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Pilgrimtozion
Jan 9th 2008, 01:00 PM
Though it seems as though many a discussion has been had concerning a variety of topics, I do not recall many threads that talk about what the Bible has to say about sexual boundaries between couples outside of marriage. We all know that intercourse outside of marriage is a sin in God's eyes. As far as I know, the Bible doesn't discuss much other than intercourse. This would be logical, since most couples in those days got married shortly after they met for the first time.

So what does the Bible say about this topic? We know about intercourse, but there is so much between holding hands and having intercourse! I would like to hear Biblically founded responses, not personal preferences or notions as to what you believe to be right or wrong. Please back any answer given up with Scripture.

ProjectPeter
Jan 9th 2008, 02:26 PM
There isn't much outside of talking about intercourse. God gives us common sense however! ;)

Beyond holding hands type stuff... one is setting themselves up a bit. Hold hands... arms around.... then the kiss... after a while enter the roaming hands... after a while... "we accidently had sex." If one thinks about it... really wasn't an accident at all. Just some boneheaded decisions to further advance yourself until sex was the next viable option. :)

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 9th 2008, 02:30 PM
There isn't much outside of talking about intercourse. God gives us common sense however! ;)

Beyond holding hands type stuff... one is setting themselves up a bit. Hold hands... arms around.... then the kiss... after a while enter the roaming hands... after a while... "we accidently had sex." If one thinks about it... really wasn't an accident at all. Just some boneheaded decisions to further advance yourself until sex was the next viable option. :)
If the boundary of not having intercourse is clearly set and stuck to, however, it becomes a different story. I understand that going further and further can make it more and more difficult on yourself, but I want to start from the point that having intercourse is a set boundary that will not be crossed, and then discover what else the Bible says from there.

Athanasius
Jan 9th 2008, 02:30 PM
There isn't much outside of talking about intercourse. God gives us common sense however! ;)

Beyond holding hands type stuff... one is setting themselves up a bit. Hold hands... arms around.... then the kiss... after a while enter the roaming hands... after a while... "we accidently had sex." If one thinks about it... really wasn't an accident at all. Just some boneheaded decisions to further advance yourself until sex was the next viable option. :)

Then you try to fix it all, ask God for help and you find yourself in a place and don't know how you go there.

Personal preference, experience, I won't be doing much 'holding hands type stuff'. It already ruined something perfectly good.

<--Ah wells; pity party.

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 9th 2008, 02:58 PM
There isn't much outside of talking about intercourse. God gives us common sense however! ;)

Beyond holding hands type stuff... one is setting themselves up a bit. Hold hands... arms around.... then the kiss... after a while enter the roaming hands... after a while... "we accidently had sex." If one thinks about it... really wasn't an accident at all. Just some boneheaded decisions to further advance yourself until sex was the next viable option. :)
Do I understand you correctly in that you say that the Bible gives no guidelines except "no intercourse before marriage"?

CoffeeBeaned
Jan 9th 2008, 03:26 PM
Not scriptural but this metaphor may help. Consider intercourse like a high cliff. To be safe, you're going to want to stay back as far from the edge of that cliff as possible. The closer you go to the cliff edge the more likely it is that you may fall over the edge.

ProjectPeter
Jan 9th 2008, 03:42 PM
If the boundary of not having intercourse is clearly set and stuck to, however, it becomes a different story. I understand that going further and further can make it more and more difficult on yourself, but I want to start from the point that having intercourse is a set boundary that will not be crossed, and then discover what else the Bible says from there.There is nothing that says you can't hold hands. Nothing that says you can't sit next to each other... giggle, laugh, stare at each other and feel all sorts of giddy and goofy when you are around each other. ;) Some might even call that love.

But that being said... there is a line that you do know you can't cross Scripturally. That line is sex. So what constitutes sex. There is the deed itself which is clearly obvious I would hope. But then, folks being folks... they've come up with their "end arounds" thinking themselves wise! But here is where that gets them into trouble.

Matthew 5:27 ¶"You have heard that it was said, `YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY´;
28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

I say this without reservation. You can insert the word fornicate in there and be perfectly within Scriptural teaching. The point Jesus is making would still hold true.

That is why Paul makes it clear to folks.

1 Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 But because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.

and then he says...

1 Corinthians 7:8 ¶But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.
9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.

Rest assured... the person that is in a relationship that involves the holding hands, kissing, and etc... they will find themselves very short on the self-control issue. :lol: Again... some Scripture mixed with prudence... it should hopefully make sense.

Whispering Grace
Jan 9th 2008, 03:48 PM
I am of the belief that umarried couples should never, ever be alone together. I think that would easily solve the question of "how far can we go without going too far?".

The Bible says clearly to "flee youthful lusts" (2 Timothy 2:22). Anything that would stir up one's passions would fall into that category (and anyone who thinks kissing, snuggling, hugging, etc doesn't stir up passions is delusional!)

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 9th 2008, 03:53 PM
I am of the belief that umarried couples should never, ever be alone together. I think that would easily solve the question of "how far can we go without going too far?".

The Bible says clearly to "flee youthful lusts" (2 Timothy 2:22). Anything that would stir up one's passions would fall into that category (and anyone who thinks kissing, snuggling, hugging, etc doesn't stir up passions is delusional!)
Delusional indeed! But the question this causes me to ask is whether the desires those actions produce (kissing, snuggling, hugging) is actually what Paul refers to here when he speaks of "youthful lusts". Why is desiring physical union out of love any more right or wrong than desiring emotional, mental, or spiritual union with somebody out of love?

Whispering Grace
Jan 9th 2008, 04:03 PM
Why is desiring physical union out of love any more right or wrong than desiring emotional, mental, or spiritual union with somebody out of love?

It is wrong because lust is a sin. My understanding is that desiring anyone sexually who is not your wife (or husband) is lust and therefore a sin.

karenoka27
Jan 9th 2008, 04:07 PM
Psalm 139:23-24-"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."


You know in your heart what you should and shouldn't be doing. You know in your heart when before marriage if it is lustful thoughts that are controlling you.
You have to be honest with yourself before God. Look in the mirror and ask yourself what you should or should not be doing. You'll see your answer...

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 9th 2008, 04:44 PM
It is wrong because lust is a sin. My understanding is that desiring anyone sexually who is not your wife (or husband) is lust and therefore a sin.
I consider it natural and even expectable to desire somebody who is to be my wife. What I do with that desire remains to be seen. But to desire her is not in and of itself a sin, just as desiring emotional or spiritual unity with her is not a sin.

Please understand that I am not seeking any form of justification. I merely ask the question because I want to separate what people say from what the Bible says.

CoffeeBeaned
Jan 9th 2008, 04:55 PM
Some advice from the Bible's Book of Love

Song of Solomon 2:7

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

Those feelings are pretty powerful and it's best not to awaken them before you are married and therefore in a situation to satisfy them in a way that is pleasing to God.

matthew94
Jan 9th 2008, 04:56 PM
I think we have to be honest by admitting that the Bible doesn't speak very loudly on this issue. In fact, it seems there wasn't really such a thing as 'dating' in biblical times. A couple was probably never alone together until they were betrothed, which was more serious than engagement. But that cultural feature, though wise as it may be, isn't a Scriptural command.

Obviously, I agree that intercourse before marriage is wrong, not only in that it is stupid, but it also shows impatience, a lack of self control, selfishness, etc. Personally, I think it is a bit legalistic to say holding hands and/or kissing before marriage is sinful! It is, of course, quite possible to hold hands without lusting for sex. And it is possible to kiss without lusting for sex. And I think it is quite possible to spend time alone together.

I think each couple is a different case depending on the history of their relationships, their spiritual maturity, the commitment level of the relationship, etc.

But as a matter of practicality, I'd suggest drawing the line at 'roaming hands'

ProjectPeter
Jan 9th 2008, 05:06 PM
I consider it natural and even expectable to desire somebody who is to be my wife. What I do with that desire remains to be seen. But to desire her is not in and of itself a sin, just as desiring emotional or spiritual unity with her is not a sin.

Please understand that I am not seeking any form of justification. I merely ask the question because I want to separate what people say from what the Bible says.
For what reason are you looking? Motive is always an important factor. Ponder it.

ProjectPeter
Jan 9th 2008, 05:09 PM
I think we have to be honest by admitting that the Bible doesn't speak very loudly on this issue. In fact, it seems there wasn't really such a thing as 'dating' in biblical times. A couple was probably never alone together until they were betrothed, which was more serious than engagement. But that cultural feature, though wise as it may be, isn't a Scriptural command.

Obviously, I agree that intercourse before marriage is wrong, not only in that it is stupid, but it also shows impatience, a lack of self control, selfishness, etc. Personally, I think it is a bit legalistic to say holding hands and/or kissing before marriage is sinful! It is, of course, quite possible to hold hands without lusting for sex. And it is possible to kiss without lusting for sex. And I think it is quite possible to spend time alone together.

I think each couple is a different case depending on the history of their relationships, their spiritual maturity, the commitment level of the relationship, etc.

But as a matter of practicality, I'd suggest drawing the line at 'roaming hands'I agree with you Matt. But then reality... generally speaking, how many young men do you know are going to jam their tongues down a gal's throat without sooner or later... having those roaming hands smacked or worse... left to roam? While I say there are certainly some who may well have strength to handle it... I dare say that number would be VERY FEW. ;)

So here we are on an open board. Say it is okay... go for it. Just don't let the hands roam! Or do we say you know... it isn't something that most young men can handle. Best to be very careful.

Athanasius
Jan 9th 2008, 05:45 PM
I don't apologize for saying this.

But, if you aren't spiritually mature, you won't be able to handle anything past a kiss.
Boundries are made, come and are passed like lines in the sand.

Otherwise you are either (1) One of those spiritually mature people or (2) someone who enjoys the sexual side of their existence just a little too much.

If you're part of the first group, you won't be offended.
If you're part of the second, I'm sure you'll 'defend' your position.

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 9th 2008, 06:41 PM
I don't apologize for saying this.

But, if you aren't spiritually mature, you won't be able to handle anything past a kiss.
Boundries are made, come and are passed like lines in the sand.

Otherwise you are either (1) One of those spiritually mature people or (2) someone who enjoys the sexual side of their existence just a little too much.

If you're part of the first group, you won't be offended.
If you're part of the second, I'm sure you'll 'defend' your position.
Perhaps I may reword your reply by quoting the following Scripture:

"The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." Romans 14:22-23 (ESV)

This seems to answer my question as best as I feel it can be answered from Scripture: what we do, needs to proceed from faith that it both honors God and is right in His sight. The context of this passage also suggests I should not do anything to cause my brother or sister to stumble. In other words, if we can "fellowship" in the Lord's presence through hugging, cuddling, or whatever else, and do so with a clear conscience in faith, it is acceptable in God's sight. God's commands and principles should not be overstepped, of course, so that we do not justify our self-centered sexual activities or claim having sex is ok. But if a couple cannot do what they do in faith...well, then they should not do it.

Whispering Grace
Jan 9th 2008, 06:56 PM
In other words, if we can "fellowship" in the Lord's presence through hugging, cuddling, or whatever else, and do so with a clear conscience in faith, it is acceptable in God's sight.

I ask this in all sincerity...what does cuddling and hugging have to do with fellowshiping in the Lord's presence? Would you suggest it is okay for me to go to church and cuddle with a man who is not my husband for the sake of "fellowshiping in the Lord's presence"?

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 9th 2008, 06:59 PM
I ask this in all sincerity...what does cuddling and hugging have to do with fellowshiping in the Lord's presence? Would you suggest it is okay for me to go to church and cuddle with a man who is not my husband for the sake of "fellowshiping in the Lord's presence"?
Well if it's just any man not so very much. But if it's somebody you're committed to and going to marry, I don't see why it would not be possible to bless each other and enjoy what God has given in His presence. Or am I being very silly?

Athanasius
Jan 9th 2008, 06:59 PM
Going to have to agree with Whispering.
That's why when I thought I was going to marry my ex we prematurely started 'blessing' each other.

Buck shot
Jan 9th 2008, 08:27 PM
I've been married almost 19 years and have found that when you draw a line you will most likely cross it but hey it makes you feel good at first. Seems the closer you get to the line the fussier it will get!

It is true that in God's word this was not discussed much because it did not have to be. Men and women usually did not see each other alone before it was time and women were dressed to where the weakness of man was easier to control. Look at how they still dress today over there. Do you see many Daisy Duke's or mini-skirts?

If you deside to play you will regret it down the road! The best thing you can do is keep someone with you at all times. It will be worth it for you both in the future!

threebigrocks
Jan 9th 2008, 08:46 PM
Pilgrim - just get married. Problem solved!

I know it's not just a couple weeks of shopping and preparations made for you guys, but really - hop into the fast lane and with endurance, self control and commitment get all taken care of as quickly as possible. ;)

Praying for you guys, and just don't do anything before the promise to marry is fufilled...

coldfire136
Jan 9th 2008, 08:48 PM
I have read all the responses on this board, but none of them get to heart of the issue. Perhaps we should consider what sex is, why we have sex, and what cultural implications we can glean from reading the texts about sex in context.

First, let us remind ourselves that a "biblically grounded" response to dating, intercourse, and relationships in twenty-first century America is something of an anachronism. The Bible does not talk about dating, allows polygamy for the most part in the Old Testament (David and Solomon are both seen as great protagonists of the Jewish and Christian faith), and all of scripture was written in a certain context. As has already been mentioned, people were often married soon after they met. This means that the bible speaks little of many of the problems that people are referring to on this board.

Let us start by looking at one big difference between America and ancient near east/Palestine/Israel during the Roman Empire. The land was made up of mostly poor peasants who worked the land and worshiped Yahweh. The scope of that worship varied from place to place. Samaritans were considered "half-breeds," Galileans were considered stupid for the most part, pharisees were the religious elite, Saducees were usually elitist, and there were also zealots and separatists who practiced different strands of Judaism. Thus, there is no one "version" of Judaism, and it is even more difficult to find one "brand" of early Christianity that emerged in the years after Christ. But what did most of these people share in common?

They were agricultural workers or artisans that made barely enough to survive. We live in a society where we have "free time" to cuddle, play around, kiss, date, have relationships and hang out on weekends. The reason for the Sabbath in Jewish culture was a communal day where they could take a break from their labor that happened from sun-up to sun-down. There was no way for teenagers in this culture to have a separate "youth-culture" because they would have to be in bed and asleep when the sun went down. There was no "secret rendevous" that took place because there were no street lights to get from place to place. The world, in these days, really shut down with the sun and started with the sun. But when the sun was up, they would have to do SO many things to survive and live. Dating would have been considered an excessive and unneeded element in their daily lives. In fact, dating was not even on their radar because they had to work so hard to continue working to make sure their families could be fed. Most were defined by their parents occupation and they would follow in their parents footsteps.

So why are we even discussing this from a "biblical" standpoint. It all seems quite foolish. If you want a "truly" biblical stand point you would have to go back to a dowry system, and if that is the case, then Muslims are much close to "biblical marriage."

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 9th 2008, 09:12 PM
Pilgrim - just get married. Problem solved!

I know it's not just a couple weeks of shopping and preparations made for you guys, but really - hop into the fast lane and with endurance, self control and commitment get all taken care of as quickly as possible. ;)

Praying for you guys, and just don't do anything before the promise to marry is fufilled...
Thank you, TBR. Much appreciated and trust me, we won't do anything before that promise is fulfilled...

CoffeeBeaned
Jan 9th 2008, 10:10 PM
So why are we even discussing this from a "biblical" standpoint. It all seems quite foolish.

Because the Bible is the Word of God and we as Christians want to follow it?

NHL Fever
Jan 9th 2008, 10:28 PM
Well if it's just any man not so very much. But if it's somebody you're committed to and going to marry, I don't see why it would not be possible to bless each other and enjoy what God has given in His presence. Or am I being very silly?

I guess it follows then that if you love the other person so much - why not just wait a bit? What have you conceivably lost by doing so that won't get once you're married? I think nothing, but what you gain is mutual respect and the satisfaction of doing the right thing.

I echo 3 big rocks suggestion of just getting married. I think its a sham the way marriage is set up now - massively expensive requiring all kinds of planning, waste of resources, wastes of time etc. And you women out there - this is mostly your fault because you demand all the fanciest most perfect stuff for it to be 'right'. ;) I personally believe all that materialism is part of the sexual problem, because its such a huge hassle and investment to just do the right thing! And in the meantime the risk only increased on the couple, not to mention the frustrations which only make it more likely to falter.

CoffeeBeaned
Jan 10th 2008, 03:14 PM
My husband and I actually had a private ceremony with just our pastor and my daughter because we didn't want to wait and then a few months later had the "big wedding" with family and friends. I think the "big wedding" was a lot more fun because it was a lot less stressful. I was already married. BTW, we didn't tell anyone we were really married until the "big wedding."

Buck shot
Jan 10th 2008, 04:27 PM
That's pretty good Coffeebeaned. One of my brothers did the same thing!

TrustGzus
Jan 10th 2008, 05:12 PM
Let me lay some ground work of who I am. I'm male. I'm 36. I've been married for 15 (almost 16) years. I think I have a great marriage. I think it's safe to say my wife believes the same thing (her blog states so on the front page).

If I lost my wife due to some tragedy, I would think I would probably marry again at some time after getting over the great loss. Celibacy is gift according to Jesus and I certainly don't have that gift.

I've walked with the LORD for over two decades. I've read the Bible through every year in that time. I've served in all sorts of ministries over those two decades. This isn't to brag. I'm simply laying the groundwork that my life with Jesus is something that I've been serious about since I was 15 and I've not backed off in that commitment as I've gone well into my mid-thirties.

All that being said, my male genetic make up is incredibly strong. I only dated a handful of girls before meeting my wife. And being married to my wonderful wife for 15+ glorious years has not shut off hormonal tendencies to cause my body to find other women interesting. It's all about saying "no" to my flesh and more importantly, trusting Jesus to do that through me.

If I lost my wife, I would hope to take Paul's words it is good for a man not to touch a woman quite literally. Why do we think we should take it any other way? Why change the word touch to touch except for holding hands OR touch except for kissing OR whatever else you want to make it. Why not leave it as is? It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

Paul & Jesus have much better insight into my weakness than I ever realized as a young man. I don't know that I realize that weakness for what it is now. But I recognize it much more now than I did when I was in my teens and early twenties.

If I ever was in a situation to marry again (God forbid), I'm quite confident that the hand-holding, hugging, cuddling, kissing and everything else would work out quite fine after I married. I wouldn't trust myself before marriage to do those things again. I've been to the "Promise Land". And so if I did any of those things, they simply would begin to arouse my body to go where it could not go if I was not married.

This is not a normal word for Christians to use, but I will. I consider myself "lucky" that I did not have intercourse before marriage. I had way too much confidence in my ability to stop.

Young people who read this may think it's legalistic. You're welcome to think so. I've concluded over the years of my life and watching plenty of youth fall into sexual sin, that it's not legalism, it's wisdom.

Pilgrimtozion asked for Scripture and not personal preferences or notions. I have only given one Scripture, and one that has been mentioned already. But as one who dated and did "touch" women before I married, and has now spent 15 years in the "Promise Land", I cannot shut out personal experience from the commentary. My experience has caused me to rethink Paul's comments in 1 Corinthians 7 and take them more at face value.

Grace & peace,

Joe

NHL Fever
Jan 10th 2008, 07:31 PM
TrustGzus, I think given the failure statistics, it would be foolish to disregard your good advice. Great post!

Jude1:21
Jan 10th 2008, 08:15 PM
It is very important that we heed the words of Jesus when he warns us about lustful thoughts in our heart for another outside of marriage because this is a sin just as if that person had comitted adultery.
Lustful thoughts can be a temptation to go further.

excubitor
Jan 11th 2008, 01:04 PM
I am of the belief that umarried couples should never, ever be alone together. I think that would easily solve the question of "how far can we go without going too far?".

The Bible says clearly to "flee youthful lusts" (2 Timothy 2:22). Anything that would stir up one's passions would fall into that category (and anyone who thinks kissing, snuggling, hugging, etc doesn't stir up passions is delusional!)
This sounds rather repressive to me. This is not the impression I get from reading the Song of Solomon. I believe that the boundaries depend largely on how close to marriage you are. If there is no possibility of marriage then you are setting yourself up for frustration if you engage in any romantic behaviour whatsoever. However as you get closer to marriage you can move your boundaries. During the engagement period with only a few months to go till the wedding things can get quite adventurous and amorous. There still needs to be boundaries and I suggest that if you keep your clothes on there is no chance of fornication but plenty of opportunity for passion.

Of course kissing hugging caressing etc. stir up passions. That is the whole point of them. If it stirs up uncontrollable passion then it is certainly a problem, but not all passions are uncontrollable. Nor are all passions evil. some people have control over their passions and others do not.

i think it is sad that in this permissive age couples are in the sack almost on the first date. It is also very sad in a prudish age where the couples never get time together to kiss etc. and then suddenly they are in the sack on their wedding day. These sad people miss out on those courting days which should be wild passionate joyful delightful days of kissing, outings, rushed meetings, secret embraces. Who today gets to enjoy getting away from everybody else and driving into the country for a long kissing session?These types of amorous encounters almost cease after marriage when you have your own place. Sadly people who miss out on these delightful days of youth just before marriage don't have these happy memories to remember the delight of the wife and husband of their youth.

Someone suggested lusting after fornication was wrong just as lusting after adultery is wrong. The problem with lust is that it is an illicit desire for something which you have no right o have. Singles who lust after other singles who they are in no position to marry are certainly sinning. But having powerful sexual desires for someone who you are engaged to marry is not wrong. God created these desires to be channelled to move us towards marriage. They are wholesome and good desires and the expression of them is also wholesome and good. Keep your clothes on though (day clothes I am talking about, with firm fastenings, not pyjamas).

Also for those who are weak and are unable to restrain themselves it may be necessary to avoid too much intimacy and even to engage a chaperone. Virgins are far more likely ton be able to control their passions than the experienced because they are not hankering so much for the final consummation and are still content with the preludes. The sexually experienced will probably need to be far stricter in their setting of boundaries than the virgins. So we should judge ourselves not others and be resolved to as much as possible enjoy our courting and engagement without falling into the trap of fornication. Each couple needs to set boundaries, and if through lack of restraint that boundary is crossed it may be necessary to separate for a while and cool off.

For a final say on this I suggest that all couples moving toward marriage read the Song of Solomon. There is an incredible amount of tasteful inuendo in this book and if you examine the activities which are alluded to it is clear that the young couple are not yet married and yet are really quite involved and passionate toward each other.

excubitor
Jan 11th 2008, 01:14 PM
If I lost my wife, I would hope to take Paul's words it is good for a man not to touch a woman quite literally. Why do we think we should take it any other way? Why change the word touch to touch except for holding hands OR touch except for kissing OR whatever else you want to make it. Why not leave it as is? It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

You are quoting Paul out of context. His point was that it was good to remain celibate in order to devote yourself to serve the Lord and his kingdom. The passage was nothing at all about touching not whilst courting before marriage. Paul also said "better to marry than burn". If you are highly sexually motivated and your wife died then my advice would be to remarry.

Pauls advice to remain celibate was directed to young men who are gifted with the ability to control their sex drive without being overly frustrated and tempted into lust. To try to apply this instruction to all men could have tragic consequences. Those of us with strong sex drives which we struggle to control should make every effort to marry to avoid falling into snares.

Whispering Grace
Jan 11th 2008, 01:44 PM
However as you get closer to marriage you can move your boundaries. During the engagement period with only a few months to go till the wedding things can get quite adventurous and amorous. There still needs to be boundaries and I suggest that if you keep your clothes on there is no chance of fornication but plenty of opportunity for passion.

Where in the SOS do you get this? Show me the verses where they "moved the boundaries"?


The problem with lust is that it is an illicit desire for something which you have no right to have.

Exactly. A man not married to a woman has no right to have her. His right to have her comes when they say "I do" and the marriage is final.


God created these desires to be channelled to move us towards marriage.

Where in the Bible does it say that? From what I have read, God created these desires for marriage itself.


They are wholesome and good desires and the expression of them is also wholesome and good.

Sure....after marriage. ;)


For a final say on this I suggest that all couples moving toward marriage read the Song of Solomon. There is an incredible amount of tasteful inuendo in this book and if you examine the activities which are alluded to it is clear that the young couple are not yet married and yet are really quite involved and passionate toward each other.

Show me the verse where they are umarried yet involved in physical intimacy with one another.

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 11th 2008, 01:47 PM
Whispering Grace, are you implying that I am to have no sexual desire towards my fiancee whatsoever in any way and that having such desires is sinful?

Whispering Grace
Jan 11th 2008, 02:17 PM
Whispering Grace, are you implying that I am to have no sexual desire towards my fiancee whatsoever in any way and that having such desires is sinful?

I guess you'd have to define "sexual desire" and what it encompasses (actually, I'd prefer not to start getting into specifics, seeing how I am a prude and all ;)), but in the context of what Excubitor is implying (he seems to think anything is fair game as long as the clothes are on), I would say that is wrong.

Obviously you desire to have your fiancee sexually or you would not be taking her as a wife. But I disagree with Excubitor's notion that just because you are engaged it's an excuse to "move the boundaries". I see that nowhere in Scripture.

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 11th 2008, 02:32 PM
We won't go into specifics ( ;) ), but I want you to know I have great respect for your position, Whispering Grace. I believe that if a person is to disallow anything besides intercourse on the basis that it stirs up passions, he or she should take that argument to its logical conclusion and disallow anything which stirs up sexual passions - including kissing. I believe that those who say you can kiss but not hug, caress, or whatever, are using a double standard that is defined by nothing other than personal preference or what is considered to be 'safe'.

But let's face it: kissing is "lighting a fire" and does stir up sexual desires. Now, I don't see the Bible disallowing that if you're engaged to the person in question. But if you want to place any boundaries based on what the Bible says (which, again, I don't believe it says), my personal opinion is that you should go all the way and do as Whispering Grace has suggested.

TrustGzus
Jan 11th 2008, 03:47 PM
Greetings excubitor,
You are quoting Paul out of context. His point was that it was good to remain celibate in order to devote yourself to serve the Lord and his kingdom. The passage was nothing at all about touching not whilst courting before marriage. Paul also said "better to marry than burn". If you are highly sexually motivated and your wife died then my advice would be to remarry.

Pauls advice to remain celibate was directed to young men who are gifted with the ability to control their sex drive without being overly frustrated and tempted into lust. To try to apply this instruction to all men could have tragic consequences. Those of us with strong sex drives which we struggle to control should make every effort to marry to avoid falling into snares.I agree with your entire commentary here. I agree that Paul is saying if we can remain celibate, then do so to more fully devote ourselves to God. I think a text has one proper interpretation but can have more than one implication.

I'm not aware that courting was something that was even done in the days Paul was writing so I don't think Paul had in mind our dating atmosphere we have today. However, there were women that men surely would run into throughout the day. Would not taking his wording literally protect both men (and women) in their day and in ours?

Where I work it's mostly men. In a building with 200 or so employees, probably less than 20 are women. Some of them are quite attractive. There have been several affairs in the building. I've never been close to an affair with any of them. I never touch the women. If I never touch them, it's hard to have anything go wrong. If only students in my youth group would realize the common sense in that piece of advice.

Again, is it legalism? People can call it that if they want. But with all the sexual promiscuity abounding, and the stats aren't any better for the churched compared to the non-churched, why don't we take this verse more literally?

I wouldn't become a martyr over my commentary on this verse, but I do think we gloss over it too quickly thinking things like that's not possible OR that's legalistic OR Paul couldn't have meant for us to take it that way.

I'm not sure any of those are good excuses to look more closely at that verse.

matthew94
Jan 11th 2008, 04:01 PM
I actually agree with Excubitor for the most part. And I agree with pilgrimtozion as well. If we are going to disallow anything that causes desires, we need to take that to its logical conclusion. Even seeing a girl your attracted to has that potential, and certainly all forms of contact. I don't look at it that way at all. It's a matter of proper progression. It's certainly not 'wrong' to have no contact till marriage, but to me it seems very odd. One night you have never held hands or kissed a girl and the next night you're having intercourse with her? As excubitor said, I think a godly person can allow the Spirit to guide them in a pure and natural progression throughout the courting process. If the couple is not being Spirit led, then, of course, things will go sinfully.

I also recognize the point of projectpeter about not voicing our freedoms in Christ before the weak, though I am, personally, more inclined away from authoritarianism and toward libertarianism and the belief that each person is personally responsible for their actions.

TrustGzus
Jan 11th 2008, 05:23 PM
Hey Matt,

I think excubitor's post is good too.

I'm going to bold all the questions I'd like us to think through.
It's certainly not 'wrong' to have no contact till marriage, but to me it seems very odd.
Why is it odd?
Is it odd because of our cultural context in which we live?
Or is it odd because it is something like the "law of nature" as C.S. Lewis describes in the opening of Mere Christianity?
Is it odd for some other reason? What is it exactly that causes you claim it's odd? Is the cause Biblical or cultural?
I know what I'm saying sounds extreme and/or odd. But I don't want guys in here to just blow by it because it sounds that way. Think about all the Christians that are in sexual sin. Think about Paul's wording. Tell me exactly why it's odd or extreme. Don't just brush it aside.

Also, while isn't 'wrong' to have no contact, as you said, let me add it isn't 'wrong' to have contact. Paul said it is good not to touch a woman. He didn't say it's wrong to touch a woman. But even if Paul didn't say something is wrong, I think if he says it's good, I better have some outstanding reasoning to decide to go against Paul's good advice. I don't propose this idea because it's a sin to touch a woman. It's not sin. It's precautionary.

I've concluded after watching man after man after man (and teen after teen after teen) end up having sex outside of marriage, (some of them walking far from Jesus, others walking pretty close) that it is good not to touch a woman.
One night you have never held hands or kissed a girl and the next night you're having intercourse with her? As excubitor said, I think a godly person can allow the Spirit to guide them in a pure and natural progression throughout the courting process. If the couple is not being Spirit led, then, of course, things will go sinfully.How does "Spirit led sexual boundaries outside of marriage" look and work?

I ask because I've known several people who are truly walking with God, who read their Bibles on a daily, or near daily basis, fall into sexual intercourse outside of marriage.

Men, don't overestimate your self-control. It's probably nowhere near as good as you'd like to think. Boundaries are broken down slowly. It doesn't go from no contact to intercourse the next night. Just because you're close to Jesus doesn't mean you can't/won't fail.

TrustGzus
Jan 11th 2008, 05:28 PM
I have to wonder also how different men would think of what I've shared. If you comment, could you share your status. Are you married? Have you never been married? Or something else.

No one suggested this kind of idea to me when I was single. I probably wouldn't have been too open to it.

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 11th 2008, 05:31 PM
I have to wonder also how different men would think of what I've shared. If you comment, could you share your status. Are you married? Have you never been married? Or something else.

No one suggested this kind of idea to me when I was single. I probably wouldn't have been too open to it.
Forgive me if I add to your question, but as the OP I'd like to keep the discussion at least somewhat Bible-centered, not opinion, personal preference, or experience-based.

matthew94
Jan 11th 2008, 06:22 PM
Hey Matt,

Why is it odd?
Is it odd because of our cultural context in which we live?
Or is it odd because it is something like the "law of nature" as C.S. Lewis describes in the opening of Mere Christianity?
Is it odd for some other reason? What is it exactly that causes you claim it's odd? Is the cause Biblical or cultural?Good question. I think it is 'odd' for 2 reasons. First, I see no real biblical support for zero contact before marriage. Second, I see it as creating a very drastic step on the wedding night. I am not sure how else to explain it, but I think going from 'no contact' to 'intercourse' in 1 day is a strange and extra-biblical idea.

In fact, if I were persuaded by the 'no contact' argument, I wouldn't want to have intercourse on my wedding night. I'd still want there to be a progression over a period of time.

Our cultural context says have sex outside of marriage, which i am completely against, so it's obviously not culture that is influential in my thinking.


I know what I'm saying sounds extreme and/or odd. But I don't want guys in here to just blow by it because it sounds that way. Think about all the Christians that are in sexual sin. Think about Paul's wording. Tell me exactly why it's odd or extreme. Don't just brush it aside.

I don't think Paul's wording is odd or extreme.


Also, while isn't 'wrong' to have no contact, as you said, let me add it isn't 'wrong' to have contact. Paul said it is [I]good not to touch a woman. He didn't say it's wrong to touch a woman. But even if Paul didn't say something is wrong, I think if he says it's good, I better have some outstanding reasoning to decide to go against Paul's good advice. I don't propose this idea because it's a sin to touch a woman. It's not sin. It's precautionary.

Paul was saying it is good to remain celibate (7:1) because the time was short (7:29). His 'no contact' rule was for people with the gift of celibacy (7:7). By declaring that the time was short, he was either talking about a 1st century event (like AD70) or he simply believed the 2nd Coming was closer than it actually was. In either case, that the 'time is short' is questionable in our current context.

In other words, I think the passage advises 'no contact' for those with the gift of celibacy and applauds this lifestyle. Further, I think the passage advises those with strong desires to marry, to marry. I don't think the passage has much to say about the level of physical contact between 2 people headed toward marriage. I certainly agree with an earlier poster that casual relationships shouldn't have a developed physical aspect. But the passage, to me, offers no insight in regards to committed marriage-bound relationships.


I've concluded after watching man after man after man (and teen after teen after teen) end up having sex outside of marriage, (some of them walking far from Jesus, others walking pretty close) that it is good not to touch a woman.How does "Spirit led sexual boundaries outside of marriage" look and work?

I ask because I've known several people who are truly walking with God, who read their Bibles on a daily, or near daily basis, fall into sexual intercourse outside of marriage.

Men, don't overestimate your self-control. It's probably nowhere near as good as you'd like to think. Boundaries are broken down slowly. It doesn't go from no contact to intercourse the next night. Just because you're close to Jesus doesn't mean you can't/won't fail.

My denomination, the Wesleyan Church, concluded, after watching person after person after person fall into alcoholism, that we'd completely abstain from all alcohol. Was this decision good? Sure, in many ways it was. But we admit that it is extra-biblical. And any Wesleyan who looks down on another Christian for not abstaining completely from alcohol is in the wrong.

I look at this in the same way. There are many advantages to staying completely contact free prior to marriage. I can even call it a 'good' decision in our cultural environment. But I'm not about to tell people, and I know you aren't either, that 'no contact' is a biblical command. It may be a necessary commitment in our current age for many couples.

But like I said before, if I felt convicted to make that commitment, I, personally, wouldn't want to have intercourse on my wedding night. I'd want to start on that night a process toward sexual intercourse b/c I think the jump from no contact to intercourse is a drastic one.

In summary, I think all aspects of a relationship headed toward marriage are meant to grow slowly and gradually. Think of all other aspects of a relationship.

1) Family relationship. It would be a little odd to formally meet a girl's entire family on your first date. Instead, we slowly and gradually get to know the girl and her family. The relationship develops with time and a consistent pace.

2) Conversational relationship. You shouldn't begin a relationship by talking on the phone or in person for hours on end. ideally, you slowly and gradually become more conversational and comfortable. Similarly, you don't open up completely with a stranger. You get to know them first. And slowly and gradually you open up.

3) Time relationship. You don't start a courting process by spending 10 hours a day with a girl. You spend a little time here and a little time there. Eventually you spend more time with her leading up to engagement. Couples should spend a lot of time together in the month or two before the wedding, otherwise the transition might be disastrous!

These are just three examples of how, in every other aspect of relationships, we use a 'slow and steady' development model. My argument is simply that a physical relationship can, very rightfully, follow that same model. Each couple will have a different looking process b/c each couple is unique.

The biblical command is to not get drunk
The biblical command is to not have intercourse

I don't think being led by the Spirit is very hard to observe. Christians sense conviction. Christians can tell when someone they love is uncomfortable with something. If a relationship is mature and open, these things will be out in the open and boundaries will be set. And if the boundaries are broken, it's an obvious sign that the parties are too weak and should take a step or two or three back. If a relationship is not mature enough to talk about these things openly and sense each others concerns, there shouldn't be any physical relationship in the first place.

In Christ,
matthew

TrustGzus
Jan 11th 2008, 08:03 PM
Hey Pilgrimtozion,
Forgive me if I add to your question, but as the OP I'd like to keep the discussion at least somewhat Bible-centered, not opinion, personal preference, or experience-based.No need to ask my forgiveness. It is a thread you started. I need to honor your request. Keeping this Bible-centered only might make this thread end quickly. Verses should be interpreted in context, as can be seen in wrestling over 1 Corinthians 7. There is no passage, no context, that deals with this subject that I know of. All we can do is extrapolate principles here and there while not trying to manipulate a verse out of its context.

No pastor will ever say turn to 1 Corinthians chapter [fill in the blank] where we will explore what guidelines Paul gives for sexual boundaries outside of marriage.

It's just not there. Probably with good reason. They didn't have the dating scene that we have today - which itself is a great thing to examine for its biblical basis. Is the church copying the world, or is the world copying the church in that respect?

The discussion as I see it from a biblical perspective has no more commentary than what ProjectPeter said in post #7. (http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=1495224&postcount=7)

I would like to quote his last comment in that post which is wisdom-loaded.
Rest assured... the person that is in a relationship that involves the holding hands, kissing, and etc... they will find themselves very short on the self-control issue. :lol: Again... some Scripture mixed with prudence... it should hopefully make sense.Right on. We can be honest with ourselves about PP's assessment. The other option is to think we're stronger than that. For those that do such, I hope they are as "lucky" as I was. For all the hand-holding and kissing I did prior to marriage, calling my wedding night my first time is about as close to a miracle as I've witnessed in my life.

TrustGzus
Jan 11th 2008, 08:26 PM
Good question. I think it is 'odd' for 2 reasons. First, I see no real biblical support for zero contact before marriage. Second, I see it as creating a very drastic step on the wedding night. I am not sure how else to explain it, but I think going from 'no contact' to 'intercourse' in 1 day is a strange and extra-biblical idea.

In fact, if I were persuaded by the 'no contact' argument, I wouldn't want to have intercourse on my wedding night. I'd still want there to be a progression over a period of time.Hi Matt, you see no biblical support for zero contact. Fine. Flip the coin over. What biblical support do you see for non-intercourse sexual contact outside of marriage? I don't see any there. It seems to me that sexual contact outside of marriage is itself extra-biblical.

The rest is your opinion which you're welcome too, i.e. you wouldn't want intercourse the 1st night without having prior contact and other ideas you express. I won't debate opinion/preference. However, I don't think if the average guy abstained from contact, that on his wedding night he'd do a little kissing and say that's far enough tonight. Well do more tomorrow. Men aren't built that way.
Our cultural context says have sex outside of marriage, which i am completely against, so it's obviously not culture that is influential in my thinking.I think every one of us is on the same page with that. No one's debating that.
I don't think Paul's wording is odd or extreme.I agree.
Paul was saying it is good to remain celibate (7:1) because the time was short (7:29). His 'no contact' rule was for people with the gift of celibacy (7:7). By declaring that the time was short, he was either talking about a 1st century event (like AD70) or he simply believed the 2nd Coming was closer than it actually was. In either case, that the 'time is short' is questionable in our current context.

In other words, I think the passage advises 'no contact' for those with the gift of celibacy and applauds this lifestyle. Further, I think the passage advises those with strong desires to marry, to marry. I don't think the passage has much to say about the level of physical contact between 2 people headed toward marriage. I certainly agree with an earlier poster that casual relationships shouldn't have a developed physical aspect. But the passage, to me, offers no insight in regards to committed marriage-bound relationships.Matt, overall, I agree with most of what you're saying. In fact, in most of your posts I agree with you near 100% of the time.

I agree about your commentary on your denomination's stand on drinking and your opinion. Yes, we aren't to get drunk. That doesn't mean we can't have a drink. And I agree with so much more of what you write.

But I disagree with your commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:1. Perhaps I misunderstood you. I'm good at misunderstanding. Perhaps you had a typo that made the meaning unclear.

I understand your commentary as saying this. Paul was saying that celibates can't touch. 7:1 isn't speaking to others. If I skewed your view, please correct me.

However, it seems that he was saying that it's good for men (implied all) not to touch women. If a man finds that hard, then get married. Then touch all he wants. Paul wasn't saying, if you're a celibate, then don't touch. If you're not a celibate, touch, and then touch more after you're married. I don't find that in the text. That interpretation would work if the word for touch meant only sexual intercourse. But I think the burden is on you if you want to interpret it that way.

Grace & peace, Matt.

Joe

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 11th 2008, 09:35 PM
TrustGzus, you're very right in saying that limiting the discussion to Biblical principles will make this end quickly...and that would be a shame. So having drawn the general conclusion that the Bible says nothing either for or against extra-marital non-intercourse sexual contact between an engaged couple (let's stick to that), another question arises: What do we use to base our principles on if not the Bible? Common sense? The leading of the Holy Spirit? Can that be different for different people or do some general rules apply for everybody? If so, what is that rule based on if not the Bible?

NHL Fever
Jan 11th 2008, 09:57 PM
Nice discussion points all around, I was wondering a couple of things about this post of your Matthew:



[/list]Good question. I think it is 'odd' for 2 reasons. First, I see no real biblical support for zero contact before marriage. Second, I see it as creating a very drastic step on the wedding night. I am not sure how else to explain it, but I think going from 'no contact' to 'intercourse' in 1 day is a strange and extra-biblical idea.


I'm curious what is extra-biblical about this? I would suggest your drastic step is indeed almost the definition of biblical marriage. Slowly getting to know somebody, having leisure time along to kiss and caress, I would argue is extra-biblical. Who did that happen for in the bible?


In fact, if I were persuaded by the 'no contact' argument, I wouldn't want to have intercourse on my wedding night. I'd still want there to be a progression over a period of time.
I don't think there's any fixed rules about what kind of contact you have on your wedding night. There's an expectation of intercourse by society, but I don't think that's binding on anybody.


Our cultural context says have sex outside of marriage, which i am completely against, so it's obviously not culture that is influential in my thinking.
Just because you aren't 100% in sink with your culture, does not mean your culture does not influence you. Can you really deny cultural influence in your thinking? Mainstream Christian culture may certainly influence you to a greater extent than mainstream secular culture, biblical culture is by no means your primary influence - how could it when you don't live in it? If the bible was your only influence, you would be approaching someone's father, of even have your father approach someone's father, to ask for their hand in marriage, and then likely not know much about them until your wedding night. You and I are strongly influenced by some variety of generalized contemporary 2008 Christian sub-culture.


I think most Christians use a progressive approach to dating. And I think most have every intention of being spirit-led, and doing the right thing, but nevertheless most also fail to stay pure. So I would forward you the question of how do you think the church can practically enable youth to stay pure?

NHL Fever
Jan 11th 2008, 10:14 PM
One extra note. Somebody said something of a progression of physical intimacy towards marriage is endorsed by song of solomon. I too would like to know what passages suggest that.

SoS 4:8 says:
Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse

In the next 6 verses after there are about half a dozen further references to 'my spouse', including the first verses of the next chapter.

The other thing that pops to mind is that the if Solomon is the standard, does that mean I can pick up a few more wives and concubines?

matthew94
Jan 11th 2008, 10:24 PM
Hi Matt, you see no biblical support for zero contact. Fine. Flip the coin over. What biblical support do you see for non-intercourse sexual contact outside of marriage? I don't see any there. It seems to me that sexual contact outside of marriage is itself extra-biblical.

Well, first I'd comment that that's like asking for biblical support for buying underwear. The Bible simply doesn't make clear comment on everything. But second I'd say that, as was suggested earlier, it'd be hard to argue that Song of Solomon doesn't speak toward some kind of physical relationship prior to the marriage ceremony.


The rest is your opinion which you're welcome too, i.e. you wouldn't want intercourse the 1st night without having prior contact and other ideas you express. I won't debate opinion/preference. However, I don't think if the average guy abstained from contact, that on his wedding night he'd do a little kissing and say that's far enough tonight. Well do more tomorrow. Men aren't built that way.I think every one of us is on the same page with that. No one's debating that.I agree.Matt, overall, I agree with most of what you're saying. In fact, in most of your posts I agree with you near 100% of the time.

It's not so much that I wouldn't want it, it's that, as excubitor pointed out, I'd be sacrificing a lot of memorable moments of gradually increasing intimacy. I am quite sure that you are right and that most guys who take a 'no contact' approach do, in fact, have intercourse the night they are married. And as a sidenote, I enjoy your posts as well :)


I agree about your commentary on your denomination's stand on drinking and your opinion. Yes, we aren't to get drunk. That doesn't mean we can't have a drink. And I agree with so much more of what you write.

But could you comment more about the parallelism I was trying to point out. The Bible tells us DO NOT GET DRUNK and the Bible is clear about NO SEX TILL MARRIAGE. I think we both agree with those points. But the Bible does not tell us how many drinks we can have. Nor does the Bible tell us how physical we can be outside of marriage. I'd argue, actually, that it's EASIER to draw a line on appropriate physical contact than it is on drunkenness. From state to state you might get a different opinion about what's 'drunk' but no matter where you go, 'roaming hands' are 'roaming hands.'


But I disagree with your commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:1. Perhaps I misunderstood you. I'm good at misunderstanding. Perhaps you had a typo that made the meaning unclear.

I understand your commentary as saying this. Paul was saying that celibates can't touch. 7:1 isn't speaking to others. If I skewed your view, please correct me.

However, it seems that he was saying that it's good for men (implied all) not to touch women. If a man finds that hard, then get married. Then touch all he wants. Paul wasn't saying, if you're a celibate, then don't touch. If you're not a celibate, touch, and then touch more after you're married. I don't find that in the text. That interpretation would work if the word for touch meant only sexual intercourse. But I think the burden is on you if you want to interpret it that way.

You're right it's not in the text. That was my point as well. The text is contrasting 2 groups: People who are able to remain celibate and people who are not. The former group should remain unmarried. The latter group should marry. The issue of a degree of physical contact for the latter group prior to marriage is simply not discussed.

Of course, since you are interpreting the word 'touch' very literally, I can see why you think it is discussed. To you, it is saying that there are 2 groups: The unmarried who do not touch any woman and the married who do touch a woman.

In my opinion, we're both speaking from silence. You're saying it doesn't say unmarried people can touch, so they can't. I'm saying it doesn't say unmarried people can't touch, so they can. I suppose a major difference here, in our views, would be in our interpretation of the word 'touch'. The word is flexible. In some contexts it does just mean any contact, but in other contexts it seems to be sexual intercourse. I think Paul's answer indicates that they were wondering about the latter, not the former. His answer was no sexual intercourse outside of marriage.


Grace & peace, Matt.

Likewise Joe :)

Pilgrimtozion
Jan 11th 2008, 10:24 PM
One extra note. Somebody said something of a progression of physical intimacy towards marriage is endorsed by song of solomon. I too would like to know what passages suggest that.

SoS 4:8 says:
Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse

In the next 6 verses after there are about half a dozen further references to 'my spouse', including the first verses of the next chapter.

The other thing that pops to mind is that the if Solomon is the standard, does that mean I can pick up a few more wives and concubines?
So what is the standard? What defines 'pure' in your previous post if not the Bible through direct or indirect Biblical references, as we have already established do not exist on the topic?

matthew94
Jan 11th 2008, 10:37 PM
I'm curious what is extra-biblical about this? I would suggest your drastic step is indeed almost the definition of biblical marriage. Slowly getting to know somebody, having leisure time along to kiss and caress, I would argue is extra-biblical. Who did that happen for in the bible?

How would I know? Who didn't it happen for? :) We have no way of knowing how much time, for instance, Mary & Joseph spent together prior to their wedding day, or even prior to their betrothal. What's more, there is no indication that 1st century Jewish custom is the law. In the end, the Bible isn't a guide to dating or courting, I don't expect it to provide detailed accounts of courtship.


I don't think there's any fixed rules about what kind of contact you have on your wedding night. There's an expectation of intercourse by society, but I don't think that's binding on anybody.Yep, I agree


Just because you aren't 100% in sink with your culture, does not mean your culture does not influence you. Can you really deny cultural influence in your thinking? Mainstream Christian culture may certainly influence you to a greater extent than mainstream secular culture, biblical culture is by no means your primary influence - how could it when you don't live in it? If the bible was your only influence, you would be approaching someone's father, of even have your father approach someone's father, to ask for their hand in marriage, and then likely not know much about them until your wedding night. You and I are strongly influenced by some variety of generalized contemporary 2008 Christian sub-culture.Fair enough point in the 1st half of this paragraph.

But, after that, I take issue with 2 insinuations

1) Just because the Bible records 1st Century Jewish culture, doesn't mean God endorses 1st century Jewish culture. But, I don't think you are saying that anyways. You are simply saying that if my only source for action was the Bible I'd be forced to follow likely Jewish betrothal rituals.

2) Your statement "And then likely not know much about them until your wedding night" is clearly an assumption on your part. We do not know, and I highly doubt, that Mary & Joseph, for instance, the level of interaction b/w Mary & Joseph prior to their betrothal or prior to their marriage.


I think most Christians use a progressive approach to dating. And I think most have every intention of being spirit-led, and doing the right thing, but nevertheless most also fail to stay pure. So I would forward you the question of how do you think the church can practically enable youth to stay pure?Teaching voluntary high standards, accountability, proper worldview, discipline, open-communication, etc.

I don't so much disagree with the standards some of you are recommending. I just simply think they should be left as recommendations. I'm more libertarian than authoritarian. It may be very wise to have a 'no contact' policy just like it may be wise to never drink alcohol. But it's simply not a command.

TrustGzus
Jan 13th 2008, 05:22 AM
But could you comment more about the parallelism I was trying to point out. The Bible tells us DO NOT GET DRUNK and the Bible is clear about NO SEX TILL MARRIAGE. I think we both agree with those points. But the Bible does not tell us how many drinks we can have. Nor does the Bible tell us how physical we can be outside of marriage. I'd argue, actually, that it's EASIER to draw a line on appropriate physical contact than it is on drunkenness. From state to state you might get a different opinion about what's 'drunk' but no matter where you go, 'roaming hands' are 'roaming hands.' I'll be glad to comment on the parallelism. I'll comment further on down.
Of course, since you are interpreting the word 'touch' very literally, I can see why you think it is discussed. To you, it is saying that there are 2 groups: The unmarried who do not touch any woman and the married who do touch a woman.What does the word touch mean? That's a key to this discussion. What do you think it means, Matt? I'll comment more below.
In my opinion, we're both speaking from silence. You're saying it doesn't say unmarried people can touch, so they can't. I'm saying it doesn't say unmarried people can't touch, so they can.I've probably poorly stated my view as you're mis-stating my view. I'm not saying that Paul's saying they can't touch (as in a commandment), I'm saying that Paul's claiming they shouldn't (as in highly advised). It is good for a man not to touch a woman. That's not commandment language. Let me repost an earlier comment I made . . .
Also, while isn't 'wrong' to have no contact, as you said, let me add it isn't 'wrong' to have contact. Paul said it is good not to touch a woman. He didn't say it's wrong to touch a woman. But even if Paul didn't say something is wrong, I think if he says it's good, I better have some outstanding reasoning to decide to go against Paul's good advice. I don't propose this idea because it's a sin to touch a woman. It's not sin. It's precautionary.Even if the Bible doesn't "command" something, if it says "this is good", then we better have some outstanding reason to say why it is good to go against what the Bible says is good.

Having said all that, your parallelism to drinking is fine. I agree Christians can drink. I choose not to. I advise other Christians not to. No one needs to drink alcohol. If you never drink, you'll never develop a drinking problem. I've never had a drink. Thus, it's pretty hard to develop a drinking problem. But if another Christian chooses to drink, I don't freak out.

And the parallel you propose may be 100% right on. However, we have to figure out if 1 Corinthians addresses this or not. So, on to that.
I suppose a major difference here, in our views, would be in our interpretation of the word 'touch'. The word is flexible. In some contexts it does just mean any contact, but in other contexts it seems to be sexual intercourse. In other contexts it seems to be sexual intercourse? Are you sure, Matt? The word ἅπτω is used in one form or another 38 other times in the New Testament. I don't see a single time it means intercourse other than potentially this time. If you do, I'd like to know what verse. That being the case, if it is never used that way in any other context, it takes a considerably good argument to establish that it should be understood as sexual intercourse in this context.

It seems to me every single time it is used it means only one of two, maybe three, things:
touch as you and I would normally understand the term
to ignite something
cling toWhat do you think ἅπτω means in this context? You appear to be claiming it means sexual intercourse in this context. I don't know one single other use of this term to support your claim. So, how do you come to your conclusion?

Grace & peace to you, Matt.

Joe

TrustGzus
Jan 13th 2008, 06:00 AM
What do we use to base our principles on if not the Bible? Common sense? The leading of the Holy Spirit? Can that be different for different people or do some general rules apply for everybody? If so, what is that rule based on if not the Bible?Great question in the bold.

Common sense? I personally doubt it. Look at the rate of sexual sin in the church. Using common sense to avoid sexual sin seems to me to be only slightly more successful than getting to Heaven based on our good works. While no one gets saved by good works, some people succeed with common sense in this area. But many more fail.

Leading of the Holy Spirit? I'd like to ask you what does that look like? How does the Holy Spirit lead a person in regard to sexual boundaries outside of marriage? How does one know it's the Holy Spirit leading and not something else in regard to this issue? I'm prone to say no to this solution also. Perhaps you can provide some answers that would help facilitate us successfully following this leading. I don't have those answers myself. Most of time when Christians speak of being led by the Spirit, it seems to me that they are just doing what they want to do and smothering it with Christian jargon.

Personally, I think we should get our principles from our elders. I often hear it said we should listen to the gray-haired people with experience, but I honestly don't see much listening and heeding the advice of them.

Being in youth ministry myself, this is what we constantly do with teens. By way of illustration, it's as if there's a big hole in the ground. We, the youth leaders, are on the other side, yelling there's a big hole -- walk around it -- don't fall in it. The youth think we're old fogeys. We don't have a clue. They can handle it. Yada, yada, yada. Then they fall in the hole. Then we dig them out and bandage them up. They say you were right. Then we tell the next student look at so-and-so. We warned them, they fell in and now they agree. That student thinks we don't know what we're talking about and on and on it goes.

Project Peter said at the end of his post #7 (http://bibleforums.org/showpost.php?p=1495224&postcount=7) that those who are doing all the hand-holding and kissing will be short on self-control. I'm saying the same thing. Why do so many Christians think it's important to do these things before marriage? I propose because we are copying the world. And we are paying the price. Some couples escape the fire though they smell like smoke (me, for example). Others get burned and end up having sex outside of marriage, or even worse, getting pregnant, or even worse yet, having an abortion.

Most of the couples I've known that have gone through these things wanted to stay pure. They asked what are the boundaries outside of marriage. The touching led to what it's naturally meant to lead to. As I have already said, so now I say again: the touching led to what it's naturally meant to lead to.

Talk to women about this too, not just men. Talk to godly women who are older who have been married before but lost a spouse through death or divorce earlier in life.

The mistake is to do what Rehoboam, Solomon's son, did. Remember after he took over the throne he got advice from his buddies and from the elders. He listened to his peers. He should have gone with the elders.

Great topic. Though it's not much of a "Bible Chat" discussion at this point. Let's keep bouncing this around because I can always use growth and insight into this as I deal with teenagers every week.

Grace & peace to you, Pilgrimtozion.

Joe

BadDog
Jan 13th 2008, 06:26 AM
Some advice from the Bible's Book of Love

Song of Solomon 2:7

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

Those feelings are pretty powerful and it's best not to awaken them before you are married and therefore in a situation to satisfy them in a way that is pleasing to God.Pilgrimtozion,

I think that CoffeeBeaned (interesting username) has hit on a good text here. S of S is an OT book written to describe the "way of a man with a woman." Physical passion is such a tough thing to control. If we respect one another than we need to be very careful here. The NT does give some principles though.

1 Timothy 5:1, 2 Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as though he were your own father. Talk to the younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat the older women as you would your mother, and treat the younger women with all purity as your own sisters.

The principle here is to treat older men and women with the respect you do (or should) your parents and to treat younger women as if they were your sister.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5 About the things you wrote: "It is good for a man not to touch a woman." But because of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. A husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. A wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does. Equally, a husband does not have authority over his own body, but his wife does. Do not deprive one another--except when you agree, for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Sexual tensions can be so great that Paul tells married couples that they should not withhold sex from one another except for a short time - it is such a powerful thing. Just a touch can lead to going beyond what is proper. Ask yourself, "How would I treat my sister (or brother)?" That appears to be a biblical principle for those not married. The word "touch" may be used as a euphemism, but regardless just how we touch should be a matter of real consideration. In general, touching is reserved for marriage. We should not kid ourselves here: it leads to much temptation. (This is especially true for guys. Many women do not realize how much pressure us guys are under in this respect!)

In 1 Thessalonians 4 we see an interesting passage, that is unclear as to how best to translate the phrase "possess his own vessel." Some think that the vessel here is his own body while for others it appears to be referring to their wife.

Here are a few translations:

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 HCSB For this is God's will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, so that each of you knows how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not with lustful desires, like the Gentiles who don't know God. This means one must not transgress against and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you. For God has not called us to impurity, but to sanctification.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NIV It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NRSV For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one wrong or exploit a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness.

I think the NRSV completely missed the point by how they translated TON ADELPHON - which is singular "brother." Now I agree that this sometimes refers to both men and women believers, but in this case Paul is specifically addressing males IMO. He is warning them about the manner in which they go about treating their betrothed. These days, we need to be especially careful as we can wrong another brother in Christ by treating someone whom we may not marry and who will eventually be married to someone else in a manner that we should only treat our wife. After all, that woman may be someone else's wife in the future. We guys might ask ourselves how we would like someone else to treat our future spouse. How else can we wrong a brother in Christ sexually by how we treat someone to whom we are not married?

So a biblical principle is to treat one of the opposite sex to whom we are not married as if they were our brother or sister. Please take note that it is not clear how best to translate that last text. There is a NET Bible note for that text:
5tn Grk “to gain [or possess] his own vessel.” “Vessel” is most likely used figuratively for “body” (cf. 2 Cor 4:7). Some take it to mean “wife” (thus, “to take a wife for himself” or “to live with his wife”), but this is less likely. See J. Smith, “1 Thess 4:4 – Breaking the Impasse,” BBR 10 (Fall 2000), who argues that “vessel” in this context is very likely a euphemism for the sexual organs.

But in that case the idea is to be careful that we remain in control of our bodies - not placing undue pressure on ourselves by allowing ourselves to come into situations in which we are sexually tempted. But then I fail to see how this has anything to do with another brother or sister in Christ. Clearly Paul is advocating a very reserved principle regardless.

This text, vss. 3-7, should be considered in the context of the cultural background of the Thessalonians as well. In contrast to the Jews who had the Law, these Gentiles had come out of a situation in which there was little or no restraint on their morality - especially in matters of sex. Prostitution was a prominent part of their religious life since the worship of their gods often involved the use of temple prostitutes. The moral climate in the Roman Empire was morally decadent too. Immorality was a way of life there. The Christian message of holy living was new to that culture, and it was not easy for these young believers to fight the temptations around them. That is what Paul is endorsing - holy living

Personally, I hate legalism, so I will not come up with some smooth-sounding principle, not clearly based on scripture, and say that to not follow it is to sin. But Paul's intent is clear, is it not, in these texts above? Paul describes the pagan world environment in which they lived in Ephesians 2:

Ephesians 2:1-3 (NET) And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest…

We should not live our lives just like those who do not know Christ. The manner in which we treat the opposite sex and dating should be one which honors Christ. It should be distinctly different than how the world behaves. My son (a senior in HS) is dating a young woman about a year younger than himself. They are avoiding physical contact (except to occasionally hold hands). IMO, that is wise. I am very proud with how he is approaching this. Her parents really appreciate his handling of this as well. Assuming that this relationship does eventually end in marriage, that will likely be a few more years. As time goes on, there will be increasing pressure on one another physically. Best to be wise in this area - a little common sense will go a long ways here.

Take care, and I pray that God will help you as you consider how best to honor him, and other brothers or sisters in Christ. Even if you do eventually marry, a healthy, respectful treatment of one another is the foundation for a solid marriage.

This is a great topic, and one that needs to be discussed.

BD

TrustGzus
Jan 14th 2008, 04:29 AM
Hey Matt,

I think excubitor's post is good too.I must clarify this. Excubitor made two posts. I agree with Excubitor's 2nd post.

Excubitor's 1st post was summed up well by WhisperingGrace when Whispering claimed Excubitor's position appears to be anything is okay as long as the clothes stay on. I disagree with Excubitor's exposition in his 1st post.

TrustGzus
Jan 14th 2008, 04:50 AM
I was rereading this thread and saw Matthew's quote here.
It's not so much that I wouldn't want it, it's that, as excubitor pointed out, I'd be sacrificing a lot of memorable moments of gradually increasing intimacy. Matt, I thought I should let you know that as a married man who never had intercourse outside of marriage, there are several "memorable moments" that I wish were sacrificed. I hate the memories.

You're kidding yourself with this kind of line of thought.

Grace & peace to you,

Joe

Bootstrap
Jan 15th 2008, 12:35 AM
So what does the Bible say about this topic? We know about intercourse, but there is so much between holding hands and having intercourse!

I think the Bible says little on this directly, and the Bible shows thousands of years of history in many different cultures. It's worth looking at the wide variety of ways people got married in Genesis - Adam was introduced to Eve while they were both naked, and the first thing he said was, "you are flesh of my flesh, bone of my bones." Probably not the way we want to do Christian dating services today. We hear that Abram took Sarai as his wife, which seems to lack a few details we might want to know. Abram picked his own wife, but he sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac, who obediently took her into his mother's tent and made her his wife. Rebekah's relatives let her make her own decision on this marriage. In the next generation, Jacob picks out his own wife, falling in love with her at first sight at the well. Having just met Rachel, he kisses her (Gen 29.11), displaying his ignorance of Josh Harris, but in this cultural context it probably wasn't a romantic kiss. Unlike Abram or Isaac, Jacob makes his own contract with Rachel's father and gets tricked, but settles for a two for one deal. Joseph got his wife, the daughter of an Egyption priest, as a gift from Pharoah. Later books of the Bible continue to present us with variety, including Ruth, who pushes things along by waiting until Boaz has eaten and drunk and lies down in bed, then crawling into bed with him.

In general, these stories say little about how much time passes in between events, or what kind of physical contact the couples had. It's possible that the lack of discussion of time passage means they got married instantly, but it's not clear to me that this is the case in all of these stories. And given the variety of ways they come together, why should there not be some variety in the physical contact they had before their marriages were consummated?

And incidentally, isn't it fascinating, given the amount of time and energy we spend asking precisely what is and what is not OK in a premarital romance, that the Bible spends so little time and energy on the question? I don't think that implies that everything is OK, but perhaps it is not a main focus of the Bible.

Jonathan

Bootstrap
Jan 15th 2008, 01:16 AM
God gives us common sense however! ;)

Ah, but what common sense he gives us seems to differ from one person to another. To one, it is just common sense that kissing is OK, to another it's just common sense that it is not ....

Jonathan

Bootstrap
Jan 15th 2008, 01:36 AM
Matthew 5:27 ¶"You have heard that it was said, `YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY´;
28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Let's be clear about what this passage actually says.

First off, adultery does not refer to premarital sex. In either English or the original Greek, this term refers to being unfaithful to a spouse. If you don't have a spouse, you can't commit adultery.

I'm not claiming that premarital sex is OK, I don't think it is, but I *am* claiming that it's dangerous to apply verse 28 to unmarried couples, especially if you look at the meaning of the word translated 'lust' in the above, epithumeo in Greek, which means to eagerly desire or to set your heart on something. This word is not used only in sexual contexts - Jesus 'eagerly desired' to eat the last supper with his disciples (Luke 22:15), using the same word, and I don't think this was a sexual thing. And I certainly doubt that Paul meant 1 Thessalonians 2:17 to carry sexual innuendo when he said "But we, brothers, being bereaved of you for a short season, in presence, not in heart, tried even harder to see your face with great desire."

If you are married, it's wrong to eagerly desire someone besides your spouse. But if you're not married, I sure hope you eagerly desire the person you marry before you marry them. I don't know exactly how far such thoughts should go, but I also think you should find the other person sexually attractive. And I don't think Matthew 5:27-28 has anything to say against this.

Jonathan

Bootstrap
Jan 15th 2008, 01:47 AM
The Bible says clearly to "flee youthful lusts" (2 Timothy 2:22). Anything that would stir up one's passions would fall into that category (and anyone who thinks kissing, snuggling, hugging, etc doesn't stir up passions is delusional!)

Of course, the context may tell us something about the kinds of youthful lusts Paul is talking about.


2:22 Flee from youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2:23 But refuse foolish and ignorant questionings, knowing that they generate strife. 2:24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient, 2:25 in gentleness correcting those who oppose him: perhaps God may give them repentance leading to a full knowledge of the truth, 2:26 and they may recover themselves out of the devil’s snare, having been taken captive by him to his will.

Paul's main concern in this passage seems to be about strife and foolish questionings, not kissing.

Jonathan

Bootstrap
Jan 15th 2008, 02:01 AM
Perhaps I may reword your reply by quoting the following Scripture:

"The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." Romans 14:22-23 (ESV)

This seems to answer my question as best as I feel it can be answered from Scripture: what we do, needs to proceed from faith that it both honors God and is right in His sight. The context of this passage also suggests I should not do anything to cause my brother or sister to stumble. In other words, if we can "fellowship" in the Lord's presence through hugging, cuddling, or whatever else, and do so with a clear conscience in faith, it is acceptable in God's sight. God's commands and principles should not be overstepped, of course, so that we do not justify our self-centered sexual activities or claim having sex is ok. But if a couple cannot do what they do in faith...well, then they should not do it.

I like that answer. It's directly out of scripture, and it's quite relevant.

The other reason I like it is that I think it's on the right spiritual track. Looking for a set of black and white laws to answer this question is futile for the simple reason that these things are not "of any value against the indulgence of the flesh" (see this scripture in context below my signature).

Which is why we shouldn't be too surprised when the very people who teach the most restrictive rules about dating sometimes wind up in compromising situations - a few well known pastors come to mind, but also people from various youth groups I was in when I was in college.

Jonathan


Col 2:20 If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances, 2:21 “Don’t handle, nor taste, nor touch” 2:22 (all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men? 2:23 Which things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, and humility, and severity to the body; but aren’t of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.
3:1 If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 3:2 Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Bootstrap
Jan 15th 2008, 02:14 AM
Young people who read this may think it's legalistic. You're welcome to think so. I've concluded over the years of my life and watching plenty of youth fall into sexual sin, that it's not legalism, it's wisdom.

Joel,

I appreciate your sharing and your wisdom. Let me tell you just a little about my own experiences and how they color my views on this topic.

I was in a sexless marriage for 23 years, to a woman who eventually decided she is lesbian and left me. Neither of us had dated other people. When our marriage ended, I dated several women before finding my current girlfriend, and some of these relationships included kissing, others did not. I can't say for sure that my current girlfriend and I will marry, but we've been together almost 2 years, and it is definitely looking that way.

Sexual sin is definitely a danger, and staying away from it requires a lot of discipline. But I also think it's important to know if chemistry is there, and I personally think that you can learn an awful lot about that by kissing. And so far, at least, I feel good about the physical side of our relationship too, I think we've been within what God would want for us. Of course, we each have our temperaments and our experiences, and neither of us can claim the Bible tells us clearly what is and is not allowed in such a relationship, so let us each share the wisdom that has been given to us.

Jonathan

Bootstrap
Jan 15th 2008, 02:21 AM
I never touch the women. If I never touch them, it's hard to have anything go wrong. If only students in my youth group would realize the common sense in that piece of advice.

Again, is it legalism?

I think it's worth noting that Jesus did touch women and allow them to touch him. The Pharisees criticized him for this.

Jonathan

NightWatchman
Jan 15th 2008, 02:26 AM
TrustGzus... having drawn the general conclusion that the Bible says nothing either for or against extra-marital non-intercourse sexual contact between an engaged couple (let's stick to that), another question arises: What do we use to base our principles on if not the Bible? Common sense? The leading of the Holy Spirit? Can that be different for different people or do some general rules apply for everybody? If so, what is that rule based on if not the Bible?

Greetings Pilgrimtozion!:)

Here are some great Scriptures to read that talk about the marriage relationship in all of its aspects: Spirit, soul and body.
It is noteworthy that marriage is the first covenant established by God for men and woman, and that it existed before sin entered humanity.


Genesis ch. 2
2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.


This excerpt from Proverbs ch. 5 is a passionate, urgent plea to obey the LORD's great and glorious commands regarding one's marriage, and the judgment for adultery/disobedience:

5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
5:19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
5:20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
5:22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
5:23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.


The Song Of Solomon is a great book on courtship.


I'm not here to dissect the word "touch" or "kiss", just some great Scriptures that celebrate holy marriage. :kiss::hug:

Bootstrap
Jan 15th 2008, 02:38 AM
No pastor will ever say turn to 1 Corinthians chapter [fill in the blank] where we will explore what guidelines Paul gives for sexual boundaries outside of marriage.

It's just not there. Probably with good reason. They didn't have the dating scene that we have today - which itself is a great thing to examine for its biblical basis. Is the church copying the world, or is the world copying the church in that respect?

The Greeks in the time of Jesus were quite familiar with any kind of sexual immorality that does not require an Internet connection, and the general attitude was that a Greek male would seek out plenty of sex with people of either gender. And some of this immorality found its way into the New Testament church as well, which was the reason for many rebukes in the letters of Paul.

But I do think there are several good reasons that Paul does not give clear guidelines for sexual boundaries outside of marriage. And I do think it is good that each couple must wrestle with this question before God to find their own answers (within the boundaries that *are* clear). This has been a really healthy, useful process for me and my girlfriend, and I think this process is good training for marriage.

Jonathan

TrustGzus
Jan 15th 2008, 04:16 AM
As I continue to think about this thread and some of the replies, I'd like to throw in another thought.

Those of you who are claiming various kinds of affection are okay to express because the Bible doesn't strictly forbid it, I'd like to hear your commentary on this thought I'm going to share.

Let me reiterate again in this thread, that I am not saying that the Bible forbids physical contact of any and every kind outside of marriage. It doesn't forbid hand-holding or kissing. My proposal is that Paul says it's good (not required, but good) that a man not touch a woman.

This is blunt. So I'm warning you ahead of time. Please don't be offended as I'm trying to simply carry some logic out for our men here.

Let's add something else the Bible doesn't specifically forbid. One could claim it doesn't forbid a guy grabbing her behind. I can't find one verse that says we can't do that.

Do you hesitate on that one? Why hesitate? If the logic is that sexual intercourse is forbidden, but other kinds of contact that aren't forbidden must be okay because of arguments from silence, what about grabbing and squeezing her behind? After all, it's not intercourse. It's not even close. You can even keep all your clothes on.

For that matter, the Bible doesn't forbid grabbing the twin fawns (to use SOS language) on the front side. Again, it's not intercourse. You can keep the clothes on. If touch in 1 Corinthians 7:1 means intercourse, then what's wrong about grabbing the behind and the fawns based on the "argument from silence" replies I've read?

Sorry for the bluntness. But hey, let's carry the logic out.

TrustGzus
Jan 15th 2008, 04:21 AM
I think it's worth noting that Jesus did touch women and allow them to touch him. The Pharisees criticized him for this.

JonathanJonathan,

Welcome aboard. I hope you enjoy your time at Bible Forums and that you are edified and edify.

It is worth nothing that. However, it's also worth noting that I am not the Christ.

It's also worth nothing that Jesus never touched with any sexual intent. He touched to heal. If any of us in this thread are out there healing women of physical ailments by touching, far be it from me to interfere.

Grace & peace to you,

Joe

TrustGzus
Jan 15th 2008, 04:28 AM
Sexual sin is definitely a danger, and staying away from it requires a lot of discipline. But I also think it's important to know if chemistry is there, and I personally think that you can learn an awful lot about that by kissing. And so far, at least, I feel good about the physical side of our relationship too, I think we've been within what God would want for us.Hey Jonathan,

I'm glad your contact has not led to anything you believe God would not want you to do. I find your line about learning a lot about chemistry by kissing a hard sell.

I didn't date dozens of women. In fact, I never dated one dozen women. However, the ones I kissed . . . the kissing worked just fine. The chemistry I learned about wasn't the chemistry that matters most.

If two people have the chemistry to love each other as a husband and wife should, then the hand-holding, kissing, caressing, etc. will work just fine . . . provided there aren't odd circumstances such as the unfortunate circumstance in your marriage. I'm sorry you had to go through that. It speaks highly of you to stick with that commitment. I hope and pray that things go well with your current girlfriend.

Grace & peace to you, Jonathan.

matthew94
Jan 15th 2008, 06:04 AM
I still think the Paul passage is trying to communicate that it is good to stay celibate (and someone who stays celibate doesn't touch a woman), but for those who are gifted in that way, there is marriage. The passage, in my mind, simply doesn't address the stage b/w celibacy and marriage. In context, I think 'touch' is talking about the general desire to have physical relationships with a woman. Paul is not allowing for their to be a group that just enjoys physical relationships. You can either be celibate or you can get married. But this still doesn't address, to me, physical contact for those seeking to be married, but not yet married.

And it's not as if anyone implies the argument from silence to all situations TrustGsuz. The argument from silence simply says we have no command. It doesn't say everything we don't have a command about is 'good'. It simply leaves it open to the Spirit's leading, maturity in Christ, and free will.

Bootstrap
Jan 15th 2008, 01:05 PM
Those of you who are claiming various kinds of affection are okay to express because the Bible doesn't strictly forbid it, I'd like to hear your commentary on this thought I'm going to share.

Let me reiterate again in this thread, that I am not saying that the Bible forbids physical contact of any and every kind outside of marriage. It doesn't forbid hand-holding or kissing.

I don't think the Bible gives us much in the way of explicit instructions in this area. I do think wisdom is important in this area, but there's also likely to be some disagreement on what is wise.

And some of that may depend on culture and personality. I once spent some time in France and became close to a small group of people who were at a retreat center with me, and in their culture, kissing on the cheeks was a very normal greeting. It felt kind of hot to me, frankly, and brought this up in conversation, mentioning that it was unusual for me as an American. They asked what we do in America, and I said that in my church people hug. They were very surprised, because hugging would have been too hot for them.

Your example points out that there's a lot of grey area. If we agree that having sex wouldn't be right and some contact is OK, how far should you go? I don't think that's an easy question, and I don't think the Bible is going to give us a direct answer.

As for 1 Cor 7:1, I think that the phrase "touch a woman" means to have sex with her in this context, which becomes plain if you read the first 5 verses together:


7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 7:2 But, because of sexual immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 7:3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection owed her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 7:4 The wife doesn’t have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but the wife. 7:5 Don’t deprive one another, unless it is by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again, that Satan doesn’t tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

I think it's really good for people to consider what is wise and to share and compare experiences, because there clearly are dangers. But the Bible does not give us black and white instructions here, and if God didn't put them there, let's not be eager to write them in after the fact.

Jonathan

Bootstrap
Jan 15th 2008, 01:18 PM
I find your line about learning a lot about chemistry by kissing a hard sell.

I didn't date dozens of women. In fact, I never dated one dozen women. However, the ones I kissed . . . the kissing worked just fine. The chemistry I learned about wasn't the chemistry that matters most.

I don't think that chemistry alone is enough, but I do think it makes things a lot easier if it is there. I didn't date dozens of women either, I dated 4 after my marriage fell apart, and kissed two of them, including my current girlfriend.


If two people have the chemistry to love each other as a husband and wife should, then the hand-holding, kissing, caressing, etc. will work just fine . . . provided there aren't odd circumstances such as the unfortunate circumstance in your marriage.

I have moderated a private support group for sexless marriages for years, and read fairly widely on this topic, you'd be surprised how many such marriages there are. And not only or mainly because of sexual orientation.

But beyond that, I think the way you treat each other physically in a vulnerable situation, where there are indeed many desires and different preferences, says something about the relationship, and is a good way of learning some deep things in the relationship. The connection between love and sexuality always used to baffle me, because I hadn't experienced it, but I think there are some deep reasons that God put things together this way, and I think that kissing has been an important learning and growing experience for me and my girlfriend. I don't know that I could prove any of this from the Bible, but this has come to be the way I see things, so when I apply my common sense to my life and you apply your common sense to yours, these differences come out.

And yes, keeping boundaries is difficult. We've been dealing with this by defining clear, defensible boundaries and sticking to them. I also fall into the category of men for whom it is definitely better to marry than to burn.

Jonathan

Friend of I AM
Jan 15th 2008, 01:47 PM
Now I don't think the Word mentions anywhere specifically about dating or courtship, but it does use the blanket term "sexual immorality" and describes sex outside of marriage to be sinful. Marriage is where sex becomes Holy - and there are many sinful repurcussions of sex outside of marriage that are definitely prevelant today.(STD's, unplanned pregnancies, depression, etc)

I'd recommend that everyone go by the Word, and wait until they get married before engaging in intercourse or heavy petting, kissing and touching for that matter. I say this from personal experience, and as an individual who is recommited to being abstinent until the Lord directs me to a spouse(if that's His purpose for me..don't know at this point).

As far as guidelines go, the Word doesn't go into specifics - but I guess we should use our best judgement in regards to what should be considered sexual immorality. I think most of us know what's sexually immoral when we see it. Being that I've recommited to being abstinent(been so for about 4 years now) I haven't really dated in 4-5 years either - but if I did decide to again - I'd have to say that for me I have to limit myself to maybe holding hands and the occassional kiss, as anything further than that would probably lead to sex.(and to be quite honest - even hand holding and touching can get me somewhat aroused)

Everyone's different though. I think as long as one doesn't cross the biblical boundaries and use comman sense, they'll be okay.

A Holy Kiss to you all.

:kiss: and Hug as well...:hug:

Stephen

menJesus
Jan 18th 2008, 10:39 PM
1) Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Bible speaks of sinning against your own body. You DEFILE the Spirit`s home in you when you do this. He may not withdraw, but He will definitely distance Himself from you. And you, and your christian walk, will suffer from this.

2) When your mind is full of sex, your prayer life will suffer. You will be meditating much on other things, and little on the things of the Lord. You may wind up missing a lot of God`s best for your life, because you were so preoccupied with your other.

3) Marriage is a covenant between man, woman, and God. Fornication defiles that covenant - no matter if you are engaged...

4) Willful sin opens the door to more sin - throws that door wide open.

5) Sin causes us to turn from God - perhaps in shame, in the end, but to turn, nonetheless. Then we begin to weaken in our walk. See #4...

6) God wants our priority to be HIM, not our fiancee/girlfriend, etc.

Its all in the New Testament. Read it and find out about it.

I will pray for you you to be strong...

Bootstrap
Jan 19th 2008, 10:23 PM
1) Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Bible speaks of sinning against your own body. You DEFILE the Spirit`s home in you when you do this. He may not withdraw, but He will definitely distance Himself from you. And you, and your christian walk, will suffer from this.

In the original context, this scripture involves having sex with prostitutes, and I think it can easily be extended to involve any impure sex. So far, I don't think anybody has suggested premarital sex is OK, the question we've been discussing is just what IS OK, under the assumption that premarital sex is not.


2) When your mind is full of sex, your prayer life will suffer. You will be meditating much on other things, and little on the things of the Lord. You may wind up missing a lot of God`s best for your life, because you were so preoccupied with your other.

When people are in love, they tend to be pretty preoccupied with each other. I wouldn't want to marry someone I wasn't carried away with. Another thing they should be preoccupied with is how to build a life together for God, and how to build a prayer life together.


3) Marriage is a covenant between man, woman, and God. Fornication defiles that covenant - no matter if you are engaged...

Fornication, of course, means having sex.


6) God wants our priority to be HIM, not our fiancee/girlfriend, etc.

For anyone who has a fiancee/girlfriend/spouse, I think both God and your sweetheart had better be priorities ...

Jonathan

menJesus
Jan 19th 2008, 11:09 PM
If I were in this position, I believe I would earnestly seek the Holy Spirit for His guidance. He would teach us of where we can and cannot go. And He will check us when we go too far. Thank God for Him.

Brian135
May 28th 2008, 12:04 AM
As I continue to think about this thread and some of the replies, I'd like to throw in another thought.

Those of you who are claiming various kinds of affection are okay to express because the Bible doesn't strictly forbid it, I'd like to hear your commentary on this thought I'm going to share.

Let me reiterate again in this thread, that I am not saying that the Bible forbids physical contact of any and every kind outside of marriage. It doesn't forbid hand-holding or kissing. My proposal is that Paul says it's good (not required, but good) that a man not touch a woman.

Hey I'm new here, but I figured I'd offer my humble opinion on this particular verse. I've spent a good deal of time studying the document of Paul's 1st (but not really 1st) letter to the Corinthians. I say not really first because Paul had evidently written a previous letter to the Corinthians (see 1st Cor. 5:9, where Paul clarifies what he meant by something he wrote them in a previous letter). Thats just interesting though and not particularly relevant to this discussion. Let me paste the debated scripture here and then I'll offer what I can to the discussion.

1Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.
3The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

It is my humble opinion that the words "it is good for a man not to touch a woman" are not Pauls, but in fact the Corinthians. The Holman Christian Standard Bible as well as the New Revised Standard Bible put the phrase "it is good not to touch a woman" in quotes, and even the NIV puts the phrase after a colon. In my study of 1st Corinthians, I discovered that Chapter 7 marks a turning point in the letter. Throughout the first six chapters, Paul is addressing various issues that he has heard about in the Corinthian Church from "Chloe's people" (1 Cor. 1:11). Paul has received reports about what the Corinthians have been doing, and he is addressing it. However, in chapter 7, Paul moves into issues that they themselves asked about. Hence we see in 7:1, Paul says, "Now about the matters of which you wrote: 'It is good for a man not to marry'." The Corinthians had the idea that sex/touching a woman was bad, and Paul is saying "no in fact it is good for married people to have sex/touch." In reference to the current discussion about sexual boundaries before marriage, this passage says nothing. I would submit, however, that the word of God has plenty to say about sexual relations in and out of marriage. The problem is, it usually says things like "don't be sexually immoral." The problem, or perhaps blessing, is that this is left ambiguous because God intends for His people to have to wrestle with it and interpret it. The people of the Corinthian Church would have discussed and wrestled with what was sexually immoral in their time. And they would have come to conclusions about what that scripture meant and looked like in their own culture. And now it is our turn. So here I would like to say that I am very appreciative of the discussion that is going on here, since it is a continuation of the grand history of God's people in wrestling with and delighting in Him and His words. In Jesus' day, Jewish people assumed that there was just as much to be learned from a discussion of the text as there was to be learned from the text itself. So here we are discussing texts and coming to conclusions. So thank you very much, you all have at least edified me.

In reference to the discussion, I would like to submit my humble advice. I believe that sex outside of marriage is unhealthy for people. I think that it is sin, and by "sin" I don't mean some offense to God's ego and rules. I think the most simple definition of sin is anything which is outside of the best way for us to live as found in God. God is angered by sin because it holds us as slaves and does not allow us to live the wonderful lives that God has for us. So I think sex before marriage is outside of God's ideal life for us. However, I do not think that physical affection should be hindered from progressing as a relationship progresses. I am currently seriously dating someone, and we are emotionally at a far more mature state than when we started dating. There is nothing that I won't tell her because I care about her a great deal and I promised myself and her that I would never lie to her. Our relationship has progressed in healthy emotional phases, as well as spiritual phases. What is to say that relationships should progress emotionally and spiritually but not physically? I think that all relationships hit a wall where they cannot proceed any further without marriage. This happens emotionally; there is a certain degree of emotional connection that cannot be attained outside of marriage. Likewise, there is a certain physical intimacy that should not be attained outside of marriage, and that is seen in sex. Therefore, physical relations should be proportionate to the level of emotional and spiritual connection. I have to go, but I'll see what people are saying and get back with some practical ideas later.
Grace and Peace

Athanasius
May 28th 2008, 01:04 AM
I think that it is sin, and by "sin" I don't mean some offense to God's ego and rules.

Is this how you understand God and His relation to sin; sin simply being the violating of God's 'ego', God's 'rules'?

Also, how far is too far? If I found myself and my girlfriend making out topless, does that mean it's time for me to get married to have sex? Because you know, that's as far as we progressed and any further is wrong. How do you decide how far is too far? The better question is; how do you define sex?

Brian135
May 28th 2008, 06:13 AM
As stated in my rather lengthy discussion, I define sin as NOT merely a violation of God's ego and arbitrary rules. All sin boils down to a lack of faith that God's way is a better way than our way. Faith in God at its simplest means faith that he teaches us to live the best life possible, and since premarital sex is not included the best life possible for us, it is a sin. It is a sin because God knows that it damages us, not because it offends His cosmic ego.
As for the question of how far is too far, I did not pretend to give any conclusive answers to that. In fact, the last part of my post was simply a reminder that the answer to that question is found in community discussion which we are currently participating in, and for which I am very grateful.
As for the idea that nothing physical should transpire between dating couples or engaged couples, I personally disagree with that. My logic is that we place no similar restrictions on the development of emotional intimacy or spiritual intimacy, and so that type of extreme restriction on physical intimacy is not grounded in biblical scholarship or sound logic.
I offer the idea that we should discuss and come to a conclusion about what type of physical intimacy is appropriate for only marriage, and what type of physical intimacy is appropriate for development within dating relationships. I don't think that couples should kiss immediately, because I personally believe that type of physical intimacy should come in time, just as deeper emotional and spiritual intimacy comes in time. Sex is obviously a type of physical intimacy that is appropriate only within the confines of marriage, because of the extreme amount of intimacy implied in said act.
However, couples do need to be free to express growing trust and intimacy with each other in healthy emotional and physical ways. For example, there are things about myself that I can talk about and share with my girlfriend now that I could not when I first started dating her, because our emotional trust has developed since that time. Also, I can kiss my girlfiend now because we have developed that physical trust and intimacy. While we realize the importance of letting our relationship grow and mature, we also realize the importance of knowing that some levels of intimacy will not be reached before marriage.
All of this comes from a young man trying to stay pure and also let his girlfriend know in a variety of ways that he cares deeply for her. Take it with a grain (or bag) of salt, I don't pretend to have all the answers. I only offer what I can. Let me know what you think.

DiscipleofChrist
May 28th 2008, 06:15 AM
I think the Bible clearly states that one should wait for marriage to participate in intercourse. I don't think kissing is wrong at all, but it can lead into the wrong direction, which could be bad, but kissing itself isn't bad whatsoever. I think any sexual act outside of marriage is going against the Bible.

Brian135
May 28th 2008, 06:29 AM
That is a very valid point, but the problem is what to do with the question of what a sexual act is. How does what separate what is simply a physical act of intimacy from a sexual act? Because if it is a question of location on the body, that is not enough. For one to say a touch on the butt is a sexual act is inaccurrate, because teammates slap each other on the butt all the time and it is not considered sexual in any way. Is it the motive behind the movement? If one touches a girls butt with the motive of "I want to go as far as I can with this girl, how can I get her to go as far as possible," then it is generally acceptable to view that as perverted and sexual. However, what if the motive is purely "I want to make this girl feel beautiful because I care deeply about her; I want her to know that I find her physically attractive as well as spiritually, mentally, and emotionally attractive?" Is that more pure? The kiss is the same concept. Some guys kiss a girl because they want it to lead somewhere else that is shouldn't go, i.e. sex. However, many guys (myself included) kiss their girlfriends because we want them to know that we think they're absolutely gorgeous in every way, including the physical sense.

Athanasius
May 28th 2008, 02:18 PM
As stated in my rather lengthy discussion, I define sin as NOT merely a violation of God's ego and arbitrary rules. All sin boils down to a lack of faith that God's way is a better way than our way. Faith in God at its simplest means faith that he teaches us to live the best life possible, and since premarital sex is not included the best life possible for us, it is a sin. It is a sin because God knows that it damages us, not because it offends His cosmic ego.

Alright, but why are you using the word ego?
Most people associate the word ego with the following definitions:

a. An exaggerated sense of self-importance; conceit.
b. Appropriate pride in oneself; self-esteem.

I'm one of those 'most people'. I don't think sin, in any circumstance, is an affront to God's 'ego'--I think that's completely the wrong word to use. Sin is a rejection and replacing of God; an intrinsic part of our nature and acts of disobedience in contradiction to the nature and commands of God. God knows sin is something that damages us, so far, so good. But bringing in God's 'cosmic ego'? It seems to infer that God is some ivory tower, holier than thou, 'play by my rules or burn' tyrant of a God.




As for the question of how far is too far, I did not pretend to give any conclusive answers to that. In fact, the last part of my post was simply a reminder that the answer to that question is found in community discussion which we are currently participating in, and for which I am very grateful.

I would much rather think the answer to the question is found in scripture, not community discussion. Or is scripture supposed to be the focus of community discussion, and we can come to a consensus of what we think that scripture means. Sounds very emergent church to me:hmm:

The problem I have with people who ask questions but don't give answers, is that they usually don't have answers to the questions they're asking. I've read a great many deal of atheistic books against the existence of God. They ask all the questions, but they don't replace the world view they are trying to destroy with another world view. It's because they don't have another world view. One only need follow the logical implications of their teaching to realize the nihilism and utter pointlessness that is at the end.

Now here's the thing; you say relationships should progress spiritually, emotionally and physically. But, how far physically--to this you have no answers, really? I submit that community discussion will provide no answers to this question. What we must base our answer in is scripture, and it is only an answer if it transcends culture and time; it is true for all people of all times. Which means that if 'community discussion' was the tool to derive meaning. Every community of every culture in every time would come to the same meaning for that text.



As for the idea that nothing physical should transpire between dating couples or engaged couples, I personally disagree with that. My logic is that we place no similar restrictions on the development of emotional intimacy or spiritual intimacy, and so that type of extreme restriction on physical intimacy is not grounded in biblical scholarship or sound logic.

Well, lets see what scripture says...

Genesis 1:24
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Alright, so sex before marriage is out of the question; 'cleaving' to become one flesh is meant within marriage, as we know because of the use of the word wife.

But really, do you think there is nothing in the Bible that speaks on physical intimacy before marriage? Not even 1 Corinthians 7:9, "But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." Again I beseech thee; what is too far, what is meant by 'cannot contain'. That's not even getting into verses talking about being above reproach, examples for Christ, emissaries for the world.



I offer the idea that we should discuss and come to a conclusion about what type of physical intimacy is appropriate for only marriage, and what type of physical intimacy is appropriate for development within dating relationships. I don't think that couples should kiss immediately, because I personally believe that type of physical intimacy should come in time, just as deeper emotional and spiritual intimacy comes in time. Sex is obviously a type of physical intimacy that is appropriate only within the confines of marriage, because of the extreme amount of intimacy implied in said act.
However, couples do need to be free to express growing trust and intimacy with each other in healthy emotional and physical ways. For example, there are things about myself that I can talk about and share with my girlfriend now that I could not when I first started dating her, because our emotional trust has developed since that time. Also, I can kiss my girlfiend now because we have developed that physical trust and intimacy. While we realize the importance of letting our relationship grow and mature, we also realize the importance of knowing that some levels of intimacy will not be reached before marriage.

Alright, you're in Bible Chat, you can start off our 'discussion' with scripture references pertinent to the discussion, and we will discuss and see if those verses are being properly excogitated.

Those limits you put on your relationship, what scripture do you use as validation for those restrictions?



All of this comes from a young man trying to stay pure and also let his girlfriend know in a variety of ways that he cares deeply for her. Take it with a grain (or bag) of salt, I don't pretend to have all the answers. I only offer what I can. Let me know what you think.

I think what you've said is dangerously close to emergent theology. To the point where I'm actually thinking you are probably part of the emergent church. I respect your desire to come to biblical mandates in your life... But the emergent church is something you really need to get away from, if you're part of it.

Sorry to be blunt. But if you get the truth question wrong, as the emergent church has, you're going to be aberrant in everything else. Truth isn't about discussions and moratoriums. Truth is absolute, it's found in the Bible, the Bible is clear in what it says and if you undermine the authority of scripture, you're in a very, very dangerous spot.

threebigrocks
May 28th 2008, 02:57 PM
As stated in my rather lengthy discussion, I define sin as NOT merely a violation of God's ego and arbitrary rules. All sin boils down to a lack of faith that God's way is a better way than our way. Faith in God at its simplest means faith that he teaches us to live the best life possible, and since premarital sex is not included the best life possible for us, it is a sin. It is a sin because God knows that it damages us, not because it offends His cosmic ego.
As for the question of how far is too far, I did not pretend to give any conclusive answers to that. In fact, the last part of my post was simply a reminder that the answer to that question is found in community discussion which we are currently participating in, and for which I am very grateful.
As for the idea that nothing physical should transpire between dating couples or engaged couples, I personally disagree with that. My logic is that we place no similar restrictions on the development of emotional intimacy or spiritual intimacy, and so that type of extreme restriction on physical intimacy is not grounded in biblical scholarship or sound logic.
I offer the idea that we should discuss and come to a conclusion about what type of physical intimacy is appropriate for only marriage, and what type of physical intimacy is appropriate for development within dating relationships. I don't think that couples should kiss immediately, because I personally believe that type of physical intimacy should come in time, just as deeper emotional and spiritual intimacy comes in time. Sex is obviously a type of physical intimacy that is appropriate only within the confines of marriage, because of the extreme amount of intimacy implied in said act.
However, couples do need to be free to express growing trust and intimacy with each other in healthy emotional and physical ways. For example, there are things about myself that I can talk about and share with my girlfriend now that I could not when I first started dating her, because our emotional trust has developed since that time. Also, I can kiss my girlfiend now because we have developed that physical trust and intimacy. While we realize the importance of letting our relationship grow and mature, we also realize the importance of knowing that some levels of intimacy will not be reached before marriage.
All of this comes from a young man trying to stay pure and also let his girlfriend know in a variety of ways that he cares deeply for her. Take it with a grain (or bag) of salt, I don't pretend to have all the answers. I only offer what I can. Let me know what you think.

So if we should progress as you say, and we get to a point where our flesh wins and trumps our self control because we "matured" too far into the relationship, it's our faith that was weak? It's the self control and common sense that failed - not ones faith.

That's like putting an open bag of M&M's in front of my kids and tell them they can't so much as touch them, but to smell them and touch them is fine.

themarcthomas
May 29th 2008, 12:23 PM
Hey,

I'm just going to throw a few things out there. Being a guy, my nature causes me to think about these things a bit/a lot. I know it's an issue for girls also, but boys... I know what goes on in your head.

Firstly, what motivates the question?
Is it born from an earnest desire to seek out God's perfect and pleasing will in your relationship? If so, please read on.

Or perhaps is the question something more sinister? Do you already feel the Holy Spirit convicting you of certain things and consequently, are you looking for vindication from the opinions of others? If so, your problems are not 'how far is too far?' but 'how should I best get out of this relationship?' - Additionally, the chances are that if you have to ask the question, 'How far is too far?' then you're already in sin.

Secondly, what is Concupiscence?
Have you ever read a verse like, "Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God..." - 1 Thess. 4:5. Read it in this version (KJV) and it seems to point to a revolutionary way of living: don't do anything that even smells slightly of what the lost would do.

I realise this is challenging - but it's God's word. It's wholly and holy true.

He knocks,
Marc Thomas
[heknocks.com]

Brian135
May 30th 2008, 01:04 AM
Alright, but why are you using the word ego?
Most people associate the word ego with the following definitions:

a. An exaggerated sense of self-importance; conceit.
b. Appropriate pride in oneself; self-esteem.

I'm one of those 'most people'. I don't think sin, in any circumstance, is an affront to God's 'ego'--I think that's completely the wrong word to use. Sin is a rejection and replacing of God; an intrinsic part of our nature and acts of disobedience in contradiction to the nature and commands of God. God knows sin is something that damages us, so far, so good. But bringing in God's 'cosmic ego'? It seems to infer that God is some ivory tower, holier than thou, 'play by my rules or burn' tyrant of a God.




I would much rather think the answer to the question is found in scripture, not community discussion. Or is scripture supposed to be the focus of community discussion, and we can come to a consensus of what we think that scripture means. Sounds very emergent church to me:hmm:

The problem I have with people who ask questions but don't give answers, is that they usually don't have answers to the questions they're asking. I've read a great many deal of atheistic books against the existence of God. They ask all the questions, but they don't replace the world view they are trying to destroy with another world view. It's because they don't have another world view. One only need follow the logical implications of their teaching to realize the nihilism and utter pointlessness that is at the end.

Now here's the thing; you say relationships should progress spiritually, emotionally and physically. But, how far physically--to this you have no answers, really? I submit that community discussion will provide no answers to this question. What we must base our answer in is scripture, and it is only an answer if it transcends culture and time; it is true for all people of all times. Which means that if 'community discussion' was the tool to derive meaning. Every community of every culture in every time would come to the same meaning for that text.



Well, lets see what scripture says...

Genesis 1:24
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Alright, so sex before marriage is out of the question; 'cleaving' to become one flesh is meant within marriage, as we know because of the use of the word wife.

But really, do you think there is nothing in the Bible that speaks on physical intimacy before marriage? Not even 1 Corinthians 7:9, "But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." Again I beseech thee; what is too far, what is meant by 'cannot contain'. That's not even getting into verses talking about being above reproach, examples for Christ, emissaries for the world.



Alright, you're in Bible Chat, you can start off our 'discussion' with scripture references pertinent to the discussion, and we will discuss and see if those verses are being properly excogitated.

Those limits you put on your relationship, what scripture do you use as validation for those restrictions?



I think what you've said is dangerously close to emergent theology. To the point where I'm actually thinking you are probably part of the emergent church. I respect your desire to come to biblical mandates in your life... But the emergent church is something you really need to get away from, if you're part of it.

Sorry to be blunt. But if you get the truth question wrong, as the emergent church has, you're going to be aberrant in everything else. Truth isn't about discussions and moratoriums. Truth is absolute, it's found in the Bible, the Bible is clear in what it says and if you undermine the authority of scripture, you're in a very, very dangerous spot.

Real quick, I used the word "ego" in a contrasting sense to display the idea that I do not think that God is egotistical. Perhaps a better way to phrase myself is this; the concept of sin is NOT that we have offended some cosmic ego simply because there is no cosmic ego to offend, because God is not egotistical. Thats not my main point. The entire point that you seem to have missed is that I first defined what sin is NOT (an offense to God's ego), and then moved onto what sin IS. My main point is that sin IS always, at its most simple, merely a rejection of the idea that God's way is better than ours. Sin is always, ALWAYS, a lack of faith. Lack of faith that God's way is in fact far better than mans. This angers God not because He is egotistical (which He is not), but rather because God hates to see His creation self-destructing. He knows that His way is the way to life, and when we sin it harms us. He hates this.
Now then, the sin of sexual immorality boils down to a lack of faith that Gods way of sexual boundaries is better than ours. I also agree that physical affection should be limited, because once physical limitation gets past a certain point, it becomes for the wrong motivation. In my own life, I can tell you that the boundaries my girlfriend and I have placed on our physical affection have been great. We kiss, we cuddle and watch movies, we hold hands, we hug. All of these things are done simply for the motivation of showing that we care a great deal about each other, and it is done out of love. We don't grind, we don't have sex, because we know that those things turn more selfish; it becomes about "this feels good to me" instead of "how can I let her know that I think she's incredible and lovable." These are my humble answers, not given earlier only out of a desire to not be arrogant.
The scripture that we base these boundaries on is really the foundation of the Christian life in general. Since the bible does not speak specifically about what boundaries to have in a dating relationship, we must figure out those boundaries by other passages of scripture. The bible tells all believers to love, first and foremost. All actions in a Christian life are to be done out of unselfish love. Therefore, we divide physical actions in our dating life into things that we do out of an unselfish motive to love the other person, and those things that we do out of a selfish desire to satisfy our sexual urges. That is where we personally draw the line. We also draw this line by Paul's aversion to being "out of control, like the pagan." Therefore we also do not do things that we know can cause us to sexually spiral out of control. Now the things that we DO do, like kiss and hug and cuddle, are NOT things that cause us to spiral out of control. I guarantee I know myself better than anyone else does, and I know my own motives.
By the way, just as a basic principle for EXEGETING scripture (not excogitating), just know that scripture ALWAYS has to be interpreted by community. There is not a single soul on the planet who can legitimately claim to "just read the bible for what it says." Everyone reads the bible with lenses; lenses formed by culture, experience, teachings, etc. To say that one can read the bible without reading any of their own baggage into it is the ultimate in arrogance. Another note, many people seem to like using the KJV, and I feel obligated to inform them that the KJV (and all of its various editions) are translated from inferior Greek manuscripts, and far more accurate translations are found in the Holman Christian Standard Bible, the English Standard Version, the New American Standard Version, and the New Revised Standard Version. This is because at the time of the writing of the KJV, the oldest and most reliable manuscripts had not yet been discovered. Just a note for everyone.