Bible Question:

My husband died and I met someone else. If I remarried, I would lose my social security income. My Social Security office suggested getting married but not legally regestering the marriage due to my financial situation. Our pastor agreed and married us. Do you think we are living in sin?

Bible Answer:

Is it a sin to live together and not be legally married?

We call the Bible the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12) since it records the very words of God either uttered directly or through a prophet or an apostle. Therefore, the Bible communicates God’s will and principles. Consequently, everything that the Bible teaches about marriage is God’s will for your life and others. God is speaking to us!

Malachi 2:14 Teaches Marriage is By Covenant

Maybe the most significant verse in the Bible about marriage and cohabiting or living together is Malachi 2:14. It teaches us that marriage involves a covenant.

Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. (NASB) Malachi 2:14

The Hebrew word for covenant is berit. It refers to a legal commitment, treaty or alliance. In the context of marriage it refers to a formal marriage contract. That is, marriage is by contract. Anyone can live together. Marriage provides benefits and protection for both husband and wife from sexual enjoyment to improved happiness, better health and enhanced financial security.[1, 2]

1 Corinthians 7:2 also teaches that sex outside of marriage is immoral or sin. We are not to have sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex or touch another person’s genitals until they orgasm before marriage. The apostle Paul states that marriage is God’s design for us to have sexual fulfillment.

But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. 1 Corinthians 7:2 (NASB)

I Corinthians 7:9 Teaches Marry Then Have Sex

Marriage by contract or covenant is the common assumption throughout the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 7 the apostle Paul assumes that sex and marriage go together.

But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 1 Corinthians 7:9 (NASB)

Sadly, our culture and world is violating almost every standard that God has communicated. God has not left us; we have left God.

Behold, I have found only this, thatGod made men upright, but they have sought out many devices. Ecclesiastes 7:29 (NASB)

God’s Blessing Is Upon Marriages

God designed marriage. It was not deigned by men and women (Genesis 2:18-25). It was His idea and He knows what makes a marriage successful and happy. God says that a man who has many children will be blessed (Psalm 127:5). In Hebrews 13:4 God states that the marriage bed is undefiled. However, those who engage in sexual relations outside of marriage will be judged.

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4 (NASB)

In Proverbs 18:22 God promises a blessing on men and women who marry.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing
And obtains favor from the LORD. Proverbs 18:22 (NASB)

Notice the word “favor.” The Hebrew word is rason and it means “goodwill, acceptance, favor, pleasure or delight.” That is God’s blessing upon marriage.


Therefore, if a couple wants to have sexual encounters with one another, they should marry (1 Corinthians 7:2, 9). Since God speaks to us in the Bible we must remember that it is God’s will for a couple to marry rather than live together or cohabit. Couples who marry will receive a blessing from God. Marriage is intended to be a contract between two friends (Malachi 2:14). The decision to live together or marry should not be determined by the pros and cons of studies published by the secular world since usually these studies are intentionally manipulated to produce a desired result. The decision to marry should be because it pleases the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:10; Hebrews 11:5).

We should also remember that anyone who encourages another to sin is guilty also. Ezekiel 33:1-6 gives us the principle.

And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the  sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming upon the land and  blows on the trumpet and warns the people, then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and  does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have  delivered his life‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is  taken away  in his iniquity; but his  blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’”  Ezekiel 33:1-6 (NASB)

Pastors  should warn couples against marrying without appropriately registering the marriage.  We honor God when we obey Him.



1. Check out the article Surprising benefits to being married  which cites numerous research studies on the benefits of marriage.

2. Cohabitation Facts and Statistics You Need to Know (

Suggested Links:

Am I living in adultery, am I forgiven?
Is sex before marriage a sin?
Is it truly a marriage in the eyes of God if you are married by a Justice of the Peace?