What does the Bible say about sex before marriage? - Feature Image

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Posted On 06/29/2022

What does the Bible say about sex before marriage?


God is good. In His goodness, He created this world and all things in it with a special and specific design. He designed the world to spin on its axis, creating seasons, days, and nights.

He created each animal to live in a unique climate, equipping them with specific features for survival and reproduction.

He designed the big things down to the tiniest details, like how our eyes read color and how the ants work together in beautiful harmony. 

In the same way, God created sex. He created it to be enjoyed within the context of a loving, honorable marriage. 

What does the Bible say about sex?

While the Bible doesn’t say the exact words, “Don’t have sex before marriage,” that message is clear. The Bible says God created people, marriage, and even lays out instructions for sex. 

Genesis 2:24 says to first leave your family and be united with your wife. THEN, become one flesh. We see this instruction of sex within marriage carried throughout the Bible. We also see many examples in the Bible of what happens when God’s will is not followed. 

Is it a sin to have sex before marriage? What is fornication?

Sin, in it’s simplest form, is anything that is outside of God’s will or design, therefore sex outside of marriage is considered a sin. 

“Fornication” is a word used in some translations of the Bible to simply mean sexual immorality. 

What about the desire for sex?

The desire for sex, however, isn’t anything to feel guilt or shame about: It was created by God! Desires/hormones are a good gift from God. But just like our desire for food, our desires are designed to drive us to do things. We have to choose: Are we going to honor God with those desires or simply please ourselves?

Proverb 16:26 says, “The appetite of laborers works for them; their hunger drives them on.” 

Sometimes, instead of letting our desires drive us to do good things, we settle for things that aren’t good in order to satisfy our desires now. However, being a Christ follower means we aren’t guided by our selfish desires. 

Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Do I really have to deny myself of sex?

Denying ourselves doesn’t come naturally to us humans. We get caught up in the moment and let our desires take over.

Whether it’s stuffing ourselves with that last piece of cake, having yet another glass of wine, or snuggling up next to that person that we know we shouldn’t be around — We can easily find ourselves in places we never intended to be. 

If our true desire is to follow God and His ways, we can’t simply give in to our natural desires every time. Just like we discipline our bodies with exercise and healthy eating, we can discipline ourselves when it comes to our thoughts and behaviors.

We can choose to wait for sex until we’re in a God-honoring marriage. Yes, it may be difficult, but when you’re in a safe, healthy, secure marriage there’s peace and trust with sexual intimacy that makes your relationship stronger.

But how do we deny ourselves? If we prepare ourselves beforehand, we will be better equipped to make good choices in those tough moments. 

Two things that can help us are:

#1. Plan ahead. Avoid putting ourselves in vulnerable situations.
1 Corinthians 15:33 tells us, “Bad company corrupts good character.” So think strongly about who you are with and where you are going. 

#2. Keep ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy so that we have the strength to flee when temptations arise. 1 Corinthians 6:18 encourages us to, “Flee from sexual immorality” which is harder to do if we are weak. 

How will I know we’re compatible without sex before marriage?

Some people wonder, how they will know if they are compatible with a person unless they have sex first? In the Bible, Paul says that marriage is a commitment between two people that is supposed to reflect the relationship between Jesus and his church (Eph 5:25-33).

Jesus didn’t take us (his church) for a “test drive” to see if we were worthy of his love first. He fully committed himself to us (to the point of death) before He asked us to give our lives up to follow him. 

God designed us to see marriage with a commitment mentality, not a consumer mentality

Being compatible is a good thing and it can be helpful to go to premarital counseling to see if you have similar views on family and finances.

But if you decide to get married, it honors God to enter into that marriage with a commitment to love and honor that person no matter what. Then, in the safety of that commitment, you will find amazing sexual compatibility. 

Ephesians 5:25-33 commands, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless….For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.”

Maybe, as you’ve been reading this, your guilt is setting in. Have you already gone too far, made a bad choice, or has someone sinned against you? 

What if I messed up?

John 4 shows Jesus speaking to the woman at the well. This was a woman who had five husbands and the man she was currently with was not her husband. Jesus knew that. And still, Jesus WANTED to be with her and WANTED to talk to her so much that He went out of his way. 

Jesus wanted to give her living water, the Holy Spirit. And do you know what? He sees you the same way. Jesus wants to be with you, wants you to know that you are forgiven, wants you to know that you are a loved child, and wants to give you his Holy Spirit as you choose to follow Him. 

1 Cor 6:11 says, “…But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.” 

You don’t have to let your past define your future. God accepts you, loves you, and wants to be with you and give you new life in Him with His power and His help.

May you someday experience the best, God-glorifying sex within a beautiful, loving marriage. I can assure you it will be worth the wait. If it’s not time yet, choose to honor God right now. 

Get ready for a future spouse by drawing close to God so He can grow you into the man or woman that your future spouse needs. Learn to hear His voice, submit your life, and walk in step with Him. 

I pray God will bless you with love, joy, and the purpose you are truly longing for. 

Check out our website for more information. We always welcome new friends to worship with us. Find a location that’s close to you! You can learn more about our beliefs and visit our video library to explore more topics like this one. You can also check out our events page to find out what fun new things we’re doing this season.

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About The Author

Julie Usborne

Small Groups Pastor, 2|42 Brighton

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Julie Usborne grew up in Southern California, and has lived in Michigan for the past 14 years with her husband and 3 daughters. She attended BIOLA University where she minored in Biblical Studies, has served in churches for 25 years, and is currently a pastor at 242 Community Church. In her free time she loves to relax with family and friends by the lake. She wakes up every day with the hope of adventure and longs to help others discover the hope and joy she has found in Jesus.
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