There are people teaching that premarital sex is not immoral or a sin. We’ll examine their proof scriptures and reveal the verses they overlooked. Premarital sex is fornication.
There are Internet bloggers and teachers claiming that we’ve been duped by misinformed Christian leaders regarding the Scripture’s view of sex before marriage. They’re saying the Bible doesn’t teach that premarital sex is a sin nor is it fornication.
Anytime I hear something that challenges Christian orthodoxy I listen and wait for the proof. I’ve known for some time now that men have misunderstood, misinterpreted, and twisted Scripture; and even omitted entire books from the Bible to suit their agenda. So, if God has no problem with people having sex before marriage, I was open to seeing the biblical proof. These deceivers didn’t deliver.
The Greek word pornea is translated as fornication in older English bibles, but is correctly translated as sexual immorality in newer bibles. After they translate pornea, these proponents of premarital sex ask: What does God consider to be sexually immoral? They answer their question by going to Leviticus chapter 18 where it list a series of prohibited sexual practices which include: beastiality, homosexuality, and incest. Because this chapter doesn’t include premarital sex or anything that would suggest that premarital sex is a sin, they conclude that it is not sexually immoral.
Note: It’s also important to understand that adultery is a prohbited sex act too, but it’s unique to other sexual sins because it’s a violation of marriage. So, you’ll often see adultery listed aside fornication (or sexual immorality) in refernce to practicers of such being eternally damned if they don’t repent. Therefore, fornication and adultery are not the same thing. Sexual immorality is not a catch all term for all things sexually immoral.
The advocates for sex before marriage go further with the account of Samson (Judges 16) where he had sex with prostitutes. Sex with whores is a form of premarital sex but because God never rebuked Samson for his dealings with harlots, they conclude that God is okay with sex outside of marriage between consenting adults whether paid or not.
So, does this convince me that God is okay with premarital sex? Of course not. There are other Bible passages these people have overlooked that flat-out define what sexual immorality is and premarital sex is, in fact, included.
God’s view of premarital sex
First of all, let’s look at God’s view of premarital sex in Deuteronomy:
28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).
The word “humbled” here means “violate.” In other words, premarital sex is a violation of the woman who’s participated in it. Sex must be within the confines of marriage where the woman is provided for and loved for life. Next, we see that the man must marry the woman and never divorce her.
However, there is no death penalty for this action. So, while some conclude it’s not God’s “best” for people to engage in premarital sex, he doesn’t consider it an act worthy of death as he does with the sexual sins listed in Leviticus 18. And while the Law required people to marry after premarital sex, because Christians believe they are no longer under the Law, they don’t need to marry people they’ve had sex with today either. These are weak arguments to support premarital sex. So here’s what the rest of the Bible says.
Definitive proof that premarital sex is fornication
They’ve overlooked or purposely left out 1 Corinthians 7:1-2 which says:
1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman [have sexual contact]. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband (1 Corinthians 7:1-2)
Now that we think we know what fornication means, what do you think the Corinthians believers were trying to abstain from? Would it likely be beastiality, incest, or homosexuality? While these sexually immoral practices may have plagued some of their pasts, these single saints were more likely struggling with good old sexual desire towards the opposite sex which could lead to premarital sex. Therefore, fornication does include premarital sex even though it’s not listed in Leviticus chapter 18. Reading in context has defined what sexual immorality is.
Here’s another passage that ends the debate whether sex before marriage is fornication:
Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God (John 8:41).
Here, we have the Pharisees accusing Jesus of being “born of fornication.” If fornication or sexual immorality is only bestiality, incest or homosexuality, then they used the wrong word to describe how he was born. Certainly Jesus wasn’t born from beastiality, homosexuality or incest.
Once again, what fornication is has been defined for us and it includes premarital sex. What they were accusing Jesus of was being a child that was born out of wedlock. Meaning his mother, Marry, had premarital sex with another other than Joseph. Or they were saying that Joseph and Marry had sex before they were married. Either way, the text defines what fornication is: premarital sex.
Final words about fornication
Finally, we see that we’re instructed not to fellowship with so-called Christians who practice premarital sex and what the penalty is for fornicators:
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Let’s be “doers of the word” and not hearers only.
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