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Question: "What does the Bible say about sex before marriage / premarital sex?"

The Bible nowhere directly and explicitly states that sex before marriage is a sin. There is no Hebrew or Greek word used in the Bible that is precisely defined to refer to sex before marriage. The Bible undeniably condemns adultery and sexual immorality, but the question arises, is sex before marriage considered sexually immoral? According to 1 Corinthians 7:2, “yes” is the clear answer, “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” In this verse, Paul states that marriage is the “cure” for sexual immorality. 1 Corinthians 7:2 is essentially saying, “because people cannot control themselves and so many people are having immoral sex outside of marriage, people should get married, so they can fulfill their passions in a moral way.”

So, on the basis of 1 Corinthians 7:2 clearly including sex before marriage in the definition of sexual immorality, all of the Bible verses that condemn sexual immorality as being sinful also condemn sex before marriage as sinful. Sex before marriage is included in the biblical definition of sexual immorality. Therefore, there are countless Scriptures that declare sex before marriage to be a sin (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13,18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). The Bible promotes complete abstinence before marriage. The biblical definition of sexual immorality is sex outside of marriage. Sex between a husband and his wife is the only form of sexual relations of which God approves (Hebrews 13:4).

Far too often we focus on the “recreation” aspect of sex without recognizing the “re-creation” aspect. Yes, sex is pleasurable. God designed it that way, and He wants men and women to enjoy sexual activity (within the confines of marriage). However, the primary purpose of sex is not pleasure, but rather reproduction. God does not outlaw sex before marriage to rob us of pleasure, but to protect us from unwanted pregnancies and children born to parents who are not prepared for them. While practicality does not determine right from wrong, imagine how much better our world would be if God’s pattern for sex was followed. If the Bible's message on sex before marriage was obeyed, there would be far fewer sexually transmitted diseases, far fewer un-wed mothers, far fewer unwanted pregnancies, far fewer abortions, etc. Abstinence is God’s only policy when it comes to sex before marriage. Abstinence saves lives, protects babies, gives sexual relations the proper value, and most importantly, honors God.

Recommended Resources:
Men - Every Young Man's Battle : Strategies for Victory in the Real World of Sexual Temptation by Stephen Arterburn.
Women - Every Young Woman's Battle: Guarding Your Mind, Heart, and Body in a Sex-Saturated World by Shannon Ethridge.


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