Monday, March 21, 2011

On Sex Before Marriage (Deut. 21-23)

SEAN - Since Deut. 21-23 has more verses on sex before marriage than any of the previous chapters, this seemed like a good place to bring it up. Short blog post. Additionally, the picture (above) for today's post is from a Jewish wedding ceremony in modern Israel. I have tried to condense everything down into a good one-paragraph summary of what the Bible has to say about the serious nature of sex before marriage - these are mostly just talking points for small groups and one-on-one conversations. Links to other resources are in blue. I hope you find this post helpful.

Based on's Chronological Bible In a Year schedule. If anyone would like to join in, this blog's comments sections would be a good forum in which to share insights from the text.

Sex Before Marriage & The Bible
Let's just get to business on this one. In the first passage, 22.13-21, the accusation of having sex before marriage was so serious that (1) the accuser was publicly whipped and fined if the allegations turned out to be false, and (2) the accused would be stoned to death on their father's doorstep if the allegations turned out to be true. In the second passage, 22.28-29, if a man met a single woman and the two slept together, the two of them were forced to get married. To recap: in God's Israel, if you had sex before marriage, you could either be sentenced to death (if you ended up marrying someone else) or were forced to marry the man or woman who you had sex with. In the New Testament, the desire to have sex is still fulfilled only by marriage - each man having his own wife and each woman having her own husband (1 Cor. 7.1-3).

The Bible on Sex (Copied from Justin Taylor)
An attempt to think through some things taught in the Word about sex, both by direct statement and by extension and implication:
  • Sex is created by God (“by him all things were created”—Col. 1:16).
  • Sex continues to exist by Christ's will (“in him all things hold”—Col. 1:17).
  • Sex is caused by God (he “works all things according to his will”—Eph. 1:11).
  • Sex is subject to Christ (“he put all things under his feet”—Eph. 1:22).
  • Sex is being made new by Christ (“I am making all things new”—Rev. 21:5).
  • Sex is good (“everything created by God is good”—1 Tim. 4:4).
  • Sex is lawful in the context of marriage (“all things are lawful”—1 Cor. 10:23).
  • Sex is to be done for the glory of God (“do all to the glory of God”—1 Cor. 10:31).
  • Sex is a cause for thanksgiving (1 Tim. 4:4).
  • Sex is to be sanctified by the Word of God and prayer (1 Tim. 4:4-5).
  • Sex can be enslaving and its entrapment must be resisted (1 Cor. 6:12).
  • Sex should not be an occasion for grumbling (Phil. 2:14)
  • Sex should be an occasion for rejoicing in the Lord (“rejoice always”—Phil. 4:4).
  • Sex should be an occasion of contentment in the Lord (2 Cor. 9:8).
  • Sex should be engaged in with holiness and honor (“each one of you [is to] know how to control his own body [KJV: “possess his vessel”; RSV: “take a wife for himself”] in holiness and honor”—1 Thess. 4:4).
  • Sex should usually not be withheld from one’s spouse (do not “deprive one another [sexually], except perhaps by agreement for a limited time,” that they might devote themselves to prayer—1 Cor. 7:5. But then they are commanded to “come together again [sexually], so that Satan may not tempt [them] because of [their] lack of self-control”—1 Cor. 7:5).
  • Sex can be both pure and impure in this fallen world (“To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled”—Titus 1:15).

External Links

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