Does the Bible even call sex before marriage a sin?
A lot of people in today’s world aren’t sure. Our culture has told us that we should do whatever makes us feel good in the moment and that we shouldn’t even consider what the moral thing to do is.
Here are several verses to consider when thinking about sex before marriage:
1. 1 Corinthians 7:2
“But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.”
In this verse, the apostle Paul describes any activity outside of marriage as “sexual immorality.” That means when we read of sexual immorality, it includes sex before marriage as one of many examples of sin.
2. Hebrews 13:4
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
What does an undefiled marriage bed look like? It looks likes a bed that a husband and a wife share exclusively together. Any kind of sex that is before, outside or in addition to a married relationship of husband and wife is sinful according to the Bible.
3. Galatians 5:19-21
“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.”
In this long list of sins, the sexual sins that Paul includes are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, and orgies. It would be impossible to argue that the Bible approves of sex outside of marriage. Elsewhere, (1 Corinthians 7:2-5), Paul gives permission for sex between a married man and woman, thus all other forms of sex are sinful.
4. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, 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…”
Here, Paul contrasts a believer’s self-control over his body with living out of control, burning in passionate lust. The first is living a life that is pleasing to God and is holy, while the second is living a life that does not honor God. In which group do you belong? Does sleeping with someone you meet at a club or are not married to demonstrate control over one’s body, or is it done in the passion of lust?
5. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
These verses speak to the basis of God’s claim on our body. A Christian is to refrain from sexual intercourse with anyone to whom they are not married because Christians belong to God. We have been given the great gift of God indwelling us — the Holy Spirit lives within us — so when we join ourselves to others through one-night stands or anyone we are not married to, we are violating our own body, the other person’s body and the Lord, who has purchased us by pouring out his own body and blood.
If you’ve had sex before marriage, don’t worry! Hope is not lost. God is more than able to forgive you of all of your sins — even the sin of having sex before or outside of marriage.
1 John 1:9 promises us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Turn away from all sexual immorality and seek to live under God’s forgiving love.
For those of us who do struggle with burning passion, just know that it is worth it to wait for the right time to enjoy the gift of sex. Pray that the Lord will bring you a faithful and God-fearing spouse. Sex is a wonderful privilege that comes with great responsibility. You will not regret living your life God’s way!