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PART 4: Navigating the Early Stages of a Relationship » Quite a few Boundless readers asked questions or made comments about my statement in “Biblical Dating: How It’s Different From Modern Dating” that “biblical dating assumes outside of marriage that Scripture explicitly prohibits?
How can you say definitively that other things are wrong? Shouldn’t our physical relationship “progress” as other aspects of our relationship deepen? I understand most physical stuff is wrong, but what about All good questions.
Some translations render the word “wrong” as “defraud.” To defraud someone is to deceive that person — in this context, to imply a commitment that does not exist by committing acts with someone that are appropriate only in the context of a particular relationship (i.e., marriage) to satisfy my own “passionate lust.” To commit sexual immorality with and against someone, far from showing the “love” to which Scripture calls all believers, is to act like those “who do not know God,” and this passage calls such acts “sin.” Now, one obvious counterargument to the point I intend to make is that the Scriptures I’ve cited above just beg the question of what behaviors violate those passages.
The argument might run thus: “Of course I want to love to others. I just think I can show genuine affection (short of intercourse) with someone I clearly care about and still obey those passages.” Fair enough. Let’s say for the sake of argument that it is theoretically possible to engage in extramarital romantically oriented physical activity Think about the times you have engaged in any type of romantically oriented physical activity with someone not your spouse.
I am obviously not saying that hugs and kisses of affection or greeting to relatives and the like are out of bounds. In some cultures, kisses of greeting — between members of the same sex or of the opposite sex — as well as hand-holding and other forms of physical expression during normal, non-romantic social intercourse, are more common. You might even be able to talk me into the notion that , “non-leaning-in” hugs of greeting, sympathy, etc.
between men and women who are not romantically involved are OK.
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, let’s go to Scripture.
God instituted sex within marriage as part of His design of the family (Genesis ).
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 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 1 Corinthians 7:3 and following, Paul says once we are married, our bodies literally belong to our spouse; he also instructs spouses to meet one another’s sexual needs and to be together regularly so as to protect ourselves from falling into ungodly lust and extramarital sexual activity.
If you have any doubts about God’s intention to give us sex as a wonderful, pleasurable gift, Song of Songs should put them to rest.