and that he made people that used their God-given brains to help women out.

  15. [Comment ID #8472 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Thanks for your insight Hannah, my wife and I found ourselves in the same boat. There are conqequences in your relationship, and often times they are not immediately felt. I believe that failing to lead my wife in a godly direction undermined my moral authority to a certain degree, and I’ve had to rebuild my wife’s faith in me as a strong, trustworthy man a little bit. Our marriage is amazing, we have a beautiful little boy, and god is good. That being said, if I could go back and not have sex, I absolutely would without hesitation.

  16. if I could go back and not have sex, I absolutely would without hesitation

    Says the youth pastor to his youth.

    Well, if it were that easy you wouldn't be That Guy.

  17. That being said, if I could go back and not have sex, I absolutely would without hesitation.

    No worries, my good man. Today’s your lucky day. Because now, you can just become a Born Again Virgin.

    Problem solved.

  18. Good call, that is actually a direct quote from a certain youth pastor I know. My wife and I struggled, gave in a couple times, and got pregnant a month or two before our wedding. It had consequences in that we had a little one right away, which complicated the whole honeymoon period and finishing school, making ends meet, etc. However, the trials that we faced bound us together and matured us like nothing else I can imagine. We do have a great marriage, and it’s getting better all the time. I still struggle with the same things I did then, more impatience and shortsightedness than lust. But God’s working on me. I do think that the Bible is pretty clear on this kind of sin, and in my personal experience having sex with someone other than your wife really sucks and hurts a hell of a lot more than it helps. Believing Gods word is always better, and trusting Him and His timing will bless us and glorify Him. So basically to me, premarital sex is not bueno and does have very real consequences. Like all things, Gods way is best, but if we fall He forgives and restores and uses it to our blessing. The church makes a big deal about it because God does. To paraphrase, all other sin a man does outside his body, but not sexual sin. It is the only sin we are told to flee.

  19. That certain youth pastor being me obviously. Its a little hard sometimes to say what you really think when I have 25 young people basing their view on something so important at least partially on what I say. I do believe premarital sex is wrong and harmful because the word says it but mostly from my own experience. At the same time, if I could go back and change it I don’t know… I certainly would not have ever done that with those stupid fricking girls in college…but I love my wife and looking back, what can you do. We love each other, we’re doing great, we learned a ton so I guess why wish to take it back? Thats kind of a weak way to live, so please forgive me for even writing it, much less saying it to my kids.

  20. Like all things, Gods way is best, but if we fall He forgives and restores and uses it to our blessing. The church makes a big deal about it because God does. To paraphrase, all other sin a man does outside his body, but not sexual sin. It is the only sin we are told to flee.

    I hate to keep beating this issue to death. But it’s a slow day at work. And my co-workers are taking forever to choose players for our Fantasy Football Draft.

    I agree that Gods way is best. But of course that is up to interpretation. I tend to think God’s way is focusing on treating other people with the same compassion and grace that we wanted to be treated.

    When Christ was asked to sum up all the Law and the Prophets. He didn’t say, “Flee Youthful Lusts”. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your Heart and Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    And how often does Christ talk about sex in the New Testament. If you’re honest, it’s not that much. My goal is to be honest about the Bible and stop coming at it from notions that were previously drummed into my head. And if I honestly read the Bible, I don’t see a strong emphasis on sex. It just isn’t there.

    That said, sex creates strong bonds that really hurt if they’re broken. And the best way to keep from being hurt is to keep sex within the confines of Marriage.
    Because if you don’t, you may find yourself cruising MySpace at 3:00 in the morning looking at your ex-girlfriends pictures, trying to think of ways to win her back. It’s really quite pathetic.

  21. LOL My space is the best!!!
    No, seriously, it’s cool to look up exes but seriously uncool to think of ways to win them back, especially at 3:00 am.

  22. How come most of the happy marriages I’ve seen are the ones who had sex with each other before marriage? How come most of the ones who wait end up absolutely miserable like me?

    Maybe we have it all wrong. Maybe premarital sex is the right thing to do.

  23. Hey, everybody who does My Space! Ask me to be your friend. I need friends that have our same background and do My Space. I’m user name oinvu4uraqt or Rachel Bustamante. Thank you! :)

  24. [Comment ID #8592 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Wouldn’t that be interesting….though there is something to say for that. All of the couples I know that are doing well at the best barely made it. Theres something to be said for passion for each other, but I don’t neccessarily think it has to be that way to work.

  25. I agree with “that guy”. I struggled in this area myself while I was single and although I’m not necessarily proud of the fact, my husband and I were together before we were married. We’ve been married less than two years, but so far it hasn’t caused a problem. It’s not that I think people should be having sex before marriage, you just need to REALLY know how you feel about EVERY aspect of a person before you even consider marriage! I just don’t see what’s so wrong with a little kissing and making out beforehand. It’s sad but I think too many “church folks” who are trying to do the right thing by waiting until they get to the alter can sometimes mistake friendship for love, ending up in a marriage without passion. I have had a lot of guy friends who I “loved” but the thought of anything beyond friendship would have grossed me out!

    Who knows what REALLY went on, but I know of people who claim that they waited until the altar to even KISS!!! Personally, I cannot imagine even being serious with someone without first knowing if that spark is there or not. Having your first kiss in front of your entire family and friends could be a little awkward and impersonal in my opinion. If any of you were one of the “no kissing till the altar” folks I’d love to hear how that went! Seriously – pros and cons?

  26. reply

    Sex before Marriage is NOT a sin from the Bible.

    Check out my web pages for more details.

    The corrupt Catholic Church long time ago created wrong definitions for all sex terms in the Bible so they say sex is a sin and get a lot more indulgence money.. We still have the wrong definition today. Remember the Catholic Church burn people at the stake for making Bible so the common person could read it for themselves. So if they read it for themselves they will discover the lies about sex being a sin. So what to do. Come up with wrong sex word definitions. We still have them today.

    They have the WRONG definition for the word “fornication”, They say it mean single sex or sex before marriage to a “one man, one women” marriage. This is clearly the WRONG definition.

    Man made dictionaries only reflex how people are using or misusing the word at that time. ST. Paul definition the word “fornication” in 1 Cor 10:8 and the definition is found in Number 25: 1-9. This is clearly the correction definition of the word “fornication” which is the misusing your sexual freedom that God gave all people at creation to have many sex partners over a life time, was misused by joining in the worship of a pagan fertility god, one of Baals many gods. Joining in the Worshiping a pagan fertility god is NOT equal to sex outside marriage. There is a major big different. This was a major problem in all the Bible days, both OT and NT.

    Godly men had lot of God given sexual freedom in all the Bible and now, but NOT to join in with the pagan fertility god worship which was a great temptation in all the Bible. Read 1 Cor 10:8, Nu 25:1-9, Nu 31

    On my web pages i go over 100% Bible verses that use the word “fornication” and show each time the context and meaning is the joining in the pagan worship of the fertility god. This is very clear.

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