What Does The Bible Say About Living Together Before Marriage?

Should Christian couples live together outside or before marriage? What are the Biblical consequences of engaging in this act? We answer these questions and more, keep reading.

Bride and groom are holding champagne glasses

In this context, Living together, is the situation where two unmarried individuals share a living space as a couple and have sexual relations.

Many believe this is necessary for three reasons:

  • To evaluate compatibility with each other before marriage
  • To save on rent and individual expenses
  • Other personal or practical considerations

Although, modern society is increasingly in support of this practice, even among Christians, it does not change what the Bible says about it. Therefore, although everyone else supports it, we must turn to the word of God for the final authority on the subject.

What Does The Bible Say About Living Together Before Marriage?

The Bible is explicit regarding this issue, in that, it outrightly condemns premarital sex, that is, sex before marriage, and any sexual activity outside the marriage setting.

How does this concern cohabitation? Because, those who cohabit, or live together and engage in sexual activity, outrightly violate God’s principle of abstinence from sex outside or before marriage.

The Bible says that God will punish anyone involved in sexual immorality, which involves (but is not limited to) sex before marriage, and sex outside marriage, because they all involve having sexual intercourse with someone whom you are not married to.

(All scripture quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)

What Does The Bible Say About Living Together Before Marriage KJV?

The Bible is direct about many issues, which we must be careful to observe. Sexual immorality is one of them.

Find below some Bible references to what God says about living together, or engaging in premarital sex.

“Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.”John 4:16-18
“But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”Acts 15:20
“Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”1Corinthians 6:13
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”1Thessalonians 4:3
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”Hebrews 13:4
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,”1Corinthians 6:9

Does The Bible Say You Shouldn’t Live Together Before Marriage?

The Bible may not plainly indicate these words, but it states it indirectly. You may ask how.

Living together, as we have seen in this context, refers to two people who have not been legally married living under the same roof and having sexual intercourse, which is fornication, together.

Does the Bible say you shouldn’t fornicate? Yes it does. God condemns it greatly as sin against Him, and against our bodies.

“Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”1Corinthians 6:16-18

Therefore, if living together means fornicating, having sex outside or before marriage, then yes, the Bibles says not to live together.

What Does The Bible Say About Living Together But Not Sleeping Together?

The Bible does not say anything about this literally. However, we can infer that it does when we look at the subject, and what God’s word says about the circumstances surrounding it.

For instance, when two people who have some emotional and sexual attraction to each other begins to live together, although they may intend to just share a space together without sex, they expose themselves to these three things:

  • A negative testimony of immorality before an unbelieving world

Because the average person assumes that two people living together are sexually active, this places a dent on our representation of Christ to a world we are supposed to show God’s standard.

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”Ephesians 5:3
  • Exposure to tremendous temptation to sexual immorality

Even if the couple commit to sexual abstinence, cohabiting puts them in a position that can easily lead them to compromise and fall into the temptation. Hence, it is wiser to not give “place to the devil” than provide him an opportunity to tempt us.

“Abstain from all appearance of evil. (KJV)”1Thessalonians 5:22
  • Become a stumbling block to another

As believers, we are responsible for the spiritual stability of our brother or sister in Christ. This includes not only our partner but also others watching us in the faith. Our actions may lead other believers to sin. They may follow our examples, fall into the error negative thinking towards us, divisions, and backbiting which are all unrighteous before God.

Therefore, we must seek for peace and whatever leads to the progress of our brethren in Christ more and more.

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.”Romans 14:19-21

Is Living Together Before Marriage A Sin?

If living together means everything we have talked about so far, that is, having premarital sex, making a negative representation of Christ, being the object of temptation for another saint, then yes, it is sin to indulge in before marriage.

It is, therefore, advised, that if a couple wants to live together, then they should get married.

“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”1Corithians 7:1-2

What Does The Bible Say About Living Together While Engaged?

Being “engaged” means committing to each other with the promise of being married. In other words, it means betrothal to one another.

There is nothing wrong with being betrothed. However, like we have been trying to understand so far, being betrothed, engaged or just dating, living together and engaging in immorality is ungodly and sinful.

Jesus pointed out to the Samaritan woman at the well that the person she was living with was not her husband. Whether He meant that literally or that being engaged and living in with someone does not make them your husband, we can’t say but it is both a useful reference.

“Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.”John 4:16-18

Joseph was engaged to Mary but didn’t live with her until he married her and took responsibility of her and her unborn Child.

Also, the brothers of Dinah, Jacob’s daughter considered their sister used as a prostitute when Shechem slept with her, kept her in his home, and was asking for her hand in marriage from her father.

Hence, we can refer to Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church in 1Corinthians 7 to “marry rather than burn” in lust as being engaged does not excuse sinning together.

Will God Forgive Living Together Before Marriage?

There is forgiveness for everyone and anyone willing to repent from their sinful ways unto God no matter what they have done, fornication included.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1John 1:9

If an unmarried couple has been living together already, maybe while in ignorance or negligence of this Biblical injunction, and now wish to do what it right, they have two options:

  1. Look for and live in separate quarters avoiding sexual contact until married
  2. Get married as quickly as possible

These two are godly ways of showing our acknowledgement of God’s standard and our willingness to follow it.

Biblical Consequences Of Living Together Before Marriage

Are there consequences of living together before marriage that we can find in the Bible? Yes, there are.

Before we look at the scriptures, here are some results from surveys performed in the U.S some few years ago concerning people who live together outside marriage:

  • 46 percent of unmarried couples living together had more chances of divorcing when they do get married than regular couples who started living together after marriage.
  • Cohabiting is counterproductive to long-lasting marriage.

Find below some verses that tell us the Biblical consequences of living together, in sexual immorality, before or outside marriage:

  • Limits the believers in question from experiencing the possibilities of life in Christ
“For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God”Ephesians 5:5
  • Exposes the believer in question to the same judgment on the sin they are involved in
“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes.”1Corinthians 10:6-9
“In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”Jude 1:7
  • If not repented of, this ungodliness will lead the believer to hell
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”Revelation 21:8

Marriage is a beautiful thing when done rightly. Let us maintain our stand in the Biblical standard set by God regardless of what the world approves or not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.