Q&A: Is sex before marriage a sin?

Q: A guy I know is dating a woman, they have been having sex and now his conscience is telling him they should stop until they get married (they are not engaged or at that stage). Obviously if he is having these thoughts that is the right move and if she is to be his wife it should strengthen their relationship. She disagrees and says sex before marriage is ok if you are in a committed relationship.

Scripture says one of the greatest sins is sexual sin as the body is a temple. This being said, from what I have read scripture describes every kind of sexual sin but does not mention premarital sex between a man and a woman being wrong.

Every church teaches against it and the best argument I have heard is it is adultery because if she is not going to be your future wife, then she will be someone else’s. Maybe this is described when it says do not have sex with your neighbor’s wife?

I don’t see anywhere in scripture where it says sex before marriage is a sin.  Can you suggest specific scripture, not something that is interpreted but is specific?

Murder, false witness etc. are easy as they are spelled out in the Ten Commandments.  Why does the church teach this is a sin if it is not clearly shown in scripture as such?

A: Thanks for the email.  I am happy to help.  Sex between two unmarried people is not adultery.  Sex between two unmarried people is called fornication.  God clearly gives his stance on fornication in scripture.  That is why as a church you hear us teaching people to refrain from sex before marriage.  Here is some scripture on the subject of fornication.

  • Matthew 15:19-20“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. “These are the things which defile the man.”
  • Acts 15:29“that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10“Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
  • Hebrews 13:4“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

Along with all other sexual sins, sex before marriage is spoken against in scripture.  Here are some other scriptures if you are interested in studying this subject more.(2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). Scripture is clear that a sexual relationship should only be between 1 man and 1 woman in the bonds of marriage. Sex before marriage is just as wrong as other forms of sexual immorality, because they all involve having sex with someone you are not married to.  God does not tell us to refrain from sex before marriage to keep us from something good.  God gives us boundaries to protect us.  God’s original design was for sex to only be experienced in the covenant of marriage,  and outside of this boundary, sex can have damaging consequences for us emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

I hope I have answered your question.  Please let me know if I can help you with anything else.  I hope you have a great week.

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