Is all premarital sex actually prohibited in the Bible?

Debating issues regarding sexuality

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Is all premarital sex actually prohibited in the Bible?

Post #1

Post by micatala »

It has been assumed in many posts that premarital sex is a sin, or against certain Biblical teachings, or both. One recent example is in the Hate the Sin and Love the Sinner thread.

Obviously, one of the 10 commandments is Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery. However, common understanding would be that adultery is:
Webster's 9th New Collegiate Dictionary wrote:
voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or a married woman and someone other than her husband
Fornication is usually defined as sex between unmarried people.

Here are a few relevant verses:
LEviticus 19 wrote: 20 " 'If a man sleeps with a woman who is a slave girl promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment. Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed. 21 The man, however, must bring a ram to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting for a guilt offering to the LORD. 22 With the ram of the guilt offering the priest is to make atonement for him before the LORD for the sin he has committed, and his sin will be forgiven.

29 " 'Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.

The latter implies that being a prostitute is certainly less than ideal, but it does not seem to be prohibited. Certainly there are many examples of prostitution in the Bible, and neither the men nor the women are necessarily punished for engaging in sex in this context.
Leviticus 20 wrote: 20 " 'If a man sleeps with his aunt, he has dishonored his uncle. They will be held responsible; they will die childless.
One assumes the uncle is already dead. Notice the punishment is something we assume only God can accomplish.

Priests are to be held to a higher than ordinary standard.
Leviticus 21 wrote: 7 " 'They must not marry women defiled by prostitution or divorced from their husbands, because priests are holy to their God. 8 Regard them as holy, because they offer up the food of your God. Consider them holy, because I the LORD am holy—I who make you holy.

9 " 'If a priest's daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.

13 " 'The woman he marries must be a virgin. 14 He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his own people, 15 so he will not defile his offspring among his people. I am the LORD, who makes him holy. [d] ' "

The latter implies it is OK for others to marry women who are not virgins. The fact that there is prostitution and it is at least condoned means sex outside of marriage must have been occuring and at least condoned.

QUestions for debate are:

Does the Bible unambiguously teach that premarital sex is wrong? Where is the Biblical justification?

Many Christians would say 'all sins are equal.' However, many others would say some sins are more serious than others. Murder might be considered more egregious than adultery, and adultery more egregious than telling a 'fish story.'

WHere does premarital sex rank on a list of sins, say even compared to the 10 commandments?

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Post #41

Post by advisor1950 »

The word, “fornication� can be ambiguous, but there are simple solutions for ambiguities in the Bible. All we have to do is find other passages that either support or refute the concept of premarital sex. Paul is making it very clear in 1 Corinthians 7 that sexual relations outside of marriage is not permitted.
I Corinthians 7:8-9 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Jesus stated that God’s institution of marriage was intended for one man and one woman. So the OT references to concubines and multiple wives was never condoned by God.
An additional test is to compare an activity to a higher principle. If the purpose of your question regarding fornication is to provide you the liberty of sleeping around with women, then I would say that you are clearly missing applying your freedom or liberty in Christ. We can go back to 1 Corinthians 7 and see that there are specific instruction for married couples concerning sexuality, but Paul does not provide those same instructions to the unmarried. We can take intuitively surmise that Paul didn’t provide information because it was understood that sex was reserved for marriage. Obviously there was a question similar to yours asked over 2000 years ago.
1 Corinthians 7:1-7 Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.
The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.
Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.
Then there is the golden rule which basically says that we should not harm others but treat them as we wish to be treated. Premarital sex is fraught with danger for both parties in terms of STD’s, but even more so to the woman because of the potential of pregnancy. No matter what form of birth control is used, there is absolutely no full-proof method unless done by surgery which is a pretty permanent solution for a child bearing aged woman to take. Premarital sex is an activity that is subject to an urge which rarely considers the potential consequences. When two people love each other they look to the best for each other. Sleeping around hardly constitutes a love relationship, hence we are abusing each other. Hardly a Scriptural premise for premarital sex.
So then what about a couple who love each other and are planning to marry? Again, the issue of doing each other no harm applies. I have had the unfortunate experience of knowing a couple who were planning to marry, engaged in premarital sex, got pregnant and the fiancé was killed in an automobile accident before the wedding. Sure, this could have happened immediately after the wedding, but a considerate husband would have purchased life insurance and made certain that his wife and unborn child would be financially secure in the event of his death. If you are planning to marry, are engage in premarital sex, and have secured your fiancés financial future, then I guess we are talking about a very gray area. Of course, you could resort to oral sex, but women generally have a difficult time achieving an orgasm from oral sex. So the man would be the beneficiary absent his fiancé. Doesn’t seem very loving to me. I would wait and make the first time special, but that’s me. As to all other forms of premarital sex, for obvious reasons and others not so obvious, it is not condoned in the Bible nor by common sense.

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