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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Take a Bath

premarital sex, Bible teaches premarital sex is wrong, Calvin and Hobbes theology
For insights for last week's study, scroll to the bottom of the page HERE. You'll find more resources than normal.

One of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strips starts with Calvin's mom telling him to get in the bathtub. 

In the next frame, we see Calvin sitting in the tub, fully clothed. The bubble above his head says, "I obey the letter of the law, if not the spirit." 

Unfortunately, there are many Calvin and Hobbes Christians. They sit in the bathtub fully clothed justifying non-biblical views.  

One important example: the Greek word translated fornication is a general term for sexual immorality. Since it doesn't specifically state each example, some people contend that premarital sex is not forbidden by God.   

But this belief misses an important fact: the Bible is not a collection of random words; it contains clear messages.  

And the message of the Bible warns against premarital sex even if the Greek word doesn't specifically mention it. 

We can be like Calvin obeying the letter while ignoring the message, or we can turn on the Living, God-breathed Water and wash away excuses with its message of truth. 

Bible Study

The only reason the word "fornication" is questioned is because our current culture has approved premarital sex. But let's suppose that the word were genuinely vague. How would the message of the Scriptures below help us discern God's view of premarital sex? 

1 Corinthians 7:8-9: To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to stay single as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry that to burn with passion.

Genesis 2:23-24: The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. 

1 Corinthians 6:13-16: The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." 

1 Corinthians 6: 9-11: Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (NASB)

copyright 2014, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted
Please work through the study before reading these insights

Whenever we try to justify a sin, we fail to realize that all of God's commands are loving, given to protect us from damaging our bodies and souls. 

It's true that the word fornication means "immorality" as used in the New Testament. But justifying premarital sex because of the general nature of the word fornication would be like justifying shoplifting because the Bible says "thou shalt not steal" without specifically mentioning shoplifting.

If we approved everything not specifically mentioned in Scripture, we could include a long list of heinous crimes such as sex with children. The overall message of Scripture, the Biblical design of marriage and the character of God as revealed in Scripture all combine to give us a Biblical understanding of what God forbids. And remember that anything God forbids, He forbids out of love for us.

1 Corinthians 7:8-9: 

Modern culture's solution to "burning with passion" is to have premarital sex. God's solution is to marry. 

This passage from Got Questions better explains the importance of these verses (underlining mine):
There is no Hebrew or Greek word used in the Bible that precisely refers to sex before marriage. The Bible undeniably condemns adultery and sexual immorality, but is sex before marriage considered sexually immoral? According to 1 Corinthians 7:2, “yes” is the clear answer: “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” 
In this verse, Paul states that marriage is the “cure” for sexual immorality. First Corinthians 7:2 is essentially saying that, because people cannot control themselves and so many are having immoral sex outside of marriage, people should get married. Then they can fulfill their passions in a moral way. Since 1 Corinthians 7:2 clearly includes sex before marriage in the definition of sexual immorality, all of the Bible verses that condemn sexual immorality as being sinful also condemn sex before marriage as sinful. Sex before marriage is included in the biblical definition of sexual immorality.
There are numerous Scriptures that declare sex before marriage to be a sin (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). The Bible promotes complete abstinence before marriage. Sex between a husband and his wife is the only form of sexual relations of which God approves (Hebrews 13:4). 

Genesis 2:23-24: 

From the beginning God defined appropriate sexual union as that between a man and woman married to each other

1 Corinthians 6:13-16: 

This passage shows us that any sex outside of marriage is "becoming one" with another person, something which is only appropriate between a man and woman married to each other. 

1 Corinthians 6: 9-11

When this passage was written these sexual sins were common in the culture of the Corinthians just as they are common today. And it's always easier to justify sins commonly accepted by society. But God warns us not to let acceptance or popularity deceive us.

This passage specifically mentions homosexuals, the effeminate (anything a man does to appear like a woman), and adulterers (sex between a married person and anyone other than his/her spouse). Since all of these actions are sinful and immoral, it is logical to conclude that the word fornication applies to other acts of immorality, and the most obvious would be single persons "becoming one" with someone to whom they are not married. 

For more answers from the Bible, read "Why Do Christians Oppose Premarital Sex?"  and "Is Abstinence Before Marriage Realistic?"

And some of these 1-minute devotions on God's view of Sex might also be helpful: 

copyright 2014, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com 
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted


  1. I just stumbled upon your blog and LOVE it! Thanks for addressing so many questions I have daily. Just one more question, concerning sex outside of marriage. My boyfriend and I are both on disability and we have learned that if we were to get "legally" married, we would lose approx. $500 a month from our benefits. If we were to have a "commitment ceremony" (we are heterosexual), in a church with a pastor, in front of God and our family/friends, would that be considered "married"? I kind of know what the "right" answer is, biblically, but I just wanted your view on the issue.

    1. I must admit I don't know what a commitment ceremony is, but I believe that God expects us to be married legally because He expects us to be an example of godliness (salt and light) in our community. It may sound harsh, but I think you will need to determine which is more important - being married or having the benefit money. I believe that God will provide for you if you sincerely seek Him and He leads you to marry. Perhaps you are not meant to marry.

      There are many situations when we would benefit financially by doing the wrong thing, but that is not an excuse to do them.