Many christians think that sex outside marriage is a sin. What about concubines? Abraham and David had concubines.

Is it a sin to have sex with concubines you do not marry? If so, where in the bible does it say that having a concubine (and obviously having sex with her) is a sin?

In particular, is it a sin to have sex with a woman whose marriage is not recognized by the state. So you have sex with her but you don't bother to apply for marriage license and do not agree to be bound by any rules governing civil marriage.

My questions is not a duplicate of Why was having concubines not a sin like adultery?

That question already assumes that having concubines is not a sin. This question asks if christian denominations think it is sin at all.

Also the highest voted answer in this question The Bible seems to allow polygamy. Why doesn't the church? says that polygamy is a sin because it's illegal and christians should obey the law. Cool. Polygamy is a sin. So why not have concubines instead, if it's not a sin? Having multiple wives is illegal. Having multiple concubines isn't.

  • possible duplicate of Why was having concubines not a sin like adultery?
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 21, 2015 at 8:55
  • That question presumes that having concubine is not a sin. This question ask if it is at all.
    – user4951
    Jun 21, 2015 at 9:00
  • Better? What do you think?
    – user4951
    Jun 21, 2015 at 9:22
  • 2
    It think it's getting closer to being on-topic, although it seems a bit 'confected' and lacking utility in this form - are there any modern forms of concubinage in operation that you are aware of that would require Christians to actually have a view on? Jun 21, 2015 at 9:59
  • There is plenty in my country. Some says it's sin because it's sex outside marriage. I disagree. I think many americans also live together outside marriage. In a sense that's concubinage. If having concubines is not a sin and not illegal then well, why not?
    – user4951
    Jun 21, 2015 at 10:09

1 Answer 1


Yes, there are Christian denominations that think having concubines is a sin, probably citing Matthew 19:5-6.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one. Therefore what God has joined together let no man put asunder (RSV)

Now I recognize that this verse can be interpreted in various ways, including having one wife, and multiple concubines. But I know that there are multiple Christian denominations that would consider concubinage a sin, and I believe that this verse would be one of the fundamental ones that they cite.

  • 1
    Would you elaborate? At least put the verse in the answer.
    – user4951
    Jun 21, 2015 at 11:08
  • The lack of mention of concubines anywhere in the New Testament might factor in as well. Jun 21, 2015 at 17:37
  • And that's because the rome prohibits polygamy. It has nothing to do with Jesus or anyone. Fair enough.
    – user4951
    Jun 22, 2015 at 13:34
  • @JimThio Not the case; in paragraph 2387 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church we see "polygamy is not in accord with the moral law [i.e. the law God gave us to determine what's sinful and what's not]." And in paragraph 2390, we get "The sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin." Not the case at all that it has nothing to do with the will of God; it is not a purely human decision. Jun 22, 2015 at 15:38
  • Jesus doesn't say, do not have concubines. Jesus said that men shall have 1 wife. If that is a commandment, it's a commandment he himself disobey (along with most priests)
    – user4951
    Jun 23, 2015 at 12:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .