The title pretty much asks the question, but let's set the stage like this:

Two people meet in High School, have sex, then eventually get married.

What does the bible say about sex prior to marriage in general?

What does the bible say about sex prior to marriage, but leads to marriage?


3 Answers 3


Premarital (aka extramarital) sex is fornication, which is sometimes differentiated from adultery. While adultery is specifically forbidden in the 10 Commandments, it would appear the Bible has the same opinion of fornication. There are times when the two terms are used interchangeably as well.

All from the KJV:

Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

1st Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

1st Corinthians 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

1st Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

So it looks safe to say that "Thou shall not commit adultery" also applies to fornication. The colloquialism "living in sin" is accurate.

It doesn't specifically say "Even if you plan to get married, fornication is still a sin." But the 1st Corinthians 7:2 reference is pretty close. To avoid fornication, get married.

  • This assumes that premarital sex is fornication, which I agree with but some liberals dispute. I created another question to discuss whether this is so. christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/778/… Aug 27, 2011 at 1:31
  • This assumes that porneia means fornication. Many think that porneia simply means things prohibited by torah. Torah doesn't prohibit sex outside marriage.
    – user4951
    Oct 21, 2014 at 12:38

“Fornication” (porneuo) is often used as a noun in the New Testament, but in 1 Cor. 10:8 is a present tense verb. Although it is a verb, it still describes all types of sexual sin. For other places where fornication occurs as a noun see 6:18, and these references in the book of Revelation: 2:14, 20; 17:2; 18:3, 9.

Whether used as a noun or a verb, fornication describes departures from God’s “religious norms (e.g. homosexuality, promiscuity, pedophilia, and especially prostitution” (Colin Brown, 1:497).

Brad Price www.abiblecommentary.com

  • Hence it does not clearly means sex outside marriage. It could be things like homosexuality, or incest. Not even sure that promiscuity and pedophilia is sin because in ancient time girls do get married at age 13. Society where those are not common will get swallowed by those who are.
    – user4951
    Mar 23, 2013 at 0:02
  • Bible doesn't condemn pedophilia. In fact, marriage age during Jesus time is probably around 12
    – user4951
    Oct 21, 2014 at 12:39

Zombie post, ooooo! Anyway, you're all assuming that the traditional modern marriage is the way it's always been done. It isn't. Would it surprise you that there are no less than three solid models of marriages taking place in the book of Genesis. A good prerequisite for answering this question is a knowledge of how the Bible says to get married in the first place. It's not in a civil ceremony. It's not a magical marriage license. The only thing the patriarchs did was gain permission to marry the woman in question and take her home. All the feasting and such and so forth were put forward by a pagan, unbelieving Laban.

Permission plus sex equals marriage. Period. The ceremonies are traditions of men. Period. To demand a civil ceremony is to effectively render unto God that which is Caesar's. And make no mistake, with all the gay marriages and no fault divorces, civil marriage is absolutely and unequivocally Caesar's marriage.

Now, marriage is a covenant. It's not something to be taken lightly at all. You are forbidden to divorce under the new covenant except for fornication. Because sex equals marriage.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site. Do you have any sources?
    – user3961
    Sep 10, 2014 at 8:46
  • Genesis chapters 24 and 29, Matt 22:29, Matt 15:9... Sep 10, 2014 at 9:02
  • @AndrewDavis Can you scripturally prove how the examples you gave warrant a "solid", i.e. holy marriage? Just because God allowed it to happen doesn't mean it was how He wanted marriage to look.
    – LCIII
    Sep 10, 2014 at 11:39
  • Okay. So in the case of divorce, it was allowed, but not the way God wanted it originally (Mat 5:32). There is no indication of any commandment on the HOW of marriage ever given in the bible. Therefore, if we are to follow tradition, the only people who have ever done it right are the Jews. Show me in scripture where it says, "Thou shalt surely repeat after thine pastor and be pronounced man and wife." It's not there. I say "Solid" in that they are the only marriages with any back story. All other marriages in the bible are simple statements of fact. "He took her to wife," and so on. Sep 10, 2014 at 16:46
  • You might argue that Ruth and Boaz did it differently. Ruth and Boaz were obeying the law that stated that a widow would be married off to the next of kin (Deu 25:5-10) Boaz was legally obligated to take her as his wife and he was saying "Look, I'm obeying God's command!" Sep 10, 2014 at 16:58

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