Does The Bible Really Prohibit Sex Outside Of Marriage
God loves sex. The first two commands recorded in the Bible are have dominion over creation, and then be fruitful and multiply . In other words, rule the world and have lots of sex. Not a bad day at the office.
Whoever said God was some cosmic killjoy? God created sex and declared it to be good.
Within Christian circles, its assumed God only wants us to have sex if were married. Sex outside of marriage is one of the clearest, unquestionable prohibitions in Christianity. But where does the Bible teach this? Can you name a verse?
Many will race to the Ten Commandments: You shall not commit adultery . But adultery means having sex with someone elses spouse it doesnt refer to an unmarried couple sleeping together. Likewise, when Jesus condemns lust in Matthew 5, He does so in the context of adultery. In other words, we should not sexually desire another persons spouse as our own.
God loves sex. But Hes designed us to have sex within the boundaries of a marriage covenant.
Others might turn to Leviticus 18. This sex chapter lists all sorts of sexual prohibitions including incest, bestiality, adultery and other sexual sins. Its fascinating, though, that nowhere in Leviticus 18 is sex before marriage condemned.
The Christian And The Churchs Response
We must examine our own attitudes toward sexuality. How closely do we associate sexual union with becoming one flesh? Is it to the degree that we have seen in Israel? If not, can we change?
We are confronted by spiritual warfare on three fronts in the area of sexuality. First, there is our flesh, which is all too willing to have autonomous sex that is released from association with marriage. When a hedonistic philosophy comes around our flesh begins to leap up and say, go for it! Second, there is Satan, who through humanism and other philosophies promotes an intellectual system antagonistic to Gods righteousness. Humanism tells us that autonomous sex is okay. It tells us that homosexual sex is okay. It tells us that killing our children is okay. This is the work of Satan through humanist leaders in our country. Third, there is the world, which is the alliance of Satan and corporate flesh which either ignores or directly confronts the church to maintain societies perversions.
Against Satan, we have the truth of the Scriptures and the gospel. If we are faithful and true to our message, we will be heard. The message must be presented in all forms: books, music, painting, dance, and the performing arts. Let us instill godliness in our children and encourage their interests in journalism, politics, the arts, and science. By participating in the full spectrum of culture, we can push back the hold humanism has on it.
107This marks the fall of the middle boundary.
Husbands Owe It To Wives
Many historians think that the most surprising thing the Bible says about sex is found in 1 Corinthians 7:3-4:
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.
One scholar, for example, puts it this way:
The marked mutuality of Pauls comments was, however, revolutionary in the ancient world where patriarchy was the norm. For the husband to have authority over his wifes body was nothing special. Pauls following statement affirming the reverse, that the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does, clearly pointed to a radical and unprecedented restriction on the husbands sexual freedom. It communicates, negatively, his obligation to refrain from engaging in sexual relations with anyone other than his wife and, positively, his obligation to fulfill his marital duty to provide her with sexual pleasure and satisfaction.
The idea that sex was to be mutual and that the husband owed it to his wife and that the wife had a right to claim it from the husband was revolutionary! It was unprecedented! No one had ever said anything like this, anywhere else in the ancient world.
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Does Having Sex Create A Marriage
However, once married, the religious laws and customs of the time strongly prohibited adultery and provided physical and financial protections for the spouses and their children ” rel=”nofollow”> Exodus 20:14, , , , , , , , , , ).
In today’s world, it is the legal marriage that provides similar protections. Merely having sex or living together does not fulfill the functions of the Biblical model of marriage.
What If Youve Messed Up
Peters story in the Bible is awesome news for those of us who feel like screw-ups. He is proof that failure is not the end of the story when it comes to God. You see, after Jesus came back to life, he and Peter had a little seaside meeting . Three times, Peter had denied Jesus. Now, Jesus asks him three times, Do you love me?
You know that I love you, Lord, Peter answers each time, his voice likely cracking. And Jesus knows it. He has not only forgiven Peter, but given him a new job: Feed my sheep. Jesus asks Peter to lead and care for his people after he is gone. Peter went on to introduce thousands of people to Christ and write two books of the Bible. He was arguably the most respected and influential leader of the early Church. He died a martyrs death because of his rock-solid faith in Jesus.
Do you feel like youve really blown it? Do you feel unacceptable or useless in Gods eyes? Then do what Peter did. Seek forgiveness and restoration. Take Jesus up on his promise: Whoever comes to me I will never drive away .
God offers us his strength to resist the images we see in the media and the thoughts that can assault our minds. He doesnt just tell us to resist temptation he offers to fill and empower us with his Spirit. God wants us to trust him to live in and through us so that we feel better about ourselves because we are obeying him by faith. We become more excited about our future, more grateful for those we love, and more enthusiastic about our faith.
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So Does The Bible Really Say Its Wrong
Before you book a hotel room and call up your girlfriend with the good news, please keep reading! Yes, the Bible does say that all forms of sex outside of marriage are wrong. Heres how.
The early chapters of Genesis give a basic blueprint for marriage, and even though it never says Thou shall not have sex before marriage, it certainly suggests that sex outside of marriage flows against Gods design. Gods command to be fruitful and multiply is joyfully heeded by Adam and Eve after they are joined in marriage . The same goes for their descendants. Noah, Shem, Abram and others all have sex and therefore have children within the confines of a marriage covenant.
When they turn to other women, such as Abrahams sexual relations with Hagar , the act was not considered an affair. Hagar was more like a modern day surrogate mother who bears a child in the place of an infertile wife. Nevertheless, these acts dont appear to be sanctioned by God, even though they were widely accepted in Israels culture.
Throughout the Old Testament, its assumed that God designed sex for marriage. Deuteronomy condemns a soon to be wife who has had sex before marriage , and the love poetry contained in the Song of Songs delights in the joys of sex but reserves it for a husband and wife. Extra-marital sex is never looked upon with divine approval in the Old Testament, no matter how bright the love-flame burns.
Things The Bible Forbids But We Still Do
Are these actions separating you from God?
The Bible is recognized as the greatest book ever written and for good reason. It cannot be denied that the Bible is one of the most remarkable books that exists and unlike any text that is written. The Bible gives us guidance on the way we are called to live as Christians. Even though Christians share a certain set of beliefs that they hold as essential to their faith, there are a wide range of interpretations and opinions when studying the Bible. Today, readers and carriers of the message often hear particular verses and passages in different ways. There are certain things that the Bible says that we shouldnt do, but there are those who say that these are taken out of context. While the Bible is often quoted, it is just as often misquoted. There are many sins that we commit on a daily basis without even realizing that we are committing them. Here are five things the Bible forbids but we still do.
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God Hates Sexual Immorality
Those who love must also hate. Those who love what is good, what is beneficial, what is honorable must hate what is evil, what is harmful, what is deplorable. We are defined by the things we love as well as the things we loathe. And what is true of us is true of God as well . For God to love he must also hate.
We Are To Satisfy Our Partner’s Sexual Needs
The Bible describes the pleasure that husbands find in marriage with these words: Rejoice with the wife of your youth.Let her own her breasts intoxicate you at all times. With her love may you be in an ecstasy constantly . This doesnt mean that wives are excluding from pleasure in their marriage with their husbands. God also intends for wives to enjoy sex. The Bible says that husbands and wives should satisfy each others sexual needs: Let the husband give to his wife her due, and let the wife also do likewise to her husband .
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The Second Possible Veiled Reference Is Found In Song Of Solomon : 1:
Awake, O north wind and come, thou south blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
Dr. Douglas Rosenau believes Scripture is silent on the topic of oral sex. This does not make it right or wrong, he says. A key emphasis in the New Testament is Christian liberty. Nothing is unclean in itself, says Paul , and this presumably includes sexual variety. Lewis Smedes, professor of theology at Fuller Seminary, amplifies Pauls statement about nothing being unclean.
Dr Bill Arnold Responds:
For the Old Testament side of things, its interesting that the only text your student interlocutor mentions is the Book of the Covenant stipulation that a man who seduces a virgin should pay her bride-price and make her his wife . What the student fails to observe is that the premise of this legal stipulation is that the man has, in fact, gotten the process reversed. He should have negotiated the bride-price, then married her, then had intercourse. The point of the law, as with many other laws in the Book of the Covenant, is that he has willfully done something wrong and must now make amends. The text the student is citing in your discussion actually supports your position, and not his.
Also, although perhaps not directly related to the question of premarital sex, the single most neglected datum from the OT related to marriage is Gen. 2:24-25. I never thought in my wildest dreams that this text would become controversial in our day, but it elevates the idea of heterogeneous marriage between one male and one female, regardless of how we conceptualize a state-defined and sanctioned certificate of marriage. The biblical concept is clear enough.
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God Wants Us To Procreate
In fact, one of the first things God says is instructing Adam and Eve to procreate. Genesis 1:28 reads, “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'”
“Be fruitful and multiply.”
Other verses in the Scripture like Psalm 127:3 and Genesis 9:1 also highlight how joyful it is to create and raise children. God created relationships and sex because he wants us to grow our families and produce more people who reflect his image.
Chaos In The Royal Family
Another example of sexual assault in the Bible is the story of Tamar and Amnon, children of King David, found in 2 Samuel 13. In the account, Amnon burned with desire for his half-sister Tamar. He was so desirous of her that he made himself ill. He confessed the situation to a confidant, who helped him scheme a plot that would allow Amnon to take advantage of her.
Amnon follows through on the plan, asking Tamar to bring him food that he might eat it from her hand. She unsuspectingly enters his bedroom to feed him in his illness. He then demands that she come to bed with him, to which Tamar responds, No…dont force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing! . She did not consent.
Amnon overpowered and raped Tamar. Afterward, he loathed her and put her away.
Tamar’s blood-brother Absalom caught wind of what happened, telling her to remain quiet about the situation instead of reporting it. He didnt let on to Amnon that he knew what he had done, but all the while his hatred for him grew. When their father, King David, found out about the situation, he was furious, but didnt do anything about it. Tamar lived in Absaloms house in desolation.
Two years later, Absalom exacted revenge, ordering Amnon killed at a gathering for the princes of Israel. David grieved over the murder, and Absalom fled.
In every situation involving rape or sexual assault in Scripture, there are negative ramifications.
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This Film On Sexuality Isn’t Controversial It’s Biblical
The new short film The Beautiful Story about sex within heterosexual marriage has been labelled anti-gay by some Christians. On behalf of the Church of Englands Evangelical Council Ian Paul explains why theres nothing shocking about a message that has been celebrated by Christians for two millennia
Dr Lawson Stone Responds:
The students claim that in the Old Testament it appears that, rather than sex being confined to marriage, it leads to marriage involves a number of errors, misinterpretations, and blind spots resulting from not hearing the OT in its own setting and voice. The fact in the OT is that a marriage was seen as naturally being real when sexual intercourse took place because sexual intercourse is the actual physical and emotional uniting of the man and woman. This is the origin of the tradition in the Roman Catholic church that a wedding not followed by sexual intercourse, i.e. not consummated, is incomplete and may be annulled. But this proposition is not reversible, that one can have sex and consider oneself married! The union created by sexual intercourse is real, and happens regardless of ones legal state or even feelings of intimacy. This is why St. Paul warns that sex even with a prostitute still fuses the john to the prostitute as one flesh, and for a believer, implicates the Holy Spirit in an unholy union. The Bible sees sexual union as the vital core of marriage, but this in no way implies that no concern existed for making sure such a union was lawful, sanctioned and blessed by God.
Used by permission.
Dr. Jerry Walls, Ph.D., Notre Dame. Author, speaker, and professor of Philosophy.
Dr. Ben Witherington III, Ph.D., University of Durham in England. Author, speaker, and professor of New Testament and Biblical Studies.
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Obscenity And Coarse Jokes:
In Ephesians 4:29, Paul says, Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth. The Greek word for unwholesome is very descriptive and literally mans rotten or decaying. In Ephesians 5:4, the Bible warns us to avoid silly talk or, as it is called in some versions, coarse jesting. We have all been around people who can see a sexual connotation in some innocent phrase and then begin to snicker or laugh. This is wrong. However, this does not rule out appropriate sexual humor in the privacy of marriage, but rather inappropriate sexual comments in a public setting.
Sex Outside Of Marriage Always Hurts Somebody
Some people argue that it is alright to break Gods law against sexual sin if nobody gets hurt, but in truth, somebody always gets hurt. Spouses are devastated. Children are scarred. The partners themselves, even if they escape disease and unwanted pregnancy, may lose their ability to fulfill commitments, to feel sexual desire, to trust, or to be entirely open with one another.
Those who have pre-marital intercourse are giving away what God intends them to give only to their marriage partner. They may end up emotionally scarred and incapable of having an intimate, healthy sexual relationship if or when they do get married.
Gods rules do not forbid good, clean fun rather, they protect us from destroying ourselves through unwise actions or by running ahead of Gods timetable.
“That is why I say to run from sexual sin. No other sin affects the body as this one does. When you sin this sin it is against your own body .
The power of sexual sin must never be underestimated. Sexual immorality is a temptation that is always before us. In movies and on television, sex outside marriage is treated as a normal, even desirable part of life. Marriage is often shown as confining and joyless. Christians who seek to adhere to Gods commandments concerning sexuality are sometimes looked down on for being kill-joys or puritanical.
God wants to protect us from damaging ourselves and others, so he offers to help us when we are feeling lonely or sexually frustrated.
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