Does the bible actually teach that believers should save sex for marriage?


by Sis. Annabel Uliyemi

How can you trust a car that you didn’t test-drive?

This was a question a Christian sister asked me some time ago when we engaged in a conversation about sex before marriage. Her statement implied, “How can you trust that sex would be good with a person if you don’t try it before getting married? Marriage is forever, I can’t be stuck with bad sex.”

She went on to mention various thoughts to support her idea. But I had only one question for her: What does the Bible say regarding this? As believers, we must understand that the Bible is our standard, so whatever the bible tells us regarding this matter is the ultimate.

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body [g]and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20(NKJV)

1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:1-3(NKJV)

The scriptures I’ve shared leave no room for doubt: God’s instruction is that sex be enjoyed only within a marriage between a man and a woman.

However, despite this clarity, some believers entertain the idea that sexual intimacy outside of marriage is permissible, especially if there’s an intention to marry. Such a belief contradicts God’s explicit commands and constitutes disobedience. To elaborate further, let me present two scenarios:

1. If you order a product that requires assembling, you’d refer to the manual to understand how to assemble it. Similarly, God’s word, our ‘manual,’ instructs us on how to use the gift of sex. Your obedience to God’s instruction reflects your trust in God’s wisdom and ability. Remember, God’s word is our standard, not our feelings or the standards of the culture in which we live.

2. Vanilla was my favourite cake flavour until I tried red velvet. Hence, if I hadn’t tried red velvet, vanilla would still be my favourite. I bring this up to ask these questions:

  • Who defines what qualifies as ‘good’ sex (in light of the sister’s statement)? Your experience of sin?
  • What criteria are you relying on? Premarital experience?
  • Doesn’t the desire to test-drive until you find someone who “knows how to do it best” imply that we would need to experiment with different partners to find out? and finally,
  • If you argue that you’ll ‘test it’ only with the person you intend to marry, don’t you think that it’ll be better to just obey God and wait until you’re married?

Peradventure you have answered these questions and you agree that sex should be saved for marriage, but you’re left wondering,

“What do I stand to gain? So many people do it any way and they’re happy so why deprive myself of something so enjoyable?

Continue reading.

The Benefits of Practicing Sexual Abstinence as A Believer

As believers, we don’t abstain from sexual immorality because we’re afraid of getting pregnant, contracting sexually transmitted diseases or being discovered by our pastors. Contraceptives and lies are enough to help us avoid these negative outcomes. However, even if no one knows, we cannot hide our sin from our heavenly Father who knows all things. This is why our basis for abstinence is to honour and obey God.

Of course, when we honour God, we experience His blessings and observe several benefits such as:

1. It builds the character of self-control:

Abstinence is far from easy, I mean, we have hormones. But in practicing abstinence, I am learning, that by depending on the strength of the Holy Spirit to say NO! to tempting situations, I am building self-control that I would need to exercise in marriage too to be faithful to my spouse.

2. Abstinence ensures that you build genuine friendship in courtship:

If you truly want to build a genuine friendship with someone you intend to marry, certain research suggests that it’s best to refrain from sex before marriage. The reason for this is that when people are sexually involved, they easily overlook red flags in their partner’s character that could negatively impact their marriage later on.

By practicing abstinence and exercising self-control, you can avoid being swayed by the excitement of sex. This clarity allows you to objectively assess your partner’s character and make informed decisions about the relationship’s future, including recognizing and addressing any character flaws that could pose challenges in marriage.

In summary, as believers, we have been called to live our lives according to God’s word. We don’t choose what to obey, we obey EVERYTHING and that includes abstinence until marriage. We have been called to a life of obedience. So, let us all be encouraged to rely on the Holy Spirit who helps us abide by God’s instructions.

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