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I'll start by putting my position right on the line: I believe the Bible to teach that all sexual activity outside of marriage is sin, and all romantically oriented physical activity is sexual activity. As the questions above indicate, however, many single Christians have questions about whether premarital physical activity at some level beyond kissing is OK.We need to address the whole spectrum ("just kissing" included). First, the fact that "romantically oriented" is in italics above is important.
I will lay out what I view to be applicable biblical principles and passages on this topic, and then I and the editors will leave it to you to follow up with blog posts, comments and discussion.So marriage is a unique relationship, and the good gift of sex is not only allowed but commanded within that relationship. More specifically, 1 Tim 5:1-2 reiterates the "family" metaphor among believers and instructs us about how we are to treat our fellow members of the body of Christ: This is a didactic (teaching) passage generally instructing us about how to relate to other "family members" among God's people. With the exception of husbands and wives, there is no sexual dimension to "familial" relationships.Still, the overwhelming majority of believers will only share that relationship with one person in their entire lives. Also, look at that phrase about how younger women should be treated — absolute purity.As a good initial principle here, we should affirm that sex itself (and sexual activity in general) is not inherently negative or sinful.On the contrary, in the proper context, it is a kind and good gift of God.We all know what we're talking about here, and these are not the things I mean to address in this column.
The game changes when two people are romantically involved or "semi-involved" (a fascinating phrase I recently heard). Before you start throwing things at your computer — I can't feel it you know, you're just hurting your own computer — let's go to Scripture.
Maybe one or both of you achieved orgasm even though you didn't actually "have sex" as you define it.
Maybe you explored one another's bodies but were only partially naked.
It is certainly true that no passage of Scripture says — in so many words, at least — "thou shalt not kiss before marriage." Having said that, I submit that there is a strong argument to be made from Scripture that there is no room for any sexual relationship outside of marriage.
The argument becomes clearer when we look at some of what the Bible has to say about (1) sex, (2) our relationships with other believers and (3) sexual immorality itself.
In Song of Songs, God has given us a holy and beautiful picture of a marital sexual relationship, and everyone seems to be having an excellent time.