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Premarital sex


Part 1: Sex advice


"Premarital sex is an issue young people have to face. Here I answer a teen's question on the Bible's position on premarital sex. There is clear guidance in God's word on sex."


Sex is an important part of life. It's no wonder then sex attracts so much interest and gives rise to so many questions. The following question came in to me by email,

"I would like to know where I can find the verse in the Bible that says premarital sex is a sin."


I had to start my reply to the writer by saying outright that it was not going to be possible to answer this question in one verse. As I explained to them, this is because a single verse won't provide you with the full answer needed to this question about premarital sex. However, something like a walk with the Holy Spirit in God's word will.

(Content of this section: A look at how we define sin and understand what is sin in New Testament terms)


First of all it's important to highlight and correct a common misunderstanding about Christianity and the Bible. The Bible does not provide Christians with a straight forward list of rules and regulations to be kept and which, if broken, mean you sin.

Sin in the New Testament part of the Bible is defined not in ways a rebellious, spiritually dead human requires but in ways a maturing born again child of God needs. The expectation is present in the writings of the New Testament that the Christian reader is alive to God and the things of God.

Hence in the New Testament we find the apostle Paul defining sin in this way,

If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

Romans 14:23 - NLT

(Content of this section: Recognising that the New Testament provides us with the Word of God's grace and not a list of laws)


The Bible in the New Testament does not provide Christians with a list of laws that whenever you break them it means you sin. The New Testament provides us with the Word of God's grace. This is in contrast to the Old Testament's books of Moses that provide us with the Word of His law. The apostle John announces this new era under grace and truth in the first chapter of his Gospel,

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:17 - NKJV

(Content of this section: Discovering how grace trains us in a way that brings about in us right living)


The Word of God's grace - like grace itself - trains you. The Word of His law sets a confined area for you to reside in. It says, "Thus far and no further. Don't cross this line or you'll get it!" The Word of His grace says, "Go this way, it's better by far leading to a blessing! Watch out for that way, it only holds trouble for you!"

As Christians, we are no longer under law but under grace. Rom.6:14. We are under grace and the Holy Spirit by Paul commends us to the Word of God's grace. Grace has been given us in Christ Jesus to bring about in us right living. Grace trains us in life for life!

Paul wrote to Titus,

For the grace of God has broken into history for the salvation of all men. It is training us to renounce the life in which God is banished from the scene, and in which the world's desires hold sway, and in this age to live a well-ordered, upright and godly life, while all the time we are waiting for our blessed hope to be realized.

Titus 2:11-13 - Barclay's Translation

(Content of this section: Finding out what the Word of God's grace communicate to us about sexual intercourse)


What does the Word of God's grace say on sex? How does it answer your question about premarital sex and sin?

Firstly, and most importantly, the word of His grace reveals to us the incredible bonding that God made the act of sex to bring about. Paul reminds the Ephesian church of God's written word related to marriage. He quotes Genesis 2:24,

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Ephesians 5:31 - NKJV

(Content of this section: Acknowledging the strong bonding effect of sexual intercourse)


The act of sexual intercourse has such a strong bonding effect that God describes engaging in it as bringing about such a union of a man and woman as for them to become, as it were, one flesh or one body!

(Note: There is no problem to this within a stable marriage situation, in fact, it's just as it should be. Consider, though, the consequences to a boy-girl relationship where not marriage has been entered into. A break up will mean that this strong bonding brought about by sexual intercourse will be rent apart. In this case the rending is likely to be emotionally more painful than usual.)

(Content of this section: Considering the emotional attachment and hold on you that engaging in sexual intercourse has on you)


Paul was very direct in writing to the Corinthians. In his letter to them he speaks plainly about the act of sexual intercourse with a prostitute but he does so to illustrate the effect engaging in sex has on you. He writes,

Don't you know that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, 'The two are united into one'.

1 Corinthians 6:16 - New Living Translation


On the basis of this, Paul then draws the following conclusion,

Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clealy affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.

1 Corinthians 6:18 - New Living Translation

(Content of this section: Conclusion given about the place for sexual intercourse in the male female relationship)


What does this all add up to? God has given the beautiful and wonderful gift of sex to be engaged in within the marriage union to make that marriage union unique within the experience of us all.

Sexual intercourse within marriage is for this reason good and of great blessing both to the couple, to the family and to the church. However, outside of marriage it creates a conflict of soul and body. This conflict may not at first be evident but later it has the potential of resulting in soul damage occurring between the two people involved. (See 1 Peter 2:11.)

The Christian church refers to sex outside of marriage as sin. Why is this then? Because, in the way I have explained above, it is not God's design or plan and therefore not His will.

Preview of content in next part:

  • A very straightforward scripture on sex and marriage - sections following this provide other scriptures to go with it
  • Definition of the term premarital sex
  • Question about whether premarital sex might be helpful in gauging the likelihood of good sex in marriage
  • Guidance on the conditions in which a good sexual relationship develops
  • Question about where the boundaries on sexual contact should be for a couple before marriage
  • Guidance on the best way for a Christian relationship to develop between a girl and a boy who feel strongly for each other
  • Developing the spiritual and social dimensions of a Christian boy-girl relationship

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