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Is premarital sex a sin?

Panache

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It seems pretty popular to think so, but I can't find any passage in the bible that says so.

A quick internet search revealed the following answer:

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

Answer: There is no Hebrew or Greek word used in the Bible that precisely refers to sex before marriage. The Bible undeniably condemns adultery and sexual immorality, but 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. First Corinthians 7:2 is essentially saying that, because people cannot control themselves and so many are having immoral sex outside of marriage, people should get married. Then they can fulfill their passions in a moral way.
Premarital Sex

So I looked up 1 Corinthians 7:2. Turns out there is nothing in there about sex before marriage. Paul suggests that getting marred might be a good way to avoid sexual immorality, but that doesn't mean that all sex before marriage is a sin.

Married guys might be a bit less inclined to have sex with their sheep for example. This being the case, marriage would still be a "cure" as described.

In fact, the bible does a pretty good job of defining sexual immorality for us, so we don't really need to guess. It contains a comprehensive and exhaustive list of sexually immoral acts in Leviticus 18.

Leviticus 18 - Passage*Lookup - New International Version - BibleGateway.com

Conspicuously absent from this extremely detailed list, is sex with women who are unmarried.

In fact, to my knowledge, there are only two verses in the entire bible that address sex with unmarried women at all. They are found in Exodus 22:16-17

If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.
Exodus 22:16-17 - Passage*Lookup - New International Version - BibleGateway.com

So if a dude has sex with an unmarried virgin who isn't already pledged to be married, he has to offer to marry her. If the father refuses, he still has to pay the bride price as if he were going to marry her.

As a measure of comparison, working on Saturday gets you killed.

Exodus 31:15

Having sex with unmarried women who aren't virgins comes with no penalty at all. having sex with a virgin to whom you are already betrothed comes with no penalty. Girls having sex with dudes who are unmarried virgins or otherwise doesn't appear to either.
 
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UtahBill

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It would be interesting to know how the religions differ on this topic. I already know the regular christian stance, how about the Jewish? The mennonites?
the Amish?
 

Panache

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It would be interesting to know how the religions differ on this topic. I already know the regular christian stance, how about the Jewish? The mennonites?
the Amish?
I agree. Though I would be happy just to hear some explanation from the Christians, since it isn't even in their Bible.
 

Panache

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Really? No takers? I figured at least one Christian out there would think they had the debate skills to take this one on.
 

the makeout hobo

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I don't think we can even really answer this without defining what a "sin" is.
 

Panache

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I don't think we can even really answer this without defining what a "sin" is.
Let us suppose then that "sin" is defined as an action which the Bible says not to engage in because it is morally wrong.
 

samsmart

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No, premarital sex isn't a sin. The prohibition against premarital sex was caused when new converts to Christianity asked Paul about sex, and he said, "Well, I think people should be married before having sex," and they heard, "People MUST be married before having sex!" and it all got out of hand.
 

UtahBill

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No, premarital sex isn't a sin. The prohibition against premarital sex was caused when new converts to Christianity asked Paul about sex, and he said, "Well, I think people should be married before having sex," and they heard, "People MUST be married before having sex!" and it all got out of hand.
People who insist on being led by someone else are the type that take such things to heart too easily. Those Christians who spend too much time in the OT instead of the NT are scary. IMO, the only parts of the bible that Christians should dwell on are the 4 gospels, especially those parts where Jesus is teaching, and not so much where Paul is teaching.
Matt. chap. 25 is the core of it all. If you can't, or won't, do what is taught there, you are not much of a Christian...
 

Catz Part Deux

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People who insist on being led by someone else are the type that take such things to heart too easily. Those Christians who spend too much time in the OT instead of the NT are scary. IMO, the only parts of the bible that Christians should dwell on are the 4 gospels, especially those parts where Jesus is teaching, and not so much where Paul is teaching.
Matt. chap. 25 is the core of it all. If you can't, or won't, do what is taught there, you are not much of a Christian...
You rock....
 

UtahBill

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How about post-marital sex? anybody getting any?:2razz:
 

First Thought

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I'm pretty sure the Bible frowns upon fornication, which is the act of sex between two unmarried individuals.

I'm posting from my phone, though, so it's difficult to source that. Anyone care to do the work for me? :)
 

tlmorg02

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Simply read 1 Corinthians in the New Testament. Paul rants on the Corithians for their fornicating.
 

First Thought

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Simply read 1 Corinthians in the New Testament. Paul rants on the Corithians for their fornicating.
Unfortunately for the church, Paul's insights pale in comparison to those of Christ.
 

Geo Patric

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It seems pretty popular to think so, but I can't find any passage in the bible that says so.
you are right, panache... there are none.

no formal marriage is mentioned in the bible. marriage as a tradition, of course, had existed for a long time prior to its writing, but that marriage was pretty much a means of ensuring that a man take proper care of his 'property', as suggested in the citation from Exodus made earlier.

as such it was simply an agreement between a man and a womans family and the only ceremony was for those two people to say that they were married before witnesses. marriage existed outside of this arrangement, of course, but, like 'common law' marriages, they had questionable legal standing. a man might easily get around any responsibility for the woman if he chose to leave.

but, voluntary sex between two unmarried people is not addressed. one can assume that the only thing standing in the way was the objections of the owner of the woman's reproduction rights.

geo.
geo.
 

Panache

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I'm pretty sure the Bible frowns upon fornication, which is the act of sex between two unmarried individuals.

I'm posting from my phone, though, so it's difficult to source that. Anyone care to do the work for me? :)
I think it might depend on your version. Perhaps KJV says fornication. My bible is NIV and it says "sexual immorality." Paul wasn't using English when he talked to the Corinthians, and the Greek "Pornia" translates as illicit sex, rather than as sex between unmarried individuals.

For a biblical source on what sex acts one may consider illicit, I contend that Leviticus 18 has a fairly comprehensive list, among which premarital sex is not included.
 

Panache

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Simply read 1 Corinthians in the New Testament. Paul rants on the Corithians for their fornicating.
I have addressed 1 Corinthians in the OP. Paul rants on the Corinthians for engaging in sexual immorality. He does not rant on them for having premarital sex.

There is no indication that premarital sex was considered sexual immorality. There is every indication that the sexual immorality of which Paul spoke were those acts listed in Leviticus 18.
 

samsmart

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People who insist on being led by someone else are the type that take such things to heart too easily. Those Christians who spend too much time in the OT instead of the NT are scary. IMO, the only parts of the bible that Christians should dwell on are the 4 gospels, especially those parts where Jesus is teaching, and not so much where Paul is teaching.
Matt. chap. 25 is the core of it all. If you can't, or won't, do what is taught there, you are not much of a Christian...
Actually, what I was referring to wasn't in the OT - it was in the NT, and happened when Paul or Peter (I always get them mixed up) was preaching in Rome.

What happened was he was asked his stance on sex. He said he thought you should be married to have sex. A woman (forgot her name) went a step further and said that God wants only married people to have sex. She then got a bunch of Roman women to go chaste and stopped giving nookie to their Roman men. The Roman men got pissed at this and started persecuting the Christians because the upstart religion was stopping them from getting laid. Hilarity ensued.

Or at least that's what a History Channel documentary told me, which is probably has the same veracity as anything else out there.
 

cpwill

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Unfortunately for the church, Paul's insights pale in comparison to those of Christ.
When Jesus was asked to address marraige, he defined it within a sexual relationship between a man and a woman. He also stated (and the Bible in multiple other locations repeats) the claim that the sexual act merges two individuals into one; it creates a kind of personhood.

to have sex with someone, in a very real sense, is to marry them. so to say "premarital sex" in the lexicon of Christian theology is a bit of a misnomer; better to say "marriage with no ceremony".

it is the later sexual partners that then become adulterous in nature.
 

Panache

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When Jesus was asked to address marraige, he defined it within a sexual relationship between a man and a woman. He also stated (and the Bible in multiple other locations repeats) the claim that the sexual act merges two individuals into one; it creates a kind of personhood.

to have sex with someone, in a very real sense, is to marry them. so to say "premarital sex" in the lexicon of Christian theology is a bit of a misnomer; better to say "marriage with no ceremony".

it is the later sexual partners that then become adulterous in nature.
An interesting thought, but then it would stand to reason that later sexual partners would not be adulterous in nature if they were unmarried, but would simply become more wives. This is clearly not the case though. Exodus 22:16-17 which I previously quoted says that if a man sleeps with a virgin, and her father refuses to let them marry, that he shall pay the bride-price and they shall remain unmarried. Clearly then, having sex did not make them married already.
 

Goshin

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Really? No takers? I figured at least one Christian out there would think they had the debate skills to take this one on.


Sorry I'm late, had to work and things. :mrgreen:



It seems pretty popular to think so, but I can't find any passage in the bible that says so.

A quick internet search revealed the following answer:



Premarital Sex

So I looked up 1 Corinthians 7:2. Turns out there is nothing in there about sex before marriage. Paul suggests that getting marred might be a good way to avoid sexual immorality, but that doesn't mean that all sex before marriage is a sin.

Married guys might be a bit less inclined to have sex with their sheep for example. This being the case, marriage would still be a "cure" as described.

In fact, the bible does a pretty good job of defining sexual immorality for us, so we don't really need to guess. It contains a comprehensive and exhaustive list of sexually immoral acts in Leviticus 18.

Leviticus 18 - Passage*Lookup - New International Version - BibleGateway.com

Conspicuously absent from this extremely detailed list, is sex with women who are unmarried.

In fact, to my knowledge, there are only two verses in the entire bible that address sex with unmarried women at all. They are found in Exodus 22:16-17



Exodus 22:16-17 - Passage*Lookup - New International Version - BibleGateway.com

So if a dude has sex with an unmarried virgin who isn't already pledged to be married, he has to offer to marry her. If the father refuses, he still has to pay the bride price as if he were going to marry her.

As a measure of comparison, working on Saturday gets you killed.

Exodus 31:15

Having sex with unmarried women who aren't virgins comes with no penalty at all. having sex with a virgin to whom you are already betrothed comes with no penalty. Girls having sex with dudes who are unmarried virgins or otherwise doesn't appear to either.

Dude.... at least at this moment, I really like you. You posted something INTRESTING, and you did RESEARCH into it and had SUBSTANCE in your OP....just about the time I was about to give up on DP entirely. Thank you. :mrgreen:


I was brought up to believe that premarital sex was sin. The injunction against fornication was the basis, and I was told by the preacher that that included sex with anyone you were not married to.

Later, I started studying about original Hebrew and Greek texts and looking up important words, and began to wonder about that a bit.

To be honest I am still not entirely sure, and I'm going to have to spend some time looking into your references in scripture and seeing if I can come up with anything else.

Now, I think it is pretty clear that the ideal is that a man and a woman marry as virgins and remain faithful to each other or life. That would appear to be supported both by Adam and Eve and by what Jesus had to say about sex ... that it is more than merely sweaty exercise that feels good, that it is a joining of two people on a spiritual level, a sacred thing, and I'm sure that using it frivolously and promiscuously is not pleasing to God on that basis.

But is it always a sin? I don't know... polygamy was not the ideal held up by the Bible in Genesis 1, but it was tolerated among the biblical patricarchs throughout the OT. Tolerated doesn't mean good, but is it sin well that might be hard to nail down...

Well I'm not entirely sure anymore about premarital. It would seem I'm going to have to do some research of my own when I get a chance, as well as looking at yours. That will be enjoyable anyway, so, way cool.

Still, I think it goes without saying to Christians that doing things God's way is best, and I don't think it is reasonably debateable that God wants sex to be a joining of two people in love and committment, on a spiritual as well as physical level.... ie marriage, hopefully or life. Better that Christians avoid premarital sex then... though to be honest I think there are plenty, even among the most devout, who open that box sometime between the engagement and the wedding. :shrug: Assuming everything works out and they go ahead and marry, well no big I suppose.

But then again what if they don't marry? Well, then they've shared a level of intimacy that was supposed to be reserved or a lifetime committment without the committment.... sin? Dunno, but not good.

However, openly living together in presumed intimacy opens another can of worms. Whether it is true scripturally or not, it is generally assumed that Christians view premarital sex as a sin; for a Christian couple to live together before marriage would be seen by many as evidence of hypocrisy and something to use as an indictment against Christians "not living what they believe". That could arguably go against "avoid all appearance of evil" and "do not be a stumblingblock to your brother" and so on. Lots of things to consider there.

At the moment, I'd have to go with the tentative conclusion that premarital sex is morally dubious at least, whether it is sin in and of itself or not; and openly living together without marriage is probably not a good testimony for those who profess to be Christian.

Sin or not, I don't think premarital sex will send you to hell, necessarily. Almost anything can be forgiven with repentance under Jesus' grace, except for rejecting Jesus that is.

Anyway, intresting post: thanks.

G.
 

UtahBill

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It appears to be more of a culture thing that was adopted by religions. Certainly now that we have government and social services, it should be not so much a sin, but a crime to bring a welfare recipient into the world.
 

Goshin

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Hm. Let's look at Galatians 5:19 a minute...

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

{the list goes on a bit, then adds that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Well, unless they repent, as also noted later.}

I'll skip adultery, we know what that is.

fornication: general outline says:
1) illicit sexual intercourse

a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.

b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18

c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12

2) metaph. the worship of idols

a) of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols

Thayer's Lexicon says it includes "illicit sexual intercourse in general". Now, licit (allowed} sexual intercourse is what? Within proper marriage, looks like. So, some argue that sex outside of marriage is ILLicit and therefor included in "fornication".

Well, I suppose you could debate that a little, especially if you're looking to be a rules-lawyer. :mrgreen:

But then again, for those of us who ARE Christians, should we be looking to figure out what we can GET AWAY with, or what we SHOULD do? Hmmm....

Uncleanness...
Thayer's says the moral impurity of lustful, luxurious profligate living.
That probably sounds like promiscuity would fall under uncleanness. Lots of casual sex partners would be lustful and profligate.

lasciviousness...
1) unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence
Again, I think we've got clear indicators here that promiscuity is one of the big No No's.


So what is promiscuity? Is there a specific number of sex partners that make it promiscuity?

Personally I think promiscuity lies in treating sex casually and carelessly, as if it were merely a game or pleasant sweaty exercise, rather than the serious moral and spiritual bonding of love and committment that God intended it to be.

You know what? I did that a few times when I was younger... but I repented of it and God forgave me, and I try very hard not to live like that anymore.

That's pretty much what repentance is, btw: a change of mind and heart that leads to a change in behavior. It's not about what we can get away with, it is about trying to do things God's way as much as we can, in our admittedly flawed and limited mortal existence.
 

Geo Patric

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"Whether it is true scripturally or not, it is generally assumed that Christians view [insert whatever] as a sin"
THIS is the sort of thing i love and hate... and it drives me nuts that christians do not seem to appreciate what they are saying when the say it! it is exactly the sort of bizarre dogmatic approach to morality that drove me from faith.

[whatever] has no, repeat and extend, no textual basis whatsoever, but ... you will go to hell for it.

the most fundamental doctrine of christian thinking for that last 1700 years , the premise upon which the very notion of 'salvation' rests and what categorically separates contemporary christians from that of the original jesus cults and certainly the thinking of Jesus of Nazareth is never mentioned in the bible and would, i am sure, be anathema to Jesus. It was fabricated by a pagan turned religious fanatic who had all the opposition jailed, driven into pagan lands or simply exterminated.

and no one seems to notice.

geo.
 

Goshin

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THIS is the sort of thing i love and hate... and it drives me nuts that christians do not seem to appreciate what they are saying when the say it! it is exactly the sort of bizarre dogmatic approach to morality that drove me from faith.

[whatever] has no, repeat and extend, no textual basis whatsoever, but ... you will go to hell for it.

the most fundamental doctrine of christian thinking for that last 1700 years , the premise upon which the very notion of 'salvation' rests and what categorically separates contemporary christians from that of the original jesus cults and certainly the thinking of Jesus of Nazareth is never mentioned in the bible and would, i am sure, be anathema to Jesus. It was fabricated by a pagan turned religious fanatic who had all the opposition jailed, driven into pagan lands or simply exterminated.

and no one seems to notice.

geo.

Huh?

I didn't say you'd go to hell due to premarital sex.

I said there was a presumption that Christians don't believe in premarital sex, at least officially, which is correct. I also said I was still attempting to determine whether there was clear scriptural basis one way or the other.

So what exactly are you on about?
 
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