What Does the Bible Say about Sex before Marriage?
By Gregg Farah, Crosswalk.com
I am a Christian and I have sex with my girlfriend. I believe I'm going to marry her, but I want to know where in the Bible it says not to have sex before marriage.
The Bible is filled with lots of info about sex, and believe it or not, God thinks it's a great idea! And why shouldn't He, He invented it. (See also, "Is it OK to kiss my girlfriend?") But, just as it would be unwise to ice skate on a lake in the middle of summer, it's also unwise to have sex with anyone who's not your husband or wife.
Why? There are tons of practical, common-sense reasons that have significant consequences. Some consequences include dealing with the possibility of pregnancy, acquiring or sharing a sexually transmitted disease, and the most underrated -- but possibly most impacting -- are the emotional issues that sexually active teens struggle with and take into their marriage.
But you asked for biblical evidence, so let's look at the following verses, along with some questions to consider:
Does the Bible say pre-marital sex is wrong? YES!
While you won't find that specific phrase used in the Bible, the Bible repeatedly talks about "sexual immorality" or "sexual sins." These references to sex are talking about any sexual activity outside of marriage, so if you're having sex (or thinking about having sex) without being married ... God wants you to stop. Some of the places you can find these verses are Hebrews 13:4 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 1 Thessalonians 4:7 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Colossians 3:5
A friend from the Netherlands shared some other great verses on this topic: In Song of Solomon 2:7 Song of Solomon 3:5 and Song of Solomon 8:4 there is a strong warning against premarital sex when it says, "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." In other words, save sex for marriage!
God is not down on sex. He designed it to be so intense, so exciting, so memorable, so fun (!) that He wants us to share it with one person: our future wife. So if you haven't had sex yet ... keep waiting - you'll be glad you did! If you've already had sex, talk to God about it. He wants to forgive you and give you a fresh start. You can start over today - right now! Talk to God - He's waiting and willing to forgive you. Why? Because He loves you!
Keep asking questions and looking to God for help - He has all the answers!
Hebrews 13:4 says, "Marriage should be honored by everyone, and husband and wife should keep their marriage pure. God will judge as guilty those who take part in sexual sins."
- What are some ways marriage can be honored by everyone?
- What are some ways a husband and wife can keep their marriage pure?
- What is meant by sexual sins?
1 Thessalonians 4:3,4,7 says, "God wants you to be holy and to stay away from sexual sins. He wants each of you to learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable ... God called us to be holy and does not want us to live in sin."
- What does it mean to be holy?
- What sexual sins does God want us to stay away from?
- What are practical ways we can control our bodies?
- What does it mean to not live in sin?
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 encourages us to "Run away from sexual sin. Every other sin people do is outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies. You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves, because you were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies."
- What's it mean to run from sexual sin?
- What does it mean that our body is God's temple and how should that affect us?
- What does it mean to be bought by God for a price? How should that truth affect us?
God's Law Is For Our Benefit
Pretty heavy stuff! But remember, God is not down on fun, and He's not down on sex. Instead, He's down on pain. And He knows that if we pursue anything outside of His guidelines, we will suffer consequences. Here's the good part. Because of God's love for us, He has established sexual guidelines that will increase our sexual pleasure. Yup, when a husband and wife do things God's way, they can enjoy some great sex!
And so until you're married, God wants you to pursue and love Him, and to honor and love your current girlfriend and your future spouse by waiting to have sex until you're married.
Sure, you've already had sex, but you can begin waiting today. And sure, maybe sexual sin is something you've struggled with for a long time and don't think you can just stop. So how about taking the first step and asking for God's help? Are you willing to do that?
And then how about taking the next step and asking a friend to pray with you and encourage you? You might even need to break up with your girlfriend. I don't know. And because I don't know the specifics of your situation, that's why you need to be encouraged and supported by friends.
I do know, however, that God is crazy about you and will walk with you through this. He's just waiting for you. Will you take God's hand and walk with Him? Please e-mail me back and let me know.
Additional Scriptures about Sex and Marriage
"Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does." ~ 1 Corinthians 7:1-4
"To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion." ~ 1 Corinthians 7:8-9
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you." ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
"Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother." ~ 1 John 3:4-10
"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." ~ Galatians 5:19-21
This article is part of our larger Spiritual Life resource meant to answer your questions about the Bible, God, and the Christian faith. Visit our most popular questions on “What does the Bible say about…” questions answered by well-known Christians and theologians to find more inspiration. Remember that as you read these articles, the Holy Spirit will give you understanding and discernment to make the right decision for your walk with Jesus Christ! If you know others struggling with these faith questions, please share and help others discover the truth on these controversial topics.
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