What Does the Bible Say about Premarital Sex?

The Bible doesn’t specifically mention ‘premarital sex’—not in that exact term. Some translations mention the word ‘fornication,’ but there’s controversy concerning whether ‘fornicate’ is an appropriate term. Whether it is or isn’t, we find several verses that spin around an axis of sexual morality and help us navigate this question. They often center on the heart and the spirit. So yes, the Bible does indeed have much to say about the concept of premarital sex.

Genesis 2:24
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

In this verse, God opens a glimpse into sexual relations. A man is instructed to leave his father and mother, unite with his wife, then become one with her. This includes three distinct steps in a specific order: leave, unite, then become one.

Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

When hormones rage, corralling sexual desire isn’t always easy or wanted, especially not in the heat of the moment. Some of us have stepped into this arena more than once. In this spiritual battleground, however, we’re called to guard our heart with righteousness, not follow it with selfish desire. We serve a God who equips and loves us well, and He knows the impact our actions and those of others can have on the heart. He even offers forgiveness when we’ve trailed off after the heart instead of guarding it well.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

These two Bible verses give glimpse of a life led with Holy Spirit wisdom. Self-control sits on this list, a topic often in the center of the sexual battlefield. Living by and following the Spirit leads us to a life bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—not idolatry, jealousy, selfish ambition, or sexual immorality.

For more Bible verses about marriage click here.