The Value of Biblical Sex Laws

In 1998, the Committee on Adolescence published an article in Pediatrics titled “Adolescent Pregnancy—Current Trends and Issues: 1998.” According to the statistics in the report, in 1998, 56 percent of the girls polled in the United States had had sexual intercourse before they were old enough to vote (at age 18). That same year, 73 percent of all boys were sexually active. The average age for the first intercourse experience was 17 for girls and 16 for boys. Even more troubling is the fact that 19 percent of sexually active high school students reported having four or more successive partners.

Television and movies portray sexual intercourse as a harmless, fun activity in which all “cool” people engage—regardless of their marital status. As a result, it sometimes is difficult to convince people of the negative effects of illicit sexual intercourse. After all, the debonair James Bond slept with as many women as he could in any given 007 movie. Yet he suffered no negative repercussions from his sexual promiscuity. The picture in real life is not quite as harmless, however. Here are a few statistics on the harmful effects of the promiscuous sex lives of many people today.

  • More than 10,000,000 children in Africa are orphans because their parents died of AIDS (McMillen and Stern, 2000, p. 115).
  • In America, up to 60 percent of the young adult population carries the incurable genital herpes virus (p. 120).
  • In America, about 30 percent of the young adult population carries the venereal wart virus (p. 122).

Amazingly, the Old and New Testament writers penned commandments—which derived ultimately from God—that would stop these terrible diseases from spreading. Proverbs 7:4-27 and Leviticus 19:29 are good examples of these laws as found in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the inspired apostle Paul explained that sexual immorality is a sin against the body (1 Corinthians 6:15-18). Throughout the pages of Scripture, God commanded that sexual intercourse be enjoyed only within the confines of a God-approved marital relationship. Jesus Himself stated:

Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female”? And said “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Matthew 19:4-5).

The biblical rules regarding intercourse help illustrate that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. How could the biblical writers have known the proper place for intercourse, when the nations around them engaged in various perverted practices? The simple fact is, God created humans, and He always has known how they should behave in every area of their lives. Just think how much heartache and physical pain people today could avoid—both for themselves and for those they love—simply by following biblical teaching concerning sexual intercourse. We would be wise indeed to abide by these rules—and to teach others to do the same.


McMillen, S.I. and David Stern (2000), None of These Diseases (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell), third edition.


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