Biblical teaching on dating and courtship

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As a good initial principle here, we should affirm that sex itself (and sexual activity in general) is not inherently negative or sinful.On the contrary, in the proper context, it is a kind and good gift of God.There are too many passages to mention in this space that communicate God's command to live for God's glory and to "love" one another — defined as putting the spiritual good of others above our own desires. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.We are to do this in light of what God has done for us in Christ and in light of Christ's impending return. For God did not call us to be impure, but to lead a holy life.How are we to relate to everyone else (especially believers), and how does that question inform the topic of premarital sexual activity — including kissing? As a lawyer, I almost never see absolute statements.The simple answer is that every believer to whom I am not married is my brother or sister in Christ, and I am to act accordingly. Honor one another above yourselves."); Romans 13:8-14, especially vv. It's the strongest possible language Paul can employ. 4:3-8 gets even more specific: "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.

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The game changes when two people are romantically involved or "semi-involved" (a fascinating phrase I recently heard). Before you start throwing things at your computer — I can't feel it you know, you're just hurting your own computer — let's go to Scripture.I am obviously not saying that hugs and kisses of affection or greeting to relatives and the like is out of bounds. In some cultures, kisses of greeting — between members of the same sex or of the opposite sex — as well as hand-holding and other forms of physical expression during normal, non-romantic social intercourse, are more common. You might even be able to talk me into the notion that brief, "non-leaning-in" hugs of greeting, sympathy, etc.between men and women who are not romantically involved are OK.In Song of Songs, God has given us a holy and beautiful picture of a marital sexual relationship, and everyone seems to be having an excellent time.Even there, however, God is clear that sex is uniquely for marriage: "Do not arouse or awaken love before it so desires (i.e., before it's appropriate — within marriage)." (Song 2:7) A blog comment or two emerging from the last column suggested a different interpretation of this verse and Song in general, but the orthodox interpretation of the book suggests both that an actual sexual relationship is part of what the narrative relays, and a context (at the time of the sexual part of the relationship) of marriage.

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