Pre-marriage sex is sexual immorality

Dear Carla

Yes, that's a hot question. With regard to sex before marriage, the terms “fornication” and “adultery” are used alternately. Some argue with the latter that sex before marriage is adultery with the future partner. That could actually only be justified with a virginal and virgin command, but that doesn't exist in the Bible. In the list of sins in Mth. 15.19 both occur, fornication and adultery: "Because evil thoughts come out of the heart: murder, adultery, fornication (precisely: fornication), theft, false testimony, blasphemy;"

Even though you only ask about fornication, I am including adultery because it makes the argument easier for me. The Greek word Porneia is translated as fornication, fornication or prostitution, and means, in the sense derived from the word, love that can be bought or sold, or also means illegal or immoral intercourse or corresponding sexual relationships. In the days of the apostles, chaotic immorality and immorality prevailed in the Greco-Roman world. Wives were not there for sexual pleasure, but rather to father legitimate children and to run the household in a trustworthy manner. For the rest, they kept mistresses, concubines or lust boys and went to prostitutes (often associated with religion in the temple).

What shocked Paul was the fact that the Corinthians were not shocked and tolerated sexual disorder in their own ranks (1 Cor. 5: 1). That is why Paul begins his enumeration of the works of the flesh * with sexual sins. With Christianity he brings a whole new moral of lived purity. Paul shows a higher form of life. The Christian should completely abstain from porneia (1. Tess. 4,3), he has to flee them (1. Cor. 6,18), he has to kill their works (Col. 3,5), he sins against his own body (1. Cor. 6:18), which does not belong to fornication but to God (1. Cor. 6:13).

I don't need to explain adultery. At most in the sense that I understand it to be a fundamental breach of loyalty or fraud. Seen in this way, this break can not only be of a sexual nature, but also include the fact that one shares the most intimate emotions and feelings with another person, but not with the partner. It would even be conceivable that it could include any form of fraud, for example gross financial misconduct without the partner's knowledge.

  • Fornication is any form of disordered sex. Bought, sold, but also unpaid sexual intercourse without any obligation. I would define it as: any kind of sex that harms me or someone else.
  • Adultery is a sexual or emotional breach of fidelity in or into an engaging relationship. By either fornication or engaging in another intimate relationship in a sexual or emotionally intimate manner.
  • In my opinion, (carnal) desires means “addiction”: dependence, urge, greed, vice, lust. This can affect sex, but it can also affect other things.

In my opinion, none of this is warranted to apply to "sex before marriage" in a committed relationship. But on the binding relationship itself. Being in a relationship but not married does not legitimize fornication or breakup. Infidelity affects any type of binding relationship. In today's world, sexuality is regulated by law and legitimized accordingly, which is why neither adultery, fornication, fornication, prostitution nor the definition of “illegal or immoral” apply in any way to “sex before marriage”.

But a community could insist on the corresponding “house rule” because every organization has its own rules. This means that a congregation can set the rule for itself, for example it does not want any people on the stage or in leadership who live in cohabitation. Establishing a similar rule with regard to “having sex” should already be difficult, because looking under people's covers is already quite borderline. At most, it could be enforced on the basis of self-declaration.

In today's world, forms of life from biblical times can no longer simply be justified as "divinely given". It also depends very much on the special circumstances and phase of a couple's life. A couple should take responsibility for their own sex life. Still, we can read from the Bible “Refraining from Sex Before Marriage” as helpful advice for a relationship. And I would never advise a couple to have sex who wants to save sexuality for marriage. But I would advise him to develop sexually and prepare for couple sexuality.

Dear Carla, you can use the following link to deal with sexuality and belief in a way that is adapted to the world in which you live: Lecture by Sigfried Zimmer on the subject of "Christian sexual ethics - the difference in couple relationships between ancient and modern societies". (Warning - explosive)

Kind regards - Veronika

* Galatians 5: 19-21: “But the works of the flesh are evident; there are: fornication (fornication), impurity, debauchery, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrels, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfishness, quarrels, parties (precisely: sects), envy, drinking (precisely: "intoxication" - no matter what substances are brought about ), Gluttony and the like. Of these, I tell you in advance, just as I said before, that those who do such a thing will not inherit the kingdom of God. "