In your book Till the Nets Are Full (formerly Shining like Stars), you say that it's a sin for unmarried men and women to live together. I do agree that this is not the optimal situation, but I don't find anywhere in the Bible that says living together (shacking up) is a sin per se. Yes, of course sex before marriage is a sin. So what exactly is it biblically that makes it a sin for two people who have not been sexually immoral to live in the same house together? Is it simply that they are of the opposite sex (roommates)? I want to know for my conscience's sake. I want to let my faith express itself through love (Galatians 5:6b), being to able to properly understand the freedom we have in Christ, not obeying manmade rules.--A Concerned Brother

The marriage bed is holy (Hebrews 13:4). For that reason, I will not share it with anyone other than my spouse. But you have already made clear that your question is not about pre- or extramarital sex. Technically, the Bible is silent on the question of living together, which you have posed. And yet in most cultures, and certainly all non-western (secular, materialistic) cultures, too much proximity is scandalous.

As for biblical culture, living with someone of the opposite sex--if I grasp the sense of your question--is absolutely unheard of. That's because a man and woman do not move in together until they are married (Genesis 1, 2, 29).

In my book, I am addressing live-in boyfriends and girlfriends, although there are certainly many reasons for any unmarried couple not to live together (examples -- potential temptation, conscience, effect on others). I think you should consider 1 Corinthians 8-10 in this light: anything that causes others to stumble must be reviewed, and often will need to be let go. Even if someone is a spiritual Hercules (not Samson!) -- above compromise and immune to temptation -- he must consider his influence on others. The other party, those watching, those who would likely sin with this precedent as a pretext (Luke 17:1-3).

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