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In 1611 King James Version, the first English translation of the Christian Bible Fornicated as an adjective is still used in botany, meaning "arched" or "bending over" (as in a leaf).

John Milton plays on the double meaning of the word in The Reason of Church-Government Urged against Prelaty (1642): "[She] gives up her body to a mercenary whordome under those fornicated [ar]ches which she cals Gods house." The Pauline epistles contain multiple condemnations of various forms of extramarital sex.

He states that "the word 'fornication' has gone out of fashion and is not in common use to describe non-marital sex.

"Flee sexual immorality (porneia) and pursue self-control" (cf.

1 Thess 4:1–8) was the straightforward message to Christians in a sex-crazed world." Attitudes towards marriage and sexuality at the time of Jesus stemmed from a blend of Roman and Jewish ideas.

He states that, from a Biblical perspective, "physical union should not take place outside a "one flesh" (i.e. In [1 Corinthians] chapter 7 Paul addresses the situation of two unmarried Christians who are burning with passion (7:8–9) who should either exercise self-control or be permitted to marry (cf. The underlying assumptions are the same as those in Deuteronomy 22." However, a minority of theologians have argued in more recent times that premarital sex may not be immoral in some limited circumstances.

An example is John Witte, who argues that the Bible itself is silent on the issue of consensual, premarital sex between an engaged couple.

A deontological view of sex interprets porneia, aselgeia and akatharsia in terms of whether the couple are married or non-married.

What makes sex moral or immoral is the context of marriage.

Secondly, there was the marriage contract that specified what the bride and groom's families would give the couple and what the bride would obtain if she divorced.

"At the time of Jesus, and in rural areas like Galilee, a young couple might well cohabit before the contract was signed 'in order to get acquainted'.

For instance, in defining porneia/fornication, Kittel and Friedrich's 1977 Theological Dictionary of the New Testament states that "The NT is characterized by an unconditional repudiation of all extra-marital and unnatural intercourse".

Lee Gatiss also argues that porneia encompasses all forms of premarital sex.

By contrast, a teleological view interprets porneia, aselgeia and akatharsia in terms of the quality of the relationship (how well it reflects God's glory and Christian notions of a committed, virtuous relationship.) The debate also turns on the definition of the two Greek words moicheia (μοιχεία, adultery) and porneia (el:πορνεία, with meaning of prostitution, from which the word pornography is derived).

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