Yesterday I pontificated upon Exodus 22:16, which says that it is lawful to have premarital sex with a woman as long as you intend to officially make her your wife.
It is lawful to go about marriage this way, however most Christians would say that premarital sex, even for an engaged couple, is wrong, let alone for a non-engaged couple.
I find this sort of clear-cut statement a tad amusing.
The Bible has many accounts of people getting married. Most of it involves going and getting a woman, having sex with her, and taking her home.
Other unique Biblical ways of getting a wife include, but are not limited to:
Having your servant go get one for your son
Holding a dance and having men hide in the bushes and jump out and grab a cute woman to take home
Get mad at a married guy and have God kill him and then take his wife
Work for a father of a cute girl for seven years, then marry her sister, work seven more years and finally get the woman of your dreams
Cut foreskins off the enemies of the father of a cute girl
Hold a beauty contest and bed the winner
Certainly no one would use such means in our day, this is true. So, perhaps we should stop using the Bible as a guide for getting a wife?
So, what about Exodus 22:16 and the lawfulness of premarital sex?
Well, couple things come into play.
1) We’re no longer under the Law of Moses; we now follow Christ, the embodiment of love, which is the fulfilling of the Law.
2) The Law also said divorce was OK. When the Pharisees pressed this point with Jesus, He said divorce was allowed because of the hardness of their heart. I think Exodus 22:16 fits that category to a tee. God is not saying this is how marriage must take place. He seems to be saying that if you have sex with a girl, make it right by marrying her.
3) The New Testament is filled with commands about sexual purity. Sex outside of marriage appears to be a fairly straight-forward teaching. However, when most young people who have sex take their confession to a church, usually the church judges them, kicks them out, and has a hissy fit, usually lead by older, nosy, voyeuristic men (not always, but I’ve seen it).
The sexual urge is a strong thing, especially in youthful people. People make mistakes. This is one of them. Once it has happened, there’s no going back. Make it right, marry the girl. Everyone else should chill, help them out, and encourage them to remain faithful and pure.
It is good for us to be honest with Scripture, not to make ridiculous statements about how the Bible says premarital sex is wrong. Use that carefully and know how to answer anyone who brings up Exodus 22:16, or related passages.
Know the Book before making absolute statements supposedly from it.