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The Bible Permits Sex For Engaged Couples

By Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - Internet Church Of Christ -
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As Bible Christians, we look to Scripture as the sole source of written authority over our lives. We live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

      "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by
       bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of
       God." (Matthew 4:4 KJV)
In particular, we are not bound at all by false doctrines which are merely the commandments of men, not of God.
      "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the
       commandments of men." (Matthew 15:9 KJV)
Therefore, if a doctrine claims to be from God but is contradicted by the Bible, then we are not obligated to follow it.

One such false doctrine is the belief that all sex outside of marriage is prohibited.

The Bible recognizes a relationship called "betrothal," which is comparable to our relationship called "engagement." Being "betrothed" was basically the same thing as our "being engaged." It is the relationship just prior to being married. Couples who were betrothed typically lived together.

And in the Bible, it is understood and accepted that two people who were betrothed to each other would probably be having sexual relations, just as a man who planted a vineyard would probably be eating the grapes.

This is proved in Deuteronomy 20:7, where the officers instructed any men who had not already had sex with their betrothed women, to go and do so before going into battle.

       DEUTERONOMY 20:6-7 (KJV)
               And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath
               not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his
               house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of
               And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath
               not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest
               he die in the battle, and another man take her.
Many Christians, however, believe that virginity is required at the time of marriage, and they cite Deuteronomy 22:20-21 as proof that non-virgin women who marry must be stoned to death under Old Testament Law. This reading, however, does not apply to all non-virgin women. The correct reading includes all of Deuteronomy 22:13-21, in which it is seen that the stoning applies only to cases in which the woman was misrepresented as being a virgin when she was not, and had been "playing the whore" in her father's house, and her husband hated her for this misrepresentation. If the husband had known she was not a virgin, and had accepted her anyway, then there would have been no problem.

(See Deuteronomy 22:13-21 here =>;&version=9; )

Additional proof that virginity is not required at the time of marriage can be found in Leviticus 21:13, where it is specified that the high priest must marry a virgin.

        "And he shall take a wife in her virginity."
         (Leviticus 21:13 (KJV)
If female virginity were required at the time of all marriages, then there would have been no need to specify that high priests must marry virgins. Therefore by implication, others may marry non-virgins if they choose to do so.

Please note that there is no requirment whatsoever in Scripture that any males must be virgins at the time of their marriage. This idea is pure Doctrine of Man (or of Satan). And this false doctrine has driven many, many young men away from the Lord, myself included, years ago.

Please do not misunderstand this message to mean that sexual immorality is permitted. It clearly is not permitted. The Greek word for sexual immorality is PORNEIA, sometimes translated as "fornication." The New Testament speaks against PORNEIA in at least twenty-four different places, so it is clearly prohibited. Unfortunately, we do not know exactly which acts were considered PORNEIA and which were not. Most authorities would include adultery, incest, homosexuality, and bestiality as being PORNEIA. Most would also include prostitution ("harlotry") and promiscuity ("playing the harlot"). Beyond those six, there is disagreement.

Nevertheless, virginity is not required at the time of marriage, and sex is permitted to engaged couples, as previously explained.

May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.

     Rev. Bill McGinnis  <><

See more pages like this, at our Index of Pearls Of Faith, a treasury of Biblical truths.

Please also see our related pages . . .


Blessings to you. May God help us all.

       Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director -

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