Why It Is Shameful To Be Pregnant Before Marriage

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sinful pregnant before marriage

By John Piper

Here is a sensitive question we get not infrequently in the inbox, and this time it comes from a nameless female listener, who simply asks this: “ John, is it a sin to be pregnant before marriage?” How do you go about answering such a sensitive question?

One way to reframe this question would be to ask: Are the effects of sin, sin? But when I thought that, I thought: No.

Even that is not precise enough, is it? Because pregnancy before or outside of a marriage covenant may be owing to a woman’s sin or maybe owing to being sinned against, like rape. Or both. Like, if she engaged willingly and he engaged willingly, they are both sinning. She is being sinned against by a man who should take better care of her, and she is sinning by willingly participating in premarital sex.

But Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:18, Flee from sexual immorality” — the old translation says “fornication.” And we know from 1 Corinthians 7:2 he is talking about extramarital sexual relations, because he says, “Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” In other words, sexual relations belong only in the safe, holy, beautiful sanctuary of a marriage covenant between one man, one woman, while they both live.

So, the presence of a child in the womb outside marriage is either the result of being sinned against in rape or the result of sinning. Now, back to that original, reframed question. Assuming that this new mother of this unborn child did sin in having sexual relations outside the marriage covenant, is the presence of this child in her womb sinful? Is pregnancy or the child sin? she asks. The answer is: No. And let me surround that no with three observations to give some seriousness and Christ-centered hope to this mother with an unplanned pregnancy or to whoever else may be listening that way.

First observation: That there would be a stigma that attaches to pregnancy outside of marriage is, I think, a good thing. We have almost entirely lost it today, because of the normalization of sexual immorality and because of putting people’s feelings above a call to holiness. But having said that, it is crucial that every Christian and every church make clear that any stigma to pregnancy outside marriage is because the pregnancy signifies previous sin, not because the pregnancy is sin. And if there has been no previous sin, say, in the case of rape, that should be handled really delicately and tenderly, but not, I think, in the church merely privately. So, I say again, appropriate stigma attaches to a previous sin as its basis and to a present pregnancy only as a possible pointer to that sin. And the reason that is important and hopeful is what follows in my second observation.

The second thing to say is that a woman’s experience of shame should also only attach to the previous sin, not the present pregnancy. One of the reasons for that is because sin can be forgiven, because of Christ. A woman can confess that sin and be cleansed of it so that the shame is overcome and taken away by the merciful cleansing grace of God. If the shame attaches to the pregnancy or the child itself, then there is no overcoming. In other words, the solution to both the stigma and the shame is in the preciousness of the forgiveness of Christ and the forgiveness of a humble community of saved sinners. And all of that assumes that the basis of the stigma and the shame, the basis of both, attaches to the proper place; namely, the previous sin, not the present pregnancy.

And here is a third observation: Sovereign grace, the sovereignty of God, makes it possible for both a pregnancy and a child — that is, the woman’s experience and the child’s experience — to be turned for good in the life of the woman and the child and the family and the church and the world. No one needs to feel, no woman needs to feel, no family needs to feel that, because the child originated in a sinful act, if it did, God cannot make this child great. He can.

So, I hope what our nameless friend feels is that it is wise and good to be serious and sober and honest about the stigma and the shame of the sin of sexual immorality, if that is the case, and that the remedy for that sin and the hope for a life of freedom and joy and peace and usefulness for mother and child and family and everybody affected should not be sought in the minimization of sin, but in the maximization of God’s grace. This grace is very, very great.

Your pregnancy is not a sin. The sin that brought the pregnancy, if it did, is no less forgivable than my sins or the sins of those in your church. Your experience of that forgiveness through repentance and faith in Jesus can become a mighty testimony to the beauty of Christ. And that child can grow up in the beauty of Christ and become great.

“Sex belongs only in the sanctuary of a marriage covenant between one man, one woman, while they both live.” 

“No one should feel that, because a child originated in a sinful act, God cannot make this child great. He can.”

“Any stigma to extramarital pregnancy is because it signifies previous sin, not because the pregnancy is sin.”

4 thoughts on “Why It Is Shameful To Be Pregnant Before Marriage

  1. This is the same thing I tell ladies, it is only selfish men that will request that u get pregnant before marriage.
    A woman will only dishonour herself by yielding to such demands

  2. I would say if we believe in God we must believe His manual because in His word it is written “thou shalt not commit adultery” exodus 20:14,and that is not negotiable its a command. So to me I would say if you are a lady respect yourself by abstaining you don’t die for not having sex that I know, if the man loves you He will wait until you tie knots that all.

  3. YOU ARE NOT DOING ANY WRONG. CARRY ON LIVING YOUR LIFE THE WAY YOU LIKE.
    THIS IS YOUR CHOICE. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYONE.

    LIFE IS A JOURNEY ROUND, AND MARRIAGE IS A BUS-STOP, SO, IF YOU STILL WANNA JOURNEY ROUND.
    THEN, THERE IS NO NEED TO TIE YOURSELF DOWN WITH MARRIAGE AND THAT SHOULD NOT STOP YOU FROM HAVING CHILDREN.

    GETTING MARRIED IS NOT IMPORTANT BUT ACHIEVING YOURSELF IS THE MOST IMPORTANT. THE ONLY ACHIEVEMENT IS WHAT YOU ARE IN LIFE, NOT BY GETTING MARRIED.

    MARRIAGE, IS NO MORE A YARDSTICK, LIVING YOUR LIFE IS NO MORE IMPORTANT IF YOU HAVE YOUR CAREER AND YOU CAN PAY YOUR RENT.

    BECAUSE, WHEN YOU LIVE WITH PEOPLE THEY THINK YOU ARE THERE TO BE THEIR MAID. MEN GET JEALOUS OF YOUR SUCCESS. THAT IS WHY THEY SAY,

    I DO NOT WANT MY WIFE TO WORK, SO, THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE YOUR OWN MONEY AND YOU WILL END UP CRAWLING TO THEM FOR MONEY.

    DO NOT RUSH INTO MARRIAGE, BECAUSE YOU CAN GET MARRIED WHENEVER YOU LIKE. WHEN YOU ARE FULLY READY.

    MARRIAGE IS JUST PART OF WHAT YOU MAY DO AND IT SHOULD NOT BE WHAT YOU MUST DO BY FORCE.
    IT SHOULD BE A CHOICE,

    YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GET MARRIED JUST BECAUSE YOUR FRIENDS GET MARRIED.

    A LOT OF PEOPLE JUMP INTO MARRIAGE WITHOUT HAVING ANYTHING TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE MARRIAGE.

    THE ONLY THING SOME WOMEN HAVE IN THEIR SCULL IS TO GET MARRIED WITHOUT THINKING OF THEMSELVES.

    THEY SAY, MY HUSBAND WOULD TAKE CARE OF ME AS IF THE MARRIAGE WAS A NURSING HOME WHERE THEY WOULD NURSE YOU.

    WOMEN NEED TO LEARN HOW TO BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES AND LEARN HOW TO UNDERSTAND THAT BELIEVING IN YOURSELF, IS THE ONLY THING THAT CAN HELP YOU IN LIFE.

    AND YOU CAN DO ANYTHING WITHOUT FEAR,

    AND YOU CAN CHOOSE NOT TO GET MARRIED AND IT IS NOT A SIN, AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CREATOR.

    BECAUSE YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN GIVEN THE POWER AND THE AUTHORITY TO DO WHAT YOU LIKE WITH YOUR BODY AND IT IS NOT SELFISH.

    YOU NEED TO LET YOURSELF COME FIRST, AND IT IS NOT SELFISH. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU LIKE WITH YOUR LIFE WITHOUT MARRIAGE.

    SO, LET YOURSELF COME FIRST AND LET MARRIAGE COME WHEN YOU ARE READY AND SUITABLE FOR IT.

    SO, STOP, PLEASE STOP HAVING IT IN YOUR SCULL, THAT YOU MUST LIVE WITH SOMEONE OR YOU MUST GET MARRIED JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE PREGNANT DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE SUITABLE FOR MARRIAGE, SO, GET THAT TO YOUR SCULL.

    YOU DO NOT HAVE TO RUSH INTO MARRIAGE AS IF YOU WERE ONLY BORN INTO THIS WORLD BECAUSE OF MARRIAGE.

    A LOT OF WOMEN GET CARRIED AWAY WITH MARRIAGE AS IF, THIS IS THE ONLY WAY FORWARD TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE AND TO BE HAPPY.

    A LOT OF IGNORANT FOOLS THROW THEIR CAREER AWAY IN THE NAME OF MARRIAGE ONLY TO END UP IN THE HAND OF SHITHOLE AND THEY SUFFER THROUGHOUT THEIR LIVES.

    CHIRIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO AHHHHHHH HA HA HA

  4. Let us see it from the beginning: could Adam have a child before marriage? Who will he have it with? Simple fact an animal, because, GOD had not formed woman yet, and as soon as GOD did, He united them, making it legal and safe for them to have sexual knowledge of each other and replenish the earth. So If you get tjis point, arguments are useless

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