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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.






01 August 2005

Living Together before Marriage


Q: Is there anything in the Bible that says that it’s not wrong to live with someone (my girlfriend) before marriage? If so, where in the Bible would it say that?

A: As you ask, the question, so I answer: Nothing in the Bible says that it is not wrong. If you look at all Scriptures that speak of marriage or sex, it appears plain that there are two types of sexual relationships: One is that of husband and wife living a true, committed marriage and the other is a sham, a false marriage, or something even more shameful.

While premarital sex is not so harshly condemned as adultery or homosexuality, it is clear that God intended sex to be of the essence of marriage from Eden on. The word often translated “fornication” in older Bibles often includes in its definition any sex outside of marriage.

Instead of focusing on the negatives, consider the positives: God blesses marriage and intends it for our comfort, strength, and joy. So consider how one is to “leave his father and mother” and be united with his wife, becoming “one flesh.” Glowing words such as these are found in Genesis 2:18-24, Ephesians 5:22-33, and Matthew 19:4-6. This is not only a matter of grudgingly doing the right thing, it is joyfully doing the best thing and living life as God intended it to be lived.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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